MJ Lastimosa may not have won this year’s controversial Miss Universe crown, but the Philippines redeemed itself in the international pageant scene with Neil Perez, who took home the 2014 Mister International title.
Perez, who became a viral sensation for being the “hot cop,” took the crown after beating 42 contestants during the finale, which was held in Ansan, South Korea Saturday night. Aside from winning the title, Perez also won 2nd runner up in the best national costume category.
Before participating in the Mister International Philippines 2014, Neil Perez, or Police Office 2 Mariano Perez Flormata Jr., was a bomb and explosives technician with the Aviations Security Group of the Philippine National Police. He said that he joined the local competition to promote health and fitness. The PNP announced its support of Perez’s participation in the pageant.
Neil Perez with his fellow Mister International contestants during the finale
In Ansan, Rabih El Zein (Lebanon) was 1st runner up, Tomáš Dumbrovský (Czech Republic) was 2nd runner up, Rafal Maslak (Poland) was 3rd runner up, and Mitja Nadizar (Slovenia) was 4th runner up.
Before Perez left for Ansan, he dedicated his efforts to his fellow policemen who were killed during the Mamasapano clash in Maguindanao last January. According to him, seven of of those killed were his batchmates in the police academy.
Perez is also the first Filipino to win the title.