#FreePuraLukaVega: Netizens call to free the controversial drag performer after being arrested in Manila

#FreePuraLukaVega, Netizens call to free the controversial Pura Luka Vega after being arrested in Manila

Manila, Philippines – The controversial and sensational drag artist Pura Luka Vega was just arrested in their residency in Sta. Cruz, Manila on October 4, 2023. An arrest warrant was issued by the Regional Trial Court Branch 3 after the accused was absent from their preliminary court hearing following the cases filed against Pura Luka.

Manila Police Department spokesperson Major Philipp Ines confirmed that Pura Luka Vega was brought into custody to the Manila Police District Station 3. The defendant will be held in the police station tonight but will be given a ₱72,000 bail. However, some netizens aren’t happy with Pura Luka Vega’s arrest and are now calling on the Philippines’ judiciary system to release the infamous drag queen with #FreePuraLukaVega on Twitter.

It was worth remembering that Pura Luka Vega mentioned that they were going to court back in August, and although they asked for donations, they did not reveal the reason.

However, we can all remember that various religious groups filed criminal charges against the drag artist. One of which is the Philippines for Jesus Movement (PJM). On the other hand, Hijos del Nazareno also followed suit. The case Pura Luka Vega faces is due to the violation of Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code, which specifically states violations against Immoral doctrines, obscene publications and exhibitions, and indecent shows.

Moreover, Pura Luka is also charged in relation to the Republic Act 10175 or Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. This is all because of the controversial “Ama Namin” (Our Father) skit. It was reported that Pura Luka’s camp will be heading to trial in September. If found guilty, they can face a hefty fine of thousands of Pesos or even receive jail time.

Meanwhile, in their defense, Pura Luka Vega revealed they never received a subpoena for the said lawsuit. Earlier this month, in a post on Twitter (now X), Pura Luka mentioned that they have no plans on snubbing or not attending the trial. They also mentioned that the court has not sent a single subpoena for their ongoing case.

Netizens want Pura Luka Vega to be released as they plead on the internet with the #FreePuraLukaVega on Twitter (X)

#FreePuraLukaVega is trending on X right now. Obviously, the netizens want the drag performer to be out of jail despite their preceding controversial actions. The internet is filled with public outcry following the questionable arrest.

Who is Pura Luka Vega?

Amadeus Fernando Pagente, professionally known as Pura Luka Vega, is a Filipino drag artist. They have been active since the year 2017 and are known for being a contestant in Drag Den Philippines Season 1 in late 2022. Soon after, Pura Luka Vega was also announced as one of the eight “mudras” to appear on the first season of Mudrakels, hosted by their fellow Drag Den contestant, Lady Gagita.

Recently, Pura Luka Vega went viral and has been receiving backlash for a video they posted on Twitter wherein they are seen lip-syncing to a rock remix of Ama Namin (a prayer for the Black Nazarene) while dressed in an outfit similar to that of the Black Nazarene – a devoted symbolism of Jesus Christ

This issue has enraged many, and was heavily criticized by a lot of Christian believers, who claimed that their performance was inappropriate, “sacrilegious”, “blasphemous”, and “offensive”. Nonetheless, there were also people who defended them and said that their performance is a “mere expression of art”. Pura Luka Vega addressed the issue and stated that the intention of the performance was not to offend, but rather to express their faith.

Unfortunately, netizens aren’t the only ones offended and affected. Even legislators have spoken and have made a statement against the said performance. Philippines’ first transgender lawmaker, Bataan representative Geraldine Roman, stated in a CNN interview “This is simply a case of disrespect for religious feelings of other people. And now, because binabatikos ka ng marami sa lipunan (because you are being criticized by many members of the society), you’re waving the queer card. Don’t be unfair kasi nga, you know what, ang masama dito magkamali ang isang member ng community, lalahatin na (what’s bad here is if one member of the community commits a mistake, it will be generalized)”, the lawmaker said.

Meanwhile, Philippine Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri also said: “We urge the authorities to look into this matter. Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code punishes those who offend any race or religion in the performance of obscene or indecent plays, scenes, acts or shows in theaters, fairs, or any other place”.

Pura Luka Vega was proclaimed as Persona Non-Grata in various cities in the Philippines

As church groups and some senators criticized the behavior as profane, at least fifteen government units such as General Santos City, Floridablanca in Pampanga, Laguna, Manila, Bukidnon, Toboso (Negros Occidental), Nueva Ecija, Cebu City, Cagayan de Oro, Occidental, Mindoro, Dinagat Islands, Lucena, Mandaue City (Cebu), Bohol, and Marikina City have proclaimed Vega a Persona Non-Grata, or an unwelcomed person in Latin. This declaration would entail that a person is forbidden from entering the territory of a specific locality.

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