Manila Drag Queen Pura Luka Vega Arrested on Charges of Blasphemy and Obscenity

In a significant development, renowned drag queen Pura Luka Vega, formerly known for her daring impersonations, including that of Jesus in drag acts, was apprehended by Manila police. The arrest took place at her residence in Sta. Cruz last October 5., as reported by the warrant and subpoena unit of the Manila Police District’s (MPD) Sta. Cruz station.

Under the command of Maj. Billy Ray Canagan, the police executed an arrest warrant issued by the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 36. Vega, whose real name is Amadeus Fernando Pagente, also holds the senior health program officer position.

Vega now faces charges for violating Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code, amended by Presidential Decrees 960 and 969. These charges include immoral doctrines, obscene publications and exhibitions, and indecent shows. Additionally, she is accused of violating Section 6 of Republic Act 10175, also known as the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

The Manila RTC Branch 36, under acting presiding Judge Czarina Encarnacion Samonte-Villanueva, set bail at P72,000, as confirmed by the MPD.

The legal action against Vega stems from a performance in which she delivered a rock remix of the Filipino Catholic hymn “Ama Namin” in a bar, which members of the Hijos del Nazareno-Central and Balangay officers of the Quiapo Church deemed blasphemous. They considered it a direct affront to Jesus Christ, whom Vega allegedly portrayed during the act.

Despite initial hearings of the complaint filed by the group, Vega claimed not to have received any summons from the Manila city prosecutor. He also documented his attendance at hearings in Quezon City for similar cases filed against him by the Philippines for Jesus Movement.

Vega’s arrest has prompted an outcry from netizens who assert that “drag is not a crime” and call for her release. Vega’s friends have reportedly initiated a fundraising effort to cover her bail, as indicated in posts on social media.