Pura Luka Vega will share cell with male detainees, to post bail Thursday
Controversial drag performer Pura Luka Vega will be staying overnight at the Manila Police Station 3 (Sta. Cruz) after their lawyer failed to process their bail for their provisional release from detention on Wednesday.
Pura Luka, whose real name is Amadeus Fernando Pagente and goes by the pronouns they/them, was arrested on the basis of the warrant of arrest issued by the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 36 following charges of “immoral doctrines, obscene publications and exhibitions, and indecent shows.”
Police Maj. Billy Ray Canagan of the Manila Police District, who led the team that effected the arrest order, told INQUIRER.net in a phone interview that Pura Luka will be sharing the detention cell with several other male persons deprived of liberty (PDL).
Canagan gave assurance that Pura Luka will be comfortable, though the drag performer would not be given any preferential treatment while under detention.
“No VIP (very important person) treatment here. He (Pura Luka) is being treated as an ordinary PDL, kasama nya ang ibang detainees (along with other detainees),” said Canagan.
When asked how Pura Luka was taking their arrest, the police said the accused is calm even though they continued to question their arrest, insisting that “drag is not a crime.”
“He (Pura Luka) continues to argue that his drag performance was not meant to mock the Nazareno,” said Canagan.
The arrest order stemmed from the complaint filed by devotees of the Black Nazarene led by the Hijos del Nazareno based at the Quiapo Church, or the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene. The group described itself as a “brotherhood” established in 1939, with the primary duty and responsibility of “ensuring the safety of the Holy Image of the Black Nazarene before, during and after the procession.”
P/SSgt. Neil Anthony Gabriel said as the accused had been arrested 4:10 p.m., it was already too late for their legal team to process their bail, which is placed by the court at P72,000. “Sarado na ang court kaya babalik nalang daw bukas ang lawyer niya para maasikaso na yung bail nya (The court was already closed when he was arrested so the lawyer will just return tomorrow to take post bail),” said Gabriel.
Aside from the case in Manila, Pura Luka is also facing another set of criminal charges before the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office filed by the Christian churches under the Philippines for Jesus Movement. The group accused the drag artist of mocking the Black Nazarene with his “Ama Namin” (The Lord’s Prayer) drag performance, saying it violates Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code and in relation to the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
Since their viral “Ama Namin” performance in July, Pura was tagged as persona non grata or unwelcome person in 17 areas in the Philippines, including the capital city of Manila, where the image of the Black Nazarene is kept and is celebrated during its feast day in January.