Pura Luka Vega says arrest was hasty, ‘unfair’

Pura Luka Vega says arrest was hasty, ‘unfair’

/ 09:01 PM October 05, 2023

Pura Luka Vega

Image: Instagram/@puralukavega

Embattled drag performer Pura Luka Vega claimed their arrest in Manila on Wednesday was done with haste and was “unfair” for them who did not receive a subpoena to appear in court to answer to charges of “immoral doctrines, obscene publications and exhibitions, and indecent shows.”

Pura Luka, whose real name is Amadeus Fernando Pagente and goes by the pronouns they/them, told reporters upon their arrest that they weren’t given “enough time to submit the documents” before the Manila regional trial court where they are facing the charges filed by the Hijos del Nazareno, a group of devotees of the Black Nazarene.


“It was a bit quick. My side of the story or the motion, hindi naman ako nabigyan ng enough time to submit the documents we’ve been wanting to submit,” they said. “We did not receive the subpoena.”


Pura Luka said their subpoena was not delivered to their current address.

“Immediately, when the media took coverage of that incident, we went to Manila City Hall and stated our case that indeed, we did not receive the subpoena because it was not addressed to my current address. I don’t know if that was taken into account… I do feel like it’s unfair, but we’ve been handed the warrant of arrest, so, okay sige. It was a bit of a surprise,” they said.

The “Drag Den Philippines” alum said they faced all charges filed against them head-on, but that it was still “kind of a shock to be handed the warrant of arrest” since they said they have been trying to submit a motion to reopen the case in Manila.

Aside from the case in Manila, Pura Luka is also facing three criminal charges before the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office in line with the viral “Ama Namin” video where they could be seen doing a drag performance of the Black Nazarene while singing the Lord’s Prayer.

“Here in Manila, ‘yung sa case na na-file sa’kin (in the case that was filed against me), I didn’t receive the subpoena,” they said.


“Immediately, after the case was ongoing, I didn’t know this so I immediately went there and Manila City Hall has been kind naman. We’ve been trying to submit the motion to reopen the case and submit the counter affidavit. It was kind of a shock now to be handed the warrant of arrest,” they continued.

Meanwhile, Pura Luka also received a subpoena issued by the Anti-Organized Transnational Crimes Division of the NBI following a complaint filed by Jesus Is Lord leader Bro.Eddie Villanueva, who is also a Party-List representative of CIBAC at the House of Representatives.

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‘Blown out of proportion’

Despite their arrest, Pura remained firm in their stand that their performance was meant to be a story of Jesus “being one with the queer people.”

“I think the reception was a little blown out of proportion because I stand by what I said. Drag is a form of storytelling. It’s really just telling a story where I envisioned Jesus being one with the queer people. Basically, that’s just the intent of the performance,” they said.

Pura Luka claimed their intention was not to mock, though they also would not like to invalidate the feelings of those who had been offended by their drag act. “If they feel hurt or they feel offended, it’s their right to feel such,” they said in an interview.

The drag performer also pointed out that the persona non grata tag made against them were an “overreaction to the incident.”

“With the declarations of persona non grata, I think it’s an overreaction to the incident. Like I said in the previous statements I had, I’ve always been open for dialogue if they really wanted to hear my side of the story,” they said.

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“Unfortunately, they had interpretations of my performance. They took it out of context and with the declarations of persona non grata, I know it’s non-binding. It’s basically just a statement of me not being welcome to a particular locality. But then again, I don’t know if I did contribute too much to the locality that declared me persona non grata,” they further said.

Pura Luka is required to post bail of P72,000 for their release. “Drag Den Philippines” director Rod Singh, who goes by the pronouns she/her, has since raised P421,252.88, as of Oct. 5 at 12 noon.

A check with the Manila Police District Station 3 in Sta. Cruz showed that Pura Luka will remain incarcerated overnight onThursday as their lawyer failed to process his bail before the court’s docket closed. EDV

TAGS: Black Nazarene, drag queen, LGBTQIA+, Pura Luka Vega

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