Baguio gender groups decry Pura Luka Vega arrest, call for release | Inquirer Entertainment

Baguio gender groups decry Pura Luka Vega arrest, call for release

/ 10:22 AM October 07, 2023

Pura Luka Vega. Image from Instagram / Manila Police PIO (mugshot)

Pura Luka Vega. Image from Instagram / Manila Police PIO (mugshot)

BAGUIO CITY — Gender group Bahaghari staged a protest performance on Friday, October 6, at Malcolm Square in this city to demand for the immediate release of controversial drag queen Pura Luka Vega.

Pura Luka, whose real name is Amadeus Fernando Pagente, was arrested by authorities on October 4 for supposed violations of Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code and the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. These charges stemmed from a viral video posted on July 9 where the drag queen was seen dancing to a remix version of The Lord’s Prayer.


Lawmakers and religious groups alike have denounced Pura Luka’s performance as “blasphemous.”


The gender advocacy group Northern Luzon Pride also expressed support for Pura Luka’s immediate release.

In an interview with the Inquirer, Northern Luzon Pride Chairperson Herson Arcega said their organization is one with Bahaghari “in demonstrating firm opposition to any form of discrimination and abuse against the members of the LGBTQIA+ community.”

Arcega also said “drag” was a form of expressing oneself and celebrating diversity, and that Pura Luka’s performance was within this context.

“We question why Pura Luka Vega’s performance is being singled out when many other celebrities and artists have done similarly themed performances,” Arcega added.

Abi Taningco, chairperson of Bahaghari University of the Philippines (UP) Baguio, also expressed similar sentiments in a separate interview with the Inquirer.

Taningco said there were already many impersonators of Jesus and other religious figures, but Pura Luka is being singled out because he is a member of the LGBTQIA+ community.


“It’s really because of the transphobia, the homophobia, and aversion to anything that’s LGBTQ. The case of Pura Luka Vega just shows it,” Taningco stressed.

Several advocacy groups have also released statements of support for Pura Luka, asserting that drag performances should not be treated like a crime.

“Bahaghari UP Baguio stands with Pura Luka Vega and expresses our support for their legal and political needs in moving forward. We also call on the passing of the SOGIE Equality Bill into law,” the group added in an online statement on October 5.

Pura Luka’s bail is set at P72,000.

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Rod Singh, the director of the drag show “Drag Den” which Pura Luka was a part of, has started a donation initiative for the drag artist’s bail. As of this writing, donations have amounted to more than half a million pesos, as per a post on Singh’s X (formerly Twitter) account. — JMS

TAGS: Pura Luka Vega

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