Ghio Ong – The Philippine Star
October 5, 2023 | 12:00am
Amadeus Fernando Pagente, better known as drag queen Pura Luka Vega, poses for a mugshot following his arrest yesterday.
Image courtesy of the Manila Police District
MANILA, Philippines — Drag queen Pura Luka Vega, previously known for impersonating Jesus in drag acts, was arrested by police in Manila yesterday.
Vega, real name Amadeus Fernando Pagente, was arrested at his house in Sta. Cruz at around 4 p.m., according to a report shared by the warrant and subpoena unit of the Manila Police District’s (MPD) Sta. Cruz station.
Police led by Maj. Billy Ray Canagan carried an arrest warrant issued by the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 36 in arresting Vega, who also works as a senior health program officer, according to police.
Vega faces charges for violating Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code that was amended by Presidential Decrees 960 and 969 – or immoral doctrines, obscene publications and exhibitions, and indecent shows – and Section 6 of Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
Manila RTC Branch 36 acting presiding Judge Czarina Encarnacion Samonte-Villanueva set bail at P72,000, according to the MPD.
Members of the Hijos del Nazareno-Central and Balangay officers of the Quiapo Church sued Vega for what they asserted was a blasphemous act when Vega performed a rock remix of Filipino Catholic hymn Ama Namin in a bar. They believed it was a “direct attack on Jesus Christ” as the Black Nazarene, whom Vega allegedly portrayed.
Vega did not turn up during initial hearings of the complaint the group filed. He insisted that he did not receive any summon from the Manila city prosecutor.
Vega also posted photos showing he attended hearings in Quezon City for similar cases slapped against him by the Philippines for Jesus Movement.
Hijos del Nazareno adviser Alex Irasga said his group has not received any resolution from the Manila prosecutor, nor any notice from the court.
Meanwhile, netizens cried foul over Vega’s arrest, asserting “drag is not a crime” and calling on the police to free Vega.
Vega’s friends would pool donations to pay for his bail, according to posts on X, formerly Twitter.