Calls to free embattled drag artist Pura Luka Vega were made online after she was arrested in her home in Sta. Cruz in Manila on Thursday, October 4.
Operatives of the Manila Police District (MPD) conducted the arrest in connection to a criminal complaint filed by the Hijos Del Nazareno Central, a group representing devotees of the Black Nazarene in the Philippines.
The religious group accused Pura, whose real name is Amadeus Fernando Pagente, of violating Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code because of her performance of a remix of “Ama Namin” (Our Father) at a local bar.
Article 201 of the RPC considers the spread of “immoral doctrines, obscene publications and exhibitions and indecent shows” as a criminal act.
Pura is currently detained at the Sta. Cruz Police Station.
In a statement, filmmaker Rod Singh demanded for Pura’s release from police custody.
“Drag is not a crime. Free Pura Luka Vega!” Rod said.
Rod also claimed that neither Pura nor her team received a subpoena from the Manila Regional Trial Court to attend the preliminary hearing for her case.
Pura’s non-attendance to the trial supposedly led to her arrest.
“Pura Luka Vega was arrested this afternoon after failing to attend the preliminary investigations of the criminal case filed against them in Manila. The arrest warrant was issued today despite filing a motion to reopen today. They are now in police custody,” the director said.
“There was no subpoena received by PLV [Pura Luka Vega] or their team for the preliminary investigations in Manila. Meanwhile, PLV diligently attends their preliminary investigations in QC [Quezon City],” she added.
Pura is also facing another criminal complaint in Quezon City. it is filed by the Philippines for Jesus Movement, a group of Christians.
Rod directed the first season of “Drag Den Philippines,” a Filipino-made drag competition in which Pura competed.
Rallying behind Pura Luka Vega
“Drag Den” Season 1 cast members took to the X app to denounce the police for seizing Pura in her own home. They also call on the local authorities to free her.
“I’m so f**king disturbed today is supposed to be a celebration of the local drag scene but instead one of our sisters is in police custody!! FREE @puralukavega!” Naia Black, who was the country’s first Drag Supreme, posted.
“Today is supposed to be a celebration of drag and DIVERSITY. But some people want to use this opportunity to divert our attention AWAY from bigger and more pressing issues. We shouldn’t live in a world where our artistic expression and freedom are suppressed,” Shewarma, the finalist of “Drag Den,” also posted with the hashtag #FreePuraLukaVega.
“T*ng*na? Power tripping tong nga p***ng*n*ng to? Lumaban kayo ng patas mga bwakang*n*. Walang subpoena so paano aattendan mga b*ba?” Lady Gagita wrote on the X app.
“SHADY MOVE + SHADY INTENT BY SHADY PEOPLE,” Aries Night posted with the hashtags #DragIsNotACrime and #FreePuraLukaVega.
Naia and Shewarma were referring to the grand finale of “Drag Race Philippines” Season 2 wherein the next Drag Race Superstar will be crowned.
The final episode will air on Wednesday, October 4 at 7 p.m. on HBO Go Asia and WOW Presents Plus.
O-A, meanwhile, said that she and other drag queens will hold a show to earn money for Pura’s bail.
“Gagawa kami show for PLV kasi malaki-laki ang bail ni mam. Punta kayo pls for Pura. Nakakalokaaaa,” she posted.
Pura has also been declared as persona non grata in different cities and municipalities across the country after footage of her controversial drag performance made viral.