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Negros Occidental town becomes third municipality to declare Pura Luka Vega as persona non grata

By John Patrick Magno Ranara Published Aug 03, 2023 5:47 pm

Drag queen artist Pura Luka Vega is unwelcome from stepping into yet another municipality following her controversial performance that offended Filipino Christians.

The municipal council of Toboso in Negros Occidental passed a resolution declaring Vega, whose real name is Amadeus Fernando Pagente, as persona non grata in their area. This is in response to when she sang an Ama Namin remix to a cheering crowd at a bar in an outfit portraying Jesus Christ.

The video quickly went viral, with some people condemning Vega's performance as blasphemous, while others defended it as an expression of art.

To be declared as persona non grata means that Vega is no longer welcome within Toboso. Councilor Richard Jaojoco, who authored the resolution, pointed out that the drag artist's actions were offensive and disrespectful towards God.

This is not the first municipality to take that action towards Vega.

In late July, the city council in General Santos City also declared her as persona non grata, with the local government explaining that they decided on this as Vega's performance had offended the Christian community. The Catholic Church in the city supported the council's decision.

The municipality of Floridablanca also followed suit. According to documents shared by vice mayor Michael Galang, council members stressed that Vega's "blasphemous acts" have caused "significant distress, offense, and anguish" among Christian residents.

"These acts which are making a mockery of religious ceremonies and religious figures by presenting satirical, obscene and perverted representations is condemnable," the document read.

Vega's actions have also led her to face legal issues after church leaders of the Philippines for Jesus Movement recently filed a complaint against the drag queen, alleging that she must be penalized for violating Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code, which imposes penalties upon "those who, in theaters, fairs cinematographs or any other place, shall exhibit indecent or immoral plays, scenes, acts or shows," including the ones that "offend any race or religion."

While Vega has yet to comment on any of these decisions, the drag artist has been firm in defending her actions. 

"I understand the sentiments, and I think they’re valid but as an artist, the perception of my art is beyond my control. However, my intent is clear and does not mean to offend," she told PhilSTAR L!fe.

"It’s my way of expressing my faith, odd as it may seem. I deliberately chose Ama Namin for the message—a message of hope for the oppressed, particularly the LGBTQIA+ community," she added.