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One out of 7 cases against Pura Luka Vega dismissed

By John Patrick Magno Ranara Published Dec 28, 2023 12:22 pm

Embattled drag artist Pura Luka Vega has been acquitted in one of the legal cases filed against them, stemming from their controversial Ama Namin performance that has since offended the Catholic community in the country.

Vega, whose legal name is Amadeus Fernando Pagente and who prefers they/them pronouns, took to X to announce that one out of the seven cases filed against them was dismissed.

"DISMISSED. Very grateful that at least one of all the cases filed against was dismissed. Laban lang," Vega captioned the post, which showed a picture of the court dismissal letter dated Nov. 13 in Tacloban City.

The lawsuits were in response to their performance of 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, and others defending it as an expression of art.

The drag artist was previously arrested by the Manila Police District as ordered by the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 36, having been charged with immoral doctrine, obscene, publications and exhibition, and indecent shows. They have since been released on bail amounting to P72,000.

Aside from the six other cases, Vega has also been declared as persona non grata to 17 municipalities, which include Manila, General Santos City, Floridablanca in Pampanga, Laguna, Nueva Ecija, Cagayan de Oro City, Bukidnon, Cebu City, and Toboso in Negros Occidental. To be declared as persona non grata means that Vega is no longer welcome within these areas.

On the eve of Christmas, the drag queen expressed their gratitude to their fans for their continued support amid all the controversies.

"Despite 17 declarations of persona non grata, seven cases filed against me, and spending three days in jail, my heart is still overwhelmed with the love and support I receive. As my way of thanks, I promise to continue what I do, to spread love and joy and tell more stories. Padayon," Vega wrote on X.

Speaking with PhilSTAR L!fe, Vega addressed the controversy surrounding her clip when it first went viral, emphasizing that they did not intend to offend people with their act.

"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," they said.

"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," they added.

Moving forward, the artist highlighted that they plan to continue telling queer stories through their performances and are open to learning how to improve their craft.