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Pura Luka Vega declared persona non grata in Cagayan de Oro, Laguna, and Nueva Ecija

By Brooke Villanueva Published Aug 15, 2023 10:43 am Updated Aug 15, 2023 4:14 pm

Pura Luka Vega has been declared persona non grata anew following her viral performance of Ama Namin.

The drag artist, whose real name is Amadeus Fernando Pagente, is no longer welcome in Cagayan de Oro, Laguna, and Nueva Ecija after singing a punk rock version of The Lord’s Prayer—the central prayer of the Catholic Church—to a cheering crowd at a bar in an outfit portraying Jesus Christ. 

The city council of Cagayan de Oro unanimously passed Resolution 2023-478 for Vega’s “serious disrespect and mockery of the Christina faith by portraying himself as the Black Nazarene dancing the remixed version of the Catholic song Ama Namin (Our Father) in a recent viral video.” 

In his special report on Monday, Aug. 14, the resolution’s principal author, Councilor Ian Mark Nacaya, noted that Vega’s performance violated Article 133 (Section 4) of the Revised Penal Code, which involves “offending religious feelings.” 

“You are violating the law. You are offending the faithful’s feelings, and for a Christian nation, you are not a person with dignity,” said Nacaya.

In a Facebook post on the same day, Laguna board member Christian Lajara announced that the province has also declared Vega as persona non grata.

“As leaders of our province, it is our duty to uphold the values of respect and dignity towards our fellow individuals. We should not tolerate any attacks or disrespect towards our cultures and beliefs,” he wrote, reminding everyone that “being a celebrity or personality should never be an excuse to offend or insult our traditions and beliefs.” 

Lajara added that this is a way of showing that the province of Laguna “stands united with other local governments in expressing our dismay and disappointment.” 

Third District Board Member Jojo Matias also said that Vega has been declared persona non grata in Nueva Ecija following the unanimous approval of a similar resolution he filed, saying that the viral performance offended the religious community.

"Walang puwang ang hindi marunong rumespeto sa damdaming relihiyoso dito sa Nueva Ecija," he wrote in a Facebook post on Aug. 12.

Vega is also unwelcome to step foot in General Santos, Manila, Bukidnon, Toboso in Negros Occidental, and Floridablanca in Pampanga. 

The drag artist has reacted to the move to declare her as persona non grata in certain cities in a post on X (formerly Twitter) on Aug. 10. “Tell me EXACTLY what I did wrong. I’m open to a dialogue and yet cities have been declaring persona non grata without even knowing me or understanding the intent of the performance,” she tweeted. 

“Drag is art. You judge me yet you don’t even know me,” she added. 

In a previous interview with PhilSTAR L!fe, Vega described her viral performance as a way of “expressing” her faith. 

"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 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," she continued.

(Editor's Note: This article has been updated to include Nueva Ecija, where Vega was declared persona non grata on Aug. 11.)