Nazarene devotees sue drag performer | Inquirer News
Second legal action

Nazarene devotees sue drag performer

/ 05:34 AM August 18, 2023

Negros Occidental town council declares drag queen persona non grata


Devotees of the Black Nazarene of Quiapo have filed a criminal complaint against a drag queen who last month reaped an online firestorm for dressing up like the religious icon for a raucous, wildly cheered act.

The performer had since defended the act as “art.”


Eighteen officers and members of the Hijos del Nazareno, a Church-backed organization who helps organize the Nazarene’s massive annual procession in Manila, accused the performer known as Pura Luka Vega of “desecrating our religious faith and patron.”


Filed at the Manila prosecutor’s office on Thursday, the complaint cites the performer—whose real name is Amadeus Fernando Pagente—for allegedly violating Article 201 Section 2 of the Revised Penal Code (relating to indecent shows, publications or exhibitions) and Section 6 of the Cybercrime Prevention Act (use of information technology for crimes listed in the Code).

The first violation is penalized with imprisonment of six to 12 years and fines ranging from P20,000 to P200,000.

The second carries a penalty one degree higher than that for the RPC violation that applies.


Thursday’s complaint was similar to the legal action taken against Pagente last month by another religious group, the Philippines for Jesus Movement.

It included as evidence the social media links to the “outrageous performance” where, donning a Black Nazarene costume, Pagente danced and sang along to an upbeat rendition of “The Lord’s Prayer,” cheered on by a crowd.

The complainants also said Pagente had been sharing similar photos and videos online since 2021.


“In one very upsetting video, Pura Luka Vega can be seen critiquing a (communion) host, an act considered sacrilegious considering that, as Catholics, the host is highly revered,’’ the complaint read.

Art comes with duty

Pagente was also criticized for “capitalizing on his blasphemy” by printing and selling online Black Nazarene T-shirts with the words “Pura Luka Vega.”

“In as much as Pura Luka Vega enjoys the freedom of artistic expression, he has the correlative duty as a citizen to … act within the bounds of the laws.”

“[His] unabated sacrilege consisting of blasphemy and desecration acts [spread online] … and unremorseful attitude insult our faith and strongly offend our religion.”

Persona non grata

Several local governments have since declared Pagente persona non grata. These include Manila, Floridablanca town in Pampanga, Toboso town in Negros Occidental, General Santos City and Cagayan de Oro City, as well as the provinces of Laguna and Bukidnon.

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Addressing critics, an unapologetic Pagente wrote in an Aug. 10 post on X (formerly Twitter): “Drag is art. You judge me yet you don’t even know me.”


Cebu City joins in declaring Pura Luka Vega persona non grata

WATCH: Manila City Council declares Pura Luka Vega persona non grata

TAGS: Black Nazarene devotees, drag, Pura Luka Vega

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