Lucena City declares Pura Luka Vega as ‘persona non grata’


Pura Luka Vega. Images: Instagram/@puralukavega, Screengrab from Instagram/@baruizzaaron, Screengrab from Instagram/@abad.jace

LUCENA CITY – Controversial drag artist Amadeus Fernando Pagente, better known as Pura Luka Vega has also been declared a “persona non grata” in this capital city of Quezon province.

Lucena City Councilor Benito Brizuela Jr., in a post on his Facebook page on Tuesday, Aug. 22, announced the declaration of Pagente as persona non grata by a resolution unanimously approved by the city legislative council.

“With the support of the Sanggunian, we have successfully passed the resolution declaring Amadeus Fernando Pagente, aka Pura Luka Vega, as persona non grata in the City of Lucena,” Brizuela said in his post.

Brizuela did not post a copy of the resolution. He also did not provide information on the essence and scope of their declaration of Pagente as persona non grata.

Pura Luka came under fire for several videos that went viral online last month for his portrayal of a jovial Christ in shining garb. The videos have since been deleted after the backlash.

In his privileged speech before his submission of the resolution, Brizuela said Pagente’s controversial performance that was recorded on film was watched by millions of Filipinos, including children who have access to social media.

He explained that their declaration of Pagente as persona non grata in the city is their way “to educate everyone that this is not okay.”

“This is disrespectful, blasphemous, and shouldn’t be done by anyone regardless of what religion they might be talking about,” he emphasized.

Persona non grata is a Latin term that means ‘an unwelcome person.’

According to the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in an opinion in 2020, a local Sanggunian may pass a resolution declaring a certain person as persona non grata.

“That is, if such declaration is your way of expressing your sentiment, this is perfectly within your authority,” the DILG said.

However, the DILG stressed that such declaration “must be done within the bounds of law.”

Simply put, the government cannot outrightly prevent someone declared persona non grata from entering their territory unless they have a legal basis.

The right to travel may only be revoked in cases of national security, public safety, or public health.

Pagente was also declared persona non grata by different local government units in the country such as Cebu City, Manila City, General Santos City, Mandaue City, Bukidnon, Dinagat Islands, Nueva Ecija, Laguna, Occidental Mindoro and Cagayan De Oro

Despite the barrage of criticisms and of persona non grata tags, Pura Luka has since maintained that they will not apologize for their actions as these were just part of their performance and an expression of art.

On Aug. 20, another video of the drag artist surfaced on X (formerly Twitter) in a persona non-grata-themed performance at an undisclosed location.

Pagente was doing a lip-sync performance to Taylor Swift’s hit song “Look What You Made Me Do” while holding a framed photo of themselves in costume as the Black Nazarene.


Pura Luka Vega declared persona non grata in Bohol

Pura Luka Vega repeats drag Nazareno act amid lawsuit, ‘persona non grata’ tag

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