Drag queen arrested for performing as Jesus speaks out

A drag queen in the Philippines has spoken out following their arrest for performing as Jesus.

Vega, real name Amadeus Fernando Pagente, was first arrested in October after performing “Ama Namin”, a rock version of The Lord’s Prayer, while dressed as Christ.

They were released after three days, when fellow drag artists raised enough money to secure bail.

The performer was charged under article 201 of the South East Asian country’s criminal code, which prohibits “indecent or immoral plays, scenes, acts or shows” that “offend any race or religion”.

On 1 March, Pura Luka Vega took to Twitter/X to announce that they had been released on bail after being arrested again over the performance the day before.

“I was released on bail today. I got to learn about my cellmates, their stories and much more,” Vega wrote. “Because of what is happening and through the support and explanations of my lawyers, I now feel comfortable using legal jargon in every-day life.”

Vega added that they were grateful to who those who “have supported and defended me”, along with the hashtag #DragisArt and #DragIsNotACrime.

The Philippines is a staunchly religious country, with more than 86 per cent of the population identifying as Roman Catholic, according to not-for-profit group the Asia Society.

Vega’s political performances have resulted in them being declared an “unwelcome person” by several cities in the Philippines.

Their previous legal woes began when an online video revealed the rock performance, prompting a religious group to complain to prosecutors in the capital, Manila.