Zubiri drops a bombshell: Pura Luka Veda faces a criminal case following a shocking ‘Ama-Namin-Remix’ performance
Senator Miguel Zubiri recently warned singer Pura Luka Vea about her controversial performance during a cultural festival of the “Ama Namin remix”. The performance which contained explicit lyrics and innuendos has sparked anger among religious and conservative organizations. Zubiri expressed concern about Vega, a devout Catholic. He cited the Revised Penal Code and specifically its provision on ‘violating the Revised Penal Code. “offending religious feelings.” He emphasized that the remix did not only insult the original prayer of the Filipinos but also the millions who revere it.
Zubiri’s warning is a reminder of the fact that freedom of speech cannot be an unqualified right, particularly when it violates deeply held beliefs. Artists and performers have a right to express themselves in different ways and styles, but they also need to be sensitive and responsible. Vega’s performances, however, did not only cross the line of decency; they also could have been in violation of the law. While the controversy over the ‘Ama Namin’ remix continues to divide the public, it remains unclear if legal action will be brought against Vega.
Pura Luka Vea, a Filipino drag queen, may be charged with criminal offenses for performing an upbeat remixed version “Ama Namin” Juan Miguel Zubiri, Senate President, said on Thursday that the Lord’s Prayer is also called “the Lord’s Prayer”.
Zubiri released a statement on “condemn in the strongest possible terms the extremely blasphemous and offensive video that has gone viral showing people in a club making a mockery of the Christian faith and disrespecting The Lord’s prayer.”
“This is the height of the misuse and abuse of our freedom of expression that borders on criminal activity. It offends the sensibilities of our Christian brothers and sisters, deeply demeans the faith of millions of Filipinos, and dangerously scales the boundaries of protected speech and expression,” He said.
Zubiri stated that a criminal charge could be brought under Article 201 RPC for such a performance and urged authorities to investigate the matter.
Under Article 201(b) of the RPC, those who offend any race or religion in theaters, fairs, cinematographs or any other place, exhibit, indecent or immoral plays, scenes, acts or shows, whether live or in film, may face a penalty of prision mayor or a fine ranging from P6,000 to P12,000 or both.
“We are still tracing the venue. We are also studying the possible violations of law that [were] committed here,” Zubiri said.
Zubiri believes that the act should be condemned not only by Christians, but also by people of other religions who practice their faith and shouldn’t be mocked just for personal gain or a few laughs.
Pura Luka Vea has not responded to GMA News Online’s request for comment via her Twitter account.
In a Tweet, Senator JVEjercito described a Filipino drag queen video as “blasphemy.”
“This disrespects my faith. This went overboard,” He said.
Sherwin Gatchalian, Senator, responded to a performance report of Pura Vega. “This is exactly what will destroy our society.”
While the incident was unfortunate, Senator Risa Honortiveros, an ally to the LGBTQIA+ Community, stated that it is not the fault of the LGBTQIA+ Community. “regrettable,” The right to protection and equality of queer people should not be denied.
“As a woman of faith, I admit I personally find this regrettable. Alam ko madami ding miyembro ng LGBTQIA+ community, persons of faith among them, find this regrettable,” Hontiveros said.
“However, I also caution against the use of this incident to deny rights and protections to a community that has long been marginalized and excluded,” She added.
Hontiveros, after the incident, wished self-reflection and compassion for both the LGBTQIA+ as well as religious community.
“Our platforms should build bridges. The struggle for SOGIE Equality continues,” She finished.
Drag as an artform
Jayeel Cornelio – a sociologist at Ateneo De Manila University and an associate Dean for Research and Creative Work – says it is all about interpreting the performance and drawing our own conclusions.
“What’s blasphemous to one is revolutionary to another. That’s how prophets are prophetic. And that’s how religious movements are moving,” Cornelio wrote.
“So be cautious when you call something blasphemous. For all you know, it might be a sign that something beautiful is revealing itself,” He added.
What is blasphemous or offensive to one person can be revolutionary to someone else. This is how prophets can be prophetic. This is how religious movements move. Be careful when calling something blasphemous. It could be an indication that something beautiful is about to reveal itself. ????
— Jayeel Cornelio (@jayeel_cornelio) July 11, 2023
Michael Pastor, a gender specialist and lecturer who has degrees in Gender Studies from Cambridge University and Art History and Anthropology from the University of the Philippines Diliman believes that Pura’s performance is not the only example of a performing artist using religion.
“Hindi na bago ang ganito,” Michael wrote.
“Do the people who claim hate over what Pura Luka Vega [performed] expressed the same rage over what Paolo [Ballesteros] did in the movie ‘Born Beautiful?'” He said.
“So, where do I stand, at natatanong ako: isa lang. I’ll defend the freedom of expression, [especially] in artistic practice,” He added.
Art vs. Religion + Gender.
Views are coming from my studies in art history, anthropology & gender studies and almost decade of experience of teaching art at the university level.
Should freedom of speech not offend religious beliefs? https://t.co/ihJtrvOq0f
— Michael Pastor (@profmykie) July 11, 2023
Meanwhile, “Drag Den Philippines” Rod Singh, creator and director, said “drag is and has always been art.”
“I’ve talked [to] Luka [about] her performances many times, including the times I told her [to] do a [different] piece [because] I’m concerned [about] the threats she receives for doing her drag. And I know that mockery is never her intent,” She added.
“It MAY BE considered an art”
Drag has always been an art form.
Luka and I have talked about her performance many times. I even asked her to do a different piece because of the threats that she gets for her drag. I’m sure that she never intended to mock. https://t.co/OQK2wfXPOR
— rod singh (@iamrodafrog) July 11, 2023
Aries Night of “Drag Den Philippines” Pura’s daughter also added her two cents “Ama Namin” Pura, who was present at the performance, spoke to her about religion and drag.
“Ang sabi ko no’n, as long as your [intention] is to disturb and not to offend, laban lang,” She wrote.
“The intent to disturb is to create discourse on topics that we need to talk about, but most are afraid to go there, while walang motivation ang intent to offend,” She added. “Knowing Luka and how smart she is, given the people’s mixed reaction, effective ang artistry niya.”
As alt drag artists, naalala ko usapan namin ni @ama_survivah During a DD taping, a restriction was placed on the use of religion in drag. As long as you are not trying to offend anyone, but rather disturb them, that’s all that matters. Intent and offense are two separate things.
— Aries Night #AriesRising (@AriesNight_) July 11, 2023
Luka explained on her Twitter space that she would not apologize for the performance she gave, as it was hers. “way of actually praising God.”
“My intention was never really to mock per se. In my mind, queerness has always been there naman I feel like it’s my way of actually praising God,” Luka said.
“I was very careful when I did that because I don’t want it to come across as something that’s very offensive but then again, it’s still taken as something that’s very offensive,” She added.
Luka, a Roman Catholic who claimed to be, said that she performed the performance “intentionally to challenge our notions on how we worship or how we sing our prayers.”
“The only difference is it was a remix but I’m very happy when I did that because it also says so much of how people actually knew the lyrics to the song and understood what the song was trying to tell,” She said
“I will not apologize. I’m sorry. It’s something that I truly, firmly believe in. I don’t think that my artistry needs to have an explanation just to cater to whatever request people may have but I do listen. Don’t get me wrong, I do listen,” She added.
Luka was “surprised” that her “Ama NaminThe performance was “blown out of proportion” Consider that she is known to the drag community as a person who dresses like Jesus.
“People knew already that I’ve been doing Jesus as a drag persona for a really long time so really I don’t understand why ganito siya na na-blow out of proportion,” She said
“People are free to consume whatever they want to consume. It’s also my way of taking up space…my experience is kind of me trying to reclaim [myself] as a Christian or as a Catholic what I think can be considered as an acceptable form of worship,” She added. —KBK/LA, GMA Integrated News