Nineteen-year-old Kapamilya celebrity Awra Briguela was arrested outside a pub in Makati City following a brawl with several individuals, with criminal charges of physical injuries, alarm and scandal, disobedience to authority, and direct assault eventually filed, and forwarded to the city’s prosecutor’s office for inquest proceedings.
Briguela, whose assigned name at birth is McNeal Briguela, uses the pronoun she and her.
Based on Southern Police District (SPD) report, Briguela allegedly caused trouble at the Bolt Hole Bar in Poblacion, Makati, where she was apprehended by police at about 5:00 AM of Thursday.
GRABE MAKATI PNP????????? pic.twitter.com/ow9bRhU6fI
— ALTStarMagic 💫 (@AltStarMagic) June 29, 2023
Initially, the prevailing narrative that made the rounds online was Briguela’s alleged starting of a fight with the group of the now-complainant Mark Christian Ravana. Other names floating online are those of Jed Mengote, who was with Ravana, as well as Angelo Nino Gulmatico, one of the bouncers of the bar.
Specifically, the police said Briguela and her friends supposedly approached Ravana, demanding for him to remove his shirt. When the man declined, Briguela allegedly followed him and tore his shirt. This allegedly started the argument that led to the fight.
But content creator Zayla Nakajima, who was with Briguela that time, disputed that earlier narrative. She claimed in a now-deleted Facebook post that Ravana allegedly tried to sexually harass her, and that Briguela only defended her and their group.
“After this harassment against me and my friend Mary Joy, my dear friend Awra confronted the guy very calmly after the party to defend me and our friend,” Nakajima stated.
Statement of Awra’s friend in regards with the rambulan incident.
“This is to end all made-up stories circulating online about the Bolthole insident involving my dearest sister, Awra. Last night, Awra and the rest of our friends decided to club-hop in Poblacion, then we ended up… pic.twitter.com/8U1tWoVQRi
— Kapamilya Online World (@kowalerts) June 29, 2023
Interestingly, Makati City only recently hosted this year’s annual Pride hosted by Metro Manila Pride, which took over the annual organizing of Pride in Metro Manila from Task Force Pride in 2015.
But Makati repeatedly made the news in the past for anti-LGBTQIA occurences in the city.
In 2020, Makati police angered particularly members of the LGBTQIA community when it launched its ‘Oplan X-men’ that allowed police officials to “invite” transgender women seen in the streets of Makati to the police station. This was, supposedly, to “rescue ‘ladyboys’ from exploitation and human trafficking”.
The city also seems unable to do anything to curb anti-transgender occurrences there, with numerous facilities reported to have barred transgender women from entering their premises and yet face no sanctions.
As the organization that partnered with Makati City, Metro Manila Pride belatedly released a statement claiming that it backs Briguela, and that it will do everything in its power to help deal with this situation.
Other organizations also expressed dissatisfaction with how things are turning out.
Gabriela Partylist, for instance, tweeted that “Makati PNP celebrated Pride Month by arresting a transwoman for defending her friends against sexual harassment. This is why we are pushing for SOGIESC Bill — because persons of authority are the main perpetrators of violence against the LGBTQ+ community.”
Makati PNP celebrated Pride Month by arresting a transwoman for defending her friends against sexual harassment.
— Gabriela Partylist (@GabrielaWomenPL) June 30, 2023