Awra Briguela (Newspapersph.com courtesy)
MANILA — The hashtag #JusticeForAwra has gained significant traction on Twitter since Thursday evening, referring to the arrest of actress-comedian Awra Briguela, also known as Mcneal Briguela, after a brawl at a bar in Makati City.
The altercation, which involved Briguela and multiple bar-goers, was caught on video and quickly went viral.
Briguela was seen being escorted by authorities to their vehicle and then taken to the police station.
The 19-year-old now faces charges of physical injuries, alarm and scandal, disobedience to authority, and direct assault in relation to the incident.
Following the highly publicized incident, various influencers and celebrity friends of Briguela expressed their support and defended the ABS-CBN talent.
YouTuber Riva Quenery immediately went to the police station upon learning about the situation. Taking to Twitter, she questioned why only Awra was arrested and handcuffed, asking about the other men involved in the fight.
Quenery further emphasized the need for a thorough investigation and criticized the police for focusing solely on Awra, while the others involved were seemingly ignored.
YouTube star and influencer Zeinab Harake expressed her support, stating that she can no longer bear the pain in her heart and called for justice for Awra.
Actor JC Alcantara wrote on Facebook about the kind of friend Awra is, someone who fearlessly defends and fights for others, even if it means facing imprisonment. Alcantara also clarified that Awra only fights when provoked.
Close friend and content creator Tita Krissy Achino urged people not to jump to conclusions without knowing the full context of the story. She expressed sadness over seeing those who stood against harassment and bullying being detained and criticized.
Drag queen and “Drag Race Philippines” runner-up Marina Summers questioned the police’s excessive use of force, highlighting that Awra was unarmed based on the videos. Summers also raised concerns about the treatment of queer individuals in Makati Poblacion.
UP Babaylan, the longest-existing LGBTQI student organization in Asia based at the University of the Philippines Diliman, condemned the police’s brutality and transphobia. They emphasized that Awra’s experience is a recurring narrative of discrimination faced by women, transgender, and gender non-conforming people. The organization criticized the police for mishandling the situation, prioritizing the arrest of Awra while allowing the harassers to go unpunished.
In summary, celebrities, influencers, and LGBTQI advocates have rallied behind Awra, demanding justice and criticizing the handling of the incident by the police.