Friends of TV personality Awra Briguela stood by her after she was arrested in Makati City.
Awra, along with some of her friends, figured in a brawl with other individuals outside a bar in Poblacion, Makati City on Thursday, June 29. She was the only one arrested by the local police.
Footage of the incident quickly circulated on social media.
In an interview by News5, Yna Magenda, who is Awra’s friend, narrated that the Kapamilya star was only defending another friend who was purportedly sexually harassed at that time.
“For the record, one of Awra’s friends was groped by an unknown male on multiple occasions. Awra confronted him outside, and the argument quickly escalated into a physical altercation,” Yna said.
“The footage also shows that the man threw the first punch although Awra was the one taken into custody,” she added.
A man who was involved in the commotion, however, alleged that a member of Awra’s group started the assault, according to the report.
Police reports said that Awra is facing charges of physical injury and direct assault.
She is still in police custody as of writing.
Following this news, Awra’s fans and friends defended her and questioned how the content creator was handled by the cops.
The hashtag #JusticeforAwra and the phrase “Makati PNP” landed on the trending topics of Twitter Philippines on Friday.
Support for Awra
In a social media post on June 29, Riva Quenery shared that she visited Awra, who is also her close friend, inside the Makati City police station.
Riva then conveyed the latter’s side of how the brawl started. Awra told her that she jumped to defend her friend who was harassed.
“Kinwento niya sakin ang sinapit niya matapos niyang ipagtanggol ang kaibigan nya laban sa grupo ng mga lalaking hinipuan ang kanyang kaibigan. Nauwi sa mainit na pagtatalo yung mga sumunod na nangyari na kung saan sinuntok sya ng nasabing lalaki. Nasundan na ng away sa magkabilang grupo hanggang sa dumating na yung mga pulis,” she said.
Riva thus expressed her support for Awra and called for justice for her friend.
“Saludo ako kay Awra at kilala ko sya bilang kaibigan na kaya ka nyang ipaglaban. Pero bakit kung sino pa ang ang nasa katwiran, sya pa ang ikukulong?“ she said.
Zeinab Harake, Sassa Gurl, Tita Krissy Achino, and other personalities later joined in solidarity for this call via social media posts.
Plsss this is an attack to the community! Ilabas niyo ang beshie ko jan
— Sassa Gurl #StreamMariaHiwaga (@Itssassagurl) June 29, 2023
Never make assumptions without knowing the entire context of the story. It is sad to see that those who stood up against harassment and bullying are now in jail and facing criticism. The irony is that the ones who defended themselves ended up being detained.
— Tita Krissy Achino (@KrissyAchino) June 29, 2023
Hindi na kinakaya ng sikmura ko ang sakit sakit sa puso #JusticeForAwra 😭💔 *Laban nakcha pinaka the best ka sa lahat walang makakabago ng tingin namin sayo lalong lalo na ako madami kaming andito para sayo.
— Zebby (@ZeinabHarake11) June 29, 2023
Reactions of LGBTQIA advocates
Advocates of the LGBTQIA community, meanwhile, slammed the Makati City police officers for perceived discrimination and prejudice against Awra. They also called the move “manhandling.”
“When trans women protect their cis women sisters from harassers (who are men), trans women end up getting all the punches and blows — leaving those abusive men free from harm, attempting to reverse the narrative to make them the victims,” Mela Habijan tweeted.
“WE DEMAND JUSTICE FOR AWRA! We appeal to Makati PNP, SERVE REAL JUSTICE!” she added.
People, usually men, accuse trans women of being threats to cis women.
Yet, when trans women protect their cis women sisters from harassers (who are men), trans women end up getting all the punches and blows — leaving those abusive men free from harm…
— Miss Mela Habijan (@missmelahabijan) June 30, 2023
Marina Summers, “Drag Race Philippines” Season 1 runner-up, tagged the official account of Makati City Mayor Abby Binay in her criticism against the local authorities.
“The excessive use of force was questionable. Based on the videos, Awra was unarmed. The heavy manhandling was unnecessary. Makati Poblacion is such a cruel place for queer people,” Marina said.
“@Mayora_Abby what’s happening? Something frightening always comes up during Pride Month in this city,” she added.
The excessive use of force was questionable. Based on the videos, Awra was unarmed. The heavy manhandling was unnecessary. Makati Poblacion is such a cruel place for queer people. @Mayora_Abby what’s happening? Something frightening always comes up during Pride Month in this city
— Marina Summers (@marinaxsummers) June 29, 2023
As of writing, neither the mayor nor the Makati City police has issued a response to these reactions on social media.