Some Filipino personalities that were declared persona non grata

Before Pura Luka Vega, these personalities were also tagged persona non grata

/ 02:01 PM October 10, 2023

Candy Pangilinan, Ramon Bautista, and Pura Luka Vega

Like drag artist Pura Luka Vega, comedians Candy Pangilinan and Ramon Bautista, years prior, were declared persona non grata. Images: Instagram/@candypangilinan, @ramonbautista, and @puralukavega

The term “persona non grata” has recently become a buzzword anew when drag artist Pura Luka Vega was declared as such after their performance of “Ama Namin.” But years prior to the drag artist’s case, several Filipino personalities, including celebrities, had also been dealt the persona non grata tag for different reasons.

Pura Luka Vega

Pura Luka Vega. Image from Instagram / Manila Police PIO (mugshot)

Pura Luka Vega. Image from Instagram / Manila Police PIO (mugshot)

Pura Luka Vega’s act, which involved a remix version of “Ama Namin,” earned the ire of various local government units (LGUs), which have passed resolutions to formally express their disapproval of Pura Luka Vega’s performance, on which basis they were declared an “unwelcome person” in these respective territories.


The drag performer, whose real name is Amadeus Fernando Pagente, has received persona non grata declarations from several LGUs including Palawan, Laguna, Nueva Ecija, and the City of Manila, to name a few.


The “Drag Den Philippines” alum was arrested in Manila on Oct. 4, for charges of “immoral doctrines, obscene publications and exhibitions and indecent shows.” Their arrest warrant, according to Manila Police, was in response to the complaint spearheaded by the Quiapo Church-based organization Hijos del Nazareno.

After three days in police custody, they were eventually released from prison, after their motion for bail was granted on Oct. 6. The bail amount was set at P72,000. They had to extend their stay until the next day and wait for the court to open to submit the requirements for their release.

Candy Pangilinan

Candy Pangilinan

Candy Pangilinan. Image: Instagram/@gmamarspamore

You’ve witnessed several comedians come under fire for jokes that left a bitter taste in the mouth of their audiences. Such was the case in 2009 when funny actress Candy Pangilinan blurted out during an act at a mall in Baguio City a remark which was deemed offensive to the Igorot community. Reports from several years ago, recalled how Pangilinan quipped, “Tao po ako, hindi po ako Igorot.”

The celebrity mom, based on past reports, extended her apologies multiple times, and also before wrapping up her act. It was also reported that the “Partners in Crime” actress originally meant to say something different to what she delivered. It was eventually decided by the Baguio City council, during a special session, to declare Pangilinan persona non grata in the country’s summer capital.

The declaration, however, would be lifted during a hearing, wherein the author-vlogger was said to have expressed her sentiments to the council in person. Moreover, it was also mentioned in past write-ups that aside from the council dropping the unwelcome person tag, Pangilinan would no longer face any charge in relation to the previous offense she committed.

Ramon Bautista

Ramon Bautista

Ramon Bautista. Image: Instagram/@ramonbautista

In 2014, another comedian, Ramon Bautista also got on the bad side of city officials, but this time, from the city of Davao. Its city council and then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, declared the TV host persona non grata in their jurisdiction. The decision came after Bautista used the term hipon or shrimp to describe the locals.


He was reported to have said, “Ang daming hipon dito sa Davao (There are a lot of hipon here in Davao),” at an event held during the celebration of the Kadayawan Festival. He also had the audience chant “Hipon” during the party.

His statement, which jokingly implied that he found several people in the locality to have faces that do not match their physique, did not sit well also with Duterte’s children, Vice President Sara Duterte and then Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, who “reprimanded” the actor. Called out by the vice mayor who came to “check” on the event, Bautista issued his “sincerest apologies” on stage. He also apologized via Twitter (now known as X), and also expressed, following the declaration, that he “respect[s] the decision of the Davao officials, and [he] will abide by it.”

Furthermore, the resolution also slammed a photo he uploaded on Instagram of him “with three young girls” taken during the same event. He captioned his post, “Ito ang kabataan ngayon hihi. #kadayawan #PasisikatinKitaHijaFoundation.”

A week after he was reported to have been deemed an unwelcome person in Davao City, Bautista shared via Instagram how he was able to talk with then Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. The post, which showed a picture of the former president writing a note to Bautista, was captioned, “‘Ramon, si Rodrigo ito…’ ang bungad nya. Tapos nag-usap kami (‘Ramon, this is Rodrigo,’ he first told me. Then we talked)… and there was peace [emoji] #MabuhayKaRinMayor #RespectForThisCoolGuy #LoveFriendshipAndGoodwill #WorldPeace thank you @gangmanila [Gang Capati] for making it happen.”

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Leah Navarro

Leah Navarro. Image: Twitter/@leahnavarro

Image: Twitter/@leahnavarro

A one-word reply on Twitter in 2019 had singer Leah Navarro declared persona non grata in General Santos City. In response to a tweet posted by human rights lawyer Theodore Te, wherein he asked, “What’s with all the earthquakes in Mindanao?” Navarro wrote, “Retribution?”

In a report published by almost four years ago, while the resolution was “still being finalized” then, the city’s Office of the Vice Mayor confirmed that the declaration was “unanimously approved.”

Earlier, in a tweet, the “Ang Pag-Ibig Kong Ito” hitmaker touched on the issue. “I apologized, deleted my tweet, but they just can’t find it in their hearts to forgive my one word reply in the form of a question. Now they’ve twisted it into a declaration. Why not help Mindanao instead? Stop wasting time on me, I’m not a victim,” she shared.

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Prior to Navarro’s post, Atty. Te, who said that he is “proud” to hail from Mindanao, also addressed the matter via Twitter. “I have deleted a tweet and my reply-explanation to that tweet which, though unintended, have caused offense, pain, and hurt to family and friends in Mindanao… [T]hough my tweet was rhetorical, non-political, and personal, it invited hurtful replies from others whose tweets I cannot and do not control. I apologize for giving them that platform,” he wrote.

According to an opinion issued by the the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) in 2020, which included the Supreme Court’s differentiation between a resolution and an ordinance, “a resolution declaring a certain person as persona non grata is a declaration of the sentiment of a lawmaking body over that person.” Moreover, it also noted that while it is allowed to file such a resolution, such an act “must be done within the bounds of law.” EDV

TAGS: Candy Pangilinan, Leah Navarro, persona non grata, Pura Luka Vega, Ramon Bautista

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