MANILA - Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is standing by his decision to accept the apology of comedian Ramon Bautista, after the latter was declared persona non grata by the city council.
In his official Facebook account, Duterte addressed his own son, Vice-Mayor Paolo Duterte, and the city council and explained that the local government resolution is not absolute.
"Let me remind the honorable vice-mayor and the majority that their decision to declare Ramon Bautista persona non grata is a city council resolution and not an ordinance," he wrote.
"It does not bind me and everyone else who disagree with it. The essence of democracy is the right to dissent. As Voltaire would put it, 'I may disagree by what you say, but I will defend your right to say it," he added.
Bautista was declared persona non grata following his controversial "hipon" joke that he made during city's Kadayawan Festival.
"Hipon" is local slang term for a woman who has an ugly face but a sexy body.
The comedian has since apologized and said that he will abide and respect the decision.
"When a man humbles himself and apologizes for uttering a slur, that itself erases the wrong...to nurture residual hate against the guy is a human frailty," Duterte wrote in a separate post.
On Thursday, Bautista posted on his Instagram account a picture of a note, which said: "To Ramon B. Mabuhay ka!"
It was accompanied by another photo of the older Duterte signing the piece of paper with the caption: "Ramon, si Rodrigo ito..." ang bungad nya. Tapos nag usap kami... and there was peace."