Boxer and Senator Manny Pacquiao is a known devout Catholic, but his latest statement supporting death penalty has gotten the nerves of high profile catholic leaders and officials of the Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
Considered himself a solid Christian, Pacquiao always believe in the bible, and always quoting biblical verses whenever he delivers a speech.
In his first privilege speech on the Senate floor, Pacquiao said that there is a need to revive the death penalty for convicted drug traffickers, saying that it is the “most heinous” of crimes.
“The death penalty is lawful, moral and sanctioned governmental action. Having read the Bible on a regular basis, I am convinced that God is not just a God of mercy, but also a God of justice,” said the boxer-turned-legislator and Christian preacher.
Pacquiao cited Bible verses in his speech which show how God allows capital punishment to punish crime.
But Pacquiao’s statement did not go unnoticed.
In an apparent jab against Senator Manny Pacquiao, a bishop said that not everything stated in the Bible is still being practiced by the Catholic faithful after the lawmaker justified his stance supporting the revival of the death penalty for heinous crimes by invoking Bible verses.
In an interview with Radyo Veritas, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said that some acts like offering sheep or cows to God, as well as adhering to the principle of “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,” have long been abandoned by the Church.
“Hindi lahat ng nakalagay na Bible verse na nakalagay sa Bible ay ginagawa natin. Hindi na tayo nag-aalay ng mga baka, ng mga tupa na nakalagay sa Bible kasi ang ating pamantayan ngayon ay pag-aalay na ni Hesus. Ganun din ang katuruan ni Hesus. Yung sinasabi sa Bible na eye for eye, tooth for tooth…sinabi ni Hesus na hindi na [dapat gawin] yan,” Pabillo said on Tuesday.
Pabillo said that those pushing for the death penalty are disobeying the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church.
He also stressed that reviving the death penalty would be “anachronistic” to the call of other nations to stop its implementation.
“Alam niyo po itong nagbubuhay ng death penalty wala na sa panahon, anachronistic na kasi sa buong mundo ngayon ang pagsisigaw ay tanggalin ang death penalty. Kung babalik tayo doon ay parang babalik tayo sa panahon na naiwan na natin kasi advance na tayo diyan. Alam niyo po ang Bibliya ay binabasa natin bilang mga Kristiyano hindi bilang mga Hudyo kaya ang sentro ng Bibliya para sa ating mga Kristiyano ay si Hesukristo,” the Church official said.
(You know the revival of death penalty is outdated, anachronistic to the call of the world to abolish death penalty. If we revert to it, it would seem that we would go back to the time we have moved past because we have advanced from it. You know we are reading the Bible as Christians not as Jews so the center of the Bible for us Christians is Jesus Christ.)
The death penalty in the country was abolished in 2006 under the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo through Republic Act No. 9346, also known as An Act Prohibiting the Imposition of the Death Penalty in the Philippines.
President Rodrigo Duterte also backs the revival of the death penalty, emphasizing that it would be retribution for those who commit rape and kill people.
Will Pacquiao build his own religion?
Many Pacquiao has all the resources to do whatever he wants when he feels that his opinion does not matter anymore.
According to people close to him, this is not the first time that Manny Pacquiao and the Catholic Church disagreed on certain things, especially on reading bible verses, and helping people through his foundation.
“Alam naman natin si Manny kung ano papasok sa kukute nya, gagawin nya,” Yong tungkol sa religion kung magtatayo sya ng sarili niya? Well di natin masabi, pero possible,” a Mayor from Negros who is close to him said.
Pacquiao has his own political party, partially owned a basketball team in PBA, and owner of various businesses and non-profit organizations. /Carol Braganza/