In an change of stance, presidential aspirant and Senator Manny Pacquiao on Monday said he won’t push for death penalty for now, stressing that the country's judicial system first needs to be reformed.
“About death penalty, before, I filed a bill in the Senate, but right now, I’m just holding it. I’m not pushing [it] right now because of the situation of this country,” he said in an interview with independent media VICE-Asia.
“I don’t want to, you know, innocent people be punished by death. So we want to fix first our judicial system in this country and arrange everything and make sure that the government is performing their duty,” he added.
Pacquiao has consistently advocated for the return of the capital punishment, even interpreting biblical passages that allow this.
"Tama yung sinasabi sa Bible na 'Thou shall not kill,' kung nagkasala ka sa akin pero wala akong karapatan na patayin kita, at kung nagkasala ako sayo, wala kang karapatan na patayin ako... pero may batas, may authority na pwede kitang isumbong kung ano ang magiging parusa mo sa crime na ginawa mo," Pacquiao had said last year.
He added: "The governing authority, binibigyan ng power to impose punishment to those wrongdoers. So maliwanag yan sa Bible. At hindi tayo, wala tayong karapatan para pumatay ng kapwa na nagkasala, pero there's authority, lahat tayo bound to authority. We must submit and obey the authority, which is the government established by God and instituted by God."
In the 18th Congress, Pacquiao filed Senate Bill 189 which seeks to impose death penalty and increased sanctions on heinous crimes, including manufacturing and trafficking of illegal drugs.
Against same-sex marriage
While he is open to changing perspectives on various issues, Pacquiao maintained his stand against same-sex marriage.
“Being a Christian, I’m against… that. In terms of belief, I’m against… that, but that doesn’t mean that you condemn them. For me, if you ask me, I’m against same sex marriage,” Pacquiao said.
In 2016, Pacquiao, who was then running for senator, drew flak from members and allies of the LGBTQIA+ community for using an animal analogy to express his opposition to same-sex relationships.
Pacquiao said he was misquoted and claimed that he loves the members of the LGBTQIA+, noting that he has family and staff members who are part of the community.
If elected as president, Pacquiao said he won’t block the implementation of a law on same-sex marriage, citing the need to respect the other branches of the government.
“Yes, my job is to implement the law,” Pacquiao said when asked if he will respect the law passed by another branch of the government.
Pacquiao said human rights is a “gift from God” that should be respected.
He cited Article 3 Section 1 of the Constitution, which states that: “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws.”
“It’s very clear in the Constitution, equal protection of the law, innocent until proven guilty, you cannot judge a person,” he said.
No return to boxing
Pacquiao said he will not return to boxing if he loses in his presidential bid in Eleksyon 2022.
In September, the eight-division world champion announced that he will hang his gloves for good after 26 years in the boxing ring.
“No [I will not return]. I already announced my retirement in boxing,” Pacquiao said.
“I have to leave boxing because I’m already 42 years old. So I’m so thankful to God for giving me the opportunity to become a record-holder in the boxing history.
Although he lost his last fight before his retirement against Cuban boxer Yordenis Ugas, Pacquiao said what he has accomplished was “enough.”
“What I’ve done and accomplished is enough. I’m satisfied already, [it’s] beyond my imagination [what] I have accomplished in my career,” he said.
In his entire career, Pacquiao said his favorite match was his fight against American Oscar De La Hoya.
This fight along with his match against Mexican Marco Antonio Barrera were the victories which he believes he had shown his greatest performance.
Pacquiao was the first presidential aspirant who filed a certificate of candidacy for the post on October 1.
“Even me, I am asking myself why I am in politics, why I am here and I understand that God put me here for a purpose, to discipline and clean this country from these corrupt practices of politicians,” he said.—LDF, GMA News