One of the most polarizing issues of Philippine politics and of the nation is whether or not the former-President and dictator Ferdinand Marcos should be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. One politician who has decided to air his thoughts on this long-time dispute is the recently elected Senator Manny Pacquiao.
Neophyte Senator Emmanuel Pacquiao is a known ally, supporter, and party mate of President Rodrigo Duterte. Pacquiao has backed up what the Duterte administration has done thus far. On August 15 (Monday), Pacquiao has expressed his support for the controversial decision of Duterte to finally bury the preserved remains of the former President at the Libingan ng mga Bayani despite the public’s opposition.
Pacquiao, who has also associated himself with conservative religious politics and who refers to the Bible on almost every political move and statement he has made, explained his thoughts on the matter.
“Marunong tayo kahit papano gaano man kasama ang tao magkaron tayo ng ano… ang pinaka-importante magkaroon tayo ng forgiveness. Sabi nga ng Bible, huwag tayong magalit o anuman sa nagawa niya, kailangan may forgiveness tayo (We should know that no matter how evil someone could be, that we should have… the most important is we should have forgiveness. According to the Bible, let’s not be angry with whatever he has done, we need to have forgiveness),” the Senator said.
Pacquiao continued to stress his point by expressing that the country can not “move on” without forgiveness and went on to cite the Bible.
“Kung wala tayo pagpapatawad sa puso natin, hindi tayo maka-move on. Kailangan natin ng forgiveness para tayo may kaligtasan. So okay lang i-forgive natin iyan, i-count din natin ang nagawa niya. Ang pinaka-importante, he was elected as president. (If there is no forgiveness in our hearts, we cannot move on. We need forgiveness for our salvation. So it is okay to forgive him, let’s count what he did. What is of utmost importance is he was elected as president).”
While Pacquiao peddles the forgiveness as mandated in the Bible for Marcos, he has a different take when it comes to the restoration of the death penalty for capital offenses. Pacquiao also cited verses from the Bible which approved of such an “unforgiving” punishment.
In Pacquiao’s first press conference as Upper House legislator back in May 19, 2016, he said that he is in favor of the death penalty and that it is backed up by the Bible.
“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 he is also a God of justice.”
“Can we still count on our fingers families we know who were destroyed by illegal drugs? Even innocent civilians who denounce drugs can be unwilling victims once an addict goes out to the street and wreaks havoc.”
After the press conference, Pacquiao then faced reporters and repeated his sentiments.
“Sa Romans 13, basahin natin ‘yang one to seven. Malalaman natin ‘yan…Hindi naman ang presidente ang maghahatol niyan, kun’di ang government… Sa mata ng Panginoon, hindi bawal ‘yan (In Roman 13, let’s read from one to seven. We will know it from there… It is not the President who will pass judgment, but the government… In the eyes if the Lord, that is not prohibited).”
The netizens were quick to point out the contradictions in Pacquiao’s pro-Death Penalty sentiments and in his forgiveness of the Martial Law atrocities committed during the Marcos dictatorship.