Still adamant and in love with his idea to push death penalty within 2018, the boxing Senator Manny Pacquiao insists that there is nothing wrong if the death is revived in our country, because even the Bible allows it. This is despite of the recent pronouncement of Pope Francis last August 2, 2018 that death penalty is ‘inadmissible’.
While many Filipinos are still in shock with the interpretation of the Bible touting Senator, and not all Born-Again Christians and other Christian denominations agree on the Filipino famous boxer’s view on death penalty, a lot of people are still wondering where the Senator is coming from.
On August 2, 2018, Pope Francis has declared the death penalty wrong in all cases, a definitive change in church teaching that is likely to challenge Catholic politicians, judges and officials who have argued that their church was not entirely opposed to capital punishment.
The Pope explained, “Before, church doctrine accepted the death penalty if it was “the only practicable way” to defend lives, an opening that some Catholics took as license to support capital punishment in many cases. But later on, Pope Francis said, “executions were unacceptable in all cases because they are “an attack” on human dignity, adding that the church would work “with determination” to abolish capital punishment worldwide.”
It is known to many people that Pacquiao loves to brandish his Bible reading and prayer/worshipping in his social media accounts. At one point, his wife Jinkee was even heckled in her Instagram when she posted but later on removed a photo of Manny Pacquiao with a caption, “Look who is reading the Bible? Senator Pacquiao”. Many netizens bashed her when they saw it because of the Bible teaching about prayer or worship must not be showed in public.
But Pacquiao insisted by saying “that the scripture allows the authority on people who commit crimes, and that authority is the government” a direct defiance on the stance made by the Pope that death penalty is ‘inadmissible’.
When asked what if he has the wrong interpretation of the scriptures. He said, “If the Bible is not enough to back up my argument, the Constitution is also there to justify the re-imposition of the death penalty in our country.” He added, “This is not about me or what I want but this is in the Bible and also in our Constitution, so there is no problem” Pacquiao told over his radio interview.
Pacquiao eyes that the revival of death penalty be approved within the year. He justified his stance on the death penalty by limiting the imposition of death penalty on drug trafficking, rape with murder, kidnap for ransom and robbery with murder.
The death penalty bills is under the Senate committee on justice and human rights headed by Sen. Richard Gordon, but the deliberations created a complication after questions over its implication on the treaty obligations of the country were raised. For his part, Senator Gordon has been consistent that he is against the revival of the death penalty.
As for Pacquiao, one more hearing would be conducted before he would sponsor the bill in plenary. He argues that the bill should be debated in plenary so that his colleagues would be enlightened about faith and about government.
For his part, Senate President Tito Sotto prefers that the deliberations would be fast tracked so that the measure could be approved by the end of the year. He also added, that it would be good to have the bill reported out in plenary so that this could be debated. “The debates in plenary could also be used as a gauge for the support of the senators to the death penalty, and if the sentiment is overwhelmingly against the death penalty, then he said this would be shelved”, Sotto said in closing.
In 2015, Pacquiao even went to visit Mary Jane Veloso in Indonesia penitentiary. He even said that he is hoping for his request be granted for Veloso to be saved from death by firing squad. With this moved he did for Veloso, a lot of people feel that it is a contradiction on his stand insisting on the reimposition of death penalty in the Philippines.