BOXING champ Manny Pacquiao apologized on Tuesday, Feb. 16 after he said that those who are in same-sex relationships are “worse than animals.”
In a recent interview with TV5 network, Pacquiao — who is running for Senate under the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) — was asked to share his views on same-sex marriage.
“It’s just common sense. Have you seen any animal having male-to-male or female-to-female relations?” Pacquiao, who currently serves as a congressman for the Sarangani province, said in Tagalog.
He went on to say “if you have male-to-male or female-to-female [relationships], then people are worse than animals.”
Responding to the backlash, Pacquiao issued an apology on social media for his remarks, saying he was “just telling the truth of what the Bible says.” He, however, said his stance on same-sex marriage remains unchanged.
“I’m sorry for hurting people by comparing homosexuals to animals. Please forgive me for those I’ve hurt. I still stand on my belief that I’m against same-sex marriage because of what the Bible says, but I’m not condemning LGBT. I love you all with the love of the Lord. God Bless you all and I’m praying for you,” he said in a video posted to Facebook.
Pacquiao was widely criticized by members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community and various personalities.
In a series of tweets, Comedian Vice Ganda highlighted Pacquiao’s extramarital affairs and called him a “false prophet.”
“Ang pagpatol sa parehong kasarian ay masahol pa sa hayup? E ang pakikiapid habang ika’y may asawa anung kababuyan ito? Pakisagot, Manny! (To engage in sexual relations with the same gender is worse than animals? Then what do you call sleeping with other women while you’re still married? Please answer, Manny!),” Vice Ganda wrote.
Though Vice Ganda accepted Pacquiao’s apology, he said “but I will still not vote for him. Manny for boxing not for Senate.”
Singer Aiza Seguerra, who identifies as transgender, slammed Pacquiao as “an ignorant, bigoted hypocrite.”
“You might’ve done our country proud but with your statement, you just showed the whole country why we shouldn’t vote for you,” Seguerra said in an Instagram post, adding “You made me lose all respect that I had for you, Mr. Pacquiao.”
Ladlad, a Filipino organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Filipinos, advised Filipinos not to vote for Pacquiao, as his statement “betrays a shallow understanding of sexual orientation and gender identity, nay, even the very basics of science.”
“To say that animals are better because males of the species sniff and have sex only with females of the species is to be ignorant of the fact that homosexuality is found in all forms of creation—from plants to animals, and yes, even to people,” the group’s statement read.
Actress Lea Salonga wrote on Facebook, “I’m just going to leave this right here. Homosexuality is found in over 450 species, homophobia is found in only one. Which one seems unnatural now?”
Hollywood celebrity blogger and TV personality Perez Hilton also slammed the boxer for his “horrific” and “barbaric” comments.
“Look, if your religious beliefs prevent you from accepting same-sex marriage, that’s on you. That’s YOUR idea of propriety,” Hilton wrote in a blog post. “But there’s absolutely no call to demonize and denigrate gay people by comparing them to animals just because their love is something YOU’RE unable to accept.”
Undefeated boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. — whom Pacquiao lost to last May — said “we should let people live their lives the way they want to live their lives. To each his own,” according to TMZ Sports.
Meanwhile, Vice President and presidential aspirant Jejomar Binay defended Pacquiao, saying the public should understand where Pacquiao is coming from.
“Tanong niyo na lang kung anong explanation ni Cong. Pacquiao. Pero we have to go back who is Manny Pacquiao now. Maka-Diyos na maka-Diyos si Manny Pacquiao (Just ask for Cong. Pacquiao’s explanation. But we have to go back to who is Manny Pacquiao now. God-fearing, Manny Pacquiao is very God-fearing),” Binay said.
Despite Pacquiao’s controversial remarks and continuous absence in Congress, he remains a popular candidate for a Senate seat.
He will reportedly hit the ring for the last time on April 9 against Timothy Bradley in Las Vegas. He is expected to retire and focus on his political career.