SENATORIAL candidates of independent presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe’s Partido Galing at Puso and of the Liberal Party (LP) on Tuesday separately denounced Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao for comparing members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community to animals.
Sen. Vicente Sotto 3rd said he was saddened by the pronouncement of Pacquiao, saying the boxer-turned-politician is wrong.
“He is misguided and I can’t agree at all [with what he said],” Sotto replied when asked by reporters during a news conference at Hotel Del Rio in Iloilo City.
Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares likened Pacquiao’s statement to an illegal blow in boxing that further worsened discrimination against the LGBT.
“That statement was below the belt. I have been pushing for the anti-discriminatory bill in Congress. He [Paquiao] should stop adding to the discrimination problem,” he said.
Lawyer Lorna Kapunan said the Sarangani lawmaker should just stay in boxing where he can do better.
Oversees Filipino worker (OFW) advocate Susan Ople said Pacquiao, being a lawmaker, should respect all human beings.
“He needs enlightenment and guidance,” Ople added.
Senatorial bets of the LP also expressed dismay with Pacquiao’s statements against the LBGT community.
Campaigning in Silay City, Negros Occidental, also on Tuesday, Mark Lapid, Leila de Lima, Risa Hontiveros and Ina Ambolodto warned the worlds’ only eight-time champion in eight different weight classes after Pacquiao was quoted as saying in an interview that those who engage in same-sex relationships are worse than animals.
“This is not about religion. This is about human rights. When he switched religion, we respected his decisions. In the same vein, he should also respect the rights of other people,” Lapid, who is in favor of same-sex marriage, told reporters after an LP rally here.
He was referring to Pacquiao, who used to be a staunch Catholic, turning into a born-again Christian who engages in Bible studies and keeps pastors as part of his entourage in boxing bouts.
“This is not about imposing it on [a certain]religion. What we want is for the state to honor their rights. We all have equal rights, and we can’t deny that the LGBT community has played a significant role in our economy,” Lapid pointed out.
De Lima, a former Justice secretary, and Hontiveros said they are not in favor of same-sex marriage but want the rights of same-sex couples protected under the law.
“I am not necessarily for same-sex marriage but we have to respect civil union [and the consequences of it for the same-sex couples. What I am for is for the protection of same-sex couples on the consequences of living together, i.e. beneficiaries, succession in case of sickness/death and property and contractual rights,” according to de Lima.
“Love is love. And love is not rude. Love is beautiful and good. But our LGBT community is more concerned with an anti-discrimination bill right now,” Hontiveros said.
Ambolodto, a Muslim, also frowned at the possibility of same-sex couples getting married but clarified that their right to have a choice should be respected.
“I respect same-sex relationships and their civil rights to obligations and properties. It’s freedom of choice. In Islam, bawal po sa amin yan [same-sex relationships is forbidden in Islam]. But I respect their rights,” Ambolodto said.