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Knock Pacquiao out

Religion ends where public service begins.  Boxer and top absentee member of the House of Representatives Manny Pacquiao has been in the news for days now stemming from his slur against LGBT (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgendered people) as being “worse than animals.”  

The boxing icon has been severely criticized not only by the LGBT community but also by human rights advocates, gay and lesbian celebrities, and even by some big names in sports.  His multi-million dollar contract as endorser of a popular sports brand has been terminated following an online campaign asking Nike to drop Pacquiao. The company said that it is against any form of discrimination and Pacman’s words were “abhorrent.” 

True to form, despite the obviously half-hearted apology, Pacquiao continues to stick by his anti-LGBT statements, even using bible verses to prove that he is right and speaks only of the “truth.” 

I do not expect Pacman to change his position on the matter, and that is all right with me IF such position is not imposed on others, and IF he can respect others with differing views as his equal. This is a democracy, after all.  As such, differences in perspectives will naturally surface and this is healthy for thorough analysis of things. The important thing is the manner by which we deal with differences. We should be able to peacefully co-exist despite these. Live and let live, as they say. 

However, arrogantly saying that gays and lesbians are worse than animals is a low blow. Even in boxing, there are prohibited blows. This time, Pacquiao crossed the line. His words speak volumes about his intolerance of people whose beliefs are different from him. There is a word for this—BIGOTRY.  The Pacman just revealed what a bigot he is. 

Regarding the LGBT as worse than animals is discrimination of the highest order. Rephrasing his statement, he was actually saying that those in the LGBT community are NOT human beings, not even animals (because they are “worse than animals”). I wonder, what kind of creatures are LGBTs in Pacquiao’s world? 

Last I heard, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, trans, and all other shades or manifestations of sexual identities and orientations, including heterosexuality are characteristics of human beings. No one is higher or lower, and all persons possess the same inherent, inalienable, indivisible, and universal human rights. 

Human rights.  Does Pacquiao know about and understand human rights? Does he subscribe to the idea that everyone, regardless of sex, sexuality, etc. has the same rights as his? He has been a lawmaker for many years and lawmaking is very significantly about respecting and promoting the rights and welfare of our citizens. Has he learned? Or is the concept of rights alien to this world class, icon of a boxer?

If he has learned, then he should be promoting, not degrading and violating the human rights of the LGBT community.

But then again, we must remember that he holds the record of being among the top absentee members of the HOR having attended only FOUR sessions in the entirety of last year.  He might have had very little opportunity to learn about human rights. We also must be reminded that amidst the clamor for the passage of the right-based reproductive health bill then, he voted NO because of religious reasons. Pacquiao is not only anti-LGBT, he is also anti-women’s human rights.

And there is more. This legislator, when asked about his absences in the House, even ridiculed the work of lawmakers, saying that bills do not address people’s needs.  For the life of me, why did he run for the position? Someone should remind him that he applied for the position of a lawmaker, not some executive post that should implement programs. Clearly, Pacquiao is a misfit in the House. 

If this guy was an ordinary worker, he would have been fired a long time ago for gross negligence in the performance of his duties. Instead, people’s money was used for his salaries and entitlements. 

Pacquiao is supposed to be a public servant. Instead, he acts and speaks like a servant of his church. This is where it gets even trickier because there is a world of difference between the two. In his church among other adherents, they can impose their religious beliefs. But in public service, bigotry should not be allowed. 

The public is the entire citizenry, religious or not.  The object of public service is public welfare and here, no preference should be made in terms of religion or any other distinction. No one religion or church should be favored by the State, and there cannot be a State religion. These are embodied by the Constitutional provisions on the Separation of Church and State. Thus, while the right to practice one’s religion is respected, religious tenets should not be imposed on non-adherents because they have equal rights to practice their own, or not practice any. 

People like Pacquiao seem unable to delineate their functions as public servants from their religious functions. And this results in bigotry. Religion should end where public service begins.

The problem is, Pacquiao wants to be promoted to the Senate. Are we going to allow a non-performer who has openly despised lawmaking, someone who has no respect for the rights of others, to occupy a Senate post? Are we again going to waste people’s money on a misfit? Are we voting for a bigot in the Senate?

As the LGBT community and Nike have knocked out Pacquiao, the electorate should once and for all send him the message that he is unfit for the Senate. Knock him out again. Do not vote for Pacquiao. 

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@bethangsioco on Twitter   

Elizabeth Angsioco on Facebook

Topics: Elizabeth Angsioco , Knock Pacquiao out , Manny Pacquiao , LGBT
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