A bill seeking to reinstate the death penalty passed one of its’ toughest hurdles this week as the House of Representatives approved it on third and final reading. The bill will now be sent to the Senate for a similar vote, although a rejection seems unlikely given that high-profile senators are in favor of it – such as acclaimed sportsman Manny Pacquiao.
The world famous boxer is one of the most vocal supporters of the legislation, despite the fact that he considers himself a “born-again Christian”. In fact, Pacquiao’s newfound religiosity is his reason for being a staunch ally of the death penalty: he famously declared that “God allows the death penalty” during his maiden speech to the Senate. More recently, the Senator again invoked the name of Jesus Christ to argue in favor of the bill. This standpoint is at odds with various Christian groups as well as the Catholic church itself, both oppose the return of capital punishment in the country.
Yet despite a clear conflict with the faith he professes, Senator Pacquiao insists that the “death penalty is moral and lawful“. Despite clear Christian doctrines telling one to “turn the other cheek” and to “do unto others what you would have them do to you” the neophyte lawmaker continues to cite the Bible in his argument to be able to sentence suspected criminals to death. Even though there is clear evidence linking death penalty sentencing to the social class of the inmate.
Yet before Pacquiao declared he “heard the voice of God” and became religious, he was notorious for indulging in adulterous behavior, gambling and binge drinking which are all contradictory to the life of a “model Christian”. He then decided that God had forgiven him for all those sins and wiped his slate clean by declaring he was “born again”, which speaks volumes of his hypocrisy.
The Senator believes that all his past sins have been forgiven and that he now lives a new life, and yet he cannot afford the same repentance to criminals in the country. Where was the clean slate for Fernando Galera, a destitute fisherman who was wrongly sentenced to death for a rape charge that failed to be proven? Sadly, Mr. Galera is an ordinary Filipino – with no sports accolades and no billions in the bank – hence he does not get the same “forgiveness” from God that Senator Pacquiao received and is worthy of being put to death.
An elected official is supposed to serve his people and be a model citizen for the public, Pacquiao showed how a sinner like him could be forgiven and start afresh – so why should he begrudge the same opportunity to other sinners?