• Manny Pacquiao reveals controversial views on same-sex marriage  
  • Boxing champion has claimed animals are ‘better’ than gay people 
  • Pacquiao will face Timothy Bradley for a third time in April
  • The 37-year-old has insisted it will be the final fight of his career 

Afp Reporter

Eight-time world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao has sparked a firestorm of criticism in the Philippines after describing gay couples as ‘worse than animals’.

Nearing the end of a glorious decades-long boxing career, the 37-year-old is reinventing himself as a conservative Bible-bearing politician ahead of the country’s May elections, when he is running for a senate seat.

‘It’s common sense. Do you see animals mating with the same sex? Animals are better because they can distinguish male from female,’ Pacquiao told local broadcaster TV5 in an interview aired earlier this week. 

Manny Pacquiao has sparked a firestorm of criticism after describing gay couples as 'worse than animals'

Manny Pacquiao has sparked a firestorm of criticism after describing gay couples as ‘worse than animals’

Pacquiao currently represents his wife Jinkee's (left) impoverished home province of Sarangani

Pacquiao currently represents his wife Jinkee’s (left) impoverished home province of Sarangani

PACQUIAO’S CAREER IN POLITICS

Manny Pacquiao is a self-confessed born-again Christian who has claimed he found the ‘right way’ following a chequered past which has involved allegations of womanising and steroid use. 

He’s the first and only eight-division world champion and has 10 world titles to his name during a glittering career in boxing. 

Away from the ring in 2007, Pacquiao announced he would be running for a seat in the Philippine House of Representatives for the first time. 

He was defeated by Darlene Antonino-Custodio of the Nationalist People’s Coalition who believed the country wasn’t ‘prepared to lose him as their boxing icon.’

In May 2010, Pacquiao confirmed he would run again for the congressional seat and was elected with 66 per cent of the votes to the House of Representatives in the 15th Congress of the Philippines, representing the province of Sarangani.

In 2013, the boxing star ran unopposed for the congressional elections while his wife, Jinkee, was also elected as vice-governor of Sarangani.

In October last year, Pacquiao signed a pledge to stand for senator in the Philippines in 2016 and vowed to be ‘the fists for the poor’.

Upon announcing his plans to stand in the elections in 2016, Pacquiao said: ‘In the coming days, I will be embracing new levels of responsibility. I will be confronting tough challenges.’

‘If men mate with men and women mate with women they are worse than animals.’

The 37-year-old later took to Instagram to apologise for causing offence, but stuck to his beliefs. 

He wrote: ‘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.’

Gay marriage is outlawed in the Philippines due to strong opposition from the Catholic Church and 80 percent of the country’s 100 million people subscribe to the faith.

Gay marriages are officiated at small churches but these unions are not recognised by the church or the state.

The country’s most popular gay comedian, Vice Ganda, posted #PrayForMannyPacquiao to his 6.7million followers on Twitter as he tore at the boxer.

‘Some people think they can judge people like God just because they’ve attended a prayer meeting and read the bible,’ he said.

‘The Senate needs experts on politics and law, not blind prophets,’ Vice Ganda added.

Singer Aiza Seguerra, who recently married her actress-girlfriend, called on voters to boycott Pacquiao, who is also preparing for his last boxing fight in April, calling him an ‘ignorant, bigoted hypocrite’.

‘You might have done our country proud but with your statement, you just showed the whole country why we shouldn’t vote for you,’ Seguerra said in a post on Instagram.

Pacquiao gave the television interview as part of his campaign for one of 12 seats in the nationally-elected senate.

The most recent surveys suggest he would win.

He currently represents his wife’s impoverished home province of Sarangani in the House of Representatives and is notorious for his chronic absences, favouring boxing training over legislation.

In one of the rare times he spoke at the legislature, Pacquiao quoted heavily from the Bible as he vigorously sought to stop a proposed law, since passed, granting free condoms to the poor.

The 37-year-old is reinventing himself as a conservative Bible-bearing politician

The 37-year-old is reinventing himself as a conservative Bible-bearing politician

Philippine vice-president  Jejomar Binay raises the hands of senatorial candidate Pacquiao at the start of the official campaign period for the May presidential elections

Philippine vice-president Jejomar Binay raises the hands of senatorial candidate Pacquiao at the start of the official campaign period for the May presidential elections

Pacquiao currently represents Sarangani province in the House of Representative

Pacquiao currently represents Sarangani province in the House of Representative

PACQUIAO’S APOLOGY

‘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 credits his renewed Christian faith for transforming him from a free-spending womaniser and gambler into a devoted family man who can recite Bible verses.

‘Outside the boxing ring, I don’t think Manny Pacquiao should be taken seriously. It struck me first as funny. I pity him,’ Kakay Pamaran, a pastor at one of Manila gay churches, said.

‘I would advise him to talk to more LGBT (lesbian gay bisexual and transgender) persons, meet them and not just reduce his concept of LGBT to the sexual act.’

The eight-time world boxing champion will face Timothy Bradley in the final fight of his career in April

The eight-time world boxing champion will face Timothy Bradley in the final fight of his career in April

 

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