Senator Manny Pacquiao once again used the Bible to defend his advocacy on reviving the death penalty for the drug cases in the country and this time, he used Jesus Christ as a justification.
"Even Jesus Christ was sentenced to death by the government," he said last Tuesday in the Senate Hall.
"And then sa Panginoon, biblically, binibigyan ng Panginoon ng karapatan ang government to use capital punishment. Even Jesus Christ nga nasentensyahan nang kamatayan dahil ang government nag-impose talaga ng kamatayan," he added.
The athlete and pastor who is known for his deep religious belief referenced on Pontius Pilate, the governor who ordered Jesus Christ in the Bible to be sentenced to death by crucifixion. In Luke 23:2, it is said that Jesus Christ should be punished because Jesus is "subverting our nation, forbidding us to pay the tribute tax to Caesar and claiming that he himself is Christ, a king."
He also said that the Constitution allows capital punishment for compelling reasons like heinous crimes.
Pacquiao told reporters that he is doing this for the Constitution as a good leader and not merely for his conscience alone.
"Ano ba basis mo to oppose? Because of your religious beliefs or because of the Constitution? Siguro naman the Constitution allows death penalty for heinous crimes," he said.
"You are not a good leader if you are making decisions with your own conscience as decisions should be made for the society," Pacquiao added.
In response to critics who say that he is contradicting himself because the Bible prohibits the killing of people, Pacquiao said that the commandment only means that people should not take the fate of another individual into their own hands.
"Bible says, 'Thou shall not kill.' We are not talking individuals here, meaning kung nagkasala ka sa 'kin, 'di puwede ilagay batas sa akin na patayin kita," he said.
Previously in his privilege speech, Pacquiao said that God is in favor of death penalty.
Critics of Pacquiao quickly pointed out that he is a "cafeteria Catholic" or a Catholic who just nitpicks parts of the Bible to justify his statement.
Kip Oebanda, a renowned Filipino debate and film director, pointed out that Pacquiao did not get the whole point of Jesus' trial.
"That's the problem with people who just pick parts of the bible to fit their twisted arguments. There's always something there that you can use to argue for something evil. In Luke 23:2: “We found this man subverting our nation, forbidding us to pay the tribute tax to Caesar and claiming that he himself is Christ, a king” but actually, in Luke 20:25 Jesus said: Then give back to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's," he said.
It can be remembered that the restoration of capital punishment is part President Rodrigo Duterte's agenda in his administration as a deterrent against participating in the drug trade.
The bill in restoring death penalty passed the House of Representatives last year. However, it might be problematic for those who are in favor of the bill as the majority of the Senate are against it.
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