Well, Manny Paquiao dropped a bombshell on us:
Of course, this video was cut. A lot of his supporters are actually encouraging people to look for the full video as the one being circulated by the media doesn't fully capture his stance. So okay, here's the "full, raw, uncut" video they are encouraging us to watch:
There you have it. Pacquiao may think that people engaging in same-sex relations are worst than animals. But at least, he's not condemning them. He's just condemning the practice of same-sex marriage. Those last few seconds taken away by major media outlets really saved Manny for me. I mean without those few seconds, I would have thought he is a bigot or whatever word people are using nowadays (sarcasm?).
But hey, you can interpret his words any way you want. You may interpret it as him calling for Martians to attack and enslave our children if you want. But there is one thing that we must keep in mind when watching this interview: Manny Pacquiao is running for public office.
By filing his Certificate of Candidacy, Manny announced that he is ready to represent every individual in our nation regardless of race, religion, social standing or whatever. Well, that's what I hope. That's the kind of professionalism I hope from anybody running for public office. But sadly, professionalism is not really a word that people associate with our politics.
Manny Pacquiao gave us his religious view. And he also pointed to it as his reason for being against same-sex marriage. Many politicians do it. Going to the bible for guidance is not a bad thing. But if you're in a position to change the lives of millions of people of differing world views and different holy books, maybe it's time we slide that bible back in its drawer.
The separation of church and state has been discussed in this blog before. I've long discussed my belief that the state should not concern itself with religion. You see, government is not doing God any favors by following His teachings in crafting laws. We've criminalized adultery and yet people still do it. The reasoning behind criminalizing adultery is not necessarily because it is "evil". It is criminalized because the legal spouse and children are being put in disadvantageous situations by the practice. This line of reasoning should be at the forefront when discussing policies. The state was not created to further the advances of a particular religion. It was created to improve the physical state of living of all of its constituents regardless of their personal beliefs. Manny Pacquiao and other politicians fail to realize and practice the separation of their religious views and their political responsibilities.
But aside from that particular lack of realization, another observable political feature showing itself in the issue is our inability to digest ideas solely on their merit. When Vice Ganda voiced his displeasure with Manny's sentiments, he was attacked vigorously by social media. People are saying he's a hypocrite for negatively reacting to Manny's sentiments when he himself profits from ridiculing others. Some people on the other hand went quickly to the defense of Pacquiao because of the pride he has brought to the nation. With Pacquiao being a national treasure, they encouraged people to give the legendary pugilist some slack. But the problem here is that this issue is not about Pacquiao or Ganda or Abunda or anybody else.
Pacquiao exercised his right to free speech and there is nothing wrong with that. We shouldn't be scrutinizing him. We should be scrutinizing the idea that we are okay with denying same-sex couples the right to adoption, the tax right-offs, inheritance and other rights being enjoyed by heterosexual couples just on account of their sex. Mon Tulfo was quick to Pacquiao's defense and explained he just exercised his right to free speech and went on a little homophobic tirade of his own. The problem is we forget that with our right to voice our opinions, others also have the right to scrutinize those said opinions. Vice Ganda, regardless of his past, has the right to react to Manny's views. And the validity of Ganda's sentiments should not be tied down to his past.
With that said, this issue has brought out several of the traits of Philippine Politics.We certainly don't have the perfect political environment for instilling progress on all fronts. But it is time we change that. We are far removed from the colonization of other nations. We have long passed the times of dictatorship. It's time we start getting the most of our democracy through intellectual and logical approaches to current issues.
We are now at a point where we should ask ourselves several key question concerning same-sex marriage: Are we okay with people having the gall to liken our fellowman to animals just on account of who they choose to love? Are we okay with denying rights on account of their preferred sexual partners? Are we okay with distinguished people marginalizing the LGBT since they have "gay friends"? Are we okay with individual beliefs stopping the happiness of millions? Should we limit the other people's paths to providence and happiness by our own individual beliefs?
It's not that we have a, as Mon Tulfo put it, primitive society. It's just that we fail to ask the questions that would determine if we are ready for same-sex marriage.