GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/17 May) — I certainly believed Manny Pacquiao when he said he is not anti-gay. His wife Jinkee has a man-err-girl Friday and he admits to having gay relatives. He tolerates them, to say the least.
Filipinos have begun to embrace gays and LGBT definitely has already seeped into the language and consciousness of a considerable portion of the Filipino society. LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. A few months back, the student council of the country’s premier state university, University of the Philippines (UP), elected its first transgender chair in breaking the barrier of sexual preference.
But in a country where more than 80 percent are Catholics, many are still struggling to accept that LGBTs have as much rights as “straight” people to enter into marital union. Even among the country’s Muslim community, which comprises five per cent of the population, being gay is “haram” or prohibited.
Manny Pacquiao, the evangelist, sportsman and congressman became a vocal opponent of same sex union.
Pacquiao the congressman, for all who have not followed his political views, has always been on the conservative side of issues affecting the American society. Even in his own country where he earned, and spent for, the right to express his political views, Pacquiao is always an ally for conservatives. He was just being true to form on his views on gay marriage. Pacquiao, in fact, is a strong ally of the Catholic Church against the Reproductive Health bill calling it a proposed law that encourages abortion.
In 2008, he said he was supporting US Sen. McCain John McCain, a Republican who ran and lost to President Barrack Obama. Of course, McCain is the author of the Muhammad Ali Act which protects professional boxers from exploitative managers and promoters.
Writer Granville Ampong, in whose article Pacquiao now finds himself the object of viral attacks from the LGBT community, is a Filipino Republican activist in theUS.
Ampong has officially apologized to Pacquiao for the storm his story created. Ampong was correct; Pacquiao never cited a phrase in the Bible in expressing his views on gay marriage which became a hot copy in the US when Obama gave his support to it. Ampong owned up the quoted Bible passage Leviticus 20:13 in supporting Pacquiao’s views on gay marriage.
Republicans naturally would love to have someone lend his powerful voice to oppose such moral issue. Ultra-conservatism among Republicans in the US is again on the rise after they were given a thrashing by Obama in 2008. In November, Republicans are hoping to unseat Obama who still enjoys popular support among Americans.
Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank is however a Democrat who served under the late Sen. Robert Kennedy at the Attorney General’s office as a young Harvard Law School graduate.
Pacquiao has grown into a man of his own such that as an elected Philippine congressman, he is now obliged to field questions on everything remotely related to politics whether in his country or in the land of milk and honey where he earns his living.
America is a democratic and free country. Anyone is entitled to his own political views.
The Filipino boxing champion however now carries an added weight on his shoulders. He is now a member of Philippine Congress and protocol dictates that he refrain from commenting on such thorny issues involving elected officials of another country in their own territory.
I would have no problem with Rep. Manny Pacquiao expressing such a conservative view in the Philippine media in the Philippines although I certainly do not share the same.
Like I had repeatedly said, Rep. Pacquiao, who never hides his presidential ambition, now lives in a fishbowl. Anything he says will be magnified just as objects swimming in the water are much larger than they actually are. (Edwin G. Espejo writes for www.asiancorrespondent.com)