Senator Manny Pacquiao, who is seeking the presidency, said he was not condemning the LGBT community when he described them as "worse than animals", saying that as a man of God, he was in no place to judge.
In a vlog interview with host Toni Gonzaga, uploaded roughly an hour after the boxer-turned-politician announced his presidential bid in 2022, Pacquiao said he would never condemn gay people and the rest of the LGBT community.
His reason? How could he condemn them, when he himself has nieces, nephews, workers, and even siblings who are part of the community.
"Ang sinasabi ko palagi na hindi ko kino-condemn yung mga gay, mga LGBT. May mga pamangkin akong mga LGBT, andami kong mga LGBT na workers, sa bahay ko. Kahit yung mga kapatid ko. As a person, hindi ibig sabihin na galit sa kanya, kinokondena mo siya, dapat nga, who am I to judge a person, diba?" he said.
According to Pacquiao, the controversial statement he made in 2016 was part of a "long" interview, his points selected and pieced together, as if to suggest that he was taken out of context. "Mahaba kasi yung ano na 'yun.. Bakit napunta du'n? Binanggit ko sa ano, tas binanggit ko dito. Pinagdugtong na parang ganon," he said.
Agreeing to Gonzaga, Pacquiao said he believes God loves the LGBTQIA+ community, as everyone was made in his image. He said they even have better work ethics.
"Lahat tayong tao, kawangis ng Panginoon. Hindi ko kino-condemn sila. Actually, mas maganda nga kasama ka trabaho, masisipag at masaya. Walang ano, magaling sila mag-isip tas masisipag," he said.
What Pacquiao really said before
Pacquiao's controversial statement came from TV5's "Bilang Pilipino" coverage of the 2016 elections, wherein senatorial candidates were asked regarding their stand on key issues.
Then-Sarangani congressman Pacquiao was asked if he agreed with then-U.S. President Barack Obama's endorsement of same-sex couples' right to marry before law.
This was Pacquiao's full answer, as said in the TV5 report:
"As Christian, bawal naman yung same-sex marriage. Ginawa ang babae para sa lalake, ginawa ang lalake para sa babae. Common sense lang. Makakita ka ba ng any animals na lalake sa lalake, o babae sa babae? Mas mabuti pa yung hayop, marunong kumilala kung lalake-lalake o babae-babae.
Ngayon kung lalake sa lalake, babae sa babae, eh mas masahol pa sa hayop ang tao. O diba? Hayop lang, hindi talaga pwede magsama ang lalake sa lalake. Pero i'm not condemning them. 'Yung lang pong marriage lang, 'yung committing sin against God."
Pacquiao's statement made local and international headlines and cost him his Nike endorsement.
Even science would dispute his stance, as research has found that homosexual behavior in animals is actually more common than he perceived. As early as 2012, scientists said same-sex activities has been documented in over 450 different animal species worldwide.
But perhaps it was openly gay television host Boy Abunda who said it best, when he denounced Pacquiao's statement on primetime television.
"Manny sino ka, sino ka para manghusga? Saang ka kumuha ng kapangyarihan para tawagin kami na mas masahol pa sa hayop. Iboboto ko ba ang isang tao na ang tingin sa akin ay hindi tao? Iboboto ko ba ang isang tao, na ang tingin sa akin ay mas masahol pa sa hayop? Manny ang kasagutan, salita mo: common sense," Abunda said.
The clip went viral again on Sunday, following Pacquiao's declaration of his presidential bid.