MANILA, Philippines - Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago on Tuesday clashed with Filipino boxing champion Rep. Manny Pacquiao over the verse in the Bible, "Go forth and multiply."
Defensor-Santiago, a supporter of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill, gave an impromptu Bible study session before journalists at the Senate as she corrected Pacquiao’s quote “Go out to the world and multiply.”
“The Bible does not say, ‘Go out to the world.’ It sounds very much like God is encouraging us to go out and copulate in public. God said in the Bible, ‘Go forth and multiply,’” she said.
Defensor-Santiago did not stop her lesson there. “If this is going to be a debate of Biblical quotes, then I will counter with: ‘The devil can cite scripture for its purposes,’” said the senator.
She said Pacquiao was being a fundamentalist, as he interprets Scripture literally.
“The Bible was not written by God. It was written at least 17 years after the death of Jesus Christ... They are quoting God, but the Bible says that none of them has ever seen God,” Defensor-Santiago continued. “In fact, if you claim to have seen God, you are in urgent need of psychiatric care.”
“It is very dangerous to quote the Bible and apply it literally as Pacquiao is doing.”
The senator does not think Pacquiao’s popularity will affect the opinions of Filipinos who are in favor of the RH Bill. “It will be very misleading to use his celebrity status to enter into a great debate on the political economy.”
Defensor-Santiago said that the RH bill was a matter of providing information, especially for women of child-bearing age. She said that the RH Bill will teach women about natural family planning as promoted by the Catholic Church, the use of condoms and other contraceptives, among other things.
“If you are going to be asked to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’, you must cast a conscience vote, and not what somebody dictates to you on what should be your vote,” Defensor-Santiago said.
She also thanked the Catholic Church for not exploiting Pacquiao’s stand on the controversial RH bill.
“One priest has already said that they are not going to use him as the poster boy,” said Defensor-Santiago. “I commend the Catholic Church because otherwise, it would have muddied the waters.”