MANILA, Philippines - Nothing is sure yet who will be Manny Pacquiao's next foe in his next boxing match. But Minority Leader Edcel Lagman is set to slug it out with the pugilist lawmaker in the interpellations on the Reproductive Health Bill on Wednesday.
Pacquiao is not in the initial list of 38 congressmen set to interpellate on the measure, but Lagman revealed that Pacquiao requested and has been allowed to insert himself into the list after current interpellator, Cebu Rep. Pablo Garcia.
Garcia and Pacquiao are both anti-RH.
Lagman said, “I don’t want to pre-empt what Manny Pacquiao would like to say on the floor. Are you surprised he wants to interpellate? Palagay ko after Pabling (Garcia). He was not in original list of 36 but he asked to be allowed to interpellate.”
This early though, Lagman is taking the fight to Pacquiao. “Neither pulpit nor boxing ring could address [the] impoverished multitude.”
Lagman used Pacquiao to twit the Catholic Church’s stance on the bill. Pacquiao recently met with the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
“I think the Catholic hierarchy maybe lacking in agreements. They have to look for a popular face,” he said.
Yesterday, Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago also twitted Pacquiao for using his celebrity to mislead the public on the RH issue. She said Pacquiao even misquoted the Bible when he said that God ordered man to "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.
Lagman’s minority ally, Zambales Rep. Mitos Magsaysay, came to Pacquiao’s defense.
“We have our own reasons. I think we should all respect the stand of Cong. Pacquiao. 'Wag nang haluan ng iba pa. He's entitled to that same way celebrity endorsers are allowed to endorse the RH bill. Both sides naman eh, even pro-RH side, they have a lot of celebrity people endorsing their side of the RH bill [debate].“
Lagman sees nothing wrong with Pacquiao’s meeting with the bishops.
“A celebrity wouldn’t decline invitation from bishops. [In the] same manner if he was invited to Malacañang, he would go there. Ganun talaga 'yan," he said.
Magsaysay meantime said the undecided votes in Congress are really the swing votes in the RH bill debate.