MANILA - Senator Manny Pacquiao is misleading the public on death penalty with his wrong interpretation of the Bible, an official of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said Tuesday.
Pacquiao, a champion boxer and born-again pastor, said last week that he is pushing Senate to approve the reimposition of death penalty before the year ends. Capital punishment, he said, is acceptable since it is in the Bible.
The lawmaker stands on a "wrong interpretation of the Bible," said Rodolfo Diamante, Executive Secretary of the CBCP Commission on Prison Pastoral Care.
“He is actually misleading the public on his own understanding of the scriptural passage. This is what is dangerous,” Diamante said as quoted by CBCP News.
The Catholic Church recently updated its catechism, declaring death penalty as "inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person."
Pacquiao, who leads discussions on the death penalty at the Senate justice committee, should direct his staff "to do some solid research before sharing his thoughts on any issue," said Diamante.
“Furthermore, he was elected by the people to protect and improve the quality of life of people and not to extinguish it,” he added.
SENATOR STEADFAST ON DEATH PENALTY
Pacquiao maintained that the government has a God-given authority to impose death penalty, citing the Romans 13 verses 1 to 7 in the Bible.
Part of this passage reads: "For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer."
The "sword" in this passage, Pacquiao said, connotes beheading.
The House of Representatives last year approved a bill reimposing the death penalty, but only for drug-related offenses.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Palace will “try gentle persuasion” on the senators so they would pass the bill.
President Rodrigo Duterte has been hoping to reinstate the death penalty in the Philippines, where nearly 80 percent of its population is made up of Catholics, as he wages his war on illegal drugs and pursues an anti-crime campaign.
With a report from CBCP News and Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News