Filipino students at Oxford University on Monday said Senator Manny Pacquiao's visit to the English institution should not be seen as an affirmation of his work as a lawmaker, whose views on certain issues they said "undermine" basic human rights.
In a statement posted on its Facebook account and website, Oxford Philippines Society applauded Pacquiao's "legendary rise" from poverty to being a vital figure that "raised the profile" of his country internationally.
In the context of Pacquiao as a politician, however, the group expressed reservations about him.
"The society believes that Mr. Pacquiao's invitation to the Oxford Union should not be viewed as a validation, directly or indirectly, of Mr. Pacquiao's performance as a legislator in Philippine Congress," the statement read.
"The views that Mr. Pacquiao has taken on some key issues undermines fundamental human rights," it added, citing Pacquiao's public statements on LGBTQ rights, capital punishment, and the Reproductive Health Act.
"As a well-known athlete with the world as his stage, the reach and influence of his words, if left unchecked, might harm and knockout the incremental progress we are making to ensure a fair, equal, and just world," the statement said.