The newest episode of Toni Talks featured Senator Manny Pacquiao, who recently announced his intentions to run for the presidency. And unlike with her chummy talk with Bongbong Marcos, host Toni Gonzaga bothered to ask Pacquiao about his stances on several sensitive issues, such as the latter’s perceived hate on LGBTQs, on why he needs politics to help people, and more.
Pacquiao on offending the LGBTQ+ community
The boxing icon managed to stir a sh*tstorm back in 2016 when he labeled people in same-sex relationships as ‘worse than animals’. In a viral video interview, Pacquiao argued that animals have ‘more sense’ to mate with the opposite sex, thereby concluding that same-sex unions are wrong.
It was a statement that garnered significant consequences for the then-aspiring senatorial candidate. Aside from losing a Nike sponsorship, Pacquiao received condemnation from the LGBTQ+ community, both locally and internationally, a black-eye that continues to hound Pacquiao to this day.
On Toni Talks, Pacquiao clarified that he does not condemn the LGBTQ+ community, saying that he has relatives, family members, and workers who are gay. He also implies that the interview was spliced and taken out of context.
‘Who am I to judge a person?’, said Pacquiao, adding that he believes God loves everyone.
Pacquiao on why he didn’t criticize sooner
Between the trash talks, insults, and allegations of corruption, it’s easy to forget that Pacquiao was once a staunch ally of President Duterte. The senator is a defender of the drug war, the death penalty, and rose to the rank of president of Duterte’s political party, PDP-Laban.
But as the elections draw nearer and the backlash on administration actions grow louder, Pacquiao has joined the fray of dissenters, criticizing almost everything from the West Philippine Sea response, to issues of missing pandemic aid. This has led some critics to call Pacquiao a turncoat and an opportunist.
In the interview, Pacquiao disputes this label, saying that as early as 2016, he had already been investigating 8 billion pesos worth of anomalies in his hometown of General Santos City. According to a Senate probe, the scam reportedly involved right-of-way payments that benefitted fake beneficiaries under a Deparment of Public Works and Highways project.
Pacquiao on why he needs politics to help people
A common sentiment (which we agree with) surrounding Pacquiao is the belief that one does not need to enter politics to help people. Pacquiao himself has proven this on multiple occasions through his philanthropy over the years, which he acknowledges during the interview.
However, Pacquiao says that supporting people with his own money isn’t sustainable on a nationwide scale. He dreams of replicating his charity work in General Santos for the entire Philippines.
‘Kayang kaya, sobra sobra pa’, said Pacquiao, estimating that in 4-5 years, he could give everyone proper housing in the country. It’s the same platform he teased earlier in September.