World boxing icon and now Philippine Senator Manny Pacquiao defended his proposed legislation reimposing the death penalty in his country during his first privilege speech in the Senate, citing several Bible verses to back up his contention.
"I speak before you because of the signs of urgency on the issue of drug problem which has become alarming as it gets worse each day," Pacquiao told fellow senators on Aug. 8, according to The Christian Post.
Contrary to the belief of many, the death penalty is actually lawful and moral, said Pacquiao, a Catholic who became a born-again Christian in 2012 and later a pastor . After reading the Bible thoroughly, he said he is convinced that God is not just a God of mercy but also a God of justice.
"So, on the issue of the death penalty, I could not help but consult the Bible," he said. The first verse he shared is Genesis 9:6, which states: "Whoever sheds human blood, by human shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind."
He then followed it with Exodus 21:12, which reads: "Anyone who strikes a person with a fatal blow is to be put to death."
Pacquiao then moved on to the New Testament with the verse Romans 13:4. "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."
Pacquiao stressed that the Philippines need to take drastic steps to curb the drug problem, as espoused by President Rodrigo Duterte, because "even innocent citizens who renounce drugs can be a victim once an addict goes out to street and wreak havoc."
Drug addicts rely heavily on drugs, while drug lords are greedy for money, said Pacquiao. If government officials do not "speak to the criminal minds in the only language they understand," then the issue will only get worse. Pacquiao said it's time the government put a stop to impunity.
But even though he called for the implementation of the death penalty, he said it is important for suspects to undergo a fair trial. He further warned that if the government does not hold criminals accountable, then civilians might be forced to take the law "in their own hands."