MANILA–Sen. Manny Pacquiao on Tuesday took the Senate floor to defend his spiritual renewal following criticism he received after mentioning it in a previous Senate inquiry.
“For the record, I did not become a saint after my spiritual renewal,” Pacquiao, known for quoting the Bible, said in response to the privilege speech of colleague Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.
Trillanes cited the spiritual renewal of retired cop and self-confessed Davao Death Squad (DDS) head SP03 Arturo Lascañas as an example of how a person having went through the act did not mean a person became a “saint.”
In a Senate hearing on Monday, Pacquiao reprimanded Lascañas for claiming that it was “spiritual renewal” that led him admit the existence of a death squad.
On October 2016, Lascañas denied the existence of a death squad but retracted his testimony on February 20 claiming that he lied and that the death squad was real.
Lascañas claimed that he underwent spiritual renewal in July 2015 but later lied to in a Senate hearing over a year later.
Pacquiao said that if he indeed underwent spiritual renewal, it must mean that he had changed completely.
Trillanes later apologized to Pacquiao if he had offended him, noting that his statement was not directed at him.
In response, Pacquiao acknowledged that many people doubted the sincerity of his spiritual renewal but noted that it was his responsibility to prove it.
“Sa totoo lang marami ang nagduda at hindi naniwala sa akin noon. Pero responsibilidad ko na patunayan na totoo ang pagbabago sa buhay ko. Dahil sa spiritual renewal, iniiwasan ko ang gumawa ng kasalanan (The truth is, there are many who doubted and did not believe me before. But it is my responsibility to prove that the change in my life is real. Because of spiritual renewal, I try to avoid committing sin),” Pacquiao said.
“As much as possible I’m avoiding to commit sins deliberately because I have Jesus in my life. Madaling sabihin na nagbago ka na, pero responsibilidad mo na patunayan na tunay ang iyong pagbabago (It is easy to say that you have changed, but it is your responsibility to prove that the change is true),” he added.
Pacquiao said that he respected Trillanes’ opinion noting that it was his right. At the same time, he reminded his colleague of the primary duty of the Senate.
“It is good to be reminded that our primary role is to legislate, and when we conduct hearings or investigations, they should always be in aid of legislation,” Pacquiao said.
Pacquiao disagreed with Trillanes’ claim that some senators imposed their morals of Lascañas and noted that they were merely doing his job.
“The senate as an institution deserves to be treated with honor and respect. We have rules and we have standards. As an institution, we expect our resource persons, in whatever senate inquiry, to uphold their oath: to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth,” he said.
Pacquiao, meanwhile, said that he is working to do what is “right and just” for the country.
The neophyte senator was born a Catholic but is now a Born-again Christian.
He has mentioned several times that his change in faith has changed him into becoming a better person.