Pacquiao: Holier than thou?

by Sankage Steno

NOTE: Rejected story ko ‘to. Masyado raw negative. Agree naman ako. Kaya dito ko na lang sya ipa-publish. Sorry, lumihis ako sa pagiging “wala lang” ng blog ko.

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“I read the Bible day and night. I follow the instructions. That’s how I follow the commandments of God.”

Manny Pacquiao spoke these words in an exclusive interview with veteran sports journalist Dyan Castillejo earlier this year.

After his controversial match against Mexican counter-puncher Juan Manuel Marquez at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, many fans thought that it was a wake-up call for Pacquiao who narrowly won via majority decision. And when he lost to the unbeaten Palm Spring boxing sensation Timothy Bradley, all we could hear from the Filipino boxing icon were his grateful words to his countrymen, supporters and to God.

This spiritual awakening was received positively by a lot of Filipinos, who are known to be a religious bunch. Pacquiao’s passionate fans, and some detractors, saw this renewed devotion to his family and to the Bible as a welcome change, knowing how the pound-for-pound king was, for a time, a constant item in entertainment news because of his alleged extramarital affairs and penchant for gambling.

Although Pacquiao’s conversion may seem sincere, we remain curious as to how common folks, agnostics, and non-believers see such a display of spiritual renewal.

Here is a situation to take stock. It’s not uncommon for Filipinos in Metro Manila to encounter “converts” in public places. There are these modern-day evangelists who would suddenly show up and boisterously proclaim the words of God, without shame (and sometimes even concern), to unsuspecting commuters of public utility buses and the MRT. There are even people who would confidently speak of their sinful past, detailing sordid events and illicit deeds they have once or twice committed before they had encountered Jesus Christ in their lives. For some, they even ask a few donations for their church.

Pacquiao is certainly not the type who will ask for any amount of money in exchange for a few words of the Bible, but he surely sounds like one of those convert cum public speakers. We, however, do not question the integrity of their faith. Neither do we want to taint this renewed devotion to the Bible and to God. What we wish to see is for these converts, especially Pacquiao, to put their money where their mouth is.

Any backsliding in the future will prove to be a real pain, not just for Pacquiao and those who believe in him, but also to God.