by Nestor Ravilas
I shuddered at the very thought of elevating Manny Paquiao to power when he first ran to public office not so many years ago. I know for sure it will be a big mistake. It is putting a violent man, and his violent god, to power. I campaigned against his bid for senatorial seat not only to save Evangelical community from shame, but to spare Filipinos from the predilection to violence of this man.
Human nature is so complex to put it in single equation. There is no notion of human formation that is not up for discussion. What is obvious and accessible to our perception is that the identity of the man, now sitting as senator and generously offering his public opinions presumed covered with authority, is formed and shaped in violence. Sen. Paquiao lives his life from the very beginning, and seemingly intends to end it, in violence. Born in abject poverty, deprived of decent life, abandoned by his father, beaten by his strict mother, left his house in a young age to get himself from one onerous job to another, and did his rigorous training in dilapidated-makeshift gyms as aspiring boxer while doing hard labor in construction sites, he is indeed extremely subjected to violent formation. Finally, as probably written in his destiny, gained his fame and wealth in trading punches and spilling blood with other warriors amidst the frenzy fans of violent sport. Manny Paquiao’s identity is forged and shaped in violence, and therefore expected to live out this violent constitution.
What is worst is that he is using the Bible to satiate his violent nature. Having given to an abrasive and authoritarian mother, Manny’s other side is somewhat a docile persona. He shows in public an amiable and meek image. But once put in an arena where violence is perceived legal, he would unleash his monstrous identity and aspire always for a knock out or for a kill. Now that he is sitting as elected senator and garbed at the same time with pastoral office, he has both the power of religion and of the state. Like in boxing ring, violence there could be turned legal and sacred, and Manny, so far, is taking advantage of this privilege to satisfy his thirst for blood. From demeaning gay people, to supporting EJK and the return of death penalty, now he is using his political and religious position to provide support to Martial Law and its extension. John Collins is right in saying for the evil to justify violence he can definitely find lots of support in the Bible. And Many Paquaio is an example of a violent person who finds exactly a violent god in the Bible.
Sen. Paquiao may not be aware of his violent formation, and worse, the chance for him to discover his evil side might be at slightest possibility as his spiritual mentors assure and cajole him every day of his privilege position as renewed “son of god”. What we have now is an authority who occupies the space on religious-political discourses that is skewed by his own violent formation. And the God of peace and life cannot change a man who himself is blinded by his own evil, and worse, sees it rather as his earnest crusade for the “god of his own”.
Sen. Alan Pater Cayetano is an addition that pushes us really to rethink our religious formation as Evangelical Christians!