Manny Pacquiao renews criticism of homosexuality

Philippine boxing great Manny Pacquiao (front) jogs along the sports complex in General Santos on the southern island of Mindanao on February 19, 2016 Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption Manny Pacquiao said God was on his side

Filipino boxer and politician Manny Pacquiao has repeated his opposition to homosexuality, after earlier apologising for saying that gay people were "worse than animals".

"What I am saying is right. I mean I am just stating the truth, what the Bible says," he said at training in his hometown of General Santos.

The boxer said his only mistake had been to compare people to animals.

Nike ended its deal after his initial comments, calling them "abhorrent".

Mr Pacquiao had said during a TV interview that animals were better than gay people "because they can distinguish male from female".

His remarks were condemned across the world - including by gay basketball star Jason Collins and the boxer who defeated him last May, Floyd Mayweather.

Mr Pacquiao then apologised on Facebook, saying he was sorry for hurting people and was "not condemning LGBT" but was still against gay marriage.

Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption Mr Pacquiao, who is extremely popular, says he wants to be president

But on Thursday, a Bible quote appeared on his Instagram account, reading: "If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads."

Local Filipino media captured a screenshot of the image before it was deleted and Mr Pacquiao's staff in General Santos confirmed that the post had been published on the boxer's account.

However, Mr Pacquiao - still wearing his Nike sports gear - insisted the row had not affected him.

"I'm happy. I'm always happy because God is with me," he said.

Mr Pacquiao intends to retire from boxing after his April fight against Timothy Bradley from the US, and will step up his career in politics.

The boxer, who has converted from Catholicism to an evangelical Protestant faith, has said he wants to be president.

Homosexuality is not a crime in the Philippines, but gay marriage is against the law in the strongly Catholic country.

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