MANILA - Senator Manny Pacquiao empathizes with President Duterte in his desire to declare martial law to stop drug trafficking in the country.
President Duterte wanted to declare martial law, not to perpetuate himself in power, but to address the country's problem on illegal drugs, said the senator in a press conference at the Philippine National Police headquarters in Camp Crame on Monday.
"He won't declare [martial law] if not for the country. He thought about it because of the severity of the problems of our country. Whatever his plans for the country, let's support him," Pacquiao said, after joining the flag-raising ceremony during the 38th founding anniversary of the PNP Intelligence Group.
He called on drug dealers and dependents not to be "hardheaded" and to mend their ways as the Philippine National Police continues with its campaign against illegal drugs.
"They should stop it. They're so hard-headed, they go on with their ways despite the intensity [of the anti-drug campaign]. It's nearly eight months since the campaign started and yet they're so hard-headed. They're the ones complaining, can you imagine that?" Pacquiao said.
In his speech, Pacquiao assured the PNP of his "continuing support," adding that he would help the police in their fight against crime.
He said he has been pushing a bill to restore the death penalty in the country, not just for drug crimes but for other heinous offences such as corruption and terrorism.
"Terrorism is not just a crime against a country. Terrorism is a crime again the entire human race. They (terrorists) don't choose their victims and they are even willing to be victims of their own crime. I cannot really understand why they even victimize the innocent ones," he said.
The senator also defended his support for the restoration of the capital punishment.
"I want to explain to all, to the opposition, that death penalty is not against the law of God and the Constitution. Even the Bible says authorities have the authority to use capital punishment. The commandment against killing applies to individuals and not to states and nations," he said.
Asked during the press conference if pro-death penalty lawmakers had the numbers to push for the approval of the death penalty bill, Pacquiao said that in the Senate, "There is, we don't have a problem."
He said he would work hard to make his fellow lawmakers and the public understand the importance of the death penalty. He also assured that the imposition of the death penalty would be "fair."