Behind the viral photo of Pacquiao, Hontiveros office doors

July 2, 2018 - 1:26 PM
For some who saw the viral photo of the office doors of Sens. Manny Pacquiao and Risa Hontiveros, the contrast in imagery was telling of their aims and priorities.

A picture of the office doors of Sens. Risa Hontiveros and Manny Pacquiao went viral on Twitter, where the latter was criticized for supposedly promoting himself instead of a cause as Hontiveros did.

Hontiveros’ door, meanwhile, had a rainbow flag for the month-long Pride celebration. She is a known advocate of the Anti-Discrimination Bill that seeks to ease the stigma on the LGBTQI+ community.

Although the picture had no caption, it suggested a blatant comparison between the two lawmakers — their differences when it comes to their beliefs, advocacy and priorities.

Some claimed that Pacquiao was simply “promoting his next fight” while Hontiveros was pushing for the rights of a group of people.

Pacquiao’s tarp, however, was found to be promoting an ongoing weight loss challenge among Senate employees. He is, after all, the chair of the Senate sports committee.

Last year, it was reported that the boxing champion-senator, who has been among the highest paid athletes in the world, initiated a weight loss challenge among Senate employees. The prize was $10,000 — roughly converted to “almost half a million.”

Rene Casibang, Pacquiao’s head of media relations, explained, “The contest aims to promote health awareness among Senate employees, especially the overweights.”

More than 115 employees in the Senate have registered in 2017. They were expected to drop 20 percent of their pounds.

She added that the challenge is a traditional competition of Pacquiao’s before he holds his boxing matches.

An intern at the Senate commented that he already saw the tarpaulin hoisted at Pacquiao’s doorway before Hontiveros had placed the rainbow flag on her door.

A Facebook post shared a clearer picture of what Pacquiao has displayed near the door of his office, suggesting that it is the senator’s second season of the weight loss challenge.

Sen. Manny Pacquiao's Weight Loss Challenge – Season 2

Posted by Mosler Paul Lapore on Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Different beliefs 

The picture was enough to rouse a conversation, as people remember how Pacquiao had regarded members of the LGBTGI+ community.

Before Pacquiao became a senator, he referred to homosexuals as “worse than animals” on a Facebook post:

“Common sense lang. Makakita ka ba ng any animals na lalaki sa lalaki o babae sa babae?”

“Mabuti pa ang hayop, marunong kumilala kung lalaki lalaki, babae babae. O di ba? Ngayon, kung lalaki sa lalaki o babae sa babae, mas masahol pa sa hayop ang tao.”

The remarks cost him some public support as well as endorsements, particularly his lucrative Nike deal. Comedian Vice Ganda and group Ladlad also spoke out against Pacquiao’s comment. The boxer then apologized for his remarks, adding that he would stay by his beliefs and stance against same-sex marriage.

Hontiveros, meanwhile, has actively sponsored the Anti-Discrimination Bill that seeks to promote the access of the LGBTQI+ community to education, healthcare and other opportunities and basic services by penalizing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The bill faced opposition from schools, religious groups and institutions whose operations and principles might be disfavored by the proposed legislation.

Hontiveros, however, has expressed her willingness to dialogue with different groups about the bill and hear out their concerns.