Eight-time world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao released a statement apologizing for hurting people with his comments condemning same-sex marriages. Pacquiao, 37, was seen in a video, uploaded by Philippines TV5’s election site, saying that people in same sex relationships are “worse than animals.”

Pacquiao is currently running for a seat in the senate in the Philippines during the elections in May as a conservative Christian. He was heard in the TV5 video, saying, according to the Guardian: “It’s common sense,” adding: “Do you see animals mating with the same sex? Animals are better because they can distinguish male from female. If men mate with men and women mate with women they are worse than animals.”

He also defended his stance Tuesday by posting a photo with his wife on Instagram with a caption stating that he said what has been written in the bible.

However, his comments drew criticism on social media where users condemned the boxer and called to send prayers for him. Vice Ganda, a popular gay comedian in the county, posted the hashtag #PrayForMannyPacquiao on his Twitter page, slamming him over the comments.

“Some people think they can judge people like God just because they’ve attended a prayer meeting and read the bible. The senate needs experts on politics and law, not blind prophets,” Ganda said, according to the Guardian.

Filipino actor Aiza Seguerra, who recently married her girlfriend, also slammed Pacquiao over his comments and said on Instagram, according to Agence France-Presse, “You might have done our country proud but with your statement, you just showed the whole country why we shouldn't vote for you,” calling the boxer an “ignorant, bigoted hypocrite.”

Pacquiao took to Facebook later Tuesday and asked for forgiveness in a video. He also reiterated that he is “against same sex marriage because of what the Bible says, but I'm not condemning LGBT.”

He wrote in the caption for the video: “I'm sorry for hurting people by comparing homosexuals to animals. Please forgive me for those I've hurt,” adding: “I love you all with the love of the Lord. God Bless you all and I'm praying for you.”

 

I'm sorry for hurting people by comparing homosexuals to animals. Please forgive me for those I've hurt. I still stand on my belief that I'm against same sex marriage because of what the Bible says, but I'm not condemning LGBT. I love you all with the love of the Lord. God Bless you all and I'm praying for you.

Posted by Manny Pacquiao on Tuesday, February 16, 2016