Philippine boxer and politician Manny Pacquiao has apologized for comparing gays to animals.

“I'm sorry for hurting people by comparing homosexuals to animals,” he said Tuesday in a Facebook post, the BBC reported. “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.”

The Christian conservative politician is running for a seat in the Philippine Senate.

Earlier this week, while speaking to local station TV5, he said: “It's common sense. Will you see any animals where male is to male and female is to female?”

“The animals are better. They know how to distinguish male from female. If we approve [of] male on male, female on female, then man is worse than animals.”

Pacquiao initially appeared to stand by his comments in the face of growing criticism, writing on an Instagram post that he was “just telling the truth of what the Bible says.”

(Related: Manny Pacquiao reiterates his opposition to gay marriage.)