The following is an account of systematic attempts to destroy the credibility of the most fearless preacher hereabouts. With faith in his heart, however, he says he cannot stop, delete nor add to what he is supposed to say.
NEVERTHELESS, he thanks his enemies because their persecution has led him to foreign shores and from there, he found many thirsting for truth. With people wanting him dead, he still goes on with the work of salvation.
By Jane Abao
Salamat po, gracias, obrigado, arigato,
Merci, xie xie, do jeh, ta, danke, terima kasih,
Grazie, kamsa hamnida, spasibo,
Mahalo, merci beaucoups,
Thank you may go to a person who did a good job, for one who had a bright idea, for one who has rendered us something. Thank you may be said to a person who has helped us, saved us, had comforted us. Thank you may be given to one who had fixed problems for us.
There are many reasons we can be thankful for – our lives, the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink, the sunshine in the morning, the birds that chirp, the blue skies above. Rarely does it come upon our mind that these things should be thanked for – and to whom it should be given. Sadly, too, there are people that do not know how to give thanks.
Taken to another level, people normally give thanks to other people, but not to God. There is a group that does not thank their peers. They thank God instead – one they recognize as the source of all good things – power, strength, talents, life. They realize that they are nothing without God. They do not thank each other; they thank God. While you can hear others say, alleluia, praise God, to them it is almost always, Thanks be to God. As almost everybody gives thanks to people, they also thank them only for what is pleasurable.
Again, we have this same group of people that thank God even for misfortunes, even for disasters in their life. They know that these misfortunes are but blessings in disguise. They may not understand what it is at the moment, but later on, at the end of the day, they can find something good. All of these strange and new behaviors are part of the paradigm taught in the Members Church of God International led by Bro. Eliseo Soriano.
Take the case of someone who got mad and wrote on the walls with his feces. When the Japanese forces came, they sent him out of the camp as he was crazy – a liability and not an asset. Sometime after that, the place was bombed. Result: he would have died in that place. He lived to tell the story – and thank God he had become crazy.
A matronly woman was troubled that the boys didn’t wake up early to drive her to the bus station. She was hurrying, hurrying, but the boys slept like dead logs and rose up only in their own sweet time. Result: she had to take the next trip then to the province, much to her consternation because her mission was urgent. While on their way home, they passed through the scene of an accident. The first bus that she wanted so much to catch in the early morning fell into a deep ravine where many died.
Some thank God for their deprivations in life – physical, material, financial, or otherwise, for it is these things that have allowed them to have a consciousness of a loving and comforting Creator. Poverty, for example, or similar deprivations, has honed some to be patient and be understanding and tolerant of others. Discrimination in the justice system is one thing difficult to understand; more so when judges who are supposed to dispense with justice are the very ones selling justice to the highest bidder. When this syndrome gets installed as the very system obtaining, where would one go for reprieve but to God?
There are yet so many reasons to thank God for, even in instances where everything seems ugly because there can be a way out. When Martial Law was declared in the Philippines, student leaders were being hounded for their past activities in denouncing the repressive government. One was placed under house arrest by the Southwest Command of the military for a number of months. What was she thankful for? That she was placed under arrest for her political opinions. And the rest is history.
Thank you is a word we merely forget to appreciate but it means a lot. The case of Cain killing his brother Able just because of jealousy over God’s appreciating his brother’s thankfulness is a case in point. The shock the story provides points to the sanctity of God and the importance of being grateful to Him as expressed in one’s behavior. To give thanks is some sacred duty man has to perform properly. You do not merely say, “thank you.” Your heart has to be pure and go in tandem with your thankfulness.
The people of God in the Church of God thank Him through regular activities. In the Philippines where the Central Administration is based, weekly thanksgivings are held every Saturday as are International Thanksgivings every quarter of the year. Hook-up monitoring is made possible in local chapters all over the country for those who could not go to the Convention Center in Apalit, Pampanga, north of Manila. It is the same with the many Church chapters abroad.
The Members Church of God International more popularly known as Ang Dating Daan (ADD) celebrates its thanksgiving days through songs of praise and the rendering of biblical topics by the church leaders. Individually and in groups, the celebrants express thanks. As normally done, Bro. Daniel Razon would speak on management matters first, updates the congregation of Church development and projects, and then gives an introduction to the topic for the day to be discussed by Bro. Eliseo Soriano. Razon is the Vice Presiding Minister to the congregation while the latter is the Presiding Minister.
According to Bro. Eli, thankfulness is part of the prophecy for God’s people mentioned in Jeremiah 30:19 –
And out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of them that make merry: and I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small. (KJV)
Interacting with the God Almighty, day in and day out, it is not surprising to be hearing the members thank God instead of persons. Hence, instead of saying thank you to the person giving them something, they say, Thanks be to God! As in the language of text messaging, it is Tnxb2G! To those outside of the church, however, these people simply say, thank you.
Big Mouth: embracing a Jeremiah 26:2 role
Today, in the Church of God, they thanked again The Almighty for Big Mouth’s 46th year of service. Big Mouth is Bro. Eli – the nemesis of false prophets. His enemies call him that for sheer envy. They even draw the figure of a big mouth to go with their tirades. However, as events prove it, the more they try to destroy him, the more he gets highlighted for his work of salvation. The congregation thanked God for all these miseries Big Mouth is reaping – the very ones that that have driven him away to far-away lands where God has opened the West entirely to his preaching.
People may not like what Bro. Soriano is saying, but he says he gets backing from the scriptures. And God said, I will give you a mouth that others cannot assail – this, much Bro. Soriano has faith in. Loathed by some, it is the very instrument in the propagation of His words in the West as it was done in the East. Consider Luke 21:15 –
for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to withstand or to contradict. (World English Bible).
With the resultant court troubles he reaps, it is clear that it takes guts to expose preachers who fool people, and the willingness to be a tool for truth. As no other preacher is following his track but his ministers, it is also clear that people would rather keep quiet to save their tails and stay free from trouble. However, for one given a commission, it definitely is not the same. That he has to say what there is to say in his crusade for truth is apparent from his embracing a Jeremiah 26:2 role. However, understanding this role and even what he is doing is not for everybody. As stated in the bible, only the wise shall understand. In Daniel 12:10 –
Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand (KJV)
False prophets revealed
An understanding of the work of Bro. Soriano is necessary to understand these protracted conflicts with others that continue to grow and remain ever blooming. The framework from which he operates may be summed up in some distinct verses in the bible although repeated in so many forms. Two of these are the following: Proverbs 28: 4 and Jeremiah26:2. The former speaks of contention and the latter, of not deleting nor adding a word.
Already, he had exposed the false teachings of Felix Manalo of the Iglesia ni Cristo, Apollo C. Quiboloy of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, The Name Above Every Name; Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda” of the Creciendo en Gracia,” the so-called Jehovah’s witnesses and many others.
Bro. Eli has called Felix Manalo of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) a false prophet for his many false teachings. These include denial of the divinity of Jesus Christ. With the INC, Christ is man, always a man and will be a man when he comes back. His false teachings also constitute the claim that the Christian Church “was apostatized after the first century” and “was restored to its pristine purity by God by means of His last messenger, brother Felix Y. Manalo…” (Pasugo, July/August 1988, page 7). This includes salvation coming only through this church according to Manalo (Pasugo, November 1973, page 19).
Bro. Soriano also noted that INC believe Felix Y. Manalo is the ravenous bird from the east mentioned in Isaiah 46:11 – “the man that executeth my counsel from a far country” hence they look up to him as God’s messenger.
Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it. (Isaiah 46:11, King James Bible).
They also believe Manalo is the fulfillment of Isaiah 43:5-7 who will ‘bring your children from the east and gather you from the west.”
5 Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. 6 I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth- 7 everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made. (Isaiah 43:5-7, New International Version).
This is closely tied to Rev 7:2, 3 about “another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the seal of the living God.” No wonder, they believe Manalo is a messenger of God.
2And I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the of the living God; and he cried out with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, 3saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads.” (New American Standard Bible (NASB) Rev 7:2, 3)
As far as Bro. Eli is concerned, Apollo C. Quiboloy is also fake. As written in his website –
The revelation of SONSHIP started in the year 2003 when Pastor Apollo C. Quiboloy officially announced this revelation among the sons and daughters of God. He, being the residence of the Father on earth and heir of all things the Father entrusted to him not only His words, name, life, kingdom but also the lives of his enemies, the power to raise even the dead, riches, fame and power in the airwaves. (http://www.kingdomofjesuschrist.org/2/kd/sonship.html).
Quiboloy has declared Davao City, south of the country as “the Water Center of the World, from whence all nations will receive eternal life when they drink of the spiritual water that comes from Davao City as the New Jerusalem of God.” His website message from “the Son” says –
Now, everything is restored. Paradise is here. Man has been renewed and the Garden of Eden is back. There is a mountain up there, which was my trial ground before, a place where the spirits were present to try and test the Appointed Son of God. I had passed the test and many more are following. That is the same place that the Father has made His Garden of Eden today. It is a showcase of the new earth and the new heaven (http://www.kingdomofjesuschrist.org/2/index.php).
Bro. Eli has openly called this preacher a deceiver. On February 6, 2005, on Sonshine Radio Manila, 1026 kHz AM, Quiboloy cursed Pastor Soriano in his sermon for “blaspheming the Father.” Quiboloy said the preacher of the Ang Dating Daan is already being marked for hell, and that he will be stricken with an incurable disease in the months ahead. He gave the “members of Ang Dating Daan” six months from the time of his pronouncement to leave the congregation or else suffer the same fate as their leader. His Sonshine Radio Manila repeated this over and over for a number of weeks. Today, Bro. Soriano is still alive, still giving worldwide bible expositions, and the congregation is all the more thriving and growing worldwide.
According to Bro. Eli, this Quiboloy himself exposed his own falsity just for that pronouncement that did not come true. The statements of those sent by God are confirmed by God, Bro. Eli said.
There is also Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda, 61, a poor Puerto Rican who had enriched himself through deceit. Interviewed in NBC, he said in this international television that the devil or satan does not exist, that prayer is a waste of time, that in God’s eyes his followers cannot sin, and that he is God. (He is more called De Jesus in media than Miranda).
According to CNN.com, De Jesus leads his church, “Creciendo en Gracia,” (Growing in grace) that is said to claim thousands of members in more than 30 countries. (http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/02/16/miami.preacher/index.html)
De Jesus said he learned he was Jesus reincarnate when he was visited in a dream by angels in 1988. Prophets spoke to him, he said, and that he was who they were expecting in 2,000 years – much like the claim of Apollo Quiboloy who said he is the Appointed Son of God.
Crazier than Quiboloy, De Jesus has 666 tattooed on his arm which action some 30 of his members imitated, according to John Zarrella and Patrick Oppmann of CNN. And yet, this is not supposed to be associated with anti-Christ, he says. He also preaches a different truth: that he is the new Jesus Christ –
“Antichrist is the best person in the world…. Antichrist means don’t put your eyes on Jesus because Jesus of Nazareth wasn’t a Christian. Antichrist means do not put your eyes on Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Put it on Jesus after the cross.”
Hell does not exist according to De Jesus and that the devil has been destroyed. This kind of preaching may explain the growth of his flock: According to him, there are two classes of people: those who reject his message and are therefore predestined, and those who accept his word as true. The latter are saved and cannot lose their salvation. Hence they are allowed to indulge in sin. These beliefs were posted on his website.
Jesus the Man as he is called, misinterpreted Romans 10:4 and Romans 7:8 to mean, if Jesus removed sin, you cannot be called a sinner. On July 22, 2006, calling himself Jesus Christ Man, he wrote on his website, “Today, I publicly accuse that all religions have lied to the world.”
One of the beliefs of Joseph Smith of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints or Mormon as stated in their Doctrines and Covenants: 61-62 is that man cannot commit adultery if he espouses a second virgin. This is what Bro. Soriano wrote about Smith –
According to Joseph Smith, which I will call a false prophet, this is a revelation that he received from God. I know that Joseph Smith has his god and his god is not the God of the Bible. I do not even want to call this group The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints. With the standards of morality in the Bible the Mormons cannot be considered saints. Pardon me for saying these words.
So if you get two wives then you are not blameless. Just like what happened to Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, the first two leaders of the Mormon Church that exists now in so many parts of the world. Brigham Young had 25 wives; 48 for Joseph Smith. They did not even abide by the revelation that they claim to have received from God. The revelation alleges that you can have only ten wives. But because of their greed for women and their lust, Joseph Smith had 48 and Brigham Young 25. (The Bible has the Highest Morality Code, http://www.esoriano.wordpress.com. Sept. 10, 2008,).
With Jehovah’s witnesses, this is the case. They are a worldwide religious organization teaching that ‘Jehovah’ is the real and personal name of God – a false religion according to Bro. Soriano –
Their claim and their teachings that they are witnesses for Jehovah do not only constitute misnomer, but a deceit, fallacy or hoax.
The name JEHOVAH is not the exact name of God but invented only by Jehovah’s pastors and in fact it was corrupted by adding vowel to its original which is YHWH. Therefore, the god they are worshipping and calling by name is not the God of the old Jews and Christians of the bible but a false god, and if they were obeying the will of their false god and false teacher then the inevitable conclusion is that they were the true witnesses but can be categorized as false witnesses also.
If Bro. Eli appears contentious outside the spheres of his church, the more he is with his own people. He practices what he preaches and expects that the whole of the teachings of the bible are applied. As rendered by the King James Bible, in Proverbs 28:4 – “They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them.”
More so that there are expected certain behaviors in the House of God. The very events that happen in the congregation where Bro. Eli belongs show a manager quick to correct the flaws of his people given his notice. There are structures in place for complaints or grievances to be heard. Should there be a need for sanctions, they are applied at the right time and in the correct proportion. There are warnings given and according to the circumstances surrounding the offence, if the person shows no inclination to change, chances are the person gets the end of the stick: a long term suspension, if not excommunication. On this score, many of those involved in filing cases against Bro. Eli are the very same persons he had excommunicated for various reasons.
Preacher in Exile
Bro. Eli left the Philippines towards the end of 2005 upon receipt of news that he would get killed. It was not for his own skin that he had to leave. It was more because his brothers in the faith would not allow any physical assault on him and he did not want to involve them.
The “rape charge” was expected to tear him to pieces. Fabricated no matter, it was blown up into “sex crimes” as his bio posted with the International Criminal Police Commission or Interpol board showed. It was supposed to be upon the request of the Regional court of Macabebe, Pampanga in the country.
The ministers of the Iglesia ni Cristo in Net 25 had anticipated events and reported about an “exodus” from Ang Dating Daan and this was repeated by their members in the Internet. This included Blogger Rizalino Arrabis who in his fighting mood described this exodus as caused by Preacher Soriano who had left his flock and went into hiding from authorities. As Elias Ibarra, he wrote a response on December 28th, 2008 to Colonel Gates in NowPublic.com –
It is not us that is suffering from debacles!!! It is your “Ang Dating Daan” cult!!! From 13,000 a few weeks ago, you are now reduced to more or less 10,000 and soon there will be no one left except the chigoes!!! Wake up!!! Where is now the remaining bravado and bragadocio of the phenomenal fugitive criminal pseudo-preacher? …. Stop your propaganda that your Dear Leader is doing bible expositions worldwide!!! There is none!!! Your remaining congregations are closing shop!!! Your cult is in total agony!!! You are in pain but you are still in denial stage!!!!
While the enemies of Bro. Eli thought he would be placed in an uncompromising position as the world’s agenda and be put to shame, the effect was the opposite.
As agenda, Bro. Eli is being talked about and much focus is on him. The Interpol matter has put him in a very bad light but obviously only to those who do not know him. While his enemies may be rejoicing that he has finally been humiliated as a Wanted Person, it is a reason to be thankful for. Bro. Eli had to leave the country for religious persecution but now it is an opportunity to fulfill part of the Commission – the salvation of souls in the West.
Being agenda in this world, however, can be positive as well as destructive. The accusations on Bro. Eli include wild imaginations from the enemy from having debilitating sickness, to running away from the law as a criminal, to heading a cult, to stashing Church money in Switzerland, to putting church properties under his name . These suspicions manifest in the comments and blogs of Iglesia ni Cristo members. [Truth: It’s the other way around. These are his properties but Bro. Eli placed them under the name of the Church, and none of his relatives may claim them when he dies]. Worse, they use as witnesses against Bro. Eli people who left the INC like Marcos Mataro even as Mataro is dead. Were he alive, he would not condone that as he even died for his exposes as X-Man (Ex-Manalista or formermer member of the INC).
On March 3, 2009, Elias Ibarra [Real name: Rizalino L. Arrabis] posted in Topix.net:
Marcos Mataro was already speaking against the corrupt regime of Eliseo Fernando Soriano when the latter was discovered to have had stashed large amounts of money in Switzerland which belongs to the “Ang Dating Daan”cult!!! The properties and accounts of the cult are all under the name of Eliseo Fernando Soriano!!! He was confronted by some members and the result was his promise to place the properties and accounts under the cult’s name!!! But this never happened!!! Even from his cave, Eliang Soriano is not showing any remorse from what he did!!! The properties and bank accounts are still under his name!!! Daniel Razon and Navales never raised a howl!!! Jane Abao also!!! Why???? They are the immediate beneficiaries in case that debilitating sickness would start to outmaneuver the costly medications of the criminal fugitive!!!
It is to be recalled that Mataro, a UNTV host, and a very vocal critique of the Iglesia ni Cristo, was killed in broad daylight. Motorcycle-riding men shot dead Mataro on the service road of the North Luzon Expressway in San Simon, Pampanga, while waiting for a ride April 27, 2008. The motor vehicle abandoned at the crime of the scene was traced to a deacon of that church group.
On that same day, Arrabis, alias Ibarra, also posted: “The hiding of Eliseo Fernando Soriano is a good sign from above that even on this earth criminals could be already meted with punishment!!!….There is a great decrease in memberships while the complaints filed against Eliseo Fernando Soriano is mounting!!!”
Records show, however, that all court cases against Bro. Eli are coming from only one group: the Iglesia ni Cristo and those whom Soriano had ex-communicated who had become their members.
From the Members Church of God International or Ang Dating Daan, there is a short list of those lining up to discredit Bro. Soriano. They are the excommunicated and they include Daniel Veridiano, alias Puto.
Puto was excommunicated by Bro. Eliseo Soriano upon recommendation by an investigating panel in the Members Church of God International where the preacher is the presiding minister. Puto was reported to have raped some 14 of his subordinates and have appropriated church money for personal needs, two offenses of which he had admitted and confessed on. Upon being turned down in his bid to be re-admitted in the church, he retaliated by joining the Iglesia ni Cristo, a church group that Bro. Eli had exposed for its false teachings.
Puto knew that the INC had over the years been filing case after case against Bro. Eli from libel to frustrated murder to obstruction of justice and others. With Puto going to the INC, the rape case saw many allies lining up to defend him including the Secretary of Justice Raul Gonzalez who had re-filed the case after it was dismissed for lack of evidence. From somebody then cast out by the Church of God for filth – physical and spiritual – he becomes the man of the hour who crucifies his benefactor.
Puto, himself, had long been using an identification card bearing the name of Eliseo Soriano to get things facilitated for himself, including a credit card that got him almost everything he wanted and whisked him wherever he wanted to go. After he was discovered at a time he was also being accused of several rape charges, he found himself without source of income where money is his weakness.
Going to the INC appeared the best alternative for Puto – both to seek revenge and to earn money. The destruction of Eliseo Soriano had long been the dream of the INC ministers as openly manifested in their Ang Tamang Daan program (a poor counterfeit of Ang Dating Daan) in Net25. In that program, they influenced people to get the neck of the preacher by giving details of his daily whereabouts. They instigated the Abu Sayyaf (Moro bandits south of the country) to go after Soriano, claiming that the preacher is against Islam.
The Iglesia ni Cristo is a powerful force to reckon with in the Philippines. With its bloc-voting practice, their endorsement is being sought for by politicians especially the president of the land. It is not without unfortunate results though. Once the endorsed candidate wins, the backfire is expressed in meddling in government affairs including in the justice system. Court cases are followed up to their favor. Their endorsements cannot just be found at election times. It also covers presidential appointments to sensitive positions of the land.
Discrimination by the courts
Soriano’s camp claims that the Secretary of Justice Raul Gonzalez was over-zealous in refiling the dismissed rape case filed by Daniel Veridiano against Eliseo Soriano. They ask if it would be the same if Puto were not a member of the Iglesia ni Cristo. (He was excommunicated by Soriano after which he joined the INC).
They also ask why Chairman Maria Consoliza Laguardia of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) is biased against Eliseo Soriano and his Ang Dating Daan Program versus the Iglesia ni Cristo. They are intrigued that saying “Iglesia ni Manalo” (church of Manalo) is offensive enough to suspend a TV program.
Soriano filed a complaint with the Philippine Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in June 2005, against MTRCB’s decision to ban the program and its hosts from appearing on TV due to complaints filed by the Iglesia ni Cristo. The CHR ruled that MTRCB overstepped its authority by banning Soriano’s TV programs in 2005.
Bro. Soriano would also ask his congregation: if he files for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) why do the Iglesia ni Cristo get theirs in a whisk while it takes him years?
The conclusion of the matter seems to be that the powers that be have it all. Malou Mangahas in her report to the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) claimed, “INC is a shrewd political and business operator. It parlays the votes of its members for political and financial concessions to the church.” (http://www.pcij.org/stories/2002/inc2.html)
While Puto got all the princely attention he needed from the grace of the Iglesia ni Cristo where he became a new member, whether he believed in their doctrines or not, Bro. Eli is fair game to him as Soriano is to those affiliated with the Iglesia ni Cristo and their supporters. Some quarters strongly believe that the good grace Puto is enjoying with the courts is on account of the INC using it to settle scores with Bro. Eli. They only wanted to stop his big mouth from further exposing them. The syndrome in media tells it all.
“Interpol wanted” news
An Alfred P. Dalizon of Journal Online (8/19/2008) wrote about Bro. Soriano as wanted by the Interpol. Clearly twisting facts, Dalizon exposed his links with the Iglesia ni Cristo in so many counts. Bro. Eliseo Soriano is an international fugitive, he said, running away from sex crimes.
The Interpol describes fugitives as “posing serious threat to public safety worldwide …. and financing their continued flight from the law through further criminal activities.” But as seen from video footages shown week after week in the church, Bro. Eli is here and there busy with bible expositions in six continents, propagating the words of God – not doing criminal activities. The new additions to the church membership come in thousands weekly to include those enlightened from the Iglesia ni Cristo, his arch critics.
Soriano’s camp asks, where is the crime victim to speak of, who is denied of justice so that an international order of arrest should be in order? From the records of the case, the investigating prosecutor found no probable cause to prosecute Soriano as he believed that Veridiano’s accusations were all lies and fabricated. The case that was filed sometime before October 5, 2005 was dismissed on January 26, 2006. It was penned by Alexandro Lopez, Asst. Provincial Prosecutor and approved by Jesus Magarang, Provincial prosecutor, Province of Pampanga, San Fernando City. It highly considered the rift going on between the INC and the ADD. It was only that the Secretary of Justice had the case refiled.
Dalizon again said that Bro. Eli is on a red notice. According to the Interpol, a red notice means the Interpo’s role is “To seek the arrest or provisional arrest of wanted persons with a view to extradition.” There was not even a blue notice which role is “ to collect additional information about a person’s identity or activities in relation to a crime” nor a green notice “To provide warnings and criminal intelligence about persons who have committed criminal offences and are likely to repeat these crimes in other countries.”
Contrary to what Dalizon wanted the public to believe, the Interpol said an Interpol Red Notice is NOT an international arrest warrant. The Interpol also issues a warning that the person should be considered innocent until proven guilty.
Dalizon also added that the accused Bro. Soriano is a former INC member as well as the complainant Veridiano who is just going back to his former fold, the INC. That both Soriano and Veridiano are claimed to be former INCs is a poor attempt of Dalizon to cosmeticize public impressions about the Iglesia ni Cristo. This practice is not uncommon though for reporters affiliated with the INC.
After many posts contesting write-ups intended to malign Bro. Eli by the members of Ang Dating Daan in the Internet, the Interpol is believed to have done their own research. From the camp of the preacher, the Interpol is at least expected to understand the following by this time –
1) That Bro. Eli is admittedly a big mouth who does not spare anyone when it comes to truth. He speaks what he is sent for to speak. He cannot add nor delete. It is part of his Commission (Jeremiah 26:2).
2) That Bro. Eli is not what the report sent to the Interpol purportedly is by the court of Macabebe, Pampanga, Philippines. He never was accused of “sex crimes” in any court on earth except as appearing on the online page of the Interpol website.
3) That the one who sent the report is a liar by all counts, a heel that sorely lacks credibility. It is not expected that the Interpol believe everything passed on to them.
4) That between the complainant and the accused, this is the man to listen to.
The Philippines is where Bro. Eli is mostly maligned – the country of his birth. From all the discrimination that he got including from the justice system, it is media that does the overkill. The preacher has many cases filed against him and this is fodder for media again and again, not even mentioning that they were coming from the same source: those he had excommunicated from the Church of God and had transferred to the Iglesia ni Cristo, and the INC itself through their ministers.
If this fact is suppressed in media reports, not everybody can be fooled from the patterns that appear. Some quarters of the public are already aware of the long ADD-INC feud that includes doctrinal issues. This was noted by the court that dismissed the rape case filed sometime before October 5, 2005 and was dismissed on January 6, 2006. The decision was the one penned by Alexandro Lopez, Asst. Provincial Prosecutor and approved by Jesus Magarang, Provincial prosecutor, Province of Pampanga, San Fernando City.
With the media, however, there is much quoting and re-posting without effort to check sources.
ABS-CBN. Consider the ABS-CBN Interactive. For about two years, it bannered the rape story and only the date was changing. The name of Veridiano as complainant was also changed to Pedriano. This news outfit was used by Wikipedia as a reference but was dropped for another. ADD writers booed it as unfair for collecting comments online like it was posting an advertisement for the INC. Thereafter, it changed its name to ABS-CBN Online but remains the same careless outfit that does not check its facts before posting. More than that, it acted as paid hack to the INC. What can explain the years of malicious online posting about the “rape case” then where there in an open assault on Bro. Eli as unprotected accused, at the same time protecting Daniel Veridiano, the accused by twisting his family name from Veridiano to Pedriano?
The camp of Soriano scores Wikipedia for its wanton need for controversy and welcoming more the negative posts of the Iglesia ni Cristo without close scrutiny of their sources.
Wkipedia wrote –
A similar exposition was featured on ABS-CBN’s Special Assignment hosted by Luchi Cruz-Valdez. Cruz-Valdez interviewed former members regarding the information presented in a series of anonymously-published comics depicting the alleged anomalous activities of Soriano. The former members unequivocally-confirmed the factuality of the information in the comics…” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eliseo_Soriano).
These were the very same comics that angered much Bro. Soriano for they depicted him of sodomy. Even as they were written anonymous, Soriano’s camp have witnesses that these were coming from the chapels of the Iglesia ni Cristo as testified by Abner Martizano, a former minister of the Iglesia ni Cristo who got affiliated with the Church of God. The “former members” referred to were those excommunicated by Soriano for various offenses. And yet the excommunication angle was suppressed in the presentation of reports by Wikipedia. There was no mention of it.
Wikipedia. Wikipedia appears habitually careless about the information it is quoting. It said, “ Eliseo ‘Eli’ Soriano is in hiding and is now an international fugitive. An International Arrest Warrant was issued against him.” It quoted Alfred P. Dalizon which published a newsreport on August 8, 2008 in World News (Journal Online). This was the very same news item being protested to by editors of the Ang Dating Daan. Alfred Dalizon titled this (August 8, 2008), “Int’l arrest warrant out for Eli Soriano”. World News (Journal Online). http://article.wn.com/view/2008/08/16/Intl_arrest_warrant_out_for_Eli_Soriano/.
By merely quoting Dalizon who has been exposed with INC links by ADD editors, Wikipedia is showing its ignorance in referencing. For example, Dalizon has already pigeonholed Soriano as a fugitive which description does not fit the Interpol’s. Soriano is openly doing worldwide bible expositions as attested to by video news. Second, an Interpol Red Notice is NOT an international arrest warrant as fed by Dalizon to the public. (http://www.interpol.int/Public/Wanted/Default.asp). And yet Wikipedia honored him as a source.
Rizalino Arrabis. There is also Rizalino L. Arrabis, an INC member, a retired US Navy man based in Guam. Arrabis rallied news organizations online and the national and international police forces to unite and impound Soriano. Commenting November 14, 2007 to an article in OhmyNews International, Arrabis called Soriano the phenomenal criminal fugitive preacher and wrote “WORKINGMEN OF ALL COUNTRIES, UNITE!!! POLICE OFFICIALS OF ALL COUNTRIES, UNITE!!! LEASH AND IMPOUND THIS RABID DOG, ELISEO SORIANO, BEFORE HE SPREADS HIS CORRUPTION.”
Arrabis had been banned from NowPublic.com for his hundred and one personal attacks against Bro. Eli and at the same time given a warning by Editor Rob Walker. Arrabis walked on all newsites where Bro. Soriano is a topic. He believes that what he is doing is “Christian.” He said in Newsvine.com (Thu Dec 27, 2007 7:25 PM EST)-
My idea here is to defend the Iglesia Ni Cristo, demolish, and neutralize the detractors for all these comes up as the battle for the hearts and minds. I know pretty well that I have done a good job worthy of a Christian soldier….”
Liecaster Obligacion. Then there is Conrad J. Obligacion as identified in topix.net who stole the name of Bro. Eli as truthcaster. Called Liecaster by some, Obligacion had been posting online as “truthcaster” in NowPublic.com to humiliate the owner of that name but gets a warning from Amyjudd for slanderous remarks if he could not substantiate his claims. Eventually, his story was closed, following the fate of Arrabis.
Obligacion shows the many marks of being a rabid INC member, beginning with his two-pronged approach: appropriating the monicker of Bro. Eli and at the same time publicly declaring that he is devoting his life to destroying his victim. In the many ‘opinion’ articles he wrote, he simply substituted Soriano as the one the world is waiting for to come out and defend his false teachings.
It is public knowledge that Eraño Manalo, the Executive Minister of the INC, has never dared to respond to the challenge of Preacher Soriano to come out for a debate. (On March 27, 2005, Soriano placed a one-page ad challenging Manalo to come out so that they could once and for all settle their differences. His ministers in Net25 answered him as follows in Tagalog: “Soriano, debate first with the pope in Latin, after which the Executive Minister can face you.”)
“Truthcaster” then appointed himself as one who would re-write the biography of Bro. Soriano to its “true” form. This was where his identity as Conrad J. Obligacion was traced from topix.net where he originally wrote the re-written bio. As no one bothered to react, he repeated this in Nowpublic.com with the name “truthcaster,” His piece, “A false prophet is born” runs as follows –
Eli was sickly, there was something wrong with his heart and this was complicated by bouts of asthma. But Eli has a more troubling disease that would hound him later in his life. The disease was his overwhelming need to borrow money. The late 60’s was the year where he found himself owing about P10, 000.00 from different people. He needed his brother’s help to bail him out of his trouble. To support his growing need for money, while still a minister of his church he turned to cooking food to sell. His first turo-turo was in Sampaloc, Manila. He would go to the market and gather rotting vegetables which market vendors threw away as garbage, and used this to make lumpia which he would then sell for human consumption. He boasted that this was a great idea because he had a his profit margins were high. Aside from his lumpia, he also started selling other things, including women’s bras and panties. On top of this, he also tended to raising chickens and pigs in their own back yard. http://resbak.com/ blog/?p=77 (Dec 27, 2008 | post #1) Topix.net.
While “Truthcaster” had long been associated with Bro. Eli for his many years of broadcasting the truth, Obligacion appropriated it. There would have been no question if he simply sported ‘truthcaster” as username, but then he was employing it to attack the very one using that monicker. This is a case then of ‘truthcaster” attacking TruthCaster. Shamelessly, Obligacion went through the bio of Bro. Eli and changed everything positive to negative. At the end he had to gall to say that it was Soriano who stole his name. In Zimbio.com (03/04/09), he wrote in his article, “Ask Bro. Eli! The ‘most sensible preacher’ does not make sense” –
He sports many monikers such as “the most sensible preacher of our times”, “phenomenal preacher”, “Walking bible”, “Modern [Day] Jeremiah”, “the appointed one”, “he who holds the key”, and others. He even stole my handle, truthcaster…. But is he really all that?
The fake truthcaster, or liecaster as he is called by Ang Dating Daan writers, comes in other aliases like ReadMeIglesiaNiCristo, Resbak, cover names like James Mon, John Phillip Rivera, and countless other names.
Ka Webspy. More vicious than Arrabis and Obligacion is Ka Webspy [Real name: Sustines E. Laplana, native of Masinloc Leyte] also of the Iglesia ni Cristo who had been for years hitting hard on Bro. Soriano. Laplana or Ka Webspy created about 50 websites purposely to destroy the man. What was quite vicious of him is his use of the name of Soriano and the Church’s name and identity in naming the websites. He uses Eli Soriano to attack Eli Soriano, the Church of God International to attack the Church and naming the church ministers as attacking the preacher, or the preachers as attacking each other.
In http://churchofgodint.blogspot.com/ he wrote –
Ang Dating Daan program aims to propagate the true and everlasting Gospel of Christ based on the Bible (if not scrutinized), convert sinners (convert or hold them to stay sinners?) to believe (to believe God or gods?) and glorify God (Is stealing the property of others glorify God?). Only the Church can teach the wisdom of God in the salvation of mankind (Only the true Church but not the church founded by Eli Soriano.)
All placed under Ka Webspy Network, these are some of his sites: The Ang Dating Daan of Brother Eli Soriano, 101 Kontradiksiyon, Absurd Teaching, Ang Dating Daan, Ang Dating Daan Komiks I, Ang Dating Daan Komiks II,Absurd Teaching, Eli Soriano, Ang Dating Daan Webring ni Eli Soriano.
Ka Webspy Network also supported the following sites against the Members Church of God International (MCGI), more popularly known as Ang Dating Daan: Ang Akweng Daan, Ang Dating Daan Video Clips ni Eli Soriano, Ang Dating Daan Video Clips II ni Eli Soriano, Ang Dating Daan Audio Clips ni Eli Soriano, Ang Dating Daan Audio Clips ni Eli Soriano II, Ang Dating Daan Audio Clips ni Eli Soriano III, Mga Tinig sa Ilang – Pagbubunyag sa Ang Dating Daan, Eli Soriano at Ang Dating Daan – Kontradiksyon, Ang Dating Daan at ang kanyang mga Kasinungalingan, Ang Dating Daan Komiks 1 (ni Eli Soriano), Ang Dating Daan Komiks 2 (ni Eli Soriano), (Ang Dating Daan ni Eli Soriano) 101 Kontradiksiyon, All About Eli Soriano & Ang Dating Daan, Church of God International, Ang Katotohanan Tungkol kay Ginoong Eli Soriano at sa Kaniyang”Ang Dating Daan,” Papalit-palit, Kontra-kontra Doktrina ni Ingkong (Eli Soriano ng Ang Dating Daan), Tuligsa ni Eli Soriano, Mga ang dating…Ang Dating Daan ni Eli Soriano, Linguistic Errors ni Eli Soriano ng Ang Dating Daan, Q & A ng Ang Dating Daan ni Eli Soriano.
All of these are twists posted by Ka Webspy and excommunicated members from the ADD or MCGI. They carried news, audio clips, video clips and comics calculated to mislead the public about Bro. Soriano. For example, Ang Dating Daan Video Clips ni Eli Soriano contained 100 video clips against the preacher, mostly twisting his preaching and calling it doctrines of Eli Soriano. Video Clips II ni Eli Soriano is a continuation that totaled 186 VIDEO clips with “testimonies” of two excommunicated from ADD.
Then there are the audio clips. Audio Clips ni Eli Soriano includes the same twisting of preaching and carries the testimonies of two excommunicated members from ADD with 95 clips. Audio Clips ni Eli Soriano II is a continuation that included testimony of one excommunicated ADD member. In all there were 169 AUDIO clips against Bro. Eli.
Mga Tinig sa Ilang – Pagbubunyag sa Ang Dating Daan (Voices from the Wilderness) contains more accusations that Bro. Eli.
If there is one common trait of Ka Webspy and the other enemies of Bro. Soriano, it is using Soriano’s name against himself. Consider this site: “Eli Soriano Vs Eliseo F. Soriano. All About Eli Soriano of Ang Dating Daan & Members Church of God International.” Worse, the domain name is also named after the preacher. Even the hymns of the Church of God were not spared from their vandalism. The photographs of both Bros. Soriano and Razon were also appropriated and morphed to make them appear sissy.
Ka Webspy had always been discreet with his identity, never mentioning his name while he hit hard on Bro. Soriano. In 2006, he quit blogging as Ka Webspy. By March, he was using Selaplana.com with his real name traced as Sustines E. Laplana. His reason as he was interviewed as a blogger was that he didn’t like the performance of those earlier blogs and what he written in them. Indeed on June 15, 2005, the SEO Files said that Ka Webspy Network was declining. He said he was called idiot blogger before, and he didn’t want that anymore. To date, however, the old sites he had made continue to deliver negative blows on Bro. Soriano.
As he changed topics to increase his earnings, he included results of examinations, songs, and even sex and scandals, and website money making.
Sowing in thousands
Duplication and multiplication seems to be the mode of destruction for Bro. Soriano. Nevertheless, enemies were making the preacher all the more the agenda in whatever form.
Allison Lopez. For example, Allison Lopez of the Philippine Daily Inquirer (08/29/2008) wrote about Ely (Sic) Soriano as having been charged with falsification of documents. “Ely” is the insistent spelling given by INCs to make it appear feminine and Lopez had picked it up. She also didn’t bother to do some background check on the supposed rape victim, Veridiano, even as she highlighted the rape case in the falsification charge. She also made no note of the fact that the preacher was out of the country some 3 years after she wrote her falsification report. To the camp of Soriano, it is Veridiano who had been raping his 14 officemates and there was no mention of this by media people. The case was also dismissed for lack of evidence but refiled by the Secretary of Justice, Raul Gonzalez, to a higher court and this fact was clearly suppressed.
Nevertheless, this underwritten report was re-posted in Scribd.com (10/22/2008) as a document. It was also posted by The Rick A. Ross Institute both as an HTML document and as a reference with their organization emblazoned as the collector of data
YouTube. Over at YouTube, the whole story of Allison Lopez was posted by EliXWanted. It is not without comments, however, about the obvious bias of the reporter against Soriano, the writer’s ignorance of any connection between Veridiano, the complainant and Soriano, the respondent except that Veridiano was some sort of secretary. YouTube now is replete with much garbage from those trying hard to out-do the debates of the preacher, his Bible expositions, the testimonies attesting to lives that Bro. Eli has changed. The preacher’s enemies have made fair game out of him trying hard to paint a different picture from what he is.
Asterpix. The same news of Allison Lopez, an INC, was posted in Asterpix Interactive Video by Asterbot88 on January 31, 2009 in an identical form as that of YouTube but the poster here displays an even more cunning. There is no place to comment on the page. The author gets all the privilege to post with no feedback allowed. Noticeable though is that it contains no (zero) views on all the 5-7 videos it posted against Soriano.
Foreigner Blogs. Eventually, a paragraph sliced from that Allison Lopez news report was transposed into a video of 2.3 minutes and embedded in many blogs of foreigners. This is the paragraph that bloomed into a picture for entertainment effects:
“Gumaru even received the release order of Soriano to make it appear that Soriano was indeed in his custody … Clearly, Soriano was not arrested nor placed in the custody of Gumaru and thus not entitled to post bail,” said Alva in his report, stressing that an accused cannot post bail without surrendering or being arrested by law enforcers.
In other words, both Police Officer Gumaru and Alva were being used here to influence the public with just a slice of the report and taken out of context.
Up until today since 2008, this sliced paragraph-cum-video item shows now and then in many blogs outside the country, believed by some quarters as a bid to undermine the preacher’s credibility as he does his bible expositions abroad. (In every exposition, it is inevitable that the preacher touch on false beliefs and false preachers which talk the INC disdain).
Jean-Francois Demers, for example, discussed market and economy in his blog, “Flying Squadron” but a post in blogspot, January 29, 2009 embedded this videod paragraph of Allison Lopez. What malice can do!
Wendy Dawson whose passion is Musical Theater also embedded this paragraph-video in her post on “Africa Again,” March 8, 2009, blogspot. There are yet many other others as supplied by Google alert from time to time. Asked why they post this item and if they knew anything about Bro. Soriano, there is no response.
“Foolish” and “stupid” as sorianospeak
If there is something false preachers dislike about Bro. Soriano, it is his calling them foolish (gago) and stupid (tanga). One is not cursing or cussing if that is the truth, the preacher would reason. Soriano is accused of being overly contentious and not “respecting” other religions, but the perspective of the preacher is not the same: Soriano has a task to perform.
Known to be the only preacher who is fearless enough to tell the truth, just before his preaching opens in the Church of God, Jeremiah 26:2 flashes on the screen in several language translations –
Thus saith the LORD; Stand in the court of the LORD’s house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the LORD’s house, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a word.
Both ‘foolish’ and ‘stupid’ then come from the package of Soriano’s Jeremiah 26:2 role. To understand his discourses better, these terms should not be taken by themselves alone but from the context of what the preacher is trying to point out. The preacher is really that frank and doesn’t mince words. The following excerpts that come from his own website are examples of sorianospeak–
While many enemies of Christ and the Bible delight in the stupid and defamatory story of Dan Brown’s “Da Vinci Code”, a perusal of written and archeological information can easily belie such make-believe bunch of stupidity. (Beyond an Iota of a Doubt, March 5, 2009).
Here’s another one –
Why are there so many starving people on earth? The answer is: Because of those people who do not believe in God — like YOU! Greed in money, wealth, power, and everything earthly is the cause of all evil in this world. It is not God’s fault. (Feeding the Spiritually Starving People with God’s Word from the Bible, May 20, 2007)
In retaliation, his enemies could only dig on his weaknesses and infirmities to which he answers: “The God of all good characters and morals understands my infirmities and weaknesses. They testify that He is greater than I am.”
Tell the world
Russian wiki. What is surprising is the extent to tell the world about Soriano. His bio in Wikipedia that is mostly negative was translated into Russian by Dic.academic.ru. [A translator was used to know what language the page was in].
Astronomy site. It is also intriguing how his bio from Wikipedia would be posted by sites called Absolute Astonomy.com, Exploring the Universe of Knowledge
Bereans. The Bereans never lack interest in Bro. Soriano. Every case filed by his enemies are easily picked up and posted for comment. According to Bro. Eli, Bereans keep on researching but never come into the truth. It is because God sees the heart; anyone truly looking for God will find Him.
Polls. Polls are also made of Bro. Soriano with only one answer. The question in ISTORYA.net posted by botslot on October 2007 was, “Is Ely Soriano of ADD a false Prophet?” (Take note of the spelling and remember the group that spells it that way and why). The answers were: 1) Biggest yes with clapping of hands; 2) Big yes; 3) Resounding yes! 4) Just yes!!!!!. The results: 93.33% said yes, he is; but there were only 14 voters. The total votes cast were just 24. Then the pool was closed – a poll providing a space for only one answer.
There are the neutral sides though and the supposedly neutral sides like The Rick A. Ross Institute but not very many do that. After posting items from one side, it also posts from the other side and this time he placed the link leading to the website of Bro. Eli (http://www.elisoriano.com/).
In answer to those who claim that Soriano is hitting everybody outside of his belief, this is what he says in his official blogsite (http://www.elisoriano.com/).
I want to make it clear to everybody that it is not my goal and never will it be to disgrace or humiliate or anybody personally. I am not against any human person, but on the spirit of wickedness that is in him. (Truth in focus, August 26, 2007)
Claiming he has done a lot of research, he said there is much misleading information that many are being deceived.
I have invited to take a ‘U-turn’ and dig deeper to find the roots of all the fraud and deceit that now dominates almost all sector of society — even the religious helm of it.
In my search, I have found that there are so many irrational views, erroneous teachings, evil ideologies, and misleading information, wherein deceit and fraud are always in essence, but hidden. (Truth in focus, August 26, 2007)
As he exposes false preachers and their false teachings, people react to them prominent of which are issues of idol worship in many forms, and tithing which is part of the Mosaic Law. In the end, he reaps court cases, if not curses; immigration woes and similar problems. Wasn’t he in the wanted list of the Interpol? While this issue was at first humiliating – a time-killer for those with important work to do like propagation of the gospel – he has become an agenda, and this time it is international.
To drain the church’s resources
Bro. Eli’s receiving court cases and accusations in a layer are not without intent. The pattern understood even from the beginning which the preacher explained to the congregation was to drain all his resources until he is financially bankrupt. Then he could not move to do his preaching which necessarily touches on false practices and beliefs.
To date, from church records, there are about 20 criminal cases, majority of which are libel suits and fabricated charges of rape, frustrated murder, obstruction of justice, and libel.
This notion of the church being drained of resources was all the more strengthned when Bro. Daniel Razon, the vice presiding minister of the Church was pushed off his post in GMA7, a big media network. Some believe that management was pressured by some “religious” people so that Razon had to choose between his religion and his job. There were words he was prevented from uttering. As some quarters believe, his only fault was in being a member of the Ang Dating Daan and was forced to choose between his job and serving God.
In June 2005 Dindo M. Balares of Manila Bulletin wrote about this “pressured” resignation. It reportedly came in the wake of a “boycott” of “Unang Hirit” and other GMA-7 shows by the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) members who were raising a protest against Razon.
As reported by Balares, GMA had decided to release Razon “to maintain its neutrality in the midst of the on-going bitter conflict between the Iglesia ni Cristo and Ang Dating Daan.”
More tentacles in government
Daniel Razon was also denied a post in the government after the elections commission laid off the party-list which he represented during the last national elections. The reason? Because the Commission believed that the partly-list he represented was a front of a religious organization.
On November 19, 2007, the Commission on Elections 2nd Division (under Article 6 of Republic Act 7941), disqualified the Bagong Alyansang Tagapagtaguyod ng Adhikaing Sambayanan (BATAS) party-list group. (Translated in English, this means New Alliance of Advocates for National Goals). The COMELEC ruled that Batas is an extension of the Ang Dating Daan of Bro. Eliseo Soriano where Daniel Razon, the party-list group’s first nominee is the second highest official of the religious organization. The petition for disqualification and cancellation of registration was filed by one Nathan Macute, said to be a resident of Sitio Roque, Alabang, Muntinlupa City.
On November 24, 2007, Congressman-elect Daniel S. Razon had to call on Philippine National Police Chief Avelino Razon before some 50,000 followers Saturday to protect his accuser. The former had received word that Macute would be killed and that it would be blamed on him. The conversation was carried over phone patch that morning. Razon made the request after finding out that this Nathan Macute is a seemingly harmless and quiet fellow and might be just a scapegoat.
There is a seeming lack of understanding though in how the public looks at the Church of God, known to the public as Ang Dating Daan. Unlike other church groups, these people are not forced to vote for certain candidates. They are not given orders even to congregate in one place. Judging from their great numbers in all church activities, one may safely conclude that it is their common faith that moves them. They normally support each other in times of need so that it is not surprising if they voted for candidates from the church, much more a church leader like their Bro. Daniel Razon.
Just like his superior, Bro. Eli, Razon’s bio in Wikipedia is much peppered with negative accounts, including a report wherein he was declared “Persona Non Grata” of Apalit, Pampanga. Accordingly, on Razon’s daily morning TV show, “Good Morning Kuya” aired over UNTV 37, he criticized the imposition of the Apalit Municipal Council Resolution No. 15 “enforcing pertinent national and local statutes” on the grounds of the Church. This prompted the Apalit Municipal Government to declare Razon, a bonafide resident of Apalit, Pampanga a “persona non grata” through Resolution 28 series of 2008.
From the reception of people, however, this resolution is rendered toothless. An average weekly attendance of some 60,000 members of the Church of God International meet every Saturday for thanksgiving in Apalit to listen to the preaching of their Bro. Eli Soriano as well as to Bro. Daniel Razon. (The former preaches in 6 continents simulcast through satellite).
A similar incident happened in Zamboanga City in October 2008. Daily Zamboanga Times reported that Commission on Human Rights Regional Director Jose Manuel S. Mamauag had criticized the City Council on its common practice of declaring persons, including Filipino citizens, persona non grata. Atty. Mamauag appealed to the City Council to “vigilantly observe the rule of law and to be mindful of the good name of persons.”
As reported in the news, Mamaug said, “To be persona non grata is to be a social pariah. Branding a person as unacceptable and publicly tagging him as unwelcome in a city wherein he is free to enter and leave by virtue of his being a Filipino is tantamount to imposing a punishment that is not provided by law.”
The Human Rights Commissioner Mamauag explained that the declaration of persona non grata is normally being practiced in diplomatic relations.
How do you “outcast” a bonafide resident in the first place? Jun A. Malig, in his commentary in Sun Star Pampanga some years back (10/25/2005) said literally, persona non grata refers to “an unwelcome person” but that would not include bona fide residents of the territory, it appears. The person may be prevented, depending on existing laws or ordinances, from setting foot in the territorial jurisdiction of those who “outcast” him, he said.
The myth of ADD as INC breakaway group
One item that is repeated over and over in reports and passed on to others is the myth that the Ang Dating Daan is a breakaway away group of the Iglesia ni Cristo. The ones that love to do such repetition, however, are those affiliated with the INC. From obtaining patterns of newsreports, this is the outstanding “background information” they are careful to give, calculated with self-serving motives. Other background information that are critical to the understanding of news are suppressed.
The members of the ADD find this quite ironic in that while the INC members create so much trouble for the former, the latter insist on planting this notion in the mind of the public – whatever gains they can get from that. As far as the ADD constituents are concerned, there is not an iota of similarity in the beliefs of the two that one can be called a breakaway group of the other.
For example, Aries Rufo wrote in his news report that “Soriano founded the religious sect ADD, a breakaway group of the Iglesia Ni Cristo sect.” (Newsbreak Online, SC sustains suspension of Ang Dating Daan, April 30, 2009). It is not only Rufo who does that, however. The wrong information passed also to the Embassy of the United States is the same: that the MCGI or ADD is a break-away group of the INC.
The International Religious Freedom Report 2003 released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor says on Religious Demography : “There are three churches established by local religious leaders: The Independent Church of the Philippines or “Aglipayan,” the Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ), and the Ang Dating Daan (an offshoot of Iglesia ni Cristo).
The American Embassy had been informed as early as 2005 that this is not so since there had been intervening phases to be called offshoot. It cannot also be called breakaway in the sense that it cannot even be called an offshoot. To be breakaway, you have to be a part first. However, the INC benefits from reports like this as again and again they appear in news reports. Coming in other forms, the propagation of this kind may be found in inserting appendages to describe the INC. It is a poor attempt to package this church favorably to the public eye. Some of these pertain to seniority and size, while they flaunt their power – as if favor with God or truth is found in these aspects.
Writing about Bernardo Santiago, one excommunicated from the Church of God for adultery Demiel R. Robles, a Newsbreak Contributing writer wrote.
….But in 1998, Santiago was not only stripped of that privilege; he was expelled by the organization that he thought would bring him salvation. His offense, according to the ADD: adultery. Humiliated, Santiago fought back. The ADD says he subsequently cast his fate with the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC), the powerful religious congregation founded by the late Felix Manalo and where most senior ADD preachers come from.
Robles compared the squabble between the ADD and the INC to that of a David-and-Goliath script in explaining why the INC is “so quiet to allegations.” To the camp of Soriano, however, the INCs have nothing to say in a call to debate to defend their false teachings, therefore are so quiet. As events show, however, they answer with court cases.
Demiel Robles ends his piece with a taunt:
Brother Eli realizes that as a religious leader, his mission is necessarily spiritual. But he should know that God has no business in litigation and the media…. Will he invoke the Bible to save himself from worldly court cases? His disciples and critics await the coming days with curiosity and anxiety.
Time and again, Bro. Soriano would say that the Church of God or ADD was never a part of the Iglesia ni Cristo.
The history of the MCGI or Ang Dating Dating records Nicholas Perez as the first minister. This is where the parents of Bro. Eli were affiliated. Documents show that it was in 1931 when Nicholas Perez with Avelino Santiago started their own group called Iglesia ng Diyos kay Kristo Hesus, Haligi at Suhay ng Katotohanan (Church of God in Christ Jesus, Pillar and Support of The Truth) after some doctrinal differences with the Iglesia ni Cristo.
On December 10, 1936, Nicholas Perez officially registered the Iglesia ng Diyos kay Cristo Hesus Haligi at Suhay ng Katotohanan with the Bureau of Commerce and Industry. After a lapse of 41 years, on March 30, 1977, two years after the death of Perez, Eliseo Soriano and followers registered his own group and called it the Iglesia ng Dios kay Kristo Hesus, Haligi at Saligan ng Katotohanan (Church of God in Christ Jesus, The Pillar and Ground of the Truth). Soriano has then become the Presiding Minister.
As events would have it, the church doctrines would get corrected as revealed to the faithful Soriano so much so that there had been gargantuan overhaul from the teachings of Perez. Soriano, publicly known as bible scholar, did much corrections over time. Moreover, he was revealing mystery after mystery in every church gathering.
Fast forward to January 14, 2004, after 27 years Soriano registered and used the name, Members Church of God International because locals were founded in the United States. By the end of 2005, Bro. Soriano would be thrust to the West on account of persecutions. As membership grew to include the yellow, white and black race, the contents of his preachings reached high levels to spiritual dimensions. Meanwhile, his enemies continued to give him a difficult time with court cases.
Claiming then that the ADD or MCGI is a breakaway group from the Iglesia ni Cristo is like claiming that one is a split from Adam.
If some people hate Bro. Eli and loathe what he says, it is not a secret that there are those who want him dead and would hound him to the ends of this earth to stop him from talking. While he talks and others talk, the loudest and the most ubiquitous messages may take the upper-hand. Take the case of the Interpol notice of Wanted Persons that his enemies posted and re-posted all over the Internet.
While all of these obtain, on November 25, 2007, GMANews.TV would banner, “UNTV, Razon, Soriano sites top 10th Philippine Web Awards.” The following are excerpts –
Three websites associated with religious leader Eliseo Soriano dominated the 10th Philippine Web Awards (PWA) Friday night – http://www.angdatingdaan.com, the official site of Soriano’s The Church of God International; http://www.danielrazon.com, the official site of broadcaster Daniel Razon, Soriano’s nephew; and http://www.untvweb.com, the official site of UNTV 37, where Soriano’s Ang Dating Daan is among the top programs.
The Church of God official site won, through SMS voting, as the Most Popular Website, on top of being named the People’s Choice in the Organizations category.
Razon’s site won in the Celebrities and Personalities category, getting the People’s Choice award as well. The site edged out the Alaska Aces website and the Blaze of Glory site of GMANews.TV.
In the News and Media category, the UNTV site also edged out GMANews.TV, last year’s winner. It also grabbed the People’s Choice award for the category.
As posted by GMANews.TV, the People’s Choice award in each category is determined by Short Message Service (SMS) voting. The main award for each category is picked by judges, both foreign and local, composed of veteran web artists, content writers, and designers, have evaluated all the 69 Web site finalists.
This is not a just happenstance as in the 11th Philippine Web Awards held last February 2009, the same winners scored. This time, instead of the Church of God official site as over-all winner, the newly-constructed truth blog of Bro. Eliseo Soriano, (www.esoriano.wordpress.com) won as the most popular website, besting all others in all categories.
Bro. Eli’s blogsite also stood as the People’s choice in the blog category. At the same time that his blogsite won, all his organizational affiliates won: the Ang Dating Daan – Bible Exposition Online (organization category), Kaanib.net – Christian Web Newsmagazine (magazines and ezines category), UNTV – Your Public Service Channel (News and Media category).
What these wards may imply is that Bro. Eliseo Soriano after all is not entirely what his enemies portray him. Some like to listen to what he is saying – to truth. Some like to know about God and how to be saved. Bro. Soriano does not take people by surprise when he criticizes them. Criticism is part of the package of his jeremiad role.
Flash back to Apalit, Pampanga in April 2009 where the Central Office is, it is again International Thanksgiving time and the screen as usual is there. It is primarily used to flash the biblical verses being studied.
On the screen, Bro. Eli is shown successfully holding worldwide bible expositions in the West. The converts are expressing gratitude for having heard truth that were never preached to them before by other pastors. And yet it took a simple man from a poor country to bring them good news. The scene is repeated in other continents but in different versions of propagation.
Meanwhile, his enemies keep bugging the public to produce Eliseo Soriano, his location, his address – either that of the telephone, fax, or email. They warn the writers of the Church congregation to “cooperate” with authorities and provide his whereabouts. But apparently with scales in their eyes, they could not trace the man.
While they do this, the preacher is hitting it big in the news. Early this year, his Truth blog gets the Most Popular Website award, and his organization and all affiliates all get web awards as in the last 5 to 6 years.
Since 2005 when he left the country to continue preaching in other lands, it slowly dawned on him that his commission was not just focused on Filipinos. The battle cry, “Wherever the Filipinos are” no longer applied. As he goes out farther and farther from his country, he is reaping converts from the six continents of Africa, Asia, North and South America, Europe and Australia.
The screen flushes and one sees those of the white race interested in what this Filipino preacher is saying; they hug the man as a long lost brother. Another screen flashes and you see those from the black race looking intently at him; they listen to his messages as though very thirsty of truth. Finally, they sing praises to God – in Tagalog, the preacher’s language. (As explained by Bro. Daniel Razon, one of those instrumental in these overseas missions, the Papuans were easily taught in Tagalog rather than in English. Accordingly, the same model would be applied to other races that are receptive more to Tagalog than English).
Reasons to thank for
There is nothing pleasant in people scrutinizing your private person and looking for faults while you are busy with work. There is nothing enjoyable in people misinterpreting your role in the work of salvation and with it the accusations that point to personal motives. These are the times that greatly trouble a person.
While people can drive you away to leave your place of abode, at the same time, they want you back – but in box. And while they cannot find you, they incessantly try to track you down in the most humiliating way. It is the very threats on Bro. Eli’s life, however, that necessarily made him move on to the West. Ironically, this has translated into so many coming to know the truth. The persecution of Bro. Eli clearly is something to thank God for.
It’s not like giving the other cheek when one is slapped; it’s just being thankful that instead of being the oppressor, one is the oppressed; instead of being the persecutor, one is persecuted.
The church congregation knows that the role of a prophet of God had already been planned out even before he was born. That includes the sufferings he has to undergo. If his enemies dislike what he is saying, so be it; nevertheless he backs up everything he says with biblical proofs, and that should be enough. However, as stated in the bible, there are those who cannot sleep unless they do evil.
His being in the wanted list of Interpol is still something to value. While the preacher obviously cannot get justice in his own country, there is yet a chance that that world body may be fair for all. Moreover, the attention of both friend and foe has been caught. The curiosity of the world on this man is all the more sharpened. They get to compare what two sides are saying and weigh them. Doing that, they may come to know about God in the process. Moreover, no matter how powerful an enemy is, nothing happens without God’s permission.
For the good of them that love God
Thorns that come people’s way may still be roses. These may only be opportunities for one to be more resourceful for a new recourse of action, be more patient with the situation, grow in faith, and understand what there is to understand. Bro. Soriano’s persecution led him into exile but the fruit turned out into something good for the Church.
The butterfly, for example, has to undergo some struggles before it comes out beautiful. If one tried to help it come out of its cocoon by tearing the silken sack that enveloped it, one will have forced his way upon its natural process of growth. Nature has ordained that it kick and kick itself out, in a very hard way. As it does, some oil comes out of its body that is needed for its development.
The same is true of Christians as they do their task. Problems may come along the way that appears as mere problems. As promised in the bible, however, everything that happens is all for the good of them that are called according to his purpose. In Romans 8:28 –
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (King James Bible)
Right from the very start, Bro. Soriano has taught his people not to attempt to make revenge to the enemies of the Church. When brothers were bludgeoned badly in a local restaurant in the town of Apalit by members of the Iglesia ni Cristo in 2005, he made this call. As April ended in 2008, when UNTV host Marcos Mataro was killed in broad daylight in which death implicated a deacon of the Iglesia ni Cristo, he again repeated the call. He warned his members not to be rendering thanksgiving to God with bitterness in the heart.
Whereof you can’t revenge, therefore what will you do? Just what is the logic of all these?
Leave it to God; let it be, Bro. Soriano says. In Romans 12:19 –
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. (KJV)