By Jane Abao
Manila, Philippines (8/23/2011) – To boycott is to punish. After two years GMANews has not learned its lesson. Its habit for biased and irresponsible reporting cannot anymore pass without giving them a wake up call. It has been slapped with a massive boycott throughout the country from Ang Dating Daan (ADD) until the network renders a public apology to its victim, Bro. Eli Soriano, or better still to settle things with a public debate. This is as far as the organization of Bro. Eli is concerned.
Bro. Eli is the Presiding Minister to the Members Church of God International (MCGI) or Ang Dating Daan (ADD) as more popularly known.
The sustained boycott of the international organization began on August 7 and is way on to its third week. For a network that doesn’t favor truth, members deleted Channels 7 and 11 in their TV programs.
BACKGROUND. Way back on June 18, 2009, GMA 7 aired a controversial interview with a self-confessed serial rapist named Daniel “Puto” Veridiano. https://kotawinters.wordpress.com/2009/07/20/ang-dating-daan-blasts-gma7-self-branding-as-house-of-truth/ Puto was excommunicated from the ADD by Bro. Eli upon the recommendation of a fact-finding committee. He was found guilty of various sex offenses as well as of misappropriation of church funds in August 2004.
In response, Puto filed a rape case of two counts against Bro. Eli but which cases were dismissed. He said that he had been raped in 2000 and 2001 but evidences presented by Bro. Eli laid the accusations as baseless and tainted with malice even from the beginning. Puto got affiliated with the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC), the arch enemy of the ADD, after failing in his appeal to be restored.
In the court, the investigating prosecutor found no probable cause to prosecute the crusading preacher as he believed Puto’s accusations were fabricated. Bro. Eli was able to present his evidences. The case was filed sometime before October 5, 2005 and was dismissed on January 26, 2006. It was penned by Alejandro Lopez, Asst. Provincial Prosecutor and approved by Jesus Magarang, Provincial Prosecutor of the Province of Pampanga, San Fernando City. The court highly considered the rift going on between the INC and the ADD.
By a twist of fate, the dismissed case found itself again in the court of the Secretary of Justice Raul M. Gonzalez which was under the Office of the then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Public reports bare that Arroyo was openly backed up by the influential Iglesia ni Cristo during both 2004 and 2007 elections by virtue of its practice of bloc voting.
POLITICS AND POWER. Bloc voting affords the INC power when politicians they endorsed get elected, as invariably reported by media. It is not a secret that politicians from the time of Felix Manalo, founder of the INC, make a bee line to this organization to seek endorsement. This practice, according to Bro. Eli, breeds corruption in the country beginning with the justice system. No one gets a fair share of justice whenever the INC is involved. They follow up cases and intervene to their favor, instilling a chilling effect on justices in the country. From here, corruption seeps into other systems affecting almost every level that it is hard for one to be brave and talk. This is quite apparent when dissenting justices are hard to come by whenever the INC is interested in a case.
TALK AND TRUTH. Talk may what got Bro. Eli into trouble in the first place. He is very brave in exposing anomalies, but being a preacher, what he cannot stop doing is telling what should be told. The Bible, according to him, requires him to tell all that is required of him to tell. Truth is his commodity, no matter what. The whole Bible must be preached, he said. And in this instance the INC is part and parcel of the side that Bro. Eli has to constantly be talking about. For that, they had filed case after case against him, and now he becomes “rapist” by virtue of a true rapist he had dismissed from his organization.
But talk is not what Bro. Eli would do as expected by GMA 7. They had wanted him to tell his side in the case that Puto had filed. In other words, in the guise of giving news, GMA has become intrusive in a case where it believes someone innocent had his reputation besmirched, never knowing anything about the real Puto. Paninirang Puri means character assassination.
Whatever was the game plan of GMA for insisting that the preacher talk, they went on air discussing fully the side of the accuser, thereby side-stepping the rights of the other. “Have they not heard of the principle of sub judice?” Bro. Eli would ask. The crusading preacher underscored that the case is back in court again, and an accused is not supposed to talk about it. Re-filed no matter by interested persons, Bro. Eli was respecting it. But the media outfit obviously did not know what sub judice meant. They wanted him to talk and get revenues from the crowd that GMA 7 would generate. This was June 18, 2009.
THE REPLAY. On August 3, 2011, after more than 2 years, GMANews through Channel 11 again replayed the same controversial interview at a noon time show. The ADD were taken unaware and piqued that the man who used to be their brother but excommunicated was there on TV recanting his imagined rape many years ago. Puto is known to most church workers and his behavior is not a secret to the members. While he had confessed to having abused 9 of his subordinates and had said sorry to them on air, he is there on TV and playing victim again. Known for love of money which he splurges on expensive gadgets and jewelries, and some holidays on beaches instead of attending church services, Puto talking on TV and playing innocent merely reminds the members that he needs again money to sustain his minted face and gay lifestyle. And someone is making him play that role for pay.
HELPING PROPAGATE LIES. Puto would now be talking about faking signatures as a norm in ADD, a practice of his that he had abused to amass church money. He had underscored this in the interview to claim that his confession to having sexually abused 9 of his victims is fake – no matter that in his video testimony, he can be seen there talking fair and square, damning the INC which he said he would never join. And now Puto is with the INC. He had quickly forgotten that he had volunteered to make this confession which he made good with a written piece. Puto was bidding for a second chance to be restored his membership by Bro. Eli but he failed. https://kotawinters.wordpress.com/2009/05/25/warning-more-hateblogs-against-bro-eli-soriano/letter/.
In YouTube, his victims that could not win their cases fairly could only talk about Puto’s penis to register familiarity with his wayward organ. The liar in Puto was ignored by GMANews however, and preferred to see him as an innocent INC convert, never wondering about his sudden shift from believing in Christ as God to believing that He is mere man. In the INC, Christ is mere man from the beginning and would come back as mere man. Nothing was seen as irregular with Puto but everything was with Bro. Eli who now has become the “rapist” and Puto is the “victim.” The ADD who know very well the life style and character of both accuser and accused felt violated. http://jakeastudillo.wordpress.com/tag/daniel-veridiano/. Truth is on trial and liars are having a heyday. Another boycott became the call of the day.
FACEBOOK AND TWITTER USED AS CALLSITES. In response to this heap of lies being propagated through the help of a giant TV network, ADD called for another round of boycott on August 7, 2011, this time a bolder, more sustained one. In 2009, Bro. Eli only mentioned about boycott one week after the members were egging him on this initiative. This time, he was aghast and he wanted a quick response from the members to this insult. It would tie down his work at a time new doors are being opened for his overseas ministry and new contracts are being signed for broadcast propagation in other parts of the globe. The year 2011 would be a different boycott and now Facebook and Twitter are colored with protest GMANews picbadges. Day by day, tweets and messages are about GMANews and sympathizers are contributing their stories about GMA and its falsified ratings. More posts about faking expose GMANews as opposite to what it claims.
Some quarters in ADD believe that GMA’s morbid interest in hitting the crusading preacher is all about the ratings game. It has aired this controversial interview twice already in two years time. In its struggle to become the Number 1 in terms of viewership, GMANews may be interested in getting the attention of ADD’s millions of members. In the past, other stations have attempted to do that also. Whenever Bro. Eli is the topic, traffic is really thick. Headquarters says 2011 will however be different for GMANews unless it apologizes for what it did, or answer to a debate challenge.
RECKLESSNESS OR WEAKNESS. It is not so much the ire on Puto whom ADD members know as rapist that got the goat. It is GMANews for its blatant display of abuse of power of the air. It is reckless for not having done enough research before reporting. Or it is weak for having been influenced by some group. According to Bro. Eli, it is very obvious that GMA is being used to attack him. It is harassment already while he is at work. The case had been dismissed for lack of evidence. It was re-filed only by interested persons and the documents were passed on to Raul Gonzalez of the Department of Justice under the Office of the then President Gloria Arroyo, who, herself, was endorsed by the INC, a stooge by all counts in the eyes of the ADD.
These and the other connections between accuser and accused were ignored by the interviewer, Arnold Clavio, host of Case Unclosed – Paninirang Puri (Character Assassination).
CONNECTIONS IGNORED. The connection between accuser Puto and accused Bro. Eli which is the ADD from where the accused was excommunicated. The connection between accuser and accused which is the Iglesia ni Cristo where the excommunicated went to. The connection between the ADD and the INC which is contention for what is true. What were the things Bro. Eli was saying that the INC would like to stop at all costs? Bookmark from here, yet there is much that the Case Unclosed – Character Assassination of GMANews had ignored to look into. And yet, it maliciously replayed the controversial 2009 interview after two years.
Daniel Razon, the Vice Presiding Minister, and nephew of Bro. Eli was a morning show anchor together with Arnold Clavio in GMA7. In June 2005, Razon said he was asked to choose between his God and his career by GMA7 and he chose the former. So, was Razon a result of collateral damage in the ADD-INC rift? http://findarticles.com/p/news-articles/manila-bulletin/mi_7968/is_2005_June_16/daniel-razon-resigns-gma-7/ai_n34040262/.
What about Arnold Clavio whom Razon has many times over eclipsed in their career as show anchors? Wasn’t he a willing tool in this controversial set-up? Clavio cannot dump Razon in the race for popularity now. The latter is many plaques and awards and projects ahead of Clavio that Clavio’s being a tool for others is water-clear.
A journalist truly looking for truth would wonder why the boys that Puto had sexually abused were not able to have their cases represented fairly and why dismissed. A responsible journalist truly interested in airing the truth and nothing but the truth may even discover why the case was dismissed, why it was re-filed, and who were behind the re-filing if he did his work. He may even discover why the justices never mentioned these connections in their ponente but only one or two from dissenting justices. A good-nosed journalist may even pursue the angle why the prosecutors that give Bro. Eli as accused a fair judgment and a dismissal were shortly relieved and changed for another in such short times. Why this rigodon of prosecutors? To manipulate court decisions?
FOR SHAME. Instead of doing its work and faithfully serving the public, GMANews is only sensitive to what people think of it as in playing and replaying brand names and attaching to itself constructs of truth, trust, objectivity. Over the years it had said its media staff are trustworthy, a finding they said from a lop-sided research that was more of selling their network as credible. Recently, in one of its videos posted in Facebook, GMA Network boasts about its sexiest women saying “8 out of the top 10 FHM Philippines 100 Sexiest Women in the World 2011 are from GMA,” clearly marketing their looks that do not match their work. FHM means For Him Magazine that caters exclusively to the male gender. https://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=137745762971699.
Have shame, even a pinch of it, says Bro. Eli, whom they have victimized for reckless reporting. Instead of standing for the good, and encouraging those helping the society like Bro. Eli is doing in his many humanitarian projects, they choose to play in their work or be manipulated by the powers that be and strike at their fellow broadcaster in the field. Bro. Eli had been serving this network for a number of years and they may have forgotten even that.
Compared with Bro. Eli who works for the salvation of men in foreign lands without country and without home, but without neglecting to serve millions of homeless and disadvantaged Filipinos with his many projects, the media men of GMA worry more about their make-up, their attire, their props, their advertisements and self-branding and prefer to display gyrating women, senseless telenovelas, time-wasting games that promise false prosperity, and fight to the death to cover events where they can make more money. Or imitate innovations of other TV stations like UNTV but only on a shallow level. As ADD asserts, Bro. Eli, popularly known as Truthcaster, does not sell his deep understanding of the Bible and instead shares it with everyone in order for them to return to God. In effect, what could have been liabilities to the country are turned assets, one thing that GMA has failed to do and notice.
Does GMA Network like norms? No, it do not like rules. It has a world of its own, which explains why it is not even part of KBP and is foolishly proud of it.
THE CHALLENGE OF ADD. Before closing Case Unclosed, Arnold Clavio in the vernacular said, “Although Bro. Eli Soriano insists that these accusations against him are all lies, his appearance and facing the case is hoped to clear the questions left unanswered.” Clearly it is easy to prepare scripts, cut here and there, and then sew them up to make an episode. But GMA is forgetting that this is something legal and that Bro. Eli is already a victim of human rights from a case dismissed and then re-filed. Overlooking this, GMA made a script to inflict another round of violated human rights. And it did for the second time in two years.
Since GMA is intrusive and is even interested in fomenting intrigues and spreading gossip, the ADD challenges GMA to prepare a forum for a debate between Bro. Eli and GMA. If it fails to do this, then GMA should better prepare a forum for a debate between Bro. Eli and the Iglesia ni Cristo. This debate will once and for all settle who is telling the truth and who is not, and will expose the wicked man. The topic has to deal with truth. According to the Bible and as believed by ADD, the wicked cannot understand. It is to be remembered that the INC never responded to a call of the preacher in March 2005 for a debate. http://jakeastudillo.wordpress.com/2011/08/28/the-face-of-war-preacher-on-exile-dares-powerful-nemesis-to-finally-debate/
For the security of each one, the debate should be televised even internationally. This debate is even many times educational and worthy to be watched than what normally is GMA’s interest. If GMA can do this, then the sustained boycott may be lifted. If GMA remains adamant, the sustained boycott may resort to greater measures to send a message that it will not take things sitting down.