Bro. Eli Soriano wins Case Vs. Iglesia ni Cristo: “Killing Fields” and “Katayan” Comment not Libelous

The court took cognizance of the fact that the institution the complainants represented is a public figure wherein the public has legitimate interest in its doings.

By Jane Abao

Manila, Philippines (3/8/2014) – The court is not at all convinced that there exists a case for libel when making remarks from the reading of a Supreme Court Decision over a crime committed on a public figure’s grounds.

In a 15-page decision signed by Judge Jose G. Paneda of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 220 of the National Capital Judicial Region of Quezon City, Bro. Eliseo Soriano and his co-hosts at UNTV37 were acquitted of the crime of libel even when they were calling the chapel of the Iglesia ni Cristo, “killing fields” and “katayan.”

Comments are considered privileged communication when the subject in question is a public figure whose calling gives the public a legitimate interest in its doings, the decision said.

The decision signed on February 11, 2014 by Judge Paneda, said there is no finding as to the liability of the accused and as to the existence of the crime of libel for failure of the prosecution to prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt, the court said.

Ramil T. Parba as representative of the Iglesia ni Cristo along with Marianito Cayao and Bernardo Santiago, accused Eliseo Soriano, Danilo Navales, Jocel Mallari, and Luzviminda Cruz, of libel in Criminal Case No. Q-05-136679 for a program aired on January 21, 2005.

The hosts of “Itanong mo kay Soriano” program at UNTV were accused of “conspiring together, confederating with and mutually helping one another with evident intent of exposing the Iglesia ni Cristo to public dishonor, discredit, contempt, and ridicule” and imputing crime on the complainants.

The court noted that the programs, Ang Dating Daan of Bro. Eli and Ang Tamang Daan of the Iglesia ni Cristo have a history of exchanging verbal tussles. And the latest was of the INC complainants making a false expose of allowing selling merchandise inside the four churches of Soriano.

Soriano and his co-hosts in UNTV denied in their program the INC allegation and said the selling was being done outside of the worship areas. The topic for the day in their program turned into which is more disrespectful: selling outside the church or killing in the basement of the chapel? They then discussed the Supreme Court decision in People vs. Abella, G.R. No.127803, August 28, 2000.

In part, the court decision said –

“The scene of the crime was within the compounds of the Iglesia ni Cristo in Sta. Ana and the basement thereof had been witness to the gruesome torture of victims who were eventually found floating in the murky rivers of Pasig.

“Private complainants took offense, more so hurt, when with the reading of the said case of Abella, accused depicted the House of Worship of the Iglesia ni Cristo as ‘katayan,’ the basement as killing fields, execution and torture, apparently in retaliation for the private complainant’s false expose.”

In sum, the court said the act of reading a Supreme Court decision is not libelous, and even with the comments and remarks of the accused, comments are considered privileged. The Case of People vs. Abella et al. where 5 PUP students were bludgeoned to death by INC members over a mere basketball game has since become a matter of public interest and therefore open to public scrutiny.

The court also took cognizance of the fact that the institution the complainants represented is a public figure wherein the public has legitimate interest in its doings.

Borrowing from the wisdom in Warren vs. Pulitzer Publishing Company, and also shared in Borjal vs. the Court of Appeals, the court said, “Every man has a right to discuss matters of interest. A clergyman with his flock, an admiral with his fleet, a general with his army, a judge with his jury. We are, all of us, the subject of public discussion….. It is only in despotism that one must speak sub rosa, or in whispers, with bated breath, around the corner, or in the dark on a subject touching the common welfare…”

The court also took note that when accused Eliseo Soriano peppered the members of the Iglesia ni Cristo with cases of libel in 2005 for calling him names like “Dayukdok,:  “Mandarambong, “Mongongotong, “Matakaw sa pera,” “Seaman-loloko,” among many other names through their program, Ang Tamang Daan, the cases were dismissed on the ground that they did not show any defamatory imputations and for lack of malice. The same was observed when the INC members distorted Soriano’s speeches and commentaries.

Documentary exhibits submitted by the defense consisted mostly of video tapes and DVDs to prove consistent patterns of mangling of tapes by the Iglesia ni Cristo on statements made by Soriano. An example was when Soriano was asking for 3.6 million on January 10, 2004; the mangled tape was shown in Ang Tamang Daan aired over Net 25 on March 29, 2004 that Soriano was asking for 6 trillion.

Incidentally, private complainants Bernardo Santiago and Marianito Cayao were excommunicated by Bro. Eli Soriano from Ang Dating Daan congregation, after which they joined the Iglesia ni Cristo.

An earlier Criminal Case Nos. 2002-4236-MK for attempted murder accusing Eliseo Soriano et al. was also dismissed by Judge Geraldine C. Fiel-Macaraig of the National Capital Judicial Region, Branch 192 of Marikina City for insufficiency of evidence. This was signed four years earlier on February 11, 2010. The private complainant was Bernardo Santiago, one of the complainants in this recently dismissed libel case.

Author: kotawinters

After the path of truth wherever it leads me.

76 thoughts on “Bro. Eli Soriano wins Case Vs. Iglesia ni Cristo: “Killing Fields” and “Katayan” Comment not Libelous”

  1. There are people who are afraid to tell the truth. If our life should be taken for shouting to the world the truth, then let it be. What good is living when you cannot talk?

  2. TO GOD BE THE GLORY,,, GOD almighty and Lord Jesuschrist always be with you–Bro. Eli Soriano”’Alam namin ang lahat na ito’y kagagawan ng IGLESIA na nasa kadiliman

  3. and adding to the aquitted case, the conqueror lawyer of the INC in that criminal case of People vs Abella which is Serapin Cuevas was recently past away.

  4. INC people thought that God is with them since they won a libel case against ADD last December.

    but they are wrong. their nemesis preaher also won a case and still at large.

    The even believe that those who criticize their rapist messenger will fade away but still their nemesis preacher still live and strong.

    1. Salamat sa Diyos at lahat tayo ay tinutulungan na hindi maligaw. Kahit di pa ako miyembro ng MCGI ay halatang tama sila. Papaanong magananakaw si Soriano eh Philippine Arena obvious eh! Ang INC mahusay.

  5. Thanks be to God at last the long Court battle has been won! The truth has prevailed. I pray the rest of the cases will follow soon so that our beloved preacher will finally come home.
    We love you bro. Eli Soriano!

  6. It is really a big relief to win a court case especially if against the notorious INC! I for one can attest to this because I had once had a close friend whose family is member of that organization. Knowing the kind of people that they are, I do not believe that it will be wise or intelligent enough for Bro. Eli Soriano to come home at this time that the decision of the court favors him. Segurado ako na ang mga sangkot dito ay mag-aatupag ding makabawi sa kanilang sinapit na pagkatalo! Huwag na sana siyang magpaka-ala Rizal o Ninoy. Oo nga at mga bayani pero mga patay naman! Gugustuhin ba natin ito na mangyari? Ngayon
    pa na ang marami niyang kababayan ay nagigising na sa katotohanan? Pagisipan itong mabuti at papanatiliin sa isipan na ang grupong katunggali ay mga masasama at mga traydor. “Below the Belt” kung makipag-laban! Anong ma-say nyo? Agree ba o Hindi?

  7. ipag pray nlang ntin cla na sana mabuksan na nila ang kanilang icipan na mali ang kanilang paniniwala at gawain.. Amen

    1. wala pong dapat ipanalangin sa mga taong matitigas ang ulo… wag nawa sila makaunawa, baka kasi makaunawa sila at magsisi… baka mapatawad sila…

  8. Praised be to God..God is always protecting His children to continue His words according to holy bible.the truth ,God loves you bro eli..ur safe in Gods love.

  9. Salamat sa Dios at kahit papaano meron pang natitirang Justices na hindi bulag at nananatili parin sa katotohanan, hindi nababayaran, at natatakot ng sinomang makapangyarihan sa lipunang ito..salamat po sa MATUWID
    na paghatol…Dios na po bahalang gumanti sa inyo..TO GOD BE THE GLORY!!!

  10. Salamat sa Dios, Kahit anong lakas pa ng madilim na impluwensya ng INC, mangingibabaw pa rin ang HUSTISYA. Salamat sa Dios at KAHIT paano may katarungan pa ring posibleng makamit sa adninistrasyon ni P-noy, na ipinagkait sa atin sa panahon ni GMA. Sa Dios ang lahat ng kapurihan, advance Happy PNK. 😀

  11. The truth always triumphed at the end. I hope this will be an eye opener for the INC. Let us join hands and welcome all people who wish to join our congregation. Thanks be to God.

  12. Salamat naman at hindi lahat ng hukom sa Pilipinas ay pumapatol sa mga inimbentong kaso ng desperado nang liderato ng INC. Nalubak sila nang malalim. Magdiriwang pa naman sila ng ika 100 anibersaryo ng paghahasik ng maling doktrina sa Pilipinas. Lahat naman ng ikinaso ng INC kay Bro Eli ay walang basehan. Makonsensya na sana ang mga ministrong ito. Masyado nang lasing ang INC sa kaluwalhatian at papuri ng mga pulitiko.

  13. INC maybe a powerful religious denomination in the country, but still there are faithful and dignified justice men that use their pen to show real meaning of justice. Only a sensible preacher aka Bro. Eli Soriano can boldly speak such terms as eye opener to blinded members of INC and their blinded supporters. If telling the truth is always life-threatening, who will have guts to speak? We have Bro. Eli Soriano!

    1. Willy Boy Santiago,

      Hindi po si Felix Manalo ang topic dito.

      Anong gawagawa ng isang blogger? May Case Number, may petsa, may pangalan ng korte, ang accusada, ang complainant, ang judge. Tapos, gagawa-gawa lang?

      Inggit ka lang!

  14. Willy Boy Santiago,

    Ang pagawa ng news ay wala po sa kung sino ang gumawa. The authenticity of news is found primarily on the objectivity of presentation. Since you are presenting ABC-CBN and GMA as credible sources, how are you sure they would be objective? Years of experience from them have shown that they have not handled news cases on Bro. Eli fairly. Kaya po kami nagba-blog dahil hindi po nakakalabas ang balita galing po sa hanay namin. Instead, we see abuse of power and the usual irresponsible handling of news. BUT first of all, I do not owe you any explanation. NONE.

  15. Willy Boy Santiago, kahit ba facts na at court descision na ang sinasabi bastat hindi ABS at GMA ang nagsabi o nagbalita ay hindi kana maniniwala. Papaano kung hindi nila ibinabalita? Ibalita nga nila o hindi itong tungkol sa pagkapanalo ni Bro Eli sa kaso, ay nananatiling totoo ito.

  16. ang tinutukoy pala nitong si willy boy santiago ay si ela soriano. Sori, kasi tungkol sa pagkapanalo ni bro Eli itong pinag-uusapan rito at hindi tungkol kay ela soriano.

  17. Tiniwalag na yang willy na yan..alam nya na wala na siyang poder sa ating pagsasama sama..ang gagawin niya komo madilim na nga ang utak at kinakalaban na ang katotohanan, hindi na makikinig yan ng katuwiran kahit justified na..papasamain niya pa rin yan in order to gain revenge against bro. Eli.Ganun ang ugali ni satanas na siyang pinaglilingkuran niya ngayon..walang hustisya.

  18. mga walang kwenta kasi yang mga INC na yan poro paninira at walang alam nkkatawa silang panoorin my tamang daan pa silang nalalaman e poro mali nmn sinasabi mga bweset na INC kahit RC ako hanga at supporta ako ki bro eli at sa buong dating daan.. God Bless you all

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