By Jane Abao
Manila, Philippines (12/92015) – Making a list of “Top Tens” can be subject to abuse. It inherently requires authority, research, and truth. If it is only about material things, there is not much quarrel expected if one does his research. If it concerns people, the higher level of care is imposed upon the one making the list.
Sometime this December this year, the Members Church of God International or Ang Dating Daan as more popularly known, noticed a blog posted by PinoyTopTens or toptendotph titled, “TOP 10 WORST RELIGIOUS SCANDALS PHILIPPINES.” There is no name of author except TOPTEN.PH and there is no date reflected on the blog. However, a check on Google says it was posted on August 26, 2014. That means that blog had been going the rounds for more than a year. That expanse of time for exposure increases the liability of this blog writer.
The blog started with a Bible quote, suggesting that those about to be named are false prophets.
“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves … For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.” (Matthew 7:15; 2nd Corinthians 11:13)
This is opening paragraph –
If the Church is losing its believers, it would not be because of other faiths – Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS or what-not- it would have been because of implosion: from the inside. Increasingly, priests today have become the Pharisees of long ago. Moneyed, in wheels, untouchables. And where Jesus has walked the Earth almost barefoot, these new leaders cruise in their beautiful SUV’s and preach not by example but by show. At least that’s what we see in the list below. Yes, good leaders still abound. Pope Francis is a blessing, no doubt. But the “Padre Damasos” of today abound. From the looks of it, it seems a Pandora’s box is just waiting to explode. Tick! Tock! Tick! Tock!
This is followed by a list of nine catholic priests and bishops. The only exception is that the author inserted Bro. Eli Soriano of Ang Dating Daan in the middle (#5). After each name, the author placed “allegations” but does not show any reference where he got all these stories. Therefore, after each story, he placed: “Alleged offender: XY.”
If we focus on the extraneous one – that of Bro. Eli Soriano – the composition is only 132 words. “Alleged” was used twice: once for what the complainant, Daniel Veridiano, claimed, and once for the name of supposed offender. “Scandal” was also used twice: for the title, “Televangelist Sex Scandal” and its introduction, “Now for a non-Catholic scandal.”
His rendition of the piece in some parts sounded like truth: For example, “On May 2006, rape charges were filed against this charismatic religious leader of Dating Daan. The defiled: his former staff, Daniel Veridiano.” It did not even quote a source. And there’s no indication of the status of the case as if his words were final.
The part on Bro. Eli ended with, “Analysts suspect Veridiano was instigated by INC (Iglesia ni Cristo), a rival religious group to which the complainant now belongs. Said sex offender has been reportedly lambasting the sect to no end.”
While the writer was trying hard to do a semblance of objectivity with the above phrase, he had lumped Bro. Eli with his accusation in the beginning: “Increasingly, priests today have become the Pharisees of long ago. Moneyed, in wheels, untouchables.”
First, we take the author to task. What is your name? The readers, more particularly those of Bro. Eli’s camp, are entitled to know who is this accusing who.
Bro. Eli is moneyed? He has businesses established here and there to take care of propagation; in that way he is able to expand more the work of propagation without unnecessarily burdening the members. But to say he is moneyed suggests carrying and using money that is not his own like the Pharisees that he compares Bro. Eli with. The earnings of the businesses he put up are meant to take care of God’s work.
In wheels? Bro. Eli has no private car, but rides public transportations, even willing to wait for hours at terminals. You can see him in international airports also waiting for his turn. Whatever the church provides for his convoy to go to Bible Expositions, he is content with that. He would rather use money for Bible Expositions to reach out to more and more, rather than spend for private property. He has no need for that. He lives in a home where there are many working for the church and backing up his busy activities. The garage, he uses for impromptu broadcasting center.
He is not untouchable? He is even powerless that many cases have been filed against him by the powerful Iglesia ni Cristo. Although most of the cases had been dismissed, there are others yet pending, including this case filed by Daniel Veridiano, himself a self-confessed rapist. It is not yet over as Veridiano has all the backings of the powerful. But your Top Ten #5 implies it is over. [Here’s a peck into Veridiano.] https://jakeastudillo.wordpress.com/2009/06/26/portrait-of-the-raped-man-for-whom-the-interpol-would-mobilize/
Neither is Bro. Eli acting like “the Pharisees of long ago.” You are wrong, mister! More yet, he is not a false prophet. Knowing Bro. Eli well, he would even call you the false prophet hiding under anonymity! Again, what is your name?
Making a List of People
Making a list is not valid, more yet destructive – when it comes to simply naming people. How acceptable is your list? By what means did you make that up? What criteria did you use? Simply put, a judge of one is debatable.
Merely making a list of people is easy but has many pitfalls. In fact, making a list is equivalent to making an opinion and therefore necessitates defending one’s list.
There are several reasons one makes a list, and one of that is to facilitate writing, which writing does not require very much thinking because one can refer to other documents. That works for the individual items that make the list. How about the total make-up of it? How did you judge your entries? How did you make sure the items fit well? In other words, what was your methodology in composing the list?
It is juvenile to think one can simply make a list and that is truth already. If you make a list about this kind of things, you may be right, you may be wrong, but no one is going to fight you because no one may get offended: Biggest Casinos in the Philippines, Accidents that Kill Pinoys the Most, Common Modes of Transportation in the Philippines, Diseases Killing Pinoys the Most, and Weirdest Food Pinoys Eat, among other material things.
Standards in Practice
It is clear TOPTENdotPH wrote a sexscandal story, supposedly of priests that are “moneyed, in wheels and untouchable.” The supposed offense is sex crime. Unfortunately, Bro. Eli does not even fall under any of these categories. The author had acted as judge, jury and executioner – all in one. When it comes to people, one must be careful in making a list.
There are expectations when one makes a list of people and are the following:
- It is a competition and all participants have submitted themselves as willing participants.
- For such submission, all are bound by the rules, one of which is selection from the best of these participants.
- The competition is not meant to bring destruction to participants but to advance and encourage their cause.
- There are judges whose selection have been based upon knowledge, familiarity with the field being judged, and free from bias.
- There is a period covered or a range for which they are Top Ten.
Sadly, using the terms, “Top Ten” gives the impression that the list has been vetted. More yet, using the privilege one step more to come up with the name, “ Pinoy’s Top Ten,” for the website’s nomenclature. Do you represent the Filipino people? That is the impression you give.
About all the lists the site has produced, there is not much contention when it comes to simply material things. When people are concerned, however, one must be extra-careful.
This irresponsible blog we are addressing can be subject to cybercrime laws.
What could be the Motive
Bro. Eli’s camp have become wiser. They know, for example, when a giant TV station wanted to exploit the popularity of the preacher for ratings. This station aired a one-sided interview from his supposed accuser. When they opened a sister station, on the first anniversary of that sister station, it aired that controversial interview even after being told that they erred. Now, they are subject to boycott that is going 5 years already.
[You can read the long description about the boycott here.] https://www.facebook.com/kotawinters/info/?tab=page_info
Websites that attempt to exploit Bro. Eli’s popularity can no longer take that tack: the million members of the Ang Dating Daan are not biting. They won’t go to your sites one by one and comment one by one so that traffic will lead to the road going to you, and in the end, make you popular.
There’s one thing the public can be assured of: If Bro. Eli Soriano is corrupt in any way: money, sex, character, teachings from the Bible, you can be sure the members of the Church of God International that he is Presiding Minister to, will leave him immediately. There will be no need to destroy him. It will be the very members who can discern right away if he is.
But to include him in your list of corrupt Roman Catholic priests and bishops, that is not acceptable. You have to answer for that.
And by the way, here’s about TopTen.ph as described by HotSiteD:
Overview: Topten.ph has a global Alexa ranking of 340,912 and ranked 12,146th in Philippines. The global rank improved 104,105 positions versus the previous 3 months. The website server is using IP address 220.127.116.11 and is hosted in United States. The Google page rank of this website is 0/10.
You rank zero on Google!
So enough is enough!