MCGI Choir is Current World’s Largest Gospel Choir – Guinness

By Jane Abao

UPDATE, Manila, Philippines (5/25/2016) – On May 22, 2016, the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) made an attempt to break the Guinness World Record to Largest Gospel Choir with an alleged 21, 272 participants. They then made an announcement that they broke the record. The announcement was made in defiance about to whom they were supposedly breaking the record. Eagle News of the INC earlier reported: “The current record is 8,688 held by man choir of the Believers LoveWorld Ministry, also known as Christ Embassy on December 2015.”

This is gross violation to broadcast ethics according to the Members Church of God International (MCGI). First, the INC made an announcement of having broken the record. Second, they did not recognise the current title holder that is the ADD Chorale of MCGI that won the award on October 12, 2015 with 8,688 participants.

Understandably, they think winning a Guinness is like a basketball game wherein if you add, you get back the title. The INC was title holder to Largest Gospel Choir on July 27, 2014 with only 4,745 singers. But this 2016 attempt is one that they soon realize is still uncooked. Here’s a video they posted in YouTube saying their attempt still has to be submitted to Guinness. They were forced to admit that this is something “still in progress” upon receiving many complaints from the public that they are lying. Normally, awards from the Guinness World Records are given the same day, the GWR adjudicator being present during the event. But there was none in attendance in this INC event. The reporter who first reported about the attempt had clarified that. There was no GWR Adjudicator in attendance during that May 22,2016 event: a failed attempt to get back the title of Largest Gospel Choir.

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 12.11.05Manila, Philippines (1/9/2016) – Guinness World Records (GWR) has recently confirmed that the present titleholder to Largest Gospel Choir is still the Members Church of God International (MCGI) in the Philippines.

The confirmation sought for by MCGI from the reporter’s website and GWR was necessary in the wake of reports that Christ Embassy Choir (No country indicated) is the present titleholder to the record.

On October 12, 2015, Ang Dating Daan, a Bible-based program of the MCGI, was celebrating its 35th anniversary at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, Philippines. As part of the celebration, the Ang Dating Daan Chorale sang a medley of gospel songs properly conducted under concert conditions. In attendance were 8,688 choristers as verified by an external auditing firm P & A Grant Thornton using Turnstile counting, barcoded ticketing method. Acting as official witness was Philippine Congressman Neil Tupas. Having met all the requirements listed on the Guinness World Records website to bag the Largest Gospel Choir Category, Adjudicator, Mrs. Fortuna Burke Melhem judged them as the current record-breaker of all time. Melhem congratulated the organization and welcomed the Ang Dating Daan Chorale to the Guinness World Records family. The previous record-holder of 4,745 participants was that of the Iglesia ni Cristo, also from the Philippines.

However, on December 23, 2015, the kingdomboiz.com site reported about a Christ Embassy Choir bagging a Guinness World Record, and it was about being “Largest Gospel Choir.” Incidentally, such false reporting was exploited by enemies to heckle the incumbent titleholder. Guinness’ reply to MCGI’s inquiry proved that the report about Christ Embassy bagging the Largest Gospel Choir award is misleading or at worst, false.

This false report was used widely by members of the Iglesia ni Cristo to heckle MCGI, much more claim that the award won by the latter is fake. INC is publicly known as an archenemy of MCGI. An archenemy, as defined, is one who is extremely hostile or opposed to someone. The Presiding Minister to MCGI, Bro. Eli Soriano, is known to expose false teachings in his Bible Exposition programs, but among all religions, it is the INC that does not take criticisms fairly. The activities of the INC prompted MCGI to find out the truth.

MCGI, among others, challenged the report for the lack of mention of a GWR adjudicator present, the rounded number of 12,000 participants, and the no-show of a clip of the awarding ceremony.

MCGI noticed that a report by a certain Tobisyn in kingdomboiz.com (12/26/2015) mentioned that Christ Embassy choir bagged a Guinness World Record with their 12,000 participants to largest gospel choir.

The report said they sang Christmas songs and carols “to honor Christ on his birthday.” He had asked that the video be shared and by the time of inquiry had 555 shares. The 12,000 was obviously repeated in the paragraphs to underscore the number supposedly beating all others.

MCGI was then tasked to find out. Google search results at Guinness World Records reflect the following (some 13 days after the report said Christ Embassy won as Largest Gospel Choir). The one at top left reflects MCGI (Members Church of God International) as present titleholder.

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 14.58.25.png

In their inquiry from both Tobisyn’s group and Guinness World Records, MCGI asked the following: “Did it really happen that Guinness awarded this Christ Embassy Choir with Largest Gospel Choir in December 2015?”

It challenged that the report did not mention any Guinness World Records Adjudicator who was present during the affair.

The MCGI inquiry also wondered about the 12,000 and the absence of a video clip on the awarding, thus –

The rounded number of 12,000 is also a surprise because in life, it does not happen that people come in by rounded numbers. What was the exact number of participants? If at all, why did the video not present the awarding if there was such an awarding?

The video being propagated in kingdomboiz.com and YouTube only shows someone beating at a distance and numbers of people being shot. Meanwhile, Guinness World Records answered the MCGI inquiry (1/9/2016) thus –

The largest gospel choir consists of 8,688 participants and was achieved by the Members Church of God International (Philippines), at the Araneta Coliseum, Manila, Philippines, on 12 October 2015. We can also confirm that an adjudicator was present for the event.

This is the letter from GWR –

Screen Shot 2016-01-09 at 07.18.56.png

And this is about MCGI winning in the Guinness site –

Screen Shot 2016-01-09 at 09.38.55

http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/largest-gospel-choir

Meanwhile, to date there was no response from the side of Christ Embassy Church although the website says it welcomes inquiries and complaints. A check on Wikipedia says –

Christ Embassy, also known as Believers’ LoveWorld Incorporated, is a Church and Mission Group led by Pastor Chris Oyakhilome. It is based in Lagos, Nigeria and has offices in the United Kingdom, United States of America, and South Africa.

Here was Tobisyn’s report that MCGI found as false reporting –

http://kingdomboiz.com/christ-embassy-choir-bags-a-guinness-world-record/

The false report was also replicated in YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwRsB3JHmIM

The MCGI letter reminded the website bannering Christ Embassy Choir that if the report is not true, it does not advance truth. The reporter should correct himself, at best through public apology. The letter ended thus –

A true church would fight for truth and not shield anyone attempting to lie, in the same way that your site should stand for truth. We hope we can correct things so that we won’t be adding to the confusion being propagated in the world.

However, to date, there was no explanation coming from Christ Embassy Church or choir or website. #

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Iglesia ni Cristo: Snapping Dissent with Familiar Patterns

By Jane Abao

Manila, Philippines (August 15, 2015) – What did experts think about the dissent within the Iglesia ni Cristo?

The INC is facing a crisis. That’s very clear from recent news. Critics claim that the leaders of the group are wasting money citing the millions of pesos being spent for their airplane. Rappler reports-

The Airbus that [Eduardo] Manalo and his ministers are using is aside from a Boeing Business Jet 737 that had been described as “the best-selling jet airliner in the history of aviation.” Depending on the model, a passenger business jet can seat from 85 to 215 passengers, while a customized executive jet can have a bedroom and seats good for 20-30 passengers, sources familiar with aircraft told Rappler.

The Boeing Business Jet 737 is said to have been purchased 4 years ago at an estimated price of about P3.6 billion ($80 million), the sources told us. Yearly maintenance costs of these types of aircraft, according to those in the know, easily amount to from P3 million to P4 million. This excludes fuel expenses. (http://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/investigative/100445-iglesia-leaders-billions-pesos-aircraft).

Added to this is abduction of ministers who were critical of the administration. Lowell Menorca’s case, for one, is intriguing. (http://www.rappler.com/nation/100501-inc-minister-lowell-menorca-released). There are allegedly no abductions happening. This is denied by the church. (http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/707413/what-split-what-corruption-iglesia-ni-cristo-spokesman)

But they immediately excommunicated some critics including the mother and brother of the Executive Minister, Eduardo Manalo. (http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2015/07/23/1480126/iglesia-ni-cristo-expels-leaders-mother-brother)

They even filed libel cases against the critics. (http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/metro-manila/07/28/15/iglesia-ni-cristo-sues-expelled-minister-libel)

The crisis is not yet over as the critics try to create a movement “to return the church to its old splendor when it first began with Felix Manalo.” (See Nehemiah Ecclesiastes, Official videos, Facebook, 8/10/2015).

What is happening with the Iglesia ni Cristo? Where is the Iglesia headed for?

Four sources have invariably discussed what is happening with the Iglesia ni Cristo through their own platform: a professor of Philippine Studies, a Sociologist of Religion, a Bible Scholar, and a minister of the Iglesia ni Cristo who left his organization with many questions on his head.

The professor of Philippine Studies was asked about what he thought about the INC controversy. The sect is usually secretive, he said. There is a need for transparency.

Written by Joe Torres (ucanews, 8/10/2015), the interviewee noted that secrecy is one of hallmarks of this religious sect. In “Public rift puts 101-year-old Philippines sect under spotlight,” he highlighted the need for transparency. Here’s part of the report –

David Michael San Juan, professor of Philippine Studies at De La Salle University in Manila, said the public rift represents a crossroads for the usually secretive sect.

“The rift may weaken it if it fails to address concerns on transparency and other issues,” he said. “The rift may strengthen it if it leads to more transparency in their highly respected institution.”

In other words, secrecy in the sect has contributed to their undoing. San Juan said some issues that church members raised are valid and that includes the allegation about certain ministers trying to extort money from politicians, and the allegation that church funds for being used for some leaders’ luxury. These are public issues, he said.(http://www.ucanews.com/news/public-rift-puts-101-year-old-philippines-sect-under-spotlight/74040)

Earlier, Rappler.com posted a Podcast titled “Saan patungo ang Iglesia ni Cristo?” (Where is the Iglesia ni Cristo bound for? (8/8/2015). Jayeel Cornelio a Sociologist of Religion is said to point to some INC growth at another level: “religious worldling.”

Worldling is inherently negative, but as the column of Cornelio proposes the concept of “religious worldling” to explain what is happening with the INC, he lauds the group in terms of sophistication in the positive sense.

The Director of Development Studies Program of Ateneo in “INC, Philippine Arena, and religious worldling” was theorizing that with the mammoth Philippine Arena, the INC has achieved some sophistication.

Worldling

WorldlingDotOrg says the term “worlding” cannot be found in any dictionary, even though the term has been in use for nearly a century. Martin Heidegger is said to have popularized the neologism in his 1927 Being and Time to mean “being-in-the-world.”

A worldling is a person who is primarily concerned with worldly matters or material things. As applied with the Iglesia ni Cristo, the focus was on expansion – material at that, with the Philippine Arena giving the high point of assessment.

Now, we come to a preacher. What did he think about this INC crisis? It is a judgment from God says Bro. Eli Soriano, Presiding Minister to the Members Church of God International (MCGI). Do not mistake that for “pagsubok” or trial. Only fanatics insist it is trial, and that corruption is being revealed only now. No, that church has been corrupt from the beginning, he says.

Soriano’s blog says it best. In “Gravity Floating Up All Secrets of Secrets,” he writes –

What is obtaining now with the Iglesia ni Cristo ni Manalo is that in spite of their indoctrinated secrecy of what they do, a force from above is making those secrets surface. Undoubtedly, it is the power of God! That group has long been practicing the act of covering up ugly matters inside their church, of bringing them down, and layering them into secrecy.

But what they did to five PUP students in secret, for example, came out. The case said their members involved mangled the victims’ bodies at the basement of their chapel. The dead bodies floated and were fished out from the muddy Pasig River!!!! (See Supreme Courts Annotated, Vol. 339, August 28, 2000 on the case People vs. Abella).

In an attempt to flush the killing off, the river was the supposed solution. But the bodies floated up to witness against the killers.

What did Soriano think about what’s happening?

Can we say this is like the Cambrian Period where it is said there is a massive explosion of revelation? (Note: I do not believe in the Cambrian Period being an explosion).

We cannot say that corruption in the Iglesia ni Cristo ni Manalo evolved! What is true in the Cambrian Period is collaterally true with the INC of Manalo. Since its inception, there are the corrupt practices of its ministers! It is proven by the very words of Eraño Manalo, second generation Executive Minister, that the corruption among the present generation of his ministers was inherited from ministers pioneering their works of corruption! It was earlier proven by a circular signed by Felix Manalo, first generation Executive or Presiding Minister, himself revealing the corrupt practices of his pioneering ministers. (http://www.controversyextraordinary.com/2015/08/gravity-floating-up-all-secrets-of.html)

Finally, we look into a minister who left the INC.

On a circular read in the whole district of Leyte, July 25, 2015, Joven O. Sepillo Sr is excommunicated for allegedly fighting the Administration and circulating false information with the objective of troubling the church. Sepillo Sr. said he had decided to come out in public to clear out his name against this charge.

Sepillo, Sr. an INC minister for 29 years but excommunicated by the Sanggunian together with his family, was bidding goodbye to his calling as minister for what he considered to be irreconcilable to his principles. He was expelled instead. The following are excerpts from his post [translated from Tagalog] centered on many questions similar to those being voiced out by other excommunicated INC ministers –

If only I left in an orderly way, it would not reach this far, they said. Is what is orderly, bidding goodbye without mentioning any shenanigans and not calling the Administration to counter these? Have they found out that there is no corruption going on now? Has the Administration done an honest-to-goodness investigation to protect the Sanggunian from false accusations? If they have but the ones told to investigate are themselves the accused, will justice be seen by the brethren who are looking for truth?

I am sad that what is often heard from the Spokesman of the Iglesia regarding critics is that they are only defaming without showing any evidence. Those opposing corruption are shown as evil and creating trouble in the church. They are the ones being persecuted, threatened, and done with, just to silence them.

Is there no one from the Sanggunian who will stand for truth? Shall we only wait for the hand of God to render judgment on the guilty? They may have forgotten that it is a Nation of God that they are managing.

The root cause of these troubles now is the change of perceptions among ministers about their supposed life in the ministry. Some are not aware that this is where corruption entered in – the supposed lifestyle of ministers. (See post by Jorge. http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/711261/doj-secures-3-expelled-iglesia-ni-cristo-members).

Interpretations

San Juan, the professor, said secrecy has not done good to the INC. He considers that some of the issues raised by the members of the INC are public and therefore valid.

Cornelio, the sociologist says the INC has come to religious worldling, a sophistication that he tends to congratulate, although it is not about being godly but worldly. Cornelio has barely scratched the surface and his basic fault is the color of his tone. He provides no proper guidance for the reader since his moral compass is also faulty. Notice his use of the term, “Moral Economies.”

At the bottom of his column is written this part:

Some parts of this column are derived from the paper Cornelio presented at the international workshop “Emerging Moral Economies in Southeast Asia” at L’ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris in June 2014.

This italics part in a way explains the deficiency in Cornelio’s analysis. The original material was written one year before this public clash between the Manalo brothers with the Sanggunian on the side of Eduardo Manalo, the incumbent executive minister. Where was Cornelio all the time?

The column of this Sociologist of Religion is pathetically dead and deaf to events that have recently unfolded and still are. There was no attempt at updating. He had disregarded the fact that the INC members question the purpose of the mammoth building and even as basic as its maintenance. This is moral economy for Cornelio?

The second review of this Jayeel Serrano Cornelio talks of “restorationist ethos” of the INC but still suggests a patronizing attitude. With all the news coming out from many quarters, one would wonder if Cornelio is a PR man for the INC. His article of August 13, 2015 says –

The church espouses a restorationist ethos as it claims to be the one true church called to take Christianity back to its original character and form of worship. It has several distinctive elements, among which is the absolute oneness doctrine that pits it against the Trinitarian mainstream in the Philippines.

Its founder, Felix Y. Manalo, is believed to be the fulfillment of a biblical prophecy that in the last days, an Angel from the East will arise. The church has therefore effectively sacralized the Philippines as a nation that plays an instrumental role in the last days.

The church’s unity is also one enduring source of pride for its members.

Unity manifests itself in different ways, such as doctrinal uniformity and submission to the leadership. Members are expected to heed their ministers, for example, on matters of faith and interpretation of Scriptures.

Members also fall in line during national elections, voting as a bloc for whatever candidates church leaders tell them to support. Members cannot take each other to court nor can they marry nonmembers. Even the predictable neo-gothic architecture of its churches is evocative of Iglesia ni Cristo’s institutional unity.  (http://www.ucanews.com/news/after-101-years-growing-pains-for-philippines-iglesia-ni-cristo/74075)

One wonders now how Cornelio was educated. Was he taught to think critically?

Here’s a quote from Albert Einstein’s Ideas and Opinions (1954). It emphasizes the importance of bracing all education with critical thinking principles and the development of character – no matter what specialization.

It is not enough to teach a man a specialty. Through it he may become a kind of useful machine but not a harmoniously developed personality. It is essential that the student acquire an understanding of and a lively feeling for values. He must acquire a vivid sense of the beautiful and of the morally good. Otherwise he – with his specialized knowledge – more closely resembles a well-trained dog than a harmoniously developed person. He must learn to understand the motives of human beings, their illusions, and their sufferings in order to acquire a proper relationship to the individual fellow-men and to the community.

It’s a waste of time when a sociologist of religion writes without first manifesting on the environment. It is even dangerous that he professes to teach the Catholic world about the INC. If he is writing for United Catholic Asia News, he is only misleading the people there. Has he come across what the critic ministers are saying? There’s a Farley de Castro that is often reported by Ces Drilon of ABS-CBN. De Castro is one of the INC ministers excommunicated. Here are excerpts (translated from Tagalog) from his talk (Part III) –

They are just running away. They just do not want to answer the many questions about the anomalies and corruption issues happening now in the church.

Why don’t they answer? They said they will answer the questions last Tuesday [August 4, 2015] during the Prayer Meeting but they dealt with another topic. Aren’t they liars? And until now they haven’t answered the questions regarding anomalies in the church.

 

In Part II, here are some of Farley de Castro’s words [translated from Tagalog] addressing his brothers –

We saw how the words of God were used as basis in persecuting and abusing others by those who have no right. The abuse and wrong use of the words of God to deceive and make the brethren believe to accept their deeds and their reasons. Our poor brethren, our brethren who cannot do anything but follow.

But my question is, why is this done in the management of ministers? They said, isn’t it true that this church won’t apostate anymore? Yes, but many individuals will apostate if they do not move – if we don’t help them, if we don’t love them. Most of them are poor but with full faith, giving their all with readiness.

But our offerings are being wasted in a lifestyle meant only for personal interest.

He addresses Eduardo Manalo, the Executive Minster, and asks many questions, even an intriguing one about the spirit that dwells at their Central. [Note: Central refers to the main headquarters of the INC).

Bro. Eduardo, I have been hearing you for a very long time and I know that you love the church. But why now, why did you allow the church to go this way?

Didn’t you know that from the beginning the church would become like this if your wife will always intervene? Because this was the order of Bro. Eraño G. Manalo before he died. Why is it that we who are standing for righteousness are the very ones being expelled? Is it really true that the spirit of the devil thrives at Central? We love you, Bro. Eduardo.

Didn’t you know from the beginning what your mother and your brother wanted, especially Bro. Angel? Didn’t you know that never did he want to grab your rights? Didn’t you know that they only wanted to let the church restored from the beginning when the messenger of the last days started it? May God have mercy and remember his nation.(https://www.facebook.com/NehemiahEcclesiastesOfficial/videos/vb.414257252092254/440362976148348/?type=2&theater)

If Cornelio had scanned the environment well before writing, he would know that there’s no honest attempt at “restoration ethos” in the way he presented it. There is logically no restoration ethos where communication lines are not open. As a consequence, there’s no restoration ethos where the leader is found decidedly weak and indecisive, cutting off links even with his very own mother and siblings.

What sorely obtains is more of a group confronting the administration and calling for a movement (kilusan) to force a return to the old set-up (physical) – because things are not normal. The resolution they basically wanted was for Eduardo Manalo not to listen to his wife, some peace, and a simple life style for the ministers. For a restoration ethos to materialize, it should start from the head having the drive, the discipline, and the desire. It should not come from the few critics at the side. But clearly, when a fish rots, it begins from the head.

As expected, there’s no response from his side. From all accounts, he and his men were not even answering questions of their brethren who wanted at least the children of Eraño Manalo to be back to their posts and their power restored. But Sociologist Cornelio appeared more of writing public relations pieces, taking extreme care lest he mention any fault. One is inclined to think he is an INC trolling in United Catholic Asia News, ready to neutralize whatever is written against the INC. That is barely a way to be helpful to society as a sociologist of religion.

Back to interpretations, when it comes to religion, the most that should be consulted are those that handle the words of God for this is the commodity in question. What is happening now? Preacher Soriano declares it is a judgment from God that the INC is being revealed as corrupt even from the beginning.

Admitting that he is the fiercest critic of the INC, Soriano would examine their beliefs and practices now and then – would answer to questions about the INC in his regular Bible Expositions. For that, he has attracted many court cases filed against him by the INC – including threats on his life. These have all become the drama that the broadsheets, the TV and the Internet would banner for several years.

The preacher talks about disturbing familiar patterns in the way the INC reacts to dissent – coming from his experience with the INC and paralleling those reported in the news. These practices and their attendant difficulties have been inflicted on him and those of others he knew, but never in his mind did he imagine they will happen to the very members of the INC.

What about the INC minister who had decided to leave his ministry? Sevillo Sr, the expelled INC minister, tends to agree with all of these three experts: (1) There is lack of transparency in the INC as pointed out by Prof. San Juan; (2) The INC has become worldly-wise as discussed by Sociologist Cornelio, but in the sense that it has become materialistic; (3) Corruption is with them according to Preacher Soriano, yes; but judgment may not have come yet. Sevillo Sr. seems hesitant to admit God’s judgment happening at this time, but he uses it as a warning stick against Eduardo Manalo’s administration. He adds a fourth one, his own interpretation of events: (4) The lifestyles of the ministers have led to this organizational upheaval

Like other INC’s who have began to doubt why these things are happening within them if they are a true church, Sevillo Sr. is still staying with the INC despite what he had observed. His belief is intact – presumably including the belief that Christ is mere human being.

Bro. Eli and the INC

As dissent within the INC develops amidst efforts to counter them – mostly suppress them – the following chips have in many forms bobbed up like familiar patterns of a template observed in the past: (a) Pressure on the Department of Justice, (b) Use of the National Bureau of Investigation as a personal bodyguard, (c) Framing up for a charge of rape, (d) Case closed case unclosed, (e) One-sided media, (f) Assignment to kill, (g) No mercy, (h) Humiliating the victim, (i) Hounding the leaving or those who criticize, (j) Gunshots fired at the home, (k) Brainwashing the members.

These were so in the case of Bro. Eli Soriano, the foremost critic of the INC. The INC has applied all of these to him and the people with him.

Aren’t these parts of the culture of the Iglesia ni Cristo? Why do they repeat themselves and this time on their very own people? It is not enough to just mention them as how they are worsening, only the victims can tell. But definitely politicians are wittingly or unwittingly part of the whole scheme. We will look into five of these practices later.

As defined in the dictionary, dissent is the expression or holding of opinions at variance with those previously, commonly, or officially held. Synonyms are disapproval, disagreement, difference of opinion.

But not all dissent is bad. Some are good when truth is king as in the case of critiquing their beliefs by Preacher Soriano and disapproving of maltreatment of the family of Eraño Manalo by Sevillo Sr.

In brief, here are how the familiar patterns have come into Bro. Eli’s life: He, as a bible man, believes he should correct whatever practices he finds are not biblical. That is part of his commission. But the INC is one that takes criticisms to the point of wanting him killed, if not imprisoned (with false charges), and humiliated before the world.

That explains how Luisito Amansec, a former INC hitman, found out the truth about the preacher and confessed that he was around to bump Bro. Eli dead. He became a member of the MCGI instead. Lying has long been with the INC ministers that Bro. Eli is not what they picture him to be. Amansec realized that his heart learned mercy for the first time when he saw Bro. Eli, long pictured as evil in the Iglesia ni Cristo.

In a case for libel where Bro. Eli won, video tapes and DVD’s had been provided to the court where INC ministers were calling him names like “dayukdok,  “mandarambong, “mongongotong,’ “matakaw sa pera,” “Seaman-loloko,” among many other names through their program, Ang Tamang Daan. In English, they mean starved, plunderer, extortioner, money-hungry, and deceiver. They were doing this but MTRCB never sanctioned them.

Bro. Eli also had provided proofs that the INC had distorted his speeches and commentaries to prove consistent patterns of mangling of tapes by the Iglesia ni Cristo on statements made by him. 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.

A discussion of these can be found in the court records of Criminal Case No. Q-05-136679 filed for libel for an Ang Dating Daan TV program aired on January 21, 2005 with Ramil T. Parba as representative complainant of the Iglesia ni Cristo along with Marianito Cayao and Bernardo Santiago.

Accused were Eliseo Soriano, Danilo Navales, Jocel Mallari, and Luzviminda Cruz, all anchors of Ang Dating Daan program on TV. This libel case was dismissed for lack of evidence. Cayao and Santiago are former members of MCGI having been excommunicated by Bro. Eli and then later joined the INC. What the MCGI throws away for spiritual filth, the INC accepts.

INC hates dissent. It also explains why Lydia Manuyag, former INC auditor from Central Diliman was straffed at her home for speaking in SBN21 where she had corrected Bro. Eli. The preacher was quoting the magazine, SAY, that Manalo is a billionaire. Trillionaire, said Manuyag, not billionaire. Afterwards their home was straffed. Lydia’s husband, also a former INC member, was hit with four bullets.

It also explains why Daniel Veridiano, Bernardo Santiago, Marianito Cayao and their kind who have been excommunicated by Bro. Eli for several offenses, have, in turn, been used against the preacher as either complainant or witness.

If media can be used against people especially the TV, it has not been forgotten that Soriano is a victim of this trick, which is why until now the Members Church of God International (MCGI) are boycotting GMA7-11. It is to send a strong message that it is not taking things sitting down. The dramatization in the interview with Daniel Veridiano in “Paninirang Puri, Case Unclosed” presented the Church leader as a shameless old man devoid of the knowledge of the Bible and hungry for sex – and for the same gender yet. The members were pictured as fools – laggards with the brain of a shrimp. This had been so after the Interpol caper has failed. Interpol whom the INC had access to, had found out that the Bro. Eli whom enemies wanted to humiliate before the world is not in hiding – and is even a man of God – not a sex-starved fugitive as the dramatization painted him to be.

The interviewee was Daniel Veridiano, excommunicated from MCGI where Soriano is Presiding Minister to. Veridiano became a member of the INC. By twist of faith, it is GMA being boycotted by MCGI for 5 years now for what they did to Bro. Eli and the organization. Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 22.18.36

What about GMA 7-11? Earlier, it had made Daniel Razon to decide whether to remain as anchor and restrict his language when referring to the Iglesia ni Cristo, or resign. If he does not like restrictions, the INC may boycott the station. Where? On stage when he preaches to the congregation of the MCGI or Ang Dating Daan (as the church is more popularly known). Razon is Soriano’s nephew and the appointed next-in-rank to Bro. Eli. At the same time, he was working for GMA. But he chose to leave GMA rather than restrict his language – not even in anchoring but in preaching in church.

Imagine GMA representing the INC and asking one to restrict his language – and in another venue yet? Why does INC use GMA to restrict one’s language outside of the studio that is the very workplace of Razon? Can’t he preach before the congregation without an outsider’s intervention? Why did religion have to involve a TV station?

The Australian Journalists’ Code of Ethics says in #8 rule:

Do not allow advertising or other commercial considerations to undermine accuracy, fairness or independence.

There is an equivalent in the Code of Ethics of the Philippine Press Institute and the National Press Club of the Philippines in #5:

I shall not let personal motives or interests influence me in the performance of my duties nor shall I accept or offer any present, gift, or other consideration of a nature that may cast doubt on my personal integrity.

INC hates being critiqued. That explains why the NBI had been used to raid the ADD Convention Center in 2001 on a simple charge of libel filed by the INC. The director at that time was Reynaldo Wycoco, an INC member. They came in full-battle gear looking for Bro. Eli whom they could not recognize though they talked to him. Wycoco was reported preparing another raid in 2005 when he succumbed to heart attack.

The MTRCB had suspended the Ang Dating Daan TV Program including all the anchors at least three times in the past at the behest of the Iglesia ni Cristo. One time, it was because Bro. Eli was calling them Iglesia ni Manalo that they took as insult.

BELOW: Thousands upon thousands of people gathered in front of the Human Rights Commission in the Philippines to show their support to Brother Eli when the latter was indefinitely suspended by the MTRCB from appearing in any television program. The Human Rights Commission later ruled in favor of Brother Eli stating that the MTRCB committed a grave abuse of authority against the preacher.

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The Department of Justice also through Secretary Raul Gonzalez had been utilized to persecute Bro. Eli.

A rape charge filed against him was dismissed as the investigating prosecutor found no probable cause to prosecute Soriano. The judge believed that Veridiano’s accusations were all lies and fabricated. Filed sometime before October 5, 2005, the case 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. The case highly considered the rift going on between the INC and the ADD.

But the dismissed case was ordered re-filed by the Office of the President Gloria Arroyo, one widely known as supported by the INC through bloc voting.

Media People Talking

Why do we allow these things to happen? Columnist Conrad de Quiros, in exasperation, asked this question. He mentions about the INC’s habits of “trying to keep certain prominent citizens out of jail or, in the case of public officials, keeping them in power.” He also questions why we allow the Iglesia ni Cristo meddling in the justice department, and interfering in elections, among many others.

Here are excerpts from de Quiros’ column –

The INC has grown over the years to become the second biggest church in this country. You’ve got to wonder, though, what it is asking its fold to do. Over the same years it has grown, it has been trying to keep certain prominent citizens out of jail or, in the case of public officials, keeping them in power.

Not too long ago, the INC made headlines by railing against the government for axing Magtanggol Gatdula, the director of the National Bureau of Investigation and an INC stalwart. P-Noy himself did the axing after finding out that Gatdula had a hand in the illegal detention of a Japanese fugitive. Despite De Lima’s strenuous attestations that the justice department did its homework before recommending Gatdula’s dismissal, the INC complained that he was not given a chance to explain.

All of these must make us ask: Why do we allow this?

Why do we allow the INC to begin with to interfere in elections? We know that INC members vote as a bloc for the candidates of their leaders’ choosing. We know this because that church doesn’t bother to hide it; it parades it as one of the reasons for joining it or currying its favor….This is out-and-out flouting of the separation of Church and State, a thing expressly forbidden in a democracy. And yet we see no law stopping it, and yet we see only politicians seeking to profit from it.  (http://opinion.inquirer.net/29267/why-do-we-allow-this#ixzz3ilLClbI2)

It’s not only de Quiroz questioning the behavior of the INC as an organization. Here’s an excerpt from what Blogger Jake Astudillo wrote about INC power in government offices –

The morbid interest of the INC for critical posts in the national government is quite disturbing too and even the high courts of the land are not spared. The Supreme Court has some justices and other people therein known to have been highly recommended by the INC and cannot be said to be free from public perception of being stooges for the INC.

The same is true for the National Bureau of Investigation, and for other offices under the Office of the President. One of these is the Movies, Television, Radio Censors Board (MTRCB) where the INC cries to as its favored valid court every time their beliefs are being scrutinized. At least, that was the experience of Bro. Eli Soriano. Maria Consoliza Laguardia used to hold fort as head censor of the MTRCB and decides matters upon the behest of the INC.

Jake Astudillo mentioned Lawyer Panopio’s analysis, Reporter Romero’s observation, and Author Vitug’s book. Panopio had underscored INC’s influencing court litigation results; Romero and Vitug were aware of INC recommending justices where these justices decide in favor of the Iglesia ni Cristo once put into place. More from Astudillo –

Not everyone is cowered by the INC influence, however. An enterprising young lawyer found that unconstitutional powers are being interpreted as vested in the MTRCB. James Benedict Panopio, in his analysis of the MTRCB rulings on suspension of the Ang Dating Daan (ADD) programs on TV said the INC should seek redress in the courts instead of the MTRCB. It is not a secret that litigations are highly the interest of the INC where they try to influence results, one of which is the Barrameda case, he said. 

Purple S. Romero of Newsbreak took note that Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr. of the Supreme Court is publicly known to have been highly recommended by the INC. Marites Vitug, in her book, Shadow of Doubt: Probing the Supreme Court, gave the same observation. For three days after the publication of her book, Vitug was receiving death threats on her mobile phone.

And Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr? He was the ponente or decision writer or justice in charge of the case in the Supreme Court sustaining suspension of Ang Dating Daan upon the complaint of the Iglesia ni Cristo. “Political considerations may have come into play in the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the suspension of the religious group Ang Dating Daan’s TV program according to court insiders we talked to,” said Newsbreak reporters. In earlier reports, Newsbreak through Romero surmised that the ruling of the Supreme Court was to please the Iglesia ni Cristo. It was not exactly a legal reason, the report said. The report is interesting in that the dissenting justices pointed to suppression of the freedom of speech in their decision.

And Justice Velasco? Of all people, why did he not inhibit himself from the case, considering his links with the Iglesia ni Cristo? With just their endorsement, the message is clear: they expected someone to exchange favor with. And as venial as one can be, if your ambition is lying in wait for an invitation, you can be used and finally play the willing tool. But it takes two to tango.(https://kotawinters.wordpress.com/2013/04/03/are-we-now-going-to-give-the-country-to-bloc-voting-people/)

Familiar Patterns

These familiar patterns keep repeating themselves. Are we that weak to resist? Recent events with the INC and INC influence show the following:

1) Intervening with the Justice System

A recent news report stated that Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has directed National Bureau of Investigation Director Virgilio Mendez to discipline an official who declared earlier that the bureau’s probe on the alleged abduction of 10 ministers of the influential Iglesia Ni Cristo was deemed closed. (http://manilastandardtoday.com/2015/08/04/doj-iglesia-case-still-open/#

Written by Rey E. Requejo titled “DOJ: Iglesia case still open”(Manila Standard, 8/04/2015), De Lima was said to have made the statement reiterating that the authorities are still investigating the supposed abduction of INC ministers. This was in contrast to the claim of NBI Anti-Organized Transnational Crime Division chief Manuel Eduarte that the case is now considered closed.

De Lima was reportedly surprised said Eduarte had declared the case was closed when he is not even involved in the investigation nor part of the team.

A check into records show that Eduarte is a member of the Iglesia ni Cristo.

Not long after, The Daily Tribune came out with “Binay asks De Lima to stop ‘reckless’ statements vs INC” (Tribune Wires, 8/07/2015) (http://www.tribune.net.ph/nation/binay-asks-de-lima-to-stop-reckless-statements-vs-inc)

The report said Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay had advised Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to refrain from giving “unwarranted statements” on the alleged abduction of Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) ministers.

In a letter to De Lima, the Vice President said he felt compelled to “call your attention to the unwarranted statements you have been expressing in the mass media in your capacity as Secretary of the Department of Justice asserting that the alleged abduction of ministers of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) is not yet a ‘closed’ case.”

Binay reportedly noted that De Lima’s statements contradicted the findings of National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) authorities that conducted the investigation.

“It taxes credulity that you had to publicly contravene the findings of the NBI Anti-Organized Transnational Crimes Division, which itself conducted the investigation on the alleged abduction,” the Vice President said.

“According to your own people in the NBI, no such abduction took place, which finding is bolstered by the fact that there is no complainant who has come forward to attest to its commission. In short, there is apparently no crime committed or being committed,” he added.

If there was no abduction that happened, why are there many complaining from diverse places? Would it hurt to check if there are? What is the hurry in Manuel Eduarte in trying to close the lid and in Binay pressuring the DOJ Secretary if there are lives involved?

2) Riding on one-sided media for personal agenda

The Daily Tribune is also the one that reported earlier on Jose Norelito Fruto, 50, of Amparo Road, Nova Ville Subdivision, Novaliches in “Bogus gay doctor apprehended for molesting Caloocan student” by Arlie O. Calalo (The Daily Tribune, 07/14/2015).

Fruto was one of the INC ministers picked up earlier for questioning regarding the Antonio Ebanghelista blogs that blared corruption issues within the Iglesia ni Cristo.

The report said a 22 year old man (Robert Anthony, not real name) was allegedly sodomized by Fruto and that a CCTV tape showed at least the first of two incidents, the first one (July 4) inside the victim’s house, and the second one inside Fruto’s home.

This Daily Tribune report was used by the INC against Fruto as the “proof” to truth, just as they used it against Justice De Lima. It is clear that The Daily Tribune is not as popular as other broadsheets. The comments are scanty and are lorded over by INC members who spam the same comments over and over.

In the case where Binay berated Justice Secretary De Lima whose group is trying to look into reports of abduction, media was also used in impressing to the public which case is closed or unclosed.

3) Promoting lying and falsehood

Letters posted on Social Media by those expelled show that they were being forced to do things against their conscience. Here’s one written by Joven O. Sepillo Sr –

On July 18, 2015, my name was written in social media as one among those ministers who were abducted and could not be seen. We told our contacts that we are safe and not abducted. My family were wondering why my name was included there when we are just silently doing our responsibilities in the Locale of San Roque in Tolosa Extension, Leyte East District. Who could have done that and what was his aim?

On July 21, I was made to produce a video and say, “I am INC.” I cooperated and did the video according to the order of Bro. Rommel Sanvictores of INCTV and then sent it through email. My family felt safe then that when the video will be shown, it will be clear that I was not abducted and that I won’t be missing but will be found doing my work. When July 24, 2015 came, I welcomed the order from Central to make another video together with the brethren from the Locale with all of us saying,” All of us with responsibilities and all the brethren of the Locale of San Roque, Ecclesiastical District of Leyte East are proclaiming that we are fervently following doctrines and are submitting to obedience so that we will be saved.” Then we would greet Happy 101st Anniversary to the Iglesia ni Cristo. 

Upon arrival at the San Roque Locale, I found the brethren already gathered by the Head Deacon based on the order of the District and there was the Video man. It was not a day for Worship Service at San Roque, but the video would show that the service was just over. At that moment, I decided not to make the [second] video because, first I had already made one last July 21, 2015 as proof that I was not abducted. Second, the brethren already knew on July 23, 2015 about the call from Ka Tenny and Ka Angel, and because of that, they will be asking questions like what is happening with the church.

The following day, July 24, 2015, came the reading of the Circular pertaining to the family of Ka Erdy. I have read that Circular concerning the expulsion in the Worship Service at Tolosa Extension, but I felt so hurt that it has come to this. I could not anymore take it that after reading about the expulsion of the family, they would order me to proclaim fervent obedience and submission to the Administration – and with that I had to involve even the brethren!” (See post by Jorge. (http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/711261/doj-secures-3-expelled-iglesia-ni-cristo-members).

4) Threatening the lives of those who leave their religion or dis-agree with them.

These are lines from a report titled, “Iglesia ni Cristo expels members who joined protest in US (Coconuts Manila, 8/06/2015) –

According to another expelled INC member who was at the rally, fears of retaliation from the church against protesters were heightened a week later after gunshots were fired at his home. (http://manila.coconuts.co/2015/08/07/iglesia-ni-cristo-expels-members-who-joined-protest-us).

The members clearly know about killing being a part of the culture of the Iglesia ni Cristo.

Recently, Joy Yuson, one of the expelled ministers said in the vernacular, “We have to be careful. If they find us on the way, they will kill us. They may run over us, hold us up, kill or trace our steps to home.” (http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/focus/08/06/15/witnesses-vs-inc-placed-under-witness-protection-program).

According to ABS-CBN News, expelled INC Minister Joy Yuson had allegedly received information that the INC has a private army of 100 people that can strike any time. His companions also had other information –

“[Roel] Rosal, who used to work for the New Bilibid Prisons, told De Lima that INC can release inmates from prison, while [Lito] Fruto said an assistant state prosecutor from the justice department was involved in the arrest of one of the ‘missing’ INC ministers, Lowell Menorca, as well as in framing him up for a charge of rape.”

Yuson, Fruto, and Rosal are former members of INC who were expelled from the church after expressing support to the family of the late executive minister Eraño Manalo. (http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/focus/08/06/15/witnesses-vs-inc-placed-under-witness-protection-program).

These reports need verification, and if true, should be addressed by proper government authorities.

  1. No Mercy

A church is supposed to be the very first example in showing how character is supposed to be developed in a vibrant community. It may be none of people’s business questioning how a son can tolerate not talking to a mother for five years. But it has become public that the mother of Eduardo Manalo, Executive Minister of the INC, had wanted to talk to her son. Wasn’t she claiming her life was in danger together with the others? She was expelled from the organization in a show of force with the INC leadership claiming Ka Tenny and the rest of the family were creating division in the church. Farley de Castro, one of those expelled ministers claimed the widow of Eraño Manalo is more than 80 years old and is ill.

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The Public is Watching: One-Sided Media

The Daily Tribune was decidedly one-sided. It did not mention earlier reports that De Lima had wanted the erring NBI Anti-Organized Transnational Crime Division chief Manuel Eduarte who said that the case is now considered closed to be sanctioned.

The Daily Tribune is obviously one of creating news instead of being a news courier. A good story would present both sides.

There is a tendency now for journalists to create news. And that is completely wrong. Journalists have a responsibility to report the news and comment upon the news. But they don’t have the right to create news. (Oscar R. Landicho, “Ethics in Journalism,” Booklore Publishing Corporation, Mla: 2002).

Indeed, what our country needs are good and honest journalists who can tell us what our people need or what is wrong with some government officials including judges and justices.

A look into a description of this paper says –

The Daily Tribune is a daily English-language broadsheet publication in the Philippines. Its office is in the 1st Floor of the Bel-Air Apartments along Roxas Boulevard, Manila. Its editor-in-chief is Ninez Cacho-Olivares. The Tribune is known for being critical of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her successor, Benigno S. Aquino III; conversely, it is often cited as supporting former President Joseph Estrada (now Mayor of Manila) and Vice President Jejomar Binay. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Daily_Tribune).

As a politician who has declared running for President as early as 2010, Binay, in his act of throwing down the gauntlet for the Iglesia ni Cristo is suspect. First, the INC’s practice of coercive bloc voting is a magnet for many politicians to woe the INC’s favor, ignoring the negative effect on the voters.

Second, the INC has been embroiled in controversy and has occupied the news spots in the recent months. But The Daily Tribune shows no indication of knowing anything before hand, as their reports reflected nothing of the other side.

What’s with a news outfit that cannot be objective? A journalist can do his job if his hands are free of bribes. Lest we be seen as imputing anything, there are many things aside from money that can corrupt a journalist: gadgets, electrical appliances, cars, free gasoline, gift vouchers in some department stores, free trips, free meals and drinks. Take that from a seasoned journalist like Oscar Landicho.

Here’s an excerpt from Landicho’s (2002) chapter on Envelopmental Journalism –

Only in the Philippines is ‘envelopmental journalism’ practiced with notoriety and frequency. Envelopmental journalism is not only illegal but also unethical. People who promote envelopmental journalism are peddlers of corruption, dishonesty, and immorality. Some journalists are … in the payroll of some politicians and businessmen.

The report on extensive lecture of Vice President Binay on DOJ Secretary De Lima is not balanced sans just one-liner saying Manuel Eduarte was not involved in the project of ascertaining abduction of INC ministers, or that De Lima was surprised on Eduarte’s “Case Closed” pronouncement. Instead, Binay was marking that Eduarte is a lawyer – as if being lawyer is equivalent to being honest and correct.

What citizens can do for now are the following: 1) Watch for wayward media and expose them; and 2) Watch the moves of politicians and expose them.

The Public is Watching: Politician’s Pressure

An evaluation of Binay’s motherland statements manifests an over-representation of this politician in the absence of a report on De Lima’s stance. He was clearly standing for Manuel Eduarte – someone not involved with the case – or even for the INC. This group is widely known to be influential with a reputation of actively lobbying to be able to place their own people in sensitive positions of the government.

From The Daily Tribune

“By your actuations, you are promoting the image of disunity, discord and even corruption in the INC to its clear prejudice and detriment,” Binay said.

“As public officials, it is our duty to respect the internal affairs and concerns of the INC and allow them, without the unwarranted interference from government, to conduct their own business in accordance with their religious beliefs. No less than our Constitution guarantees this inviolable separation of church and state,” he added.

“For the sake of upholding our Constitution, as well as protecting the integrity and good name of the INC as a religious community, I urge you to refrain from uttering baseless, if not reckless and irresponsible, statements that would tend to harm the religious institution of the INC,” Binay said. (http://www.tribune.net.ph/nation/binay-asks-de-lima-to-stop-reckless-statements-vs-inc)

Binay might not know it but it is the very ministers of the INC running for their lives who had requested for government intervention. Isaias Samson Jr. at a press conference held in July 23, said that government intervention in the crisis would help resolve the issue. Samson is one of those expelled INC ministers. (Tetch Torres-Tupas, “INC crisis: Suspended minister urges gov’t intervention”Inquirer.net. 7/23/2015).

Samson claimed that the INC was after him because of he had opposed INC general auditor Glicerio Santos Jr. According to reports, he was also accused of being the man behind the blog of Antonio Ebangelista, who has released critical articles against the group. (http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/707346/minister-detained-by-armed-guards-escapes-corrupt-inc-practices-bared).

The 1987 Constitution of The Republic of the Philippines in Article III Bill of Rights is enough cover for those running for their lives from the powerful.

Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 22.10.51Consider this: Binay, a candidate for President in 2016, pitches for a religion that is publicly known as influential, but he does not feel for those individuals in it being abducted and reporting fear for their very lives.

The fact is that the INC does not need protection because it is very powerful – unlike individuals in them being threatened after exposing anomalies in their organization.

The right to life, liberty and the protection of the laws is guaranteed by the constitution. It is the right of citizens to be protected and secure in their persons.

The least that Vice President Binay could have done is not to contribute to the INC cover-up – unless he is a willing tool and has become part of these familiar patterns. Politicians are well-entrenched in these practices of the INC having become stooges or willing to become one.

A bird of the same feather knows its kind. It is time for everyone to choose whom to side with: the good or the evil.

Bro. Eli, Pope Francis and the Squid Tactics of Roman Catholic Lackeys

By Jane Abao

Manila, Philippines (8/14/2014) – It all started with a question: Will God forgive those who don’t belSquid300ieve in him?

This was one of the questions asked by an Italian journalist to Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina or Pope Francis to the Catholics who in effect said, “Obey your conscience. That is your guide to what is right and what is wrong.”

Not long after that, media blared that the Pope said, it’s okay not to believe in God if you have clean conscience. Courtney Coren wrote it for Newsmax summarizing La Repubblica, the broadsheet where Eugenio Scalfari wrote his questions.

The Pope has lately been voicing out statements that shocked the world, including saying that he believes in God but not in the Catholic god. The Pope also has been set to task by Bro. Eli Soriano who found the Pope’s “Letter to a Non-Believer” as containing unbiblical answers.

Soriano is the Presiding Minister of the Members Church of God International (MCGI) or Ang Dating Daan as locally known. The preacher was particularly pointing to Paragraph 20 of the letter as translated in English in http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/letters/2013/documents/papa-francesco_20130911_eugenio-scalfari.html

The Pope’s letter to Scalfari that Vatican calls “non-believer,” said –

I now wish to address the three questions from your article of 7 August. I believe that in the first two questions, what interests you is to understand the attitude of the Church towards those who do not share faith in Jesus. Above all, you ask if the God of Christians forgives those who do not believe and who do not seek faith. Given the premise, and this is fundamental, that the mercy of God is limitless for those who turn to him with a sincere and contrite heart, the issue for the unbeliever lies in obeying his or her conscience. There is sin, even for those who have no faith, when conscience is not followed. Listening to and obeying conscience means deciding in the face of what is understood to be good or evil. It is on the basis of this choice that the goodness or evil of our actions is determined.

Vatican documented the 2,500-word piece dated 4 September 2013 as “Letter to a Non-Believer: Pope Francis Responds to Dr. Eugenio Scalfari, Journalist of the Italian Newpaper La Repubblica.” Critiquing the response, Soriano said, among others, that the conscience of man is not a correct guide to the question of believing in God or not, because there are men whose consciences have been seared.

In Soriano’s blog in esoriano.wordpress.com titled, “The Greatest Fallacy of the Roman Catholic Church Ever,” the preacher also contested the Pope’s statement that Jesus is not spirit but man. There are parameters to truth where some truth are time-bound said the preacher. In other words, since the statement was said only recently, “Jesus is not spirit; he is man” can no longer be true.

Among the items that Bro. Eli pointed out is the Catholic’s false belief about Trinity where there are three persons of equal status.  Not true, Bro. Eli said, because the son said in the Bible that, “the Father is greater than I,” and the Bible is an authority on this matter.

Searching for Truth

Searching for truth is one of the most novel pursuits of man today. But one needs to be serious about it because it has to do with an “end” question, “What will happen to me when I die? Will I be saved?”

The common denominator between Bro. Eli Soriano, Pope Francis and Scalfari is searching for truth, one could safely say – but not for apologists whose preference is placed on defending royalties, come what may. The man – not the message – is their focus.

To advance some more, those leading the churches need to be fully abreast of what is true. That in essence was the statement that Bro. Eli wanted to make when he was critiquing the Pope in teaching someone that Vatican called a non-believer. Hence the statement, “I am advising the Pope – if he accepts advises – to be more biblical in his pronouncements for the sake of more than a billion souls that look up to him as their leader.”

Bro. Eli is in fact fascinated with the new Pope as the latter proves to be cleansing the Roman Catholic Church – is in actuality creating its collapse – to come back to truth. This is what Soriano said in his blog.

We have members in Argentina who are former Catholics. I am thanking God that after the so-called ascension of the present Pope to the alleged throne of Peter, Argentines still strove to leave the Catholic Church and join us to be members of the Church of God International! I am happy for them in the sense that Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina caused the greatest collapse in the history of the Catholic Church when as present pope he pronounced that Jesus Christ is not a spirit but human!

Use of Reasoning, Discourses

The Word of God is the final arbiter above all things if we have to stick to truth. And for using truth to argue, to reason out, one must believe in truth himself.  To stay in the domain of truth, one must, himself, serve truth. Would anyone in his right mind refute this?

At other times, fidelity with truth may even necessitate detaching oneself – like give up serving what one used to believe in as “truth.” This is not very far to imagine as in the resignation of popes.

Blessing from God

Despite truth not laid readily on the platter for man, he is blessed to have been given the wisdom and the opportunities to know truth. But it is not like lying down under an apple tree and waiting for the apple to drop to one’s mouth. A man of God that would preach God’s word must study, practice, and apply principles found in God’s book. Above all, he must be above reproach so that no matter how small, no matter how insignificant he is in the eyes of people, he is someone justified in God’s eyes to handle his words. Not everyone is worthy to do that.

A lazy man, for example, that refuses to read his Bible will not come to understand anything. A braggart cannot win in an argumentation or discourse without studying how to keep away from fallacies. A so-called priest who does nothing but shout out curses to anyone criticizing his beliefs is not a priest in the real sense. An apologist that uses materials other than the word of God for what is true is not a careful apologist.

If one practices more on tricks to mislead the audience with corrupt communication rather than finding out what is true, he is but a paid hack, a hired lackey to ensure status quo that someone may hold on to dear power. For example, the Pope’s pronouncement about Jesus not being a spirit but a man as the bone of contention should not lead to anywhere but there. Stay there and resolve that thing. It should not lead to yourself and your pompous biodata.

Recently, someone calling himself Lay Person Scripturist (?) tried to hi-jack a supposed work-in-progress, using the blog of “Splendor of the Church.” Bro. Eli Soriano was advising the Pope to be more biblical in his pronouncements in his blog in esoriano.wordpress.com. This so-called “scripturist” who obviously has no gifted knowledge about scriptures came forward to brag about his knowledge of Hebrew and Greek. He was challenging Bro. Eli to prove his recommendation of the KJV as the better Bible. Someone’s pronouncements had suddenly metamorphosed into better Bible. Was that the issue? How did it come to that? This is clearly squid tactics at work!

Lay it on the Table

For anyone thirsting for truth, one should take extra care that one does not adhere to personalities but to God and his word. When Bro. Eli was finding issues with the pronouncements of Pope Francis, he was laying on the table these pronouncements for examination: firstly, about following your conscience as guide to belief or non-belief in God, and secondly, about Jesus being man and not spirit.

Why was he doing this? Preachers should continually study and examine information around just like other professions do. Bro. Eli said handling the words of God is most delicate and should not be simply toyed with by people who make business out of it. More so, use it for power.

What should be done now as proper, when things are on the table? To discuss these to find out the truth according to the final arbiter – the word of God.

So now, is conscience a proper guide to what is right and what is wrong? Is Jesus a man and not spirit? These are questions the world should be able to discuss – with saneness of mind, like adults who care for themselves and for others. These questions need answers, and it is but proper to discourse on them – especially with the Roman Catholic Church leaders. When Bro. Eli blogged about this, no one stood up for the Pope – in the proper way. Attempts were all spent at tearing down Bro. Eli as if the Pope would stand right if they do.

The Lackeys: Rise of Greenhorn Defenders

What happened was that someone in tow, identified only as “Lay Person Scripturist” posted “A Response” to Bro. Eli. That was quite expected. The problem was that he deflected from the issue and trained the discourse on himself and about what he knew about Greek and Hebrew. It was a decoy, all right, to draw the attention away from Pope Francis and his pronouncements.

The comments below the blogs called Bro. Eli all sorts of names. No one said anything against the Pope; neither against the personality of the blogger.  The page belonged to the Catholics. “Lay Person Scripturist” is hardly a name. But since he was blogging on the blog of Padre Abe Arganiosa’s “Splendor,” he was deemed to be speaking for the Church – until his words betrayed him. Duane Yan is after all just a lackey. Is that his real name? No one knows for sure. He is not open about his identity.

As it is, Greenhorns or Tenderfoots should stay in their proper places and that is to study AND THINK– instead of trying to cover up for their elders. Until they are ready, it will not do any good as shown in this example. Instead of facing the situation, apologists for the Catholic Church only showed their lack of character.

Pope Francis can very well speak for himself. The Bishops of the RCC can speak for their beliefs and defend them instead of a lackey doing it. This early, the corrupted thinking of the “scripturist” seems to say that covering up for a leader is preferable to searching for truth. That is heroism to him.

Duane Yan’s Fallacies

Google is everybody’s friend. That’s how we came to know the full name of this so-called Scripturist – if that is really his true name. Does Duane Yan or Lay Person Scripturist live scriptures? Read scriptures? Study scriptures? A scripturist is defined as one who is strongly attached to, or versed in, the Scriptures, or who endeavors to regulate his life by them. That is what the dictionary says.

Duane has not shown anything about being a scripturist – through his demeanor or through the contents of his discourses. Anyhow, the following is an analysis of Duane’s first blog with all his fallacies. The statements in quotes are his, and the fallacies he committed are set in bold. The author takes the pleasure to comment as reaction to his fallacies.

A1) Ad Populum Argument. Duane opened his Blog 1, “A Response to the Attack of Eli Soriano against Pope Francis” with a claim –

“It was jealousy that forced Eli Soriano to come up with this article.”

That’s an appeal to the RCC mass. However, the claim for a jealous Soriano was not supported at all. He did not give evidence as to how Soriano was jealous (of the Pope?) and in what terms Soriano could be jealous. Instead, his subject was the Pope.

A2) Non Sequitor. Duane came up with the charities of Pope Francis as if to say that Soriano has no charities since he doesn’t speak about them, or that he does not know about them, or that the Pope does them. It doesn’t follow that because Duane is ignorant of the charities of Bro. Eli that there is no charity to speak of from the side of Bro. Eli. Or because the Pope does charities, then Bro. Eli has none.

A3) False Analogy

“The teachings of a preacher who uses verses cannot save people if he does not follow the will of God.”

There is no debate here; it is true for everyone. The comparison is a false analogy since it is being used as support where there is none to support. This supposed claim is not a claim at all, but Duane makes it appear to the audience that he is talking about Soriano, and that what he is saying is true.

A4) Diversion

“The real problem is the malicious thinking of the Leader of Ang Dating Daan who cannot explain the Hebrew Alphabet. The leader of this ADD does not know the Greek language.”

What was the issue? The pronouncements of Pope Francis.  So why did it suddenly shift to Hebrew and Greek language? So that the so-called Catholic defender can cover up the errors found in the Pope’s words. No one came up but him – a “scripturist.”

One cannot run away from what is true and replace it with another. Your knowledge of the Hebrew and Greek alphabet cannot be the topic when no one brought it up.

A5) Strawperson Argument

“Now let us give Eli Soriano the Grammatical Analysis of John 1:1…..The question is does Soriano know Greek Grammatical Analysis?”

Was there a need for this? The contentions are on the pronouncements of Pope Francis. Why did it come to teaching Soriano of Greek Grammatical Analysis? You simply ignored Bro. Eli’s actual position and substituted your distorted, scheming misrepresented version of his position. Will teaching Greek Grammatical Analysis to Soriano show the way if Pope Francis is correct or not?

A6) Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc (After this, therefore this)

“They challenge the Pope since it is impossible for Him to give importance to these things. That is why Soriano does all these impossible things so the debate will not push through.”

Duane Yan, you are indeed egoistic!  What debate are you talking about? You claim to have sent an email asking for a debate? Was there an answer? A letter or an email is said to have been received if there was a reply. And since Bro. Eli found fault in Pope Francis words, does that necessarily lead to a conclusion that debate with you is being avoided, and so the preacher needed to do that? How egoistic can you get!

Well, here’s something you have to know about Soriano: Bro. Eli attends to millions of people everyday aside from doing his own studies as preacher. So he has to divide his time for more important things. Not every email then gets a response.  If there is none, the answer may be no or later.  What is known is that Bro. Eli does not discourse with a lackey like you. What he likes is leader-for-leader since the leader knows best what doctrines his church carries. It is doctrines that are the meat of debates, not Hebrew or Greek language. You claim to be Lay Person, so stay with Lay Persons. The policy is that anyone wanting to debate with Bro. Eli must have authority from his leader.

What is a debate? Merriam Webster defines it as “a contention of words or arguments as a regulated discussion of a proposition between two matched sides.” Two matched sides, it says. At least, Duane should approximate if he has the mettle to deal with Bro. Eli. Knowing Hebrew and Greek does not guarantee that one is competent in reasoning, what more with measuring truth from different angles? You first blog already committed many fallacies. Is this a guarantee that you can handle a debate?

Duane’s second blog was more insulting. It was titled, “A Response to the Response of the Coward Leader of Ang Dating Daan.” Let us check again on his fallacies. The words enclosed in quotation marks are his. Fallacies he committed are set in bold.

B1) Distraction. By this time, Duane or whoever he is, has misled his audience to forget about Pope Francis and his pronouncements.  Or so, it seems. In summary, Bro. Eli found issues in the Pope’s statements about following conscience to believe or not believe in God, and that Jesus is not spirit but man. So now, the focus is on Duane, himself, and his supreme knowledge of Hebrew and Greek. How did it jump from one topic to another? This Lay Person Scripturist inserted himself. What he did was distraction. He had tried to make the people forget about looking for truth – because now he had shifted the topic from Pope Francis’ unbiblical pronouncements (Argument of facts) – one that he could not answer – to a Coward Soriano (Argument of evaluation – personal). In sum, he was running away.

B2) Emotive language

Soriano knows very well that I am a Lay Person. You are aware that I have contacted you last February 2014 via elisoriano.com. What is your purpose to claim that a person wrote this when you know that I was the one who challenged you to prove that the King Version is truthful to the Original Language? Are you just getting the attention of our members to show that you are fighting? You are a liar to show that a priest wrote this article.”

This person sees himself as the center of the world. When you are someone leading millions, you won’t have time to remember every email that comes along the way. The staff handles those emails first and then consults with management about time and priorities and other related concerns.

But this person who staunchly comes forward to do squid tactics looks at himself as the all-important person at the moment. Is what you call “lying” that hard when you cannot even come out with your real identity? That blog, “Splendor” has long been Abraham Arganiosa’s. You just popped up at the moment Pope Francis is being talked about.

The Pope doesn’t need anyone like you to cover for him. Already, you have the gall to call Bro. Eli as coward in all your impertinence and simplistic attitude in looking at scriptures. If you attach yourself to scriptures, you must make sure you do not soil its reputation by showing your brazen self-assurance that you know everything as to cover for the Pope! You could have at least waited for the Monsignors, or the bishops to do it and not you! For sure, they know better to respect people unlike your glory-seeking self.

Bro. Eli was not born yesterday. So many people would like to be associated with Bro. Eli through a debate – win or lose. Just having debated with him is already a feather on their cap. So do not think that Bro. Eli does not practice discernment with these people asking for debates. Your proposal alone as limiting the debate to a Hebrew language with no one understanding what is happening already marks you as a social climber that is hardly one looking for truth. Why should he waste time on you? Your tail is showing; tuck it in, please! Enough of your social-climbing at the expense of Bro. Eli.

ADDRESSING YOUR VIDEO: It now appears that you have forced your way into a Church locale for a hidden agenda. In your email that you said was sent last February 2014 (retrieved just this week), 1) You were asking for a debate; 2) You were asking that you may bring a video.

Since you were not even granted a debate, how come you have a video entering a church locale? What is your motive for doing that? To show that no one wanted to debate with you? Shallow trickster! Only your kind can be tricked into thinking that no one in the world can face a great Duane in a debate! It is easy to fool people, but no matter how many videos you post, a thinking mind will still examine the veracity of those posts.

Anyone wanting to know about truth is welcome in the Church locales of MCGI. Unless you went there for an evil purpose, you are most welcome. You need not present a video to create something that is not true.

B3) Ad Populum Argument

Why will I not be proud of the Pope when he did many good things?”

The blogger is courting the audience to rally behind him, but there is no need for this. It is not an issue that Pope Francis did many good things. No one is fighting that. This is yet another proof that this fellow does not merit the time of Bro. Eli for a debate. It will just be a waste of time. He doesn’t know where to place himself arguing through blogs; what more in a formal discourse?

B4) Either-or Argument

The question is do you really know Hebrew? If you are capable, then come out for an honorable debate.”

By this time, one can sense that this person is really pitiful. It’s either you know Hebrew or you are not honorable. It’s either you know Hebrew or you are a coward. It’s either you know Hebrew or nothing.

Bro. Eli is right in ignoring that email. This fellow has nothing between the ears and will only waste his precious time that can be used for others.

B5) Slippery Slope

You will do everything that is impossible so the debate will not push through.”

Duane, if you had been a student, you may have learned that you cannot force your teacher to pass you; you have to show you merit her passing you. The same with anyone having the stature of Bro. Eli. He can afford to choose who are worth debating with. If there is no challenge and he can see that you are just going to waste his time talking about dictionaries that no one from the audience will understand, then create your own opponent. That proposal of yours is of the devil.

How can you claim that Bro. Eli would even waste time thinking about you and how to dodge you? Look at his debate records. In the space of four years from 1995-1998 for example, he had a record of 4 debates each year. Now, it is becoming less and less especially in foreign lands because these debates on video are all over the Internet. Challengers are withdrawing that there are times the tickets for Bro. Eli and his staff have been bought already and the venue paid for.

Oh, my! Bro. Eli doesn’t even know you exist and there you are, accusing him!

B6) Strawperson Argument

“I will repeat. I am challenging you to an honorable debate to prove that your highly recommended King James Version is truthful to the original language just like you said in the video.”

What Bro. Eli said in the video is not the same and identical as what Pope Francis said that “Jesus is not spirit but man.” That was one of the issues.

You are lost, young man! You can improve your ability to reason by familiarizing yourself with the kinds of fallacies that you have committed here. Improve your reasoning; formulate effective arguments and maybe someday, Bro. Eli can consider you as worthy to waste his time.

The meat of Apologetics work, as in others, should be in searching for truth and not swallowing up a load of unverified cache, and then fool the audience with corrupt evidence. No! There is no high pride that we need to cover up when it comes to truth. What Bro. Eli said about Pope Francis and his pronouncements were not yet answered. Unfortunately, you are not the right person to answer for them, given your performance.

What We Can Learn From the Comments

All is not lost if we can learn something from the load of comments. You don’t see Duane Yan defending what he said nor explaining himself. But you see the members of the Roman Catholic Church actively responding to commentaries or simply throwing stones. Some 90% of the comments were attacks on the person of Bro. Eli. Most were rehash of what the Iglesia ni Cristo would accuse the preacher of. Duane’s “A Response to the Attack of Eli Soriano against Pope Francis” reaped 260 comments as of August 10, 2014. His “Response to the Response of the Coward Leader of Ang Dating Daan” reaped 175 comments as of August 11, 2014.

From the two blogs of Duane aka Lay Person Scripturist, people called Bro. Eli names and threw him accusations not fit to see in print. Some even had usernames that are godly-sounding like “Ang Tunay na Kawan” (The True Sheepfold”) but the language is most foul. Against Catholics, the usual attacks are those that deal with idol worship but are ignored by them or replied to with a counter-attack. Idol worship of Catholics? Answer: Soriano is rapist, extortionist, plunderer, deceiver, scum of the earth. This has been the mantra of the Iglesia ni Cristo and is now in many forms being used by the Catholics against the preacher. That is because Bro. Eli up to now criticizes false beliefs during his Bible Expositions that are aired world-wide almost every week through satellite. Obviously, he cannot stop doing that because people ask him questions and he has to answer. Critiquing false beliefs is part and parcel of the work of a preacher of God. It helps in the propagation of truth.

What is to make of these comments? A Church leader can benefit from reading them. They are a show-window of what can be done. Management-wise, one can readily see how the church that he is leading has formed the persons from what they say. Has the church taught these people anything? If the church they are defending is good and true, how come the language is that filthy?

In the teachings of Bro. Eli, saying fool and shameless is not wrong if the person is really a fool or shameless. It is telling the truth and there is the need to change pointed out. This is not applied, however, by a brother to another.  How about the Catholics? Looking at their comments, much can be said about Catholics: they don’t study their Bibles (“I was born a Catholic; I will die a Catholic”); they have not been taught respect. But happily, from the exchanges, one Catholic member was actively pushing for a debate to resolve issues (“I want to know who is lying; let’s have the debate”).

Here’s a proud Catholic named Alwin Bobis from the University of the Philippines talking – with a misplaced sense of martyrdom.

That’s how to be a Catholic! Non-afraid, courageous and above all, full of wisdom… Go and multiply! We are behind…. ALWAYS! (Posted 7:44 am, 8/8/2014 on Coward Leader).

If Catholics can bite bullets and powder in Nigeria, Egypt, Europe and in all persecuted-Christian land…. Eli Soriano is peanut (sic) in comparison…. For those who truly love Jesus, even martyrdom is a song. (Posted 7:47 am, 8/8/2014 on Coward Leader).

The most appropriate comment that goes along the line of thinking that we espouse comes from a John Cardenas from Systems Technology Institute. There is no pressure seen to defend his religion or his leader. He posted –

According to the Bible, there is a way to find out if the preacher is of God or not.

John 7: 17-18 (KJV)

If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory; but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true and no unrighteousness is in him.

We need to weigh in the Biblical truths here, not the image of the Pope or even Bro. Eli. I am with you that this [sic] debate will be able to tell the people who is telling the truth. (Posted 11: am, 8/8/2014 on Attack Against Pope)

You can be sure John Cardenas learned this thing from Bro. Eli. This verse is frequently repeated during his Bible Expositions in the Q&A portion. It is also often discussed in Church gatherings. “The characteristics of a preacher of God” is one of the most discussed topics of Bro. Eli, either standing on its own or interspersed with other topics.

Authority to Speak

From the side of Bro. Eli, a Joemar San Jose, presumably a deacon, insisted on knowing about “authority to speak.” Who is authorized to speak for RCC? Is Duane authorized to speak for the whole of the RCC? Where can we find that authority spoken of? Where is it written? After a lengthy exchange (about 55 exchanges) with a certain Jay Pee of the RCC, it came out that a Bishop can give authority for his own Diocese – but up to that only. Duane cannot speak with authority for the whole of the RCC.

So what then is the use of jumping to a claim for debate if even his Bishop does not arm Duane with authority? Further, the purpose of a debate is finding out what is true. You would be a fool to debate using dead languages like Greek and Hebrew to find out truth if you can do it in the language of people hearing you.

But why do we use Greek and Hebrew dictionaries? To find out the intended meaning. But that is not all. You must know who is speaking so that you can gauge the meaning more closely.

Just because you know a handful of words in Hebrew or Greek does not give you the upper-hand. There is still God who guides his words and those he had appointed to use them. Therefore, the supremacy is not found in language.

To Be an Apologist

It is good to be an apologist but it depends on your apologetics. Merriam-Webster defines apologetics as “a branch of theology devoted to the defense of divine origin and authority of Christianity.” The term accordingly was first used circa 1733. This gives us an idea that certain truths on Christianity (Read Roman Catholic) have been in place as dogma as early as this period. Because they are dogma, a thinking mind should still check.

Experience reveals that some truths are time-bound. As new truths come in, the old ones found not working should go as wisdom reveals. Therefore, an apologist has to be open-minded and quick to check his facts. One need not swallow dogma – that is clear. The critical part is in having to defend someone you look up to as a leader when he makes a mistake. Did he indeed make one? Your task is to check, at the same time checking your thinking tools as well as your faith. There’s something we have to remember, however: Whoever is given the wisdom, to him we give the honor – to lead us into truth.

Everything an apologist does lies on his faith, but it does not mean blind faith. If you are sure your faith stands on solid ground, then your work is not that hard and there would be no inner conflicts. But if in your mind, the one you have to defend is in error, you are in for a quandary.

Debate on TV All That’s Needed

Duane Yan in “Splendor of the Church,” or whoever he is, said Bro. Eli is jealous and that is why he wrote that blog on the pronouncements of Pope Francis. The Pope really said those pronouncements as covered by media and Vatican documents.

No matter how Catholics pelt stones on Bro. Eli, it won’t change matters. Pope Francis said those words. He even said he believes in God but not in a Catholic God. It is because he has come upon new truths. Should there be things to settle, debate on TV is all we need.

ADDENDUM: There were two other responses that just came in. Abe Arganiosa’s post dated August 12, 2014 will be dealt first.

Every single word of the Catholic Priest Abe Arganiosa is in all capitals beginning with his title: “MAMA ELI SORIANO TOO COWARDLY IN HIS ALIBIS; REFUSES DEBATE CHALLENGES.” Aside from that, he topped it with a photo-shopped photo of Bro. Eli, presenting him as a clown.

For the many years that Abraham Arganiosa had been blogging, he has obviously not learned that any piece of writing one does is to persuade the reader of the truth of what one says. Therefore, there is what is called pathos or feelings of the audience. There is also ethos or the writer’s character as the readers see him as believable or not. More important, there is logos or proofs to confirm factual evidence. From what he had exemplified in his response, he has nothing of these three.

His post is a perfect example of a heart shown inside out. I pity this priest. Beginning with his filthy language, his cursing, and the things that make him laugh with great pleasure, I would not want any of my loved ones to come near this priest. Is this the one that should talk to you about God and his goodness?

Abe Arganiosa, the whole of your post is garbage! You do not even care what readers think of you; neither do you care if you are polluting people’s homes or not. And did you hit the point? You were talking about Bro. Eli shying away from debates and that is way off the mark. Was that the issue? There’s just one thing you need to know, perchance you can still wake up: You stink! That’s the truth of it! Priests as leaders should be examples and you are a poor one!

Just to tell the world that Pope Francis never makes mistakes, you yourself turn into a werewolf and bare your fang? That is what you do actually. It is not an intelligible way to handle arguments. You banner that Bro. Eli refused a debate challenge? When was that? And to whom is he a coward?  As a priest, you have to be careful of your words. Did you banner that just to show that you have done something for Pope Francis?

If Bro. Eli is a coward, why does he have the guts to correct Pope Francis? That alone puts you on the defensive.

Secondly, from your title alone, Abe Arganiosa, you are already lying. You used emotive language to rally your people. If I call you Auntie Abe, fair enough? Auntie Abe, the Photo-shopping Catholic Priest Shouts on the Internet.

Finally, I will spare you your fallacies. You do not appear teachable anyway, and discussing them won’t help. Just be ethical on the internet. Do not post on all capitals because that means shouting. Then, how come you do not know that photoshopping, or specifically placing one’s head on someone’s body, is unethical and even criminal? You just did it to Bro. Eli and his people may complain.

Aloysius Kayiwa

Next came the August 12, 2014 post of Aloysius Kayiwa titled, REFUTING ELI SORIANO & HIS FELLOW FALSE PROPHETS ON THE DIVINITY OF CHRIST. This is part of the responses to Bro. Eli Soriano in Splendor of the Church blog of the Roman Catholic Church that for a long time has been Arganiosa’s turf.  The blog is now tagged as Catholic Apologetics.

Kayiwa is not a Filipino. He is a Ugandan, a former Pentecostal, and a correspondent of Splendor in Africa. He posted a very thick discourse but the thickness is deceiving. He dwelt on many topics that Bro. Eli did not mention. Written at the top is the following:

“Going back at the school of the Fathers: St. Athanasius battle; nicea and the defence of the apostolic faith – the figure of athanasIus at the centre of the fight against the arian heresy. A fundamental question for Chistian experience, yesterday as today. Deepening awareness of the trinity and refuting the false teachers Eli Soriano and Iglesia ni Manalo.”

Mr. Kayiwa, if you are an apologist, you must know what to do. Process this thick thing in order to respond properly to the issues set forth by Bro. Eli Soriano. Bulk cannot daunt nor fool those with thinking minds. They will still examine what you are saying despite your much padding. If you were my student, I would ask you to re-write, cut off the first nine pages, and begin on Page 10. That is where you began to talk about Bro. Eli.

Remove extraneous material and do not force Catholic materials which have no credibility to others because they are not scriptures. For example, what does Bro. Eli care about your St. Athanasius, his battle and Nicea? Are they in the Bible? The Iglesia ni Manalo is also not included here. That surely is not the way to argue. Go simple and attack the issues presented and that is the pronouncements of the Pope.

Like the others, you mention many things that are only true to you. I will just show you some of what you said:

In his first line, Soriano says that: “Now, if the son is equal to the Father and the Father is a spirit, it follows that the Son must also be a spirit!” This is a bogus statement confusing the nature of God and cancelling out Soriano. Notice how he confuses the Spirit to be the Father and the Son and not Himself. Soriano does not know what “equal” means and he confuses the nature of the one God and through misapplying and torturing Scriptures to support his erroneous views.

If Jesus is also a Spirit like His Father as Soriano says, why does the Spirit come on him during Baptism by John the Baptist?

Resolution for this is a televised debate. When you go, try to repeat these lines you wrote and let us see if you can win. I am not an expert on these things but I have already learned something from Bro. Eli that is not in you. You suffer from the negative effect of drinking from loads of lies. Just from believing all those so-called saints and making them your gods already deceive your minds. Your thinking is veiled whereas God’s truth is simple – for those who are not idol worshippers.

Another one –

So Soriano gets it wrong in confusing the Spirit as being the Father and the Son. The Spirit is God himself – God the Holy Spirit.  When the Church asks us to bow our heads on hearing the words of John; ‘The Word became fresh [sic] and dwelt among us,’ She is calling us to pray homage to the goodness of God Who loves man so much as to become, Himself, the Messiah He had promised to the Hebrews – the Messiah who would be at one and same time, God and man.

This falls under the same thinking, the same error. Try to mention this again in the debate so that you can see why you are not correct. But this one below is what you really have to prove. Let us see who among you and Bro. Eli is the “charlatan pretending to be wise.” Prove yourself! Before you spread your heresies from Uganda to the Philippines, stand up and be measured!

This is your statement –

Enter in Soriano – a charlatan pretending to be wise

It is dishearting [sic] that although the Church Fathers sacrificed their lives to defend the fundamental Christian Faith against heretics, new false teachers, which the Scriptures warn us about, are coming up with wrong teachings. One of them is Eli Soriano, the founder of Ang Dating Daan cult aka Church of God International in the Philippines. Soriano has no shame in torturing, misapplying Scriptures and fooling people. In one of his latest articles in his blog, he accuses Pope Francis of calling Jesus a man by arguing with cynical statements that Jesus is a Spirit because God the Father is Spirit quoting John 4:24 which forces him to argue that –

“Now, if the son is equal to the Father and the Father is a spirit, it follows that the Son must also be a spirit!”

In reality, Soriano does not know what he is arguing against.

A ‘straw man’ argument defines a person’s point of view inaccurately, and then attacks the misrepresentation…

Aloysius Kayiwa, what you are accusing Bro. Eli of, is actually what you are doing! Your claims are based on a cache of your saints and relics. Those are not found in the Bible! If you agree to a debate, that “charlatan pretending to be wise” can be uncovered. I guarantee, that is you!

But have we forgotten what Bro. Eli was saying about Pope Francis? No! When you began your arguments with a human being (St. Athanasius) rather than God, you were building on shaky ground. Your understanding then is veiled.

Indeed, some people are not searching for truth nor are thinking anymore. Some prefer to drink from a cache of lies passed on from their forebears. But if you read the latest pronouncements of the Pope, they show that even he has not stopped thinking and is for changes. In the Pope’s interview with Eugenio Scalfari, La Repubblica’s founder (www.repubblica.it, 2013/10/01), the Pope was talking about how the Roman Catholic Church should change. In his exact words, he said there is “The leprosy of the papacy.” The Pope was using a metaphor, of course, but he is in effect saying that not everything is all right with the Roman Catholic Church.

Courts Acquit Bro. Eli for the Second Time this Year on Cases Filed by Iglesia ni Cristo Members

By Jane Abao

Manila, Philippines (5/2/2014) – In two cases filed separately on two related incidents by members of the Iglesia ni Cristo against Eliseo Soriano, the evangelist won his second round of court case. The first case filed in Marikina City was for attempted murder and spoke of an incident on September 4, 2001; the second filed in San Mateo, Rizal was for libel and zeroed in on an incident, three days after.

People's Journal, May 8, 2014
People’s Journal, May 8, 2014

Soriano, who is referred to as Bro. Eli by his constituents, is the Presiding Minister of the Members Church of God International (MCGI) or Ang Dating Daan as known by the public for its flagship radio-TV program. The evangelist is now based overseas in accordance with his antipodal direction of preaching.

Judge Josephine Zarate-Fernandez dismisses case of attempted murder on January 14. 2014
Judge  dismisses case of attempted murder, Feb 11, 2010. No evidence of alleged conspiracy.

In an eight-page decision penned by Josephine Zarate Fernandez, Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court, Fourth Judicial Region, Branch 76 of San Mateo Rizal, TV Broadcaster Eliseo F. Soriano was acquitted of the charge of libel. The order signed on January 14, 2014 said that malice was not proven beyond reasonable doubt.

According to Law, malice is one of the four elements of libel that must be sufficiently satisfied for the case to succeed. The three others include: the allegation of a discreditable act or condition concerning another, publication of the charge, identity of the person defamed, and existence of malice. The absence of anyone of these elements will not make the case prosper.

The case docketed as Criminal Case No. 5957 charged Soriano for the crime of libel as punished under Article 355 of the Revised Penal Code.  The complaint in part said that on the 7th day of September 2001, the evangelist, during his TV program in SBN21 located at Pasig city,  uttered in particular, “Sabi nila sa akin, baka quack doctor yon, kaya galit sa akin (They told me, she may be a quack doctor and that is why she is mad at me.” Subject statement referred to Dr. Nancy Nakpil Pascua, the private complainant of the case, the decision said.

On September 4, 2001 or some three days immediately before the TV program wherein Soriano allegedly uttered that statement, Pascua happened to be found with some Iglesia ni Cristo members in the house of Dr. Alberto Jimenez and his wife who belonged to the congregation of the Ang Dating Daan. With them was Bernardo Santiago, one excommunicated by Soriano for adultery and then became a member of the Iglesia ni Cristo. As alleged by Witness Rolando Ocampo, this Bernardo Santiago, a companion of private complainant Dr. Pascua, told the Jimenez couple that Soriano is “bakla,” among others.

Judge found no malice. Accused acquitted
Judge finds no element of malice. Accused acquitted, Jan 14, 2014.

 

The decision ended, saying the degree of proof mandatory to establish malice was not attained. Soriano was therefore acquitted by the court.

Incidentally, in a separate case dismissed four years earlier, Bernardo Santiago of the Iglesia ni Cristo had filed a case of attempted murder against Bro. Eli Soriano and his companions. Docketed as Criminal Cases Nos. 2002-4236-MK and referring to September 4, 2001, the same date he and Dr. Pascua were visiting the Jimenez couple, private complainant Bernardo Santiago alleged that accused Soriano acted in conspiracy with the others to kill him.

According to the order dismissing the case, the prosecution presented Witnesses Glen Fernandez and Rommel Elbambuena who both heard one of the accused say, “Patayin yan! Patayin yan! Utos ni Ingkong!” (Kill him! Kill him! Order of Ingkong!) Ingkong is a monicker for Bro. Eli Soriano.

Judge Geraldine Fiel-Macaraig of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 192 of Marikina City, however, dismissed the case for insufficiency of evidence on February 11, 2010. Conspiracy was not proven.

The most recent case won by Bro. Eli and filed by Iglesia ni Cristo members was for libel but was dismissed on February 11, 2014. Ramil T. Parba as representative of the Iglesia ni Cristo along with Marianito Cayao and Bernardo Santiago, accused Eliseo Soriano and his companions, Danilo Navales, Jocel Mallari, Wilfredo Santiago and Luzviminda Cruz, of libel in Criminal Case No. Q-05-136679 for a program aired on January 21, 2005.

Soriano and his co-hosts in UNTV, after denying the allegation of the Iglesia ni Cristo that they were selling goods inside four church locales, were discussing the Supreme Court decision in People vs. Abella, G.R. No.127803, August 28, 2000 http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/2000/aug2000/127803.htm

Judge rules that INC is a public figure. Comments on the Abella case is a matter of public interest.
Judge rules that INC is a public figure. Comments on the Abella case is a matter of public interest. All accused absolved, February 11, 2014.

 

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.

Cayao and Santiago incidentally are excommunicated members of Ang Dating Daan. In all of these three cases, Bernardo Santiago figured as either as private complainant or involved.

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.

Are We Now Going to Give the Country to Bloc-Voting People?

By Jake Astudillo

Manila, Philippines (UPDATED April 21, 2013) – It’s election time again! Are we now going to give the country to bloc-voting people?

The effects of bloc voting in the country have never been at a scale felt by those being victimized by it than now. The key here is the impact of a command of unity that leads to an exchange of favor where favor has nothing to do with truth.

Bloc voting has long been a practice germane to the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) as a doctrinal concept. However, such doctrine of unity is not based on the Bible but only in Manalo’s mind according to International Evangelist Eliseo Soriano, the foremost critic of that group.

Eliseo “Eli” Soriano, Presiding Minister to the Members Church of God International (MCGI) or Ang Dating Daan as more popularly known by its Radio-TV program, has been filed case after case by the Iglesia ni Cristo using members excommunicated by Soriano.  These people have gone to the INC despite the radical differences in belief beginning with the deity of Christ where the latter (INC) believe he was a mere human, will remain a human, and will appear again as a human and not God.

In an article written by Bro. Eli titled The Knowledge Of Counting Is Wisdom dated July 28, 2010 in his multi-awarded blog, http://www.esoriano.wordpress.com, he traced the beginnings of national interest in this so-called religious group that has morbid interest in politics. Bro. Eli asked his countrymen to learn how to count.

He said it all began with numbers apparently faked by Felix Manalo since the 2 Million population count of the INC members is many times over the total number of Filipinos in 1953.

Such number shocked politicians right away to court their favor. Until now, their numbers game is being played by the INC and largely helped by their members in media. In 2010, a lady newsreporter of the Philippine Daily Inquirer started the myth about the INC registered voters as ranging from 5- 8 Million. Read “registered voters.” That is not even talking about membership. Just with brackets, it is too big for an educated guess work. It is more of a political ploy. But with that millions, why can’t they win?

Arlyn dela Cruz was identified as an INC member who apparently had quickly learned from INC history how the numbers game had helped build the empire of the Manalo’s.

Asking his countrymen to learn how to count, Soriano said people are getting deceived into believing that victory in the national elections is owed to the INC bloc-voting practice. He pointed out examples where the INC failed. Here are some examples of those failed endorsements of the Iglesia ni Cristo – at the national level:

In 1992, the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) endorsed Danding Cojuangco to Presidency. Danding landed only as 3rd in the final counting of votes. Six years later, in 1998, the INC supported Joseph Estrada who failed to continue his term.  On May 10, 2007, Michael Defensor, Ralph Recto and Vicente Sotto were endorsed as Senators by the INC but they lost in the 2007 elections. On May 5, 2010, the INC endorsed Mar Roxas as Vice-President but he lost. Again, on May 5, 2010, Raffy Biazon was endorsed by the INC as Senator but he lost. In the same year, on July 22, 2010, the Iglesia ni Cristo supported Manny Villar for  the Senate Presidency but he failed to win.

Walden Bello in 2010 wrote about local INC leaders selling promised bloc votes to local candidates in Bulacan. He was then running as a Representative for Akbayan. Or is it a command vote? Alex Magno of Philippine Star calls this more of “command votes.” As practiced by the INC it is command votes, he said, “evoking sad imagery of witness voters and omnipotent political lords.”

Whatever you may call it, the INC had perfected this practice by declaring candidates to support only a few days before the actual casting of votes – when the most likely candidate to win is already palpable. They then appear to have exerted some influence when the candidate wins, who usually would call in to thank them.

As discussed by Preacher Soriano, this bloc voting syndrome has affected the country as exemplified by politicians’ sycophantic bestowal of favors to the Iglesia ni Cristo. There is the obvious hope of abbreviated efforts in having to troop to their chapels for endorsement during election time.

In an interview with Bro. Eli recently, this is what he said –

“It’s an undeniable fact that the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) is meddling in government affairs but firstly in placing people in government. They do this in their tricky neat way of saying they helped you win by some calculations they made a few days the win is palpable. With the blessings of a command vote, the fate of the politician is sealed, tucked with a gift of promise in an exchange made in the dark.                                    

“Even in the appointment of justices in the Supreme Court, the INC has not seen it fit to keep off – much to the dismay of the “common tao.”     

“If the INC is that numerous that can assure the victory of a candidate, logic dictates that they, given the chance, will want to directly govern the country.

“Why until now are they afraid of fielding their own candidate for a national position, like an INC candidate for senator or vice president or president? The reason is that if their very own (INC) candidates lost, the people and their candidates will discover the truth  or the one nearest to the truth: the paltry or insignificant total membership of the INC. This can prove that they are not as numerous as they claim.

“How? It is due to their injunction that a member that will not vote for a chosen candidate will automatically be excommunicated according to their book, ‘Ministerial Code and Ethics.” See?”

It is not a secret that candidates for elections beginning with the president troop to the chapels of the Iglesia ni Cristo. Public news have it that politicians are asked what they can contribute to this church group – before elections or after.

The INC is also known for their job-placement efforts for their members much akin to fraternity systems, the knowledge of which attracts those looking for work, and not for their belief. Matthew Guba was one who did not believe in the man-Christ doctrine of the INC but he stayed on for financial support and education. He was to sell house and lot and then have commissions for school fees. Saying it was a dangerous thing to do, he planned to leave when he could already have studied and have a job.

Every July 27 of every year now is an Iglesia ni Cristo holiday. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo who was also endorsed by the INC in the 2004 elections signed it into law. Marichu Villanueva of Philippine Star wrote that Arroyo admitted having asked the support of the INC for the 2004 elections but denies that there was a pay-off.

Following that, Commonwealth Avenue, the longest running street where four big Catholic churches stand, threatened to sport an INC address where Eraño Manalo Avenue would be the new name. This is by virtue of seven politicians who authored House Bill 6785which action surprised many.  Delon Porcalla, writing for Philippine Star in October 13, 2009 named them as  Reps. Candido P. Pancrudo, Jr (Bukidnon), Diosdado “Dato” M. Arroyo (Camarines Sur), Pedro P. Romualdo (Camiguin), Yevgeny Vicente B. Emano (Misamis Oriental), Jose S. Aquino II (Agusan del Norte), Antonio F. Lagdameo Jr (Davao del Norte), and Rommel C. Amatong (Compostela Valley).  It was only a bill, however, that remained a bill. It was not acted upon.

Next, Rodante D. Marcoleta of Alagad Party List, also a member of the INC, authored HB01323, an act renaming the Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City into Eraño G. Manalo Avenue.  Status? It is pending with the Committee on Public Works and Highways since August 2, 2010.

After all of these efforts failed, Wikipedia accounts show that the Quezon City government renamed what was Central Avenue to Eraño G. Manalo Avenue under Ordinance number SP-1961 S-2009 of the Quezon City Council.  Chito A. Chavez, an INC reporter of Manila Bulletin was quoted as source, who in turn mentioned Ariel Inton as allegedly sponsoring such ordinance. Comelec records show that Antonio “Ariel” Inton Jr. ran for Mayor of Quezon City as Independent some six months before this but lost.

Julie M. Aurelio of Philippine Daily Inquirer also wrote of such proposal on September 4, 2009, also naming Councilor Ariel Inton as proponent of the new street name a few days after Eraño Manalo died.

Although Chito Chavez had reported in 2009 that there was one ordinance approved, a check with Quezon City Ordinances of 2009 reflected no such street naming by Councilor Inton but that he had been vocal about the proposal to some media men, particularly to Chito Chavez. Moreover, the ordinance mentioned by Chito Chavez  in his Manila Bulletin report and picked up by many including Wikipedia and propagated as truth does not bear the name Manalo but that of a manufacturing corporation.

In the records of the Quezon City Council, 17th City Council, Ordinance number SP-1961 S-2009 is about granting authority to Hermano Oil to operate a market and the author is Eden Candy A. Medina. And yet the report of Chito Chavez of an approved ordinance has been repeated as gospel truth.

This is what the records show: Approved No: SP-1961, S-2009 Proposed No: PO2009-046. Title: AN ORDINANCE GRANTING A FRANCHISE TO HERMANO OIL MANUFACTURING AND SUGAR CORPORATION TO OPERATE THE KINGSPOINT WET AND DRY MARKET ALONG KINGSPOINT AVENUE, KINGSPOINT SUBDIVISION, BARANGAY BAGBAG, DISTRICT 2, QUEZON CITY, PROVIDED THAT NO STRUCTURE WOULD BE CONSTRUCTED ON THE ROAD RIGHT-OF-WAY. Author: EDEN CANDY A. MEDINA.

Neither do Quezon City Council Ordinances of 2008 or 2010 reflect of an approved ordinance naming a street to Eraño Manalo nor to Felix Manalo despite efforts of some politicians.

The report of Delon Porcalla said there was the previous effort of the Quezon City Councilors to name Central Avenue to INC founding bishop Felix Manalo, Eraño’s father. However, Novaliches Bishop Antonio Tobias sent a letter of protest to Vice Mayor Herbert Bautista, who heads the city council, the same report said.

The fight is not over yet for a Manalo Avenue to become a reality among politicians. In February 2010, Lorelei V. Castillo in a press release for the Lower House wrote that Del R. De Guzman sought the early passage of House Bill 7102 that seeks to change the name E. Rodriguez Street from Barangay Concepcion Uno and Barangay Sto. Niño in Marikina City to Eraño G. Manalo Avenue. A few months before this, De Guzman was eyeing the office of the Mayor. He assumed office as Mayor on June 30, 2010, having won the latest election. De Guzman was a Representative of the Lower House before he ran for mayor.

If all these efforts at street-renaming for the INC Manalo’s are happening in Metro-Manila and the suburbs, it is also happening in Mindanao where people are more vocal in protesting against new street names.

Nicole J. Managbanag of SunStar Cagayan de Oro wrote on July 11, 2012 about a Councilor Alvin Calingin who authored three resolutions declaring July 27, 2012 and every year thereafter as INC Day in Cagayan de Oro City, renaming the Montalvan St. as “Felix Y. Manalo St.” in honor of the founder of INC; and naming the road from the junction of Concordio Diel St. and Villarin St. in Barangay Carmen to the landfill in upper Dagong up to the boundary of Barangay Canitoan as “Eraño V. Manalo St.” in honor of INC’s former executive minister.

Two days after, on July 13, 2012, Cong Corrales of InterAksyon.com, the online news portal of TV5, wrote about the chaos the Calingin resolutions produced. The Montalvan families who vowed to fight for the honor of their grandfather were backed up by historians and long-time residents. Bangon Kagay-anon vowed to fight these resolutions too.

Montalvan Street that Councilor Alvin Calingin wanted changed to Felix Y. Manalo St. stood in honor of Dr. Antonio Montalvan who had brothers Jesus, and Jose, who also fought the Japanese during World War II.

Corrales reported that the eldest brother Jesus served as intelligence officer in the guerrilla unit lead by Col. Wendell Fertig while Jose served as camp commander of the Philippine Auxiliary Tactical Air Group, what is now Camp Edilberto Evangelista, headquarters of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division.

Dr. Antonio Montalvan, for his part, was an intelligence officer captured by the Japanese and was beheaded with other captured guerillas at the Chinese Cemetery in Tayabas, Quezon. A monument honoring them still stands at the North Cemetery, the report said.

In reacting, Councilor Calingin said that city streets get renamed often, but this did not sit well with the local residents. They called the Calingin resolutions a political stunt ahead of the 2013 elections, the report said.

The Montalvans, among them a historian named Antonio II, pointed out that it is only the National Historical Commission that is authorized by Republic Act 10066, or the National Cultural Heritage Act to approve the renaming of streets.

You would think that renaming streets after one Manalo is stupid, but here’s one that surpasses it all. One hundred twenty-five years after the death of Felix Y. Manalo, here comes a Senator Juan Miguel F. Zubiri with a Senate Resolution 471 to honor the dead. The Resolution ended this way: “Be it resolved as it is hereby resolved that the Senate of the Philippines remember the 125th birth anniversary on May 10, 2011 of Ka Felix Manalo, founder of the Iglesia ni Cristo. Adopted.” Whereas in the true CHURCH, the dead are believed to be dead, resting, and beyond man’s reach. More so honoring one after 125 years buried in one’s part of the earth, whose remains cannot hear any, is a manifestation of stupidity and ignorance in Biblical teachings.

After the Lower House, by virtue of their enterprising representatives, the Senate is involved too?

This is how far we are afraid of them. This is how far we have been taken in by the Iglesia ni Cristo.

The police are ours; the mayor is ours; the fiscal is ours. So now, where will you go? Thus bragged in topix.net a blogger belonging to this group where the leader only has to intervene in any deadlock in the affairs of the Senate and the House. And presto, the problem is solved!

Did not Juan Ponce Enrile warn of church groups meddling in the affairs of the senate lately? Did not Francis Pangilinan give up his interest in running as Senate President, claiming that the Iglesia ni Cristo is blocking his efforts? Was not the Rose Barrameda case being followed up by the the Iglesia ni Cristo?

Where did they get their guts to be doing all these interventions? From people who succumbed to their bloc voting or command votes practice. Of course! There is an exchange involved in the process – and what an exchange!

“The Iglesia Ni Cristo is a minority church that is always on the wrong side of history. It has a track record of supporting most unholy causes to pursue certain opportunistic objectives.” This comes from Philip M. Lustre, writing from Manila Standard Today.

The morbid interest of the INC for critical posts in the national government is quite disturbing too and even the high courts of the land are not spared. The Supreme Court has some justices and other people therein known to have been highly recommended by the INC and cannot be said to be free from public perception of being stooges for the INC.

The same is true for the National Bureau of Investigation, and for other offices under the Office of the President. One of these is the Movies, Television, Radio Censors Board (MTRCB) where the INC cries to as its favored valid court every time their beliefs are being scrutinized. At least, that was the experience of Bro. Eli Soriano. Maria Consoliza Laguardia used to hold her fort as head censor of the MTRCB and decides matters upon the behest of the INC.

Not everyone is cowered by the INC influence, however. An enterprising young lawyer found that unconstitutional powers are being interpreted as vested in the MTRCB. James Benedict Panopio, in his analysis of the MTRCB rulings on suspension of the Ang Dating Daan (ADD) programs on TV said the INC should seek redress in the courts instead of the MTRCB. It is not a secret that litigations are highly the interest of the INC where they try to influence results, one of which is the Barrameda case, he said.

Purple S. Romero of Newsbreak took note that Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr. of the Supreme Court is publicly known to have been highly recommended by the INC. Marites Vitug, in her book, Shadow of Doubt: Probing the Supreme Court, gave the same observation. For three days after the publication of her book, Vitug was receiving death threats on her mobile phone, Melissa Rodgers who wrote about courageous women journalists reported.  The threats stopped only after the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) wrote the President which contents were picked up by the local press. As a result of death threats, nowadays Newsbreak is more careful. It would scantily name reporters of reports.

And Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr? He was the ponente or decision writer or justice in charge of the case in the Supreme Court sustaining suspension of Ang Dating Daan upon the complaint of the Iglesia ni Cristo. “Political considerations may have come into play in the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the suspension of the religious group Ang Dating Daan’s TV program according to court insiders we talked to,” said Newsbreak reporters. In earlier reports, Newsbreak through Romero surmised that the ruling of the Supreme Court was to please the Iglesia ni Cristo. It was not exactly a legal reason, the report said. The report is interesting in that the dissenting justices pointed to suppression of the freedom of speech in their decision.

And Justice Velasco? Of all people, why did he not inhibit himself from the case, considering his links with the Iglesia ni Cristo? With just their endorsement, the message is clear: they expected someone to exchange favor with. And as venial as one can be, if your ambition is lying in wait for an invitation, you can be used and finally play the willing tool. But it takes two to tango.

The country is being sold to the dogs if decisions are only made to please the wiles of some people. Departures from just decisions ensure that those who disagree with one’s group are muffled to the core. A case in point is Bro. Eliseo Soriano who up to the Highest Court doesn’t seem to have hope for justice.

Justice is not reserved only for those who can dictate on voting because in the first place such kind of voting rapes the freedom to screen the candidate for his true worth. On the part of the candidate, he is missing the chance to be evaluated properly by individual voters. All in all, the set-up is virtually a demonic exchange for something that would make one’s country and countrymen suffer later on in many forms.

The candidate-winner won’t be able to feel the consequences, of course, being now ensconced in high places of personal comfort. Meanwhile people suffer first from injustice, now that the country is becoming divided into INC interests and non-INC interests.

Why so? Politicians curry their favor, even crafting resolutions such as gifting them with holidays, changing the names of important streets to names of INC leaders, chalking up memorandums of agreements. These they do to ensure their political ambitions.

How about media? They repeat what they read as truth, regardless of whether it is an INC propaganda or not. They are afraid to comment and exercise their social responsibilities; instead they help crystallize what social decay has started. As simple as applying compartmentalized justice on the streets, people are divided into who gets kid-gloves treatment and who gets sanctioned. As long as you carry those green-white- and-red stripes of the INC taken from Italian symbols, you are safe, no matter what traffic violation you made. But the traffic syndrome is just a tip of the iceberg. And yet media is quiet.

Why do we allow this?

The sinister spirit has caught up in all forms within the government system.  It has been many years already embedding itself, and because we are afraid of numbers, it will remain that way.

Conrado de Quiros of Philippine Daily Inquirer could only ask, why do we allow this?  Yet no one of us is responding. The numbers game – no matter how fake – has muffled our voices.

What next do we give to the Iglesia ni Cristo? The whole country?

____________

NOTES

Aurelio, Julie M. “Eraño Manalo Ave in QC proposed.” Philipine Daily Inquirer 4 September 2009. Print.

Bello, Walden. “Philippine Democracy: Alive, but is it well?” Inquirer.net 11 May 2010. Web.

Castillo, Lorelei V. “Solon wants Barangay Street renamed Eraño G. Manalo Avenue.” House of Representatives Press Release 26 February 2010. Web.

Chavez, Chito A. “Street in QC renamed Eraño Manalo Avenue.” The Manila Bulletin 20 October 2009. Print.

COMELEC. “Certified list of candidates for congressional and local positions for the May 10, 2010 National and Local Elections, Quezon City, National Capital Region – Second District.” Document. 2010. Web.

Corrales, Cong. Move to rename Cagayan de Oro street from war hero to INC founder draws flak. News. Philippines: InterAksyon.com, 2012, July 13. Web.

Cruz, Arlyn dela. “Iglesia ni Cristo endorses Aquino-Roxas tandem.” Philippine Daily Inquirer 4 May 2010. Print.

Dy, Erika T. “SC Upholds MTRCB Suspension of Ang Dating Daan.” Document. 2009 May. Web.

GMANews. “Commonwealth Ave nais ipangalan kay ‘Ka Erdy’ Manalo ng INC.” GMANews 11 October 2009. Web.

Magno, Alex. “Command votes.” Philippine Star 21 April 2007. Web.

Managbanag, Nicole J. “Councilors disagree over renaming of city streets.” SunStar Cagayan de Oro 11 July 2012. Print.

Marcoleta, Rodante D. HB01323[History]. An act renaming the Commonwealth/Don Mariano Marcos Avenue in Quezon City, Metro Manila into Eraño G. Manalo Avenue. Government File. Philippines: Lower House, 15th Congress, 2009. Web.

Medina, Eden Candy A. SP-1961, S-200. .An Ordinance granting a franchise to Hermano Oil Manufacturing and Sugar Corporation to operate the Kingspoint wet and dry market along Kingspoint Avenue Subdivision, Barangay Bagbag, District 2, Quezon City, provided that no structure would be constructed.  Republic of the Philippines, Quezon City Council, 17th City Council, 69th Regular Session. Government Files. Quezon City: Quezon City Ordinances, 2009. Web.

Porcalla, Delon. “GMA son wants Quezon City Avenue renamed.” Philippine Star 13 October 2009. Print.

Quiros, Conrado de. “Why do we allow this?” Philippine Daily Inquirer 23 May 2012. Print.

Rodgers, Melissa. “Vitug undeterred by ongoing legal battle with Supreme Court Justice.” Courage in Journalism Awards. IWMF.Org. 2011. Web.

Rufo, Aries. “SC sustains suspension of Ang Dating Daan.” Newsbreak 30 April 2009. Web.

Villanueva, Marichu. “GMA: Opposition behind Iglesia payoff rumors.” Philippine Star 30 May 2004. Print.

Virola, Dr. Romulo A. Where to go, for voters or for worse? Column. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistics Development Board, 2010 May 11. Web.

Vitug, Marites Danguilan. Shadow of Doubt: Probing the Supreme Court. Philippines:  Public Trust Media Group Inc 2010. Print.

Wikipedia. “Eraño Manalo, Recognition.” Biography. 2013, April 20. Web.

Zubiri, Juan Miguel F. “Remembering the 125th Birth Anniversary on May 10, 2011 of Ka Felix Manalo, Founder of the Iglesia ni Cristo.” Resolution. 2011. Document.