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.
Manila, 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.
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 –
And this is about MCGI winning in the Guinness site –
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. #
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 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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Manarang, 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.
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.
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 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.”
These reports need verification, and if true, should be addressed by proper government authorities.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Consider 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.
UPDATE: On August 28, 2011, this stockholder came to ADDPublications and submitted this letter which he had sent to Atty. Felipe L. Gozon in 2009. Noting that GMA News had maliciously replayed Case Unclosed Paninirang Puri after two years in August 2011 despite public outcry for unfair treatment, he had requested that this letter be published but with his name withheld. Since the letter raised strong points, we are publishing it here. Take note, Boycott GMA 7 News TV 11 is a sustained boycott and now has more than 32,000 supporters. – Admin
July 27, 2009
Atty. Felipe L. Gozon
Chairman, President and CEO
GMA Network, Inc.
Diliman, Quezon City
Subject: Case Unclosed, hosted by Arnold Clavio
Dear Mr. Chairman,
I am a small shareholder of GMA 7 network. I want to reach to the program – Case Unclosed hosted by Mr. Arnold Clavio aired sometime in the middle of June 2009. Mr. Chairman, my letter is long, but please have patience in reading it. As the stockholder of GMA 7, I have the right to express my sentiment. This letter contains some verifiable clarifications regarding Bro. Eli Soriano.
The airing of the case of Daniel Veridiano on the program Case Unclosed on GMA 7 betrays your claim of “walang kinikilingan, walang pinoprotektahan.” By so doing, it seems the Network just did the opposite. Pardon me Sir, but as a lawyer, you know what sub judice is. GMA 7 committed a big blunder and irreparable damage in showing the segment of Case Unclosed. It does not speak well of GMA 7. The Network’s credibility was put at stake, and unfortunately, permanently lost the patronage of the Members Church of God International (MCGI) members. It must be noted that in every month, worldwide membership of this Church is increasing by the hundreds if not thousands. Members Church of God International come from all strata of society, from different religious organizations, and from various disciplines.
It is very saddening to note Mr. Chairman that GMA 7 allowed itself to be used by unscrupulous and influential people. (But no amount of money and influence can suppress divine truth.) GMA 7 glamorized a case that was fabricated. Mr. Arnold Clavio made a fool of himself in hosting that segment of Case Unclosed, and subsequently disgraced GMA Network, Inc… The honorable people behind GMA 7 may also have been affected. There is not a grain of truth in the case. The people cuddling Mr. Veridiano known very well that the case they filed in the court is a fruit of their imagination.
If only GMA 7 took pains in checking the background of Mr. Daniel Veridiano. Mr. Veridiano is a pervert and a low life. He was expelled from MCGI due to immoral acts. Mr. Chairman, which is more credible, the testimony of his 18 young male victims or his own denial? Mr. Veridiano also embezzled large amount of money entrusted to him when he was still with the Ang Dating Daan (ADD).These things were admitted by him thru his own confessions taken by video and from a letter of his own handwriting. Now Sir, is this the kind of person GMA Network, Inc., a vast and esteemed organization, gambled its credibility and reputation? As a stockholder of GMA 7, I am concerned also with the business affairs of GMA 7, especially if it deviates from its role of upholding integrity and responsible delivery of news and information (as contained in the 2008 Annual Report). At this instance case, the rights of an innocent person – Bro. Eli Soriano, was deliberately violated.
A few years back, when Ces Drilon and Luchi Cruz made biased reports about Bro. Eli Soriano on their programs on Channel 2, members of MCGI shifted patronage to GMA7. For sure, this move contributed the No. 1 rating of GMA 7. But now what Arnold Clavio has done to Bro. Eli is even worse. There is not any chance Bro. Eli can repute allegations made on Case Unclosed, because of sub judice. Mr. Clavio seems to have forgotten also one Filipino value, which is “may pinagsamahan.” It might also be better for him to remove the word “Igan” placed between his name.
Setting aside “crab mentality” Sir, what do you think of Bro Eli Soriano, as host of “Itanong mo kay Soriano, Biblia ang Sasagot,” broadcasting daily at UNTV? If there are Manny Pacquiao, Charice Pempengco and Arnel Pineda who made the Filipinos proud, there is also Bro. Eli Soriano who is silently making waves among diverse people around the world.
This make us Filipinos proud also of Bro. Eli Soriano, and supportive of him (not fabricate things to destroy him). His Bible Expositions here and abroad are overflowing with people. The same is true with the hundreds of e-mails he receives every day. The achievements of Manny, Charice and Arnel will soon fade away, but the teachings of Bro. Eli will also remain engraved in the hearts of men. The number of God fearing Christian converts will also continue to increase a thousand folds, and this is a continuing process.
No doubt, Bro. Eli Soriano is the most sensible preacher today. He is blessed and guided by God. No head of any religious organization dared to engage Bro. Eli to a friendly debate. Anywhere in the world, nobody can do what Bro. Eli is doing, not even any Filipino. He has a ready answer to every question being asked to him, be it biblical, scientific or about family and health problems.
But the most important thing of all is, Bro. Eli changed the lives of thousands of people he came across with. People, who are wicked and usually engaged in many forms of vices, including hardened criminals, mended their sinful ways and now converted to be God-fearing Christians. Even skeptics, nonbelievers and some Muslims cannot disagree but believe in the teachings of Bro. Eli Soriano.
Ang Dating Daan or The Old Path is now being broadcast in almost all countries around the world via satellite and thru internet. Coordinating centers of Ang Dating Daan are sprouting, not only in different parts of the Philippines, but in many places and cities in Asia, Australia, Africa, Canada, North and South America, the Middle East, the Caribbean and some parts of Europe. Most recently, large groups of natives of Brazil, Ghana-Africa and Papua New Guinea became members of Church of God International. These people, which are of different races, have not seen but only heard Bro. Eli Soriano.
The various project of Bro. Eli for the service of mankind, is open knowledge. To mention a few, he has the free college education, free MRT ride for senior citizens, free medical clinic, transient homes, “libreng sakay,” free legal services, and many others. Bro. Eli does not stop helping people, physically and spiritually, and unmindful of the enormous risk of his own life. Bro. Eli devoted his entire life propagating the words of God. He incurred indebtedness in millions of pesos due to the magnitude of his work. His ultimate aim of global evangelization is now being gradually realized.
Now, Mr. Chairman, what remedy can GMA Network, Inc. do to repair the damage done to Bro. Eli Soriano, and to win back the patronage of the Members Church of God International? And simultaneously, restore the tarnished image and credibility of GMA 7, and maintain its No. 1 rating? It’s now your intelligent move, Mr. President. Lastly, thank you Sir for rendering my long letter.
Very truly yours,
A CONCERNED STOCKHOLDER
(My name is intentionally omitted Sir, for my own protection.)
UPDATE (8/24/2012): While people ignore Ang Dating Daan’s sustained boycott over these stations going over a year already, the handwriting is on the wall: GMA’s revenues are going down, down. More yet, nobody wants to buy it although the network keeps saying it is for sale. On the other hand, some 32,000 boycotters keep at it, deleting channels 7 and 11 from their TV viewing list. What is true is that the TV stations have painted Ang Dating Daan as an organization and Bro. Eli Soriano in bad light. However, there was no attempt to apologize. We continue with our boycott to show to the public that it is not fair to malign anyone who has integrity and character in the process of doing one’s supposed media work. After all, between these TV stations and Bro. Eli, who is closest to the House of Truth that is in the Father of Truth? It is TruthCaster! It is Bro. Eli! He doesn’t peddle lies just for ratings! So, here we go –
ABOUT the Boycott Page in Facebook –
Verb: Withdraw from commercial or social relations with (a country, organization, or person) as a punishment or protest.
Noun: A punitive ban that forbids relations with other bodies, cooperation with a policy, or the handling of goods.
We boycott GMA7 News TV 11 news for –
1) Ignorance. In handling information that they pass to the public through Case Unclosed re rape case filed by one Daniel Puto Veridiano against Bro. Eli, no attempt was made to do required research in such a sensitive case. Connecting the accused and the accuser is a lot of information about rapes committed by Daniel Veridiano but these were ignored. Connecting the accused and the accuser is excommunication done in the church, but no attempt was done to verify events pointing to the non-credibility of the accuser Veridiano against his previous benefactor. More yet, connecting the accused and the accuser is the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) where Veridiano went to after he was excommunicated from Ang Dating Daan. The INC has openly been after the skin of Bro. Eli Soriano which the latter exposes for their deceptions. The INC has often filed case after case against Bro. Eli. If the dissenting judges were able to see these connections, more so should responsible journalists. These connections were all ignored by this so-called media outfit that is supposed to be socially-responsible in handling news.
2) Pursuing its personal agenda. What about social responsibility? In June 18, 2009, when GMA first presented Case Unclosed by Arnold Clavio, the network was chided with a 1st boycott from Ang Dating Daan. They were told, it was unfair, biased, and clearly without research. Arnold Clavio and company could have easily asked about the background of the person they were representing. While Accuser Veridiano admitted to sexually abusing 9 of his subordinates, 14 were complaining. Yet, more than two years after, on August 3, 2011 QTV11 owned by GMA replayed the program during a noon time show. GMA preferred to present the bad seed in good light, ignoring looking into the side of Bro. Eli Soriano who has adopted millions of marginalized Filipinos, teaching them how to live properly and not be liabilities to the country. If GMA is more serious in its endeavor, it could have recognized Bro. Eli as a true National Treasure instead of insulting him by siding with the bad.
3) Slumbering in its comfort zone. In the belief that GMA news is using Bro. Eli Soriano for personal motives despite their claim as being House of Truth (Tahanan ng Katotohanan), this media outfit deserves to be kicked conscious of its slumber from its comfort zone to truly serve the public – without siding with anyone. Whatever influence GMA news suffers from, it is its look out not to be used by anyone, whoever they are.
This August 2011 begins again our SECOND boycott on GMA News. We have deleted Channels 7 and 11 from our programs. We will continue to post #boycottgmanews in our tweets. We will not patronize this network UNTIL it gives a PUBLIC APOLOGY to Bro. Eli Soriano and the Ang Dating Daan organization for what it did. Or accept the challenge of a debate. If it cannot stand for a debate, then arrange a forum for a televised debate with the Iglesia ni Cristo which it has represented. He who is telling lies shall be exposed. Until then, may the boycott be sustained.
This page will remain and may it continue to gather adherents to the cause.
By Jane Abao
Manila, Philippines (8/23/2011) – To boycott is to punish. After two years GMANews has not learned its lesson. Its habit for biased and irresponsible reporting cannot anymore pass without giving them a wake up call. It has been slapped with a massive boycott throughout the country from Ang Dating Daan (ADD) until the network renders a public apology to its victim, Bro. Eli Soriano, or better still to settle things with a public debate. This is as far as the organization of Bro. Eli is concerned.
Bro. Eli is the Presiding Minister to the Members Church of God International (MCGI) or Ang Dating Daan (ADD) as more popularly known.
The sustained boycott of the international organization began on August 7 and is way on to its third week. For a network that doesn’t favor truth, members deleted Channels 7 and 11 in their TV programs.
In response, Puto filed a rape case of two counts against Bro. Eli but which cases were dismissed. He said that he had been raped in 2000 and 2001 but evidences presented by Bro. Eli laid the accusations as baseless and tainted with malice even from the beginning. Puto got affiliated with the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC), the arch enemy of the ADD, after failing in his appeal to be restored.
In the court, the investigating prosecutor found no probable cause to prosecute the crusading preacher as he believed Puto’s accusations were fabricated. Bro. Eli was able to present his evidences. The case was filed sometime before October 5, 2005 and was dismissed on January 26, 2006. It was penned by Alejandro Lopez, Asst. Provincial Prosecutor and approved by Jesus Magarang, Provincial Prosecutor of the Province of Pampanga, San Fernando City. The court highly considered the rift going on between the INC and the ADD.
By a twist of fate, the dismissed case found itself again in the court of the Secretary of Justice Raul M. Gonzalez which was under the Office of the then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Public reports bare that Arroyo was openly backed up by the influential Iglesia ni Cristo during both 2004 and 2007 elections by virtue of its practice of bloc voting.
POLITICS AND POWER. Bloc voting affords the INC power when politicians they endorsed get elected, as invariably reported by media. It is not a secret that politicians from the time of Felix Manalo, founder of the INC, make a bee line to this organization to seek endorsement. This practice, according to Bro. Eli, breeds corruption in the country beginning with the justice system. No one gets a fair share of justice whenever the INC is involved. They follow up cases and intervene to their favor, instilling a chilling effect on justices in the country. From here, corruption seeps into other systems affecting almost every level that it is hard for one to be brave and talk. This is quite apparent when dissenting justices are hard to come by whenever the INC is interested in a case.
TALK AND TRUTH. Talk may what got Bro. Eli into trouble in the first place. He is very brave in exposing anomalies, but being a preacher, what he cannot stop doing is telling what should be told. The Bible, according to him, requires him to tell all that is required of him to tell. Truth is his commodity, no matter what. The whole Bible must be preached, he said. And in this instance the INC is part and parcel of the side that Bro. Eli has to constantly be talking about. For that, they had filed case after case against him, and now he becomes “rapist” by virtue of a true rapist he had dismissed from his organization.
But talk is not what Bro. Eli would do as expected by GMA 7. They had wanted him to tell his side in the case that Puto had filed. In other words, in the guise of giving news, GMA has become intrusive in a case where it believes someone innocent had his reputation besmirched, never knowing anything about the real Puto. Paninirang Puri means character assassination.
Whatever was the game plan of GMA for insisting that the preacher talk, they went on air discussing fully the side of the accuser, thereby side-stepping the rights of the other. “Have they not heard of the principle of sub judice?” Bro. Eli would ask. The crusading preacher underscored that the case is back in court again, and an accused is not supposed to talk about it. Re-filed no matter by interested persons, Bro. Eli was respecting it. But the media outfit obviously did not know what sub judice meant. They wanted him to talk and get revenues from the crowd that GMA 7 would generate. This was June 18, 2009.
THE REPLAY. On August 3, 2011, after more than 2 years, GMANews through Channel 11 again replayed the same controversial interview at a noon time show. The ADD were taken unaware and piqued that the man who used to be their brother but excommunicated was there on TV recanting his imagined rape many years ago. Puto is known to most church workers and his behavior is not a secret to the members. While he had confessed to having abused 9 of his subordinates and had said sorry to them on air, he is there on TV and playing victim again. Known for love of money which he splurges on expensive gadgets and jewelries, and some holidays on beaches instead of attending church services, Puto talking on TV and playing innocent merely reminds the members that he needs again money to sustain his minted face and gay lifestyle. And someone is making him play that role for pay.
HELPING PROPAGATE LIES. Puto would now be talking about faking signatures as a norm in ADD, a practice of his that he had abused to amass church money. He had underscored this in the interview to claim that his confession to having sexually abused 9 of his victims is fake – no matter that in his video testimony, he can be seen there talking fair and square, damning the INC which he said he would never join. And now Puto is with the INC. He had quickly forgotten that he had volunteered to make this confession which he made good with a written piece. Puto was bidding for a second chance to be restored his membership by Bro. Eli but he failed. https://kotawinters.wordpress.com/2009/05/25/warning-more-hateblogs-against-bro-eli-soriano/letter/.
In YouTube, his victims that could not win their cases fairly could only talk about Puto’s penis to register familiarity with his wayward organ. The liar in Puto was ignored by GMANews however, and preferred to see him as an innocent INC convert, never wondering about his sudden shift from believing in Christ as God to believing that He is mere man. In the INC, Christ is mere man from the beginning and would come back as mere man. Nothing was seen as irregular with Puto but everything was with Bro. Eli who now has become the “rapist” and Puto is the “victim.” The ADD who know very well the life style and character of both accuser and accused felt violated. http://jakeastudillo.wordpress.com/tag/daniel-veridiano/. Truth is on trial and liars are having a heyday. Another boycott became the call of the day.
FACEBOOK AND TWITTER USED AS CALLSITES. In response to this heap of lies being propagated through the help of a giant TV network, ADD called for another round of boycott on August 7, 2011, this time a bolder, more sustained one. In 2009, Bro. Eli only mentioned about boycott one week after the members were egging him on this initiative. This time, he was aghast and he wanted a quick response from the members to this insult. It would tie down his work at a time new doors are being opened for his overseas ministry and new contracts are being signed for broadcast propagation in other parts of the globe. The year 2011 would be a different boycott and now Facebook and Twitter are colored with protest GMANews picbadges. Day by day, tweets and messages are about GMANews and sympathizers are contributing their stories about GMA and its falsified ratings. More posts about faking expose GMANews as opposite to what it claims.
Some quarters in ADD believe that GMA’s morbid interest in hitting the crusading preacher is all about the ratings game. It has aired this controversial interview twice already in two years time. In its struggle to become the Number 1 in terms of viewership, GMANews may be interested in getting the attention of ADD’s millions of members. In the past, other stations have attempted to do that also. Whenever Bro. Eli is the topic, traffic is really thick. Headquarters says 2011 will however be different for GMANews unless it apologizes for what it did, or answer to a debate challenge.
RECKLESSNESS OR WEAKNESS. It is not so much the ire on Puto whom ADD members know as rapist that got the goat. It is GMANews for its blatant display of abuse of power of the air. It is reckless for not having done enough research before reporting. Or it is weak for having been influenced by some group. According to Bro. Eli, it is very obvious that GMA is being used to attack him. It is harassment already while he is at work. The case had been dismissed for lack of evidence. It was re-filed only by interested persons and the documents were passed on to Raul Gonzalez of the Department of Justice under the Office of the then President Gloria Arroyo, who, herself, was endorsed by the INC, a stooge by all counts in the eyes of the ADD.
These and the other connections between accuser and accused were ignored by the interviewer, Arnold Clavio, host of Case Unclosed – Paninirang Puri (Character Assassination).
CONNECTIONS IGNORED. The connection between accuser Puto and accused Bro. Eli which is the ADD from where the accused was excommunicated. The connection between accuser and accused which is the Iglesia ni Cristo where the excommunicated went to. The connection between the ADD and the INC which is contention for what is true. What were the things Bro. Eli was saying that the INC would like to stop at all costs? Bookmark from here, yet there is much that the Case Unclosed – Character Assassination of GMANews had ignored to look into. And yet, it maliciously replayed the controversial 2009 interview after two years.
What about Arnold Clavio whom Razon has many times over eclipsed in their career as show anchors? Wasn’t he a willing tool in this controversial set-up? Clavio cannot dump Razon in the race for popularity now. The latter is many plaques and awards and projects ahead of Clavio that Clavio’s being a tool for others is water-clear.
A journalist truly looking for truth would wonder why the boys that Puto had sexually abused were not able to have their cases represented fairly and why dismissed. A responsible journalist truly interested in airing the truth and nothing but the truth may even discover why the case was dismissed, why it was re-filed, and who were behind the re-filing if he did his work. He may even discover why the justices never mentioned these connections in their ponente but only one or two from dissenting justices. A good-nosed journalist may even pursue the angle why the prosecutors that give Bro. Eli as accused a fair judgment and a dismissal were shortly relieved and changed for another in such short times. Why this rigodon of prosecutors? To manipulate court decisions?
FOR SHAME. Instead of doing its work and faithfully serving the public, GMANews is only sensitive to what people think of it as in playing and replaying brand names and attaching to itself constructs of truth, trust, objectivity. Over the years it had said its media staff are trustworthy, a finding they said from a lop-sided research that was more of selling their network as credible. Recently, in one of its videos posted in Facebook, GMA Network boasts about its sexiest women saying “8 out of the top 10 FHM Philippines 100 Sexiest Women in the World 2011 are from GMA,” clearly marketing their looks that do not match their work. FHM means For Him Magazine that caters exclusively to the male gender. https://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=137745762971699.
Have shame, even a pinch of it, says Bro. Eli, whom they have victimized for reckless reporting. Instead of standing for the good, and encouraging those helping the society like Bro. Eli is doing in his many humanitarian projects, they choose to play in their work or be manipulated by the powers that be and strike at their fellow broadcaster in the field. Bro. Eli had been serving this network for a number of years and they may have forgotten even that.
Compared with Bro. Eli who works for the salvation of men in foreign lands without country and without home, but without neglecting to serve millions of homeless and disadvantaged Filipinos with his many projects, the media men of GMA worry more about their make-up, their attire, their props, their advertisements and self-branding and prefer to display gyrating women, senseless telenovelas, time-wasting games that promise false prosperity, and fight to the death to cover events where they can make more money. Or imitate innovations of other TV stations like UNTV but only on a shallow level. As ADD asserts, Bro. Eli, popularly known as Truthcaster, does not sell his deep understanding of the Bible and instead shares it with everyone in order for them to return to God. In effect, what could have been liabilities to the country are turned assets, one thing that GMA has failed to do and notice.
Does GMA Network like norms? No, it do not like rules. It has a world of its own, which explains why it is not even part of KBP and is foolishly proud of it.
THE CHALLENGE OF ADD. Before closing Case Unclosed, Arnold Clavio in the vernacular said, “Although Bro. Eli Soriano insists that these accusations against him are all lies, his appearance and facing the case is hoped to clear the questions left unanswered.” Clearly it is easy to prepare scripts, cut here and there, and then sew them up to make an episode. But GMA is forgetting that this is something legal and that Bro. Eli is already a victim of human rights from a case dismissed and then re-filed. Overlooking this, GMA made a script to inflict another round of violated human rights. And it did for the second time in two years.
Since GMA is intrusive and is even interested in fomenting intrigues and spreading gossip, the ADD challenges GMA to prepare a forum for a debate between Bro. Eli and GMA. If it fails to do this, then GMA should better prepare a forum for a debate between Bro. Eli and the Iglesia ni Cristo. This debate will once and for all settle who is telling the truth and who is not, and will expose the wicked man. The topic has to deal with truth. According to the Bible and as believed by ADD, the wicked cannot understand. It is to be remembered that the INC never responded to a call of the preacher in March 2005 for a debate. http://jakeastudillo.wordpress.com/2011/08/28/the-face-of-war-preacher-on-exile-dares-powerful-nemesis-to-finally-debate/
For the security of each one, the debate should be televised even internationally. This debate is even many times educational and worthy to be watched than what normally is GMA’s interest. If GMA can do this, then the sustained boycott may be lifted. If GMA remains adamant, the sustained boycott may resort to greater measures to send a message that it will not take things sitting down.
August 4, 2011 UPDATE: THIS EPISODE WAS REPLAYED BY GMANews TV11 on August 3, 2011 in their noontime show.
The following is an analysis of that Case Unclosed episode of June 18, 2009 aired by GMA7 and replayed by GMANEWS TV11 on August 3, 2011 that discussed the rape case filed by an excommunicated member of ADD against Bro. Eli Soriano. It is written from the perspective that the ADD feel their leader is trapped in a context of convoluted systems: broadcast network fight for audience ratings, influence of a rival church group over the media and the courts, personalities’ climb to promotion and prominence, and probably secret envy nursed for a long time. Some background of the events that followed are sandwiched for balance – things that Case Unclosed could not provide. The instrument in all this syndrome is one cast away by the ADD for spiritual filth and fully accepted by the INC – Daniel Veridiano alias Puto. Puto gets to persecute the man whose influence he had been using, whose identity he had been stealing, whose blessings he readily enjoyed. He gets organizations to fight Soriano for his being “raped,” rapist that he himself is. He had the local courts of Pampanga behind him, the Department of Justice, the Interpol. Most recent in the queue is GMA7. The question that perplexes ADD is why this rascal is getting everything for himself and yet is going scotfree. Meanwhile, the evangelist-in-a-hurry is leaving it all to his lawyers, and continues preaching worldwide while people think he should come home to face this mocked-up rape case against him. Case Unclosed that presented Soriano as making himself scarce, however, is not entitled to discuss the case. Nevertheless, Arnold Clavio, the host of the program, went ahead and aired his half-a-data. Soriano earlier said he is determined to face the International Court of Human Rights if given the chance.
By Jane Abao
Manila, Philippines (July 20, 2009) – That GMA7 is a “house of truth” is a lie, an untruth, a falsehood, a tall tale. This sums up the opinions of the church group belonging to Members Church of God International (MCGI) or Ang Dating Daan (ADD) as it is more popularly known, particularly on the presentation of GMA7 in one of its programs. The program was unfair and more yet, the station acted as a vehicle to spread more lies, the ADD said.
The news tagline of this TV channel says, “Not siding with anyone; not protecting anyone; just genuine service.” In Tagalog, it is “Walang Kinikilingan, Walang Pinoprotektahan, Serbisyong Totoo lamang.” However, GMA7 has done the opposite. To the Ang Dating Daan, it presented just one side and risked the rights of the other. Most of all, GMA7 has lined up itself with the forces made willing tools in the persecution of the ADD leader, Bro. Eliseo Soriano.
On the night of June 18, 2009, Case Unclosed, a program of GMA7 tackled the double rape case filed against Bro. Soriano by someone he had excommunicated sometime in August 2005. The program extended to an hour with just Daniel Veridiano alias Puto presenting his side of the case.
Soriano, the Presiding Minister of the MCGI or Ang Dating Daan booted out Veridiano from the congregation after some reports of serial rape and exorbitant unauthorized use of church funds for personal wants.
The accuser’s admission
Veridiano admitted sexually abusing 9 among the 14 that were complaining in a confession letter he signed November 21, 2004 to two ministers of the Church. Incidentally, in his bid to be lifted off his suspension of Church membership, Veridiano found himself being videoed during the investigation process, the results of which were to be presented to the Presiding Minister for his decision-making. In that investigation, Veridiano was asked why he was admitting to only 9; he said he cannot anymore recall (“Hindi ko na matandaan”). After some months of observation and upon the recommendation of an investigation panel, Veridiano was excommunicated.
In the Church, suspension is also observation time for repentance and for express changes in one’s life. Failing that, a member maybe excommunicated; and once excommunicated, one cannot appeal. This was the case of Veridiano who went to the fold of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) that readily took him in. Earlier however, when he was under suspension and appealing to be taken back, Puto said, “I will not join them; it would be a quick jump to hell.”
The members of Ang Dating Daan were surprised that GMA7 would be presenting as resource person the one they knew as Puto – a professional liar, a rapist, and one excommunicated from the Church for filthy living and failure to reform. Moreover, the program gave the opportunity for Puto to give out more lies and spew more made-up stories against Preacher Soriano who is out of the country since 2005. In such an instance the ADD felt twice aggrieved.
Closing the eyes
Despite the fact that Puto admitted raping some of his subordinates as posted in YouTube, Arnold Clavio chose to close his eyes and instead honored Puto, as a credible witness. It was not even one, or two, or three victims for Puto whom Soriano said was given many chances to change. If Clavio failed to watch Puto’s admission and if he failed to watch the raped boys describe in YouTube Veridiano’s penis with a round “o” with such and such a short length, then Clavio clearly had not done his research before airing his program.
Clavio was the host of that Case Unclosed program of GMA7, obviously shown with careless abandon like it was safe to hit Preacher Soriano and get away with it unscathed. Never did Clavio try to establish the credibility of his resource person by challenging his statements. For that program, Clavio simply let the statements of Veridiano pass – a no-no for investigative journalism. For example, Clavio did not bother asking why Veridiano was excommunicated from the church and if that was true. Clavio should have done that for the audience if he wanted to show even a semblance of fairness.
Clavio began it all like he had no obligation to hear the other side of the story. There was no hedging from Clavio’s episode of patches, mostly made to magnify the picture of an oppressed “raped man.”
If Arnold Clavio did not know it yet, there is a full coverage of this “raped man for whom Interpol would mobilize.” The star of the moment some few years back enjoyed his brief exposure to prominence when earlier, the powers of the Iglesia ni Cristo got the Interpol to post Soriano’s bio as a Wanted Person. The attempts at Interpol-assistance obviously failed the Iglesia ni Cristo for by that time, Bro. Eliseo Soriano had come to be known as TruthCaster and that his international activities only involved the propagation of the words of God – contrary to “sex crimes” that the INC had wanted the Interpol to believe.
Using now the memory lanes of a supposed helpless victim, Clavio’s voice boomed – “Daniel said he could not forget that afternoon of May 17, 2000 when he was called by the leader of the religion that he was a member of….”
Veridiano’s voice came on and right away planted a “teaching of Ang Dating Daan” that is false and unheard of: “There is a teaching in Dating Daan that a messenger of God does not sin, whatever he does to you. At that time, I feared him greatly because whatever he asks from you, you must oblige. You need to oblige; if not, it is as if you get cursed; as if something grave will happen to you if you do not do what he requires you to do – this so-called messenger of God.”
Video clips of the preacher came on, followed by Arnold Clavio’s vioice: “The one being pointed to by Daniel that had abused him: the leader of Ang Dating Daan, Bro. Eliseo ‘Eli’ Soriano.”
The problem with that denial is that it is not telling the truth. The ADD thinks the presentation is biased; it is intrusive. The case is still open. You cannot right that wrong with a second part on another date and say it is the continuation of the previous one. One does not chop matters of contention between two parties on separate dates. Principles of communication declare that such action is unfair, inequitable, and lacking of correct judgment of timing and impartial audience impact.
It is after all what an Arnold Clavio seemed to project in that program: that he had no qualms about it if he was to be viewed as partial. Twice Puto was allowed to say “If only he is here, he would be behind bars. It cannot be that he will not.”
To the ADD members still boycotting this network, Arnold Clavio does not know his Journalism. Had he done his research well, he would have known what Bro. Soriano was saying as “Sub judice.” Soriano cannot comment as the case (dismissed but re-filed) was pending. Therefore, it was not even a proper item for Case Unclosed because it is not of the vintage kind.
Knowing that he only had a half part of the whole thing, Clavio went ahead and aired it. Granted that the case may be discussed, if he had to deal with two sides, why did he present one ahead of the other? Doesn’t Clavio know that June 18, 2009 is not the same as another future date if he had to present the other half? How sure was he that the sample of the people who saw his first part will be the same sample seeing his second part? Moreover, how much time-gap would there be between the first presentation and a subsequent one if ever there would be one? Is that what he can call a presentation with a level-playing field?
Doesn’t Clavio know that if he had to get data from people, he is not to get them by force? Is he already treating Soriano as the guilty party and Veridiano as an innocent victim? To add insult to injury, Clavio ended the program with these words: “Although Bro. Eli Soriano insists that the accusations against him are simply lies, his appearance and his facing his case are hoped to clear out the questions left unanswered.”
A program with legal elements like Case Unclosed must have someone there with enough legal background. But as it is, Clavio had risked the network’s reputation with ignorance. Most of the ADD comments ask GMA7 management that Arnold Clavio be axed from that channel. The structure of Clavio’s presentation also shows he does not know much about broadcasting. That he was only presenting what was written for him as a script is no excuse.
Right from the start, the episode impressed the audience of presenting only the side of the “raped man,” as if to make the ADD regret they had not issued any statement for Arnold Clavio.
Clavio was quick to say they tried to get the side of the ADD regarding the case of Veridiano but could not get any response. However, knowing full well that he only had data from one side, Clavio went ahead and aired the program. That he was not able to get a response was already license to air to this Clavio.
Infractions of good practice in journalism
There were many infractions of good practice in journalism noticed by the ADD members.
Clavio disregarded challenging his resource person that Soriano could not be around Apalit at 1:30 in the afternoon of May 17, 2000 considering that he was under treatment in Manila in the morning and then traveled to Lipa for a bible exposition afterwards. Aside from a patient’s registration copy, Soriano has a copy of the venue permit used during that day. If he really wanted to be objective, Clavio should have interviewed the two doctors of the Biological Center mentioned as having treated Bro. Soriano that day which was why Soriano could not be in Apalit raping Veridiano.
When Veridiano denied his signature appearing in the confession letter about raping 9 males, Clavio did not try to establish if Veridiano was lying or not. Again, if he had wanted to play fair, and to establish Veridiano’s credibility, Clavio should have interviewed those boys raped by Veridiano. The names are there in that confession letter. In Youtube, these boys gave out their testimonies against Veridiano and what he did to them. One was even just 17 that time and until now, he appears shocked, talking very little as much as possible.
The ADD members note that it is not easy for rape victims to come out to the public and admit they were raped – much more by one rascal like Puto. And yet they had to do it and make use of the Internet for failing to get justice in the kind of courts obtaining in the country.
And now, GMA7 is a House of Truth?
Baloney! says the Ang Dating Daan. The news tagline, “Not siding with anyone; not protecting anyone; just genuine service” is a lie.
For the way it has behaved, GMA7 should be ashamed enough and change that tagline because it does not become them, the members said.
Moreover, the question of the ADD until now is, “What the blazes is GMA7 glorifying a liar for?”
Puto, the “raped man,” lies
There is no such teaching in Ang Dating Daan that anyone can make demands and oppress the other – much more by the leader who teaches righteousness. Puto was lying.
Puto was excommunicated in August 2005 for filthy living; he did not leave ADD all by his own. In fact, he made attempts to be taken in but didn’t pass it. His signature in that confession letter is genuine; it was not faked by anyone. The challenge from ADD is for Clavio and the public to view Puto online. A video-taped recording in YouTube may be used to triangulate data about his confession of serial rape. From there, the public can see if anyone fed those admission words into his mouth. From there, Arnold Clavio can see if he had an innocent “raped man” not lying to him.
Puto may deny everything to get the Iglesia ni Cristo to use him still as a lying witness against Soriano. In that same video, however, Veridiano damned the Iglesia ni Cristo as satanic and with false teachings so that going there is equivalent to going to hell. Not for long, however, Puto was heard attending INC services.
Other lies that Veridiano alias Puto said over GMA7 were that he had been “writer-editor of Ang Dating Daan Magazine.” There is no magazine with such name. Records have it that Puto attempted to handle a magazine called TOP (The Old Path). During one of the national thanksgiving days, Ryan Borja, an assistant to Puto then, approached a professional journalist from Mindanao and showed her a copy. The journalist laughed and asked Borja how come the magazine looked that way. “Can you help us?” asked Borja. During breaktime, the journalist went from cover to cover, red-penciled the pages, and returned it to Borja.
Bro. Eli saw the red-markings, studied it, and called for a meeting, angry at what he saw. After that, the issue was shelved and the management of the magazine was transferred from Puto’s office to ADDCaption, another office that started its own maiden issue. Puto’s work did not pass. He never had been a writer-editor for ADD.
Puto also bragged in Clavio’s program that the Attendance Monitoring System was his idea. Jay Jimenez, former head of the ADD Communications, Information, and Technology (ADDCIT) denies that the Attendance Monitoring System (AMS) was Puto’s idea. This was the statement of Jimenez:
“The Computerized attendance monitoring system was the idea of Bro. Daniel Razon, including that of the Internet webcast. Actually we started the IT of the church since 1999, and we had designed the first website of angdatingdaan.org already before Puto came in.
“Because of Puto’s envy to us, he took over our group and he absorbed us. At that time, he was a worker typist of Bro. Eli. He promised us support by providing the infrastructures needed for websites and webcast. He formed ADD Correspondents July 20, 2000. We were the pioneers.
“Daniel is just a typist – fast typist! In fairness, fastest typist ever! Dapat sa gilid siya ng SEC magwork, yung nag tatype ng mga documents dun; o di kaya sa quiapo, yung taga type ng mga thesis ng mga estudyante (Trans: He should work at the side of SEC among those typing documents there; if not in Quiapo, among those typing thesis for students.)”
Grabbing credit for Puto is something not to be ashamed of, just as lying is. Ever since, the idea man in ADD is Daniel Razon. He is responsible for most of the conception of ADD projects.
Puto also said he was an “Assistant Secretary General.” Bro. Soriano had already clarified in court even that there is no assistant general secretary position in the church. The structure of the church is such that it does not need a Secretary General – more so an assistant general secretary.
“In the ministry, in teaching, I was the one in charge before Soriano would teach,” Puto claimed. As everyone in the ministerial class knows, Puto’s work in this area was merely in assisting or in checking that sitting and equipment arrangements were in order. While he wanted to impress people that he can preach as well as or better than the ministers, his work was no different from a janitor.
To be minister had long been a dream of Puto which he never got in the ADD. Would-be ministers in ADD are being well screened. Spiritual growth for Puto was a question that even in leading prayers, the task had been taken off him.
“June 8, 2001, it was my spiritual birthday. He called for me and I thought he would give me a gift. For all I knew, it was another of those things he did to me last year,” Puto said.
Veridiano, alias Puto, mentioned about a second count of rape on June 8, 2001. As written earlier in ADD newsreports, Soriano had testified in court that he went with Rico Fernandez to the office of one Ma. Evangeline Veloira in a bank located in Bambang, Manila. They then proceeded to Sushimoto Restaurant to meet a certain Aida P. Briones, an accountant recommended by Veloira regarding the loan transaction they were applying for. As publicly known, the preacher is known for gallantly financing big church projects which explains the growth of the congregation to an international scope. The transaction was held from 12noon to 4pm. Veridiano said he was raped around 3:00 in the afternoon that day.
The investigating prosecutor found no probable cause to prosecute Soriano as he believed that Veridiano’s accusations were all lies and fabricated. The case was filed sometime before October 5, 2005 and 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 court highly considered the rift going on between the INC and the ADD.
Arnold Clavio and his lines
Some lines of Arnold Clavio need a second look because they encouraged the lies of Puto.
Arnold Clavio: “According to Daniel, still he was not able to fight him.”
Anyone who knows Bro. Eli Soriano would know something is wrong with this statement. It does not fit into the paradigm that is the man leading the Church and who has love immeasurable for the brethren but ready anger for a fake brother exposed for his wrongdoings. The members have seen Soriano react in diverse situations mostly in consultation sessions through satellite system that they can easily predict his behavior in most situations. From what they know of his character, Soriano would be the first one to get angry with a brother found doing wrong. Moreover, it is impossible that Soriano could be raping anybody and still retain that unequaled understanding of the Bible that he is well-known for. For the man who keeps warning that the wicked cannot understand, it is impossible that he could explain the deepest mysteries in the Bible in an unending fashion like drawing from an eternal spring, if he is that wicked. Soriano’s energies are dedicated towards propagating the words of God and studying for it – if not cooking for big crowds of members and guests. Puto’s organ or that of anyone else would not even be the last of his interests. Soriano’s sights are trained on his commission for which he is ever in a hurry. “We have to be part of those who will fulfill prophecy,” he would say to the congregation.
No one is like a prisoner in Apalit like Puto wanted to convey. In fact, instead of attending church functions, Puto takes pleasure trips to famous beaches of the country, charged to a credit card meant for the church – a card which he abused to include beautifying his new face. No member’s mouth is ordered closed that he cannot talk of what is right and proper. Puto, himself, knows that. The preacher would often warn the brethren that those who keep secret the wrong doings of others would suffer consequences too. Soriano even said that had the brothers exposed Puto much earlier, he would not have become that worse. Since Puto was one working closely with Bro. Eli, people feared to report his wrong doings. It was Puto who used his influence and used it wrongly. He would threaten those he aggrieved with suspensions and excommunication. His typing work involved preparing Church circulars.
Arnold Clavio: “It was year 2004 when Daniel Veridiano decided to leave the ADD Convention Center.”
At this time, Puto was suspended as a member and was placed under observation. He knew that his case was heavy and came in multiple levels: illicit sex, wide-spread thievery, misuse of a credit card meant for the church, identity theft, possession of porno materials and a penis-enlarger that told much of his promiscuous gay activities. Puto lived hardly a Christian life to be able to hold on to an ADD membership.
Arnold Clavio: “He hid for a while. He broke his silence in September 2005. He gave his statements in the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Pampanga about the abuse made on him. It was Atty. Alex Avisado and some others in his office that handled the case of Daniel.”
Puto did not go into hiding. It is not the practice of ADD to hunt for people – more so when one is declared spiritually sick. The members would keep a distance – as far away as possible.
Instead of hiding, Puto walked around for help in the ADD. He tried to get two ministers to back him up in his bid to return to the ADD. When the findings from an investigating panel came out, Puto failed to meet the mark. In August 2005, he was finally expelled. At that same time he was reported to be attending church gatherings of the Iglesia ni Cristo.
The Gumaru paragraph sprouting
Arnold Clavio: “According to the Bureau of Immigration, December 14, 2005, flight PR501 of Philippine Airlines going to Singapore was the last list recording the name of Bro. Eli. That is why according to the lawyers of Daniel, it is impossible that the Manila Police District reported that Bro. Eli surrendered in 2008 to PO3 Jun Gumaru of Pandacan Police. Accordingly, it was Gumaru who processed the application of Soriano to pay bail. It was reported that he did not tell his supervisors so that Gumaru was placed under investigation that is being held until now. There was an order of release also that the Branch 26 of Manila Regional Trial Court issued for Eli Soriano. It was written there that he had paid a bail of P240, 000, and was signed by Jun Gumaru.”
No matter how untrue this surrender-to-Gumaru is, the Iglesia ni Cristo members blazed the media with it, pinning falsification of documents on “Ely” Soriano wherever they could get their hands on. The story was poorly written by a certain Allison Lopez of Philippine Daily Inquirer on August 29, 2008 and then posted in Scribd.com. Lopez appeared to have used INC sources with the tell-tale “Ely” name that INCs insist on calling the preacher. She also showed no background knowledge of the case as if it were just the beginning.
Just the same, the paragraph on Gumaru from the story of Lopez transformed into a video piece. Cut out from the whole story, it highlighted Gumaru’s denial that an Eliseo Soriano had surrendered to him. The intention of those who had re-produced this paragraph into video items, cut out from the whole story, was clearly to let the public believe that Soriano is found guilty of falsification of documents in the Philippines. They made a feast of it. All the while, Soriano was out of the country.
Though taken out of context, this paragraph cum video piece is embedded in many blogs of INC local members and foreigners in the Internet, whether they discussed astronomy or music, but not Philippine conditions. When queried about what they knew about the case, they kept mum about it. INC posters like Rizalino L. Arrabis and Conrad J. Obligacion took turns taunting Soriano of that “falsification charge” in news sites all over the Internet, most prominently in NowPublic.com and Topix.net.
Many other incognito INC sympathizers did the same just as they did when Interpol posted Soriano’s bio as one of those wanted. The first who made news out of this was Alfred P. Dalizon of World News Journal Online on August 8, 2008. Dalizon’s links with the INC showed when he wrote that Soriano is a former INC member and Veridiano alias Puto, instead of being excommunicated from the ADD, was merely going back to his former church, the INC. Dalizon also wrote that Soriano is a fugitive, is on a Red Notice and an international warrant of arrest – contrary to definitions of the Interpol on “fugitive” and “Red Notice.” Furthermore, Dalizon in his half-baked news carried only blind items, never having a name for “police authorities” that he kept mentioning as his source. Nevertheless, Dalizon’s story was honored as a reference in Wikipedia on the much public-edited bio of Soriano that appeared like it is describing an entirely different person.
Incidentally, there are many hate blogsites against Bro. Soriano by as many as 50, initiated and supported by Ka Webspy (Real name: Sustines E. Laplana), a member of the Iglesia ni Cristo. The contents consist of twisting the preaching of the preacher and maligning him in every way possible.
From history, the Ang Dating Daaan began as a small group catering to Philippine membership only in its incipient years in the 1980s. Today, the ADD Convention Center, the biggest convention center in Asia, houses an average of 70,000 people every week for its thanksgiving functions, and that is for Apalit alone. With Bro. Soriano working feverishly outside the country, membership has truly become international and church locales have been established in six continents. Soriano preaches to them simulcast through satellite systems every Saturday and every International Thanksgiving days.
Every Friday, thousands get baptized from diverse religious groups to an annual average of 20,000 in the country alone and another set of thousands abroad – including those from the Iglesia ni Cristo who obviously blame Soriano for their dwindling membership. This is the group that refuses to take the criticisms of the preacher without striking back by way of filing court cases and using the excommunicated members as witnesses; by way of raids; and by way of using the influence of their members in the courts to intervene in judicial processes.
ADD: Principle of no revenge
Nevertheless, the unity and strength of the ADD had been tested through the years – not by their growing numbers but by following the spiritual principles taught to them by their leader. This is noted in their remarkable policy of not taking any revenge. The principle is to let God take charge.
This was tested so many times when the Iglesia ni Cristo through the NBI under the leadership of Director Gen. ReynaldoWycoco, himself an INC member, in February 1-2, 2002 raided the ADD Convention Center just for a case of libel; when the INC hoodlums hit the ADD brothers near Jollibee Restaurant in Apalit, Pampanga on April 18, 2005; when the ADD Convention Center was raided by the local police that belonged to the INC in search for their minster, Abner Martizano, who joined the ADD in 2005; and when clearly an INC deacon was implicated in the April 27, 2008 death of Marcos Mataro, a UNTV host that hit hard on the INCs in his “dX-man”program.
The Jollibee encounter between ADD brothers and INCs was misreported inAbsoluteAstronomy.com as a free-for-all initiated by Marcos Mataro, an ADD member but a former INC. It did not report that ADD brothers were badly browbeaten by the INCs and in the courts, they were accused as the perpetrators instead of the other way around. Ref: http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Iglesia_ni_Cristo
Public news have it that Nickson Icao and Felizardo “Ka Zaldy” Lumagham, both of Macabebe, Pampanga and who claim to be members of INC, (the latter, a deacon) were charged before the San Fernando prosecutors office for the death of Marcos Mataro. Until now, however, both persons have yet to be accounted for.
The real House of Truth
The GMA network counts its age today as 59 glorious years, chalking March 1, 1950 as its day of birth. Over the air lanes, this giant broadcast network proudly banners itself as “House of Truth,” (Tahanan ng katotohanan). And GMA7 is part of them.
As far as the Ang Dating Daan (The Old Path) is concerned, GMA is one broadcast network that cannot be trusted for its branding and its news taglines. It thrives in hollow branding to sell itself without truly working. Calling itself “house of truth,” it does not offer genuine service beyond mere reproduction of news events and even that is questionable.
To reckon, is GMA of the likes of UNTV – the public service channel? By all counts, GMA cannot equal the humanitarian services given by UNTV that is strongly supported by Bro. Soriano – one whose public image GMA7 recently compromised. Soriano’s works include the several orphanages in the country, the feeding programs among depressed areas, the medical and dental missions, the transient houses, the free bus rides; and some of these, he does through UNTV. In effect, UNTV does not merely produce news unlike GMA – and that’s what is genuine service.
And to top it all, as far as information is concerned, Soriano works for the propagation of God’s words and the teaching of truth for the salvation of souls. This he does in the country strongly through UNTV. People need to know how to live properly according to Soriano, which is why he preaches 24/7 wherever he can, to include UNTV. No gyrating lewd bodies; no nonsense programs – just plain public service.
Inside the country, Soriano has “adopted” the poor and the outcast of the society – things that politicians should be doing. Outside the country, Soriano has “adopted” victims of war and racism and gave them hope through teaching God’s word. All in all, it is truth that Bro. Eli Soriano deals with – day in and day out. In the Church of God which is the House of God, truth is the service. The Church of God is appropriately the House of Truth – not GMA.
To call itself then as “House of Truth” is for GMA to go over bounds. Branding to this network is hollow, without truth, and more of a habit. In effect, GMA comes out with bubble branding: one blast and it bursts to nothing.
The Razon experience
So, is this network not really siding with anyone as promised by its news tagline?
Sometime in 2005, Daniel Razon, the Vice Presiding Minister of the Members Church of God International or ADD had the same taste of fate as that of Bro. Soriano, Razon’s uncle and partner in Church ministry. Razon was then a co-anchor of Arnold Clavio in Unang Hirit, GMA7’s morning show. Razon is now UNTV executive and is blessed with many opportunities to grow while Clavio stayed where he stays until now. The ADD wonder if Clavio secretly looks at Soriano as he does Razon today, his former colleague and now his rival in the industry. Years back in 2005 when Razon was in GMA7, Management asked him for alternatives: to refrain from mentioning the Iglesia ni Cristo or to resign. He chose the latter in what he called a choice for his God and not for his job. Dindo M. Balares wrote about this in Manila Bulletin (June 16, 2005) and can be found here: http://www.articlearchives.com/entertainment-arts/broadcasting-industry-television/458213-1.html
The ADD members said if GMA7 broke their tagline promise of not siding with anyone by pushing out Razon, one of their very own anchors to please the Iglesia ni Cristo, how much more others like Bro. Soriano who is an outsider.
Some sectors of the ADD still believe that GMA7 has somehow compromised Bro. Soriano’s public image in its audience ratings’ fight with ABS-CBN. However, GMA7 made a wrong decision if courting this audience is their target in their controversial topics. The ADD are still on boycott. The ADD is a growing force that can be counted on in any elections, much more in broadcast audience ratings.
Bro. Soriano left the country in a huff in late 2005 when reports from the enemy camp said his life was in danger and his quest for justice was nil. As observed by the preacher, the justice system in the country is such that in Pampanga where the rape case was filed and dismissed, and then re-filed by then Secretary of Justice Raul Gonzalez, the prosecutors keep on changing. One week after a pronouncement of judgment against Bro. Soriano, another prosecutor comes in. And then another. In fact, this rape case is one for the Guinness Book of Records, and is a recommended case study for all students of Law. There are so many meddlers but Soriano sees the hand of the Iglesia ni Cristo in it – they who keep no secret about their hatred for Soriano through the pronouncements of the INC ministers in Net25. Soriano is the most vocal critic of the Iglesia ni Cristo.
GMA7: advancing the “raped man’s” cause
The same “raped man,” now a member of the Iglesia ni Cristo, was also used to get the Interpol’s intervention to get Soriano behind bars, the failed mission of which the ADD interprets is the present task of GMA7. In his program, Clavio had underscored that nothing could be done while Soriano is out of the country according to Puto’s lawyers. To get Soriano behind bars, GMA7 would then use a professional liar because no one in his right sense would accuse Soriano of rape, let alone raping a rapist.
Finally, Arnold Clavio contradicted himself. While he explained that there is no extradition treaty between the Philippines and Brazil, and that a Red Notice of the Interpol is not an International Arrest Warrant, at the same time he said of Soriano, “he can be arrested for the meantime and an extradition can be worked out for him.” Quoting the lawyers or not, Clavio is not careful which information to propagate or not.
By this time, Bro. Soriano is thinking the world must be crazy to believe he would rape a rapist – most of all a rapist of not only 9 but more! His enemies are that corrupt of imagination.
The insistence of the Iglesia ni Cristo to pin a rape case on Bro. Eli is interpreted by the ADD as a cosmeticizing effort meant to restructure the much tarnished image of Felix Manalo, their so-called “messenger of God.” In his bible expositions, whenever he is asked about Felix Manalo, Bro. Eli would speak of him as a rapist, not worth a man to be speaking the words of God which Manalo mixes with many lies to hold on to his members. But Soriano is not speaking from mere hearsay.
Rape and INC’s Manalo
In a 1954 newspaper called “The Bombshell,” Joe Cruz serialized the immoral escapades of Felix Manalo and included the court cases wherein he was tried, foremost of which was the Rosita Trillanes case. Manalo had been convicted in court in the 1950s for raping Rosita Trillanes, a deaconess. It was this Rosita, according to Cruz, who had revealed to the INC what this supposed messenger did to women of their church. The Court of Appeals sided with Rosita. The court had established the immoral activities of Felix Manalo. Rosita’s story of how Manalo raped her was published in the Philippine Official Gazette, Vol. 1, July, 1942. She also mentioned about the other women abused by Manalo.
Records have it that accusations of sexual immorality plagued Felix Manalo throughout his life. In a decision by the Court of Appeals, in the case of “The People vs. Rosita Trillanes” published in July 1942, the Justices gave an extremely unfavorable estimate of Manalo’s character stating:
“…Manalo, took advantage of his position as head of the Iglesia ni Cristo, and…employed religion as a cloak to cover his…immoral practices; that he pretended to be the Messias sent by God; and that to persuade his victims, he cited the example of Solomon and his many wives.” (Source: Official Gazette, Volume 1 No. 7, July 1942, pages 393-395.)