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Court Acquits ADD “Eternal Life” Discussants from Libel Charge

By Jane Abao

Manila, Philippines (3/16//2015) – This court acquittal marks another victory for MCGI on the lot of libel cases filed by the Iglesia ni Cristo against the former’s ministers. A topic on “Eternal Life” led two panelists of the Ang Dating Daan TV program discussing news items mentioning Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) members as killers. Eternal life would not accommodate such people, they concluded.

Joselito Mallari and Wilfredo Santiago were commenting on three news items published in three local newspapers in their TV program. As a result the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) represented by Bienvenido C. Santiago filed charges against them on March 31, 2004 for the crime of libel. The court, however, acquitted these Ang Dating Daan TV panelists recently.

In a 13-page decision penned by Presiding Judge Manuel B. Sta. Cruz, Jr. of the Regional Trial Court, NCJR, Branch 226 for Criminal Case No. QO4-126059, Joselito “Josel” Mallari and Wilfredo “Willy” Santiago are acquitted of the crime of Libel for failure of the prosecution to prove all the elements of the crime charged, thus failing to establish the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt.Screen Shot 2015-03-28 at 21.48.57

To be able to successfully prosecute the crime of Libel, the court said the complainant must prove the existence of the following elements:

  • The allegation of a discreditable act or condition concerning another;
  • Publication of the charge;
  • Identity of the person defamed; and
  • Existence of malice.

In part, the court said –

The alleged libelous remarks were made by the accused as panelists in the TV program “Ang Dating Daan.” This court notes the remarks were made in the context of explaining the teachings of their religion on the popular topic of “eternal life.” Although it may be argued that some of the members of the Iglesia ni Cristo were offended by the remarks, especially when the news clippings of the murders allegedly committed by individual members of the INC members were shown on the screen, this court rules that this alone does not make the remarks of the accused actionable by itself.

The court further said –

As with all other members of the various religious faith, an individual member of the INC has a reputation that is personal, separate and distinct in the community and it is highly unlikely that one’s personal reputation will be affected by what is seen and heard or published about the other INC members. It is also improbable that the INC community’s reputation, as a whole, will be blemished by these isolated acts imputed to some of its members…

The judgment quoted the Supreme Court stressing in MVRS Publications, Inc. vs. Islamic Da’wah Council of the Philippines that “words which are merely insulting are not actionable as libel or slander per se, and mere words of general abuse, however opprobrious, ill-natured, or vexatious, whether written or spoken, do not constitute a basis for an action for defamation in the absence of an allegation for special damages.”

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Ang Dating Daan (The Old Path) is the longest running religious program in the country hosted by Bro. Eli Soriano, the Presiding Minister to the Members Church of God, International (MCGI). It has won several local and international awards. At the time of the filing of the case, ADD and the Iglesia ni Cristo were having a running debate centered on their teachings wherein each side tries to defend their teachings. The remarks being contested in this case were allegedly made by the accused on or about April 22, 2003 during the program of Ang Dating Daan at SBN21.

The court said the news items the panelists discussed were: a) People’s Journal, “INC minister shoots farmer dead,” dated July 24, 1996; b) People’s Tonight, “3 Iglesia-Vigilantes nabbed for beheading, roasting 2 men,” and c) Abante, “Ministro Namaril.”

The remarks include, as translated in English, “Do you know of churches that kill? Do they have eternal life?”

“Aha, you see that? He already killed him yet roasted him! Ministro Namaril (Minister Killed Someone). Whatever church that is, those inflicted with that kind of malady, cannot be granted with eternal life. As long as you are a murderer …. my countrymen, do not believe that a murderer is of God and has eternal life.”

The complaint accused these panelists of “intending to convey malicious and offensive insinuations and imputations that are destructive and tends to destroy the name and reputation of the Iglesia ni Cristo with no good justifiable motive but solely for the purposes of maligning, besmirching the name, honor, character and reputation of said offended party and to expose them as in fact they were exposed to public hatred and ridicule to their damage and prejudice.”

MCGI Minister Mallari, one of the accused, is now based outside the country. Defense witness Emilio T. Magdaraog then issued a judicial affidavit. He said the purpose of airing Ang Dating Daan and its related programs like Itanong mo kay Soriano (Ask Soriano, the Bible will Answer) is to spread the word of God according to what is written in the Bible and to have people lead a new life. As translated, he added, “This includes exposing and castigating religions that do evil but introduce themselves as they alone are of God and it is they alone that will be saved.”

Magdaraog is also a Minister for MCGI. Speaking for Mallari, he said in his judicial affidavit that Mallari was speaking in general terms. He was referring to “any religion that agrees and gives consent to killing their members but declares to the public that they alone are the ones who are of God and they alone are the only ones to be saved.” Speaking still in the vernacular, Magdaraog said, “It is clear that the Bible teaches that there is no salvation for killers or murderers. As ministers we are taught to speak the truth, no matter if some will be happy or angry at us.”

This is not the first time libel cases were filed by Bienvenido Santiago as private complainant or representative of the Iglesia ni Cristo against panelists of Ang Dating Daan TV. Fortunately, the courts have acquitted the accused in several libel cases in the years ahead for lack of evidence.

Meanwhile, Wilfredo Santiago, who was Bro. Eli’s Bible Reader, was separated from MCGI in 2009 (five years after the filing of this case) after a frustrated ambition to become minister. Willy had put up his own church group trying to mimic doctrines he learned while at MCGI and infusing them with his own understanding. Failing to muster even a hundred members, he still called his group “worldwide” in an effort to mimic MCGI and be another “Bro. Eli.” Unfortunately for him, those he had taken away have been sending feelers for wanting to return to MCGI.

In this Libel case, filed in 2004 and finally judged this February 15, 2015, Willy was represented by a Public Affairs Office (PAO) lawyer. His co-accused, Mallari, had another counsel representing him.

 

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Trending Hashtag #Noynoyparin Report of News5: The Transcript

Photo Credits: Rappler.com

Photo Credits: Rappler.com

Manila, Philippines (2/21/2015) – The following is a transcript of conversations in the report of Lourd de Veryra titled “NOYNOYPARIN | NETIZENS, NAGPAHAYAG NG SUPORTA KAY PNOY,” uploaded on 2/18/2015 on their site. We are placing it here for readers to have a better grasp of what they said.

WARNING: The participants here are talking about online media sites and what is being done in those sites, particularly Facebook and Twitter. There are distinctions in these two social networking sites. Facebook is mostly free but it earns through posts, through boosting. Boosting means you pay so that your post (mostly news and ads) can reach more people. In Twitter, however, there is NO such thing as boosting. In Twitter, it is followers you can pay for – for wider reach of your posts or for vanity. But honest people like Bro. Eli Soriano depend mostly on Members of the Church of God International (MCGI) for followers. Add atheists and those of other religion interested in his posts, and that makes his followers – all unbought.

Preacher Soriano uses Twitter to teach mostly. He also uses Twitter to gather readers to his blog, http://www.ControversyExtraordinary.com. Just this one time, he used Twitter to voice out support for President Benigno Aquino. It has caught wildfire and surprise from media and the general public.

The participants here at News5 are giving their views. There is no direct accusation, and they are trying to make sense out of #Noynoyparin. But obviously they could not believe that the first twitter, Bro. Eli Soriano could muster wide support to rally his cause. Lourde de Veyra and his companions refer only to “netizens,” not realising that it  is MCGI or Ang Dating Daan people twitting and re-tweeting. Soriano has such extensive followers in Twitter (going 70K to date), considering that the organisation he leads is international. The evangelist openly twitted that he is behind the beleaguered President whom the Catholic Bishops wanted to step down due to failed leadership they attributed to the fallen SAF44.

But Soriano disagrees: He wanted the President to continue and finish his term. He also took note of these bishops’ unwarranted intervention in the government. The #Noynoyparin started by Bro. Eli reigned as the top hashtag for more than 5 days in a row beginning February 16.

And why the support for Aquino? In Gloria Arroyo’s time – the regime before Aquino’s – Soriano was rained upon with case after case by a group that Arroyo allowed to meddle in government affairs including in the justice system of the country. Aquino did not do such: he never favoured a religious group to lord it over in the courts. Soriano was then able to do propagation efforts unhampered.

Now, about suggestions of Malacanang being spin doctor to help Aquino, that is up to these people. A spin doctor is “a person (as a political aide) responsible for ensuring that others interpret an event from a particular point of view.” Sour grapes can be found just every where, and there must be a spin doctor they can point to. – Jane Abao

START

Lourde De Veyra: Matapos na batikusin, bumabaha na ngayon ng suporta si Pangulong Noynoy Aquino. Nag-trending pa nga ang hashtag na #Noynoyparin. Unang nag-tweet ang religious leader na si Bro. Eli Soriano. Para sa kanya di tama na pababain sa pwesto si PNoy dahil dito sa usapin sa Maguindanao. Hindi naman daw nito ginusto ang nangyari. Sang-ayon naman sa kanya ang ibang netizens. Tanong pa nila, eh, makukuha ba natin ang katarungan at sagot kung bababa sa pwesto ang pangulo?

Ikinatuwa naman ng palasyo ang suportang natanggap ng Pangulo. Sa kabila niyan, isang kaalyado ni PNoy ang nagsabi, humina na ang kakayanan nitong mag-endorso ng susunod na presidente sa 2016. Pero, naniniwala si Speaker Sonny Belmonte na makakabawi pa rin ang Pangulo.

(Video Clips)

Rep. Giorgidi Aggabao: Our perception is that whoever is chosen by the president, siguro, we really have a very, very distinct advantage – whoever is supported by the president. But with this, the public perception is… Let us somehow deal [with it] a bit.

Rep. Sonny Belmonte: Let’s face it. As a politician, nakikita ko naman na up and down, up and down ang popularity ng mga tao depending on the issue of the day. Pero, wala naman akong duda na makakarecover din sya.

Lourde de Veyra: Ang tanong, repleksiyon ba ng nag-trend…. nagtrending? ng hashtag ang suporta ng mga Pinoy sa Pangulo?

Grace Lee: Nabasa ko nga rin yung mga naglabasang mga article …

Lourd de Veyra: Noynoy ka rin ba, Grace?

Grace Lee: I mean, ni-retweet ko ba? Naku, mahirap na sagutin yan. Kung ano naman ang sagot ko diyan, yes or no, alam mo ng lalabas sa mga di kanais-nais na mga websites sa alam mo na… pero sa akin, kahapon, sa social media, biglang naglabasan itong mga articles tungkol sa kung bakit gusto pa nila si Presidente. Bakit naniniwala pa sila sa kanila, at kung ano ang meron tayo  ngayon ay dahil sa kanya. At kung ano ang mawawala sa atin kung mawawala siya. So there are articles nga, trending also on Facebook yesterday and I read some of them. But para sa akin, ha, it seems a little bit too plaid. Ibig sabihin, parang… hindi.. halatang hindi… sincere. Mukhang…

Martin “Mart” Andanar:  May spin-doctor sa likod.

Grace Lee: Mukhang, it is a job that they were tasked to do. It didn’t touch the heart.

Martin “Mart” Andanar: It was too clean!

Grace Lee: Oo. Kasi talagang naka bullet points eh, nakita nyo ba? Naka bullet yung mga ginawa ni Pangulo. Tapos yung pinaka cover photo pa ng mga articles na yun, kung naalala nyo na binabatikos si Presidente na di siya gaanong nagtatrabaho katulad ni PGMA, at naglabas ang Malacanang na parang nagtatrabaho siya? O, yun yung litrato. So, tapos it didn’t give the right message. The picture and the way the article is written. So, ako, di ko in-expect na magti-trend ang #Noynoyparin just because of the articles.

Lourde de Veyra: They manufactured the trend. They can actually, artificially, manufacture the trend.

Grace Lee: Aha… lahat ng trending tungkol sa TV5 alam ko, genuine yun.

Martin “Mart” Andanar: Di naman chismis yung pwede kang magpa-trend. Totoo yan. There are people paid to do that. There are really people paid to do that. Add more trends or add more likes to your page… ganun.

Lourde de Veyra: Baka di nyo lang alam, mga tol, yung mga nagfa-Facebook diyan. Makikita nyo, may like, comment, share, may makikita ka rin dung “boost”. Yung “boost” na yun, sa halagang 3,000, may 20,000 o 30,000 na tao na may makakabasa nitong post mo, magbabayad ka ng credit card. May mga antas yan. Gusto mo ng ganito, pwede mong paabutin ng … sa isang milyong piso, ganito karaming taong makakabasa.

Martin “Mart” Andanar: Kaya nga sinasabi nila, Lourde, di ba, na yung Facebook, sa Twitter.. sa Twitter, you can do that. Also, you can place an ad on Twitter, eh yung kanilang business model, eh naging business model na rin ng telebisyon. Kung gusto mong maglabas ng produkto dun ng paulit-ulit, eh, you have to pay, kasi, ganun din sa Facebook. Magbabayad ka. Para gusto mong dumami yung manonood sa iyo.

Grace Lee: Parang ano nga siya eh… Recently, dahil sa isang negosyo, nag-post ako ng nag-post. Ang mahal ha! 20$ parang per boost.

Lourde de Veyra: It’s just a bucket for you.

Grace Lee: Grabe ka naman. Isipin mo kung gusto mong 1 week na tuluy-tuloy na ibo-boost niya everyday, grabe din yun ha! Umaabot ng more than 5,000 pesos.

Lourde de Veyra: Eh, billionaryo naman si Mark Zuckerberg. Teka muna, paano tayo napunta dito!

Grace Lee: May nagbo-boost nga daw ng hashtag….

Lourde de Veyra: Pinag-usapan talaga itong … siguro inisip nila or they contemplated another alternative. That dark alternative. Which is the words… yung kay Binay. Siguro weigh nila, ang daming kasong ibinabato kay Binay. Sino ba ang pwedeng pumalit dito?

Grace Lee: Di ba agad-agad na nag-komento, na walang power itong si Pinoy na mag endorse ng candidate for 2016, kaagad-agad? Sinabi agad ng kabilang kampo.

Martin “Mart” Andanar: Parang yung diskusyon ngayon, ng mga gustong pabagsakin ang gobyerno, iniisip nila ang bagong sistema etc, sino ba ang papalit? Binay? Ano ba ang gagawin ko kung di si Binay? Sino? Meron silang mga Transformation Council.. kung anu-ano…

Lourde de Veyra: Nakakatawa lang kasi ano, Mart, dahil sa social media, napaka instant ng gauging ng emotion, yung sa kainitan ng 44 issue, di ba, ang dali? Iharap mo yung celfone mo, may internet connection ka… bam! Bam! Bam! Ang celfone mo ang nagtatranslate. Di ka na nagkakaroon ng moment of reflection. Inis ka eh, so may mga hirit ka na ganun. Until in hindsight o humihina-hinahon na, nagkakaroon ka ng perspektiba sa mga issues. Siguro, napagisip-isip ng lahat, ang ayaw ko lang sa mga nag-isip nito…

Martin “Mart” Andanar: Sa Noynoyparin…

Lourde de Veyra: Itong Noynoyparin, isip-aso. Siguro mga bata ang nag-isip nito ano? Kasi kung mga 40 and above ka, maaalala mo yung Marcos pa rin. ]

Martin “Mart” Andanar: Parang ikaw!

Lourde de Veyra: Bata naman ako ng konti… mga 9 years old. Noon, “Marcos pa rin”  smacks of desperation. Yung mga 1986 na holding on to the last power. Yung illegitimately, sinasabi nila.

Martin “Mart” Andanar: Yung kay Cory naman, sobra na, tama na… yung slogan nila.

END.

Please refer to this video.

http://n5e.interaksyon.com/videos/7B88051F5E714C1/noynoyparin-netizens-nagpahayag-ng-suporta-kay-pnoy

 

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For Falsifying Documents Former Bible Reader of Bro. Eli Soriano Gets Arrested

By Jane Abao

Manila, Philippines (2/14/2015) – A former Bible Reader of Bro. Eli Soriano was arrested Friday (2/13/2015) on the charge of falsification of documents. A report from the Bulacan Police Provincial Office signed by Police Superintendent Helson Bragil Walin confirmed the arrest through a memorandum announcing the arrest of wanted persons.

Wilfredo “Willy” Santiago, 41, married, and a resident of Malolos, Bulacan, was ordered taken into custody by authority of law together with two others by Presiding Judge Mario Pocholo M. Telan of the Municipal Court of Baliwag, Bulacan. Screen Shot 2015-02-14 at 23.25.52

Criminal Case No. 15-006 filed by his erstwhile wife, Mary Jane Angeles – Santiago accused Willy, Leslie G. Kurata, Edwin R. Benales and a certain John/Jane Do of disposing off two lots of the conjugal partnership without her consent, making it appear that she had signed when in fact she was out of the country. A bail of P12, 000 was set for each of the respondents by the court.

The falsified document shows that the two lots were sold for P450, 000.00 to Leslie G. Kurata of Baliuag, Bulacan with Wilfredo Santiago and Mary Jane A. Santiago as vendors, in the presence of Edwin R. Benales, and another witness.

The Warrant of Arrest for Santiago and the others was signed January 6, 2015 but their whereabouts could not be ascertained until lately.

Willy Santiago is more popularly known as Bro. Eli’s former Bible Reader. He had for 12 years been assisting the evangelist in his programs of Ang Dating Daan in radio and television. Bro. Eli is the Presiding Minister to the Members Church of God International (MCGI) where this Bible Reader used to be a member. Whenever Bro. Eli needed verses to support his preaching or discussion, Santiago would flip the pages to locate the verses fast and read them to the audience. That was his work.

Never having been promoted to minister, Santiago had through the years been aching for leadership too. This became obvious when in October 2009 he was excommunicated from the Church named Members Church of God International (MCGI), he subsequently put up his own church, giving doctrinal issues as his reason for establishing his own. It was a poor excuse to those who knew Santiago well. He, himself, is not disciplined by example. His wife, who left him eventually in 2009 at the exposure of Santiago’s shenanigans, complained of wife beating and abuse in handling financial resources.

Although Santiago had no substantial members to speak of, he called his church “worldwide” to imitate “International.” His Members Church of God in Jesus Christ Worldwide or MCGCJW barely has 30 members. In Spanish he called it Miembros dela Iglesia de Dios en Jesu Cristo en Todo El Mundo Inc. As much as possible, he was imitating the Church he was excommunicated from. However, lacking understanding, the doctrines he preaches are in shambles. Much as he would like to portray “another Bro. Eli,” he cannot come up to the expectations of the audience. The group holds office in Malolos Bulacan but beset with problems after some rift with Santiago’s supposed financial supporters.

Santiago brought along with him church workers who had been excommunicated from the MCGI like him as well as suspended members. After awhile though, some of his people went back to the MCGI fold and some still were sending feelers if they could be welcomed again.

Santiago made sure he was always linked with the name of Bro. Eli for search engine (SEO) purposes. His accounts in social networking sites constantly maligned Bro. Eli and SEO afforded him much traffic. Just before he was arrested, he had uploaded a hundred hate videos against the MCGI leadership and also videos extolling himself. He had lieutenants taking care of his hate posts.

Santiago would hurl challenges for debate again and again as though itching to pitch some new knowledge that the preacher does not know. This was all at the expense of the evangelist since Santiago’s life is not entirely clean. He has taken to wife another woman while he was yet married to Mary Jane. With his new lifestyle, he could be hardly called straight.

Santiago has for years been coveting the position of Daniel Razon, the next in rank to Bro. Eli. For his propensity to look for Bible verses, he had expected to be the second in command. For those in the know, however, Santiago did not have the understanding in explaining verses as well as he could find and read them loud and clear to the audience. That explains why he remained only a Bible reader – but he became ambitious.

Santiago was excommunicated from MCGI towards the end of 2009 by Bro. Eli who still found it viable to let the former hang on. But as early as 2008, Santiago had been secretly playing priest like administering matrimonial services for some. Facebook shows photos of people whose weddings he had performed that are time-stamped 2008. Behind Bro. Eli’s back therefore, he was already making inroads for another organization of his own.

In the case at bar, Santiago admitted that he sold two lots that belonged to the conjugal partnership because he could not find his wife. Secondly, he said he did not ask the authority of the court because the documents show he is the owner and could sell the properties, being that they read, “Wilfredo Santiago, married to…” The court, however, found, probable cause to have him arrested.

In part, the resolution of a motion for reconsideration signed by Rita M. Gammad, Senior Deputy Provincial Prosecutor and approved by Renato C. Samonte, Jr, Provincial Prosecutor, on May 5, 2014 against Wilfredo Santiago et al for Falsification of Documents said –

Considering that all the respondents appeared privy in the execution of the subject deed of sale, let them be charged and tried in the court for the act of falsifying a public document, under the principle of conspiracy.

 
18 Comments

Posted by on February 14, 2015 in court case, Falsification of documents

 

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Eli Soriano Not Fugitive from Justice: Two Courts Deny Motions

By Jane Abao

Manila, Philippines (10/22/2014) – Two courts refused to declare an international evangelist a “fugitive from justice” as sought by his enemies, particularly those he had been criticizing for their false beliefs and practices. This means the preacher is still far advanced over his enemies trying hard to see him dead.

BRO. ELI SORIANO. Keeping quiet when he sees something wrong is not his cup of tea. Photo by Sweetwasabe.

As court records would show, Bro. Eliseo Soriano was accused of libel twice for which complainants sought the courts to declare him fugitive from justice but failed to get a favorable ruling.

The preacher who is referred to simply as “Bro. Eli” by his constituents, is the Presiding Minister of the Members Church of God International (MCGI) or Ang Dating Daan as known by the public for its flagship radio-TV program.  By practice, the preacher readily exposes false practices in his effort to preach truth from the Bible. He does this particularly through his Bible Expositions or in his preaching to the congregation. The result is sometimes vehement reaction from those who prefer to remain as they are, in terms of filing court cases aside from libel.

The preacher left the country sometime in December 2005 after a series of attacks from the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) in the form of court cases and a raid of the ADD Convention Center in Apalit, Pampanga, north of Manila where Bro. Eli held office.

The complainants in Criminal Case 5957 (For Libel) at the Regional Trial Court, Fourth Judicial Region, Branch 76 of San Mateo Rizal, Philippines sought a motion to declare accused Eliseo Soriano a fugitive from justice and to issue a hold departure against him.

However, in a decision signed by Judge Josephine Zarate Fernandez on August 31, 2007, the motion was denied. Soriano’s counsel had underscored that his client is under intense persecution by the INC, explaining his failure to return to the country.

Despite a court denial, in 2007, two years later, the complainants in Criminal Case 06-248365 (For Libel) at the Regional Trial Court, National Capital Region, Branch 8, Manila also sought a motion to declare accused Eliseo Soriano a fugitive from justice. The court this time took pains to explain the meaning of “fugitive from justice” as one already “convicted by final judgment.” Until proven guilty, an accused is considered innocent.

In a decision penned by Presiding Judge Felixberto T. Olalia, Jr. on December 15, 2009, in the absence of evidences to support accusations, the court said the accused cannot be declared a “fugitive from justice,” thereby the motion was denied. Among others, the decision said the prosecution admitted that the accused left the country before the filing of the case (September 5, 2006), therefore the intent to evade prosecution is not present.

Incidentally, the first Libel case (Criminal Case 5957) was dismissed seven years after it was filed. In an eight-page decision penned by Josephine Zarate Fernandez, Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court, Fourth Judicial Region, Branch 76 of San Mateo Rizal, TV Broadcaster Eliseo F. Soriano was acquitted of the charge of libel. The order signed on January 14, 2014 said that malice was not proven beyond reasonable doubt.

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

The private complainant was a Dr. Nancy Pascua represented by her counsels Atty. Abraham Espejo and Atty. Rodel Morta. Pascua was found vilifying Bro. Eli to her peer doctors who happened to be members of the MCGI that Bro. Eli led. The decision records that at that moment, Pascua was with Bernardo Santiago and his wife, both excommunicated members of the MCGI who were admitted to the INC. For background, Santiago’s wife Yolanda, legally belonged to another MCGI brother for which reason (adultery) Santiago was expelled. Bernardo Santiago is now an INC minister.

Bro. Eli reportedly reacted to the attempt at disinformation: “Baka quack doctor yon kaya galit sa akin,” (She may be a quack and that is why she’s mad at me). It was on this basis that Pascua filed a libel case. The preacher’s statement, however, was reportedly meant to underscore that a true doctor does not inflict pain on people – be it physical, mental or psychological. This case was dismissed including the earlier attempt to declare Bro. Eli a fugitive from justice.

The other case (Criminal Case 06-248365 – For Libel) that failed to get its motion to declare the preacher as fugitive from justice, was archived. According to the camp of Bro. Eli, INC Ministers named Michael Sandoval and Ramil Parba incited Muslim suicide bombers to run after Soriano to avenge the criticisms of the preacher about their beliefs and raid the ADD Convention Center. Here’s an excerpt from their exchanges on television:

Ramil Parba: Hindi ako papayag niyan! Kung ako ngayon ay miyembro ng Abu Sayaff? Miyembro ako ng MILF? Halimbawa, miyembro ako ng Suicide Bombers? Naku! Hindi ako papayag na basta ganun lang yan!  (I would not allow that! If I were a member now of the Abu Sayaff? Member of the MILF? For example, I were a member of the Suicide Bombers? Oh, no! I would not take things just like that!

Michael Sandoval: Lulusob ako sa Apalit. (I would raid Apalit).

The ministers openly did this through Net25 in their program, Ang Tamang Daan.

This went with the filing of a libel case by Muslims against the preacher in 2006 but which was archived after all these years.

These court cases relieving Bro. Eli were not publicized earlier by the MCGI such that enemies capitalized on rumors being perpetuated by his enemies that he is running away from the strong arm of the law. Recently, a disinformer went as far as writing to the editor of a publication in the United Kingdom  named Planet demanding to know why a ‘fugitive from justice” is allowed to advertise his activities instead of being reported to authorities. The MCGI thought it is high time the public should know about these two court decisions.

To Bro. Eli’s camp, the only group that is gaining from this syndrome inflicting injuries on the preacher is the Iglesia ni Cristo. Soriano happens to be the most severe critic of this group.

The “INC Syndrome” to the MCGI is actually a package that includes the following: 1) Excommunication in the MCGI means the person is not anymore acceptable due to filthy living and/or continuing violations of doctrine. But Church members excommunicated from MCGI are readily admitted into the INC after which they are made complainants or witnesses in court cases filed against Bro. Eli; 2) Court cases rain on Bro. Eli running the gamut of libel, obstruction to justice, murder, rape; 3) Net25 is used by the INC ministers to incite Muslims to run after Bro. Eli to avenge his criticisms of Muslim beliefs;

-4) Several broadcast programs of Bro. Eli  or he and his co-anchors get suspended with time or indefinite time by the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB); 5) Rape case filed against Bro. Eli by an excommunicated Church member that went to the INC gets dismissed for lack of evidence; the Department of Justice under the Office of the President of the Land intervenes, gets the case elevated to them and then refiled;

-6) Bro. Eli is forced to leave the country late 2005;  7) Net25 is used by the INC ministers welcoming back Bro. Eli home with the free services of Amurao Funeral Homes, Amurao, being their “kapatid.”

-8) Interpol is attempted initially to locate Bro. Eli as Wanted for “sex crimes” which scope is not even covered by the concerns of the international body; 9) Motion to declare Bro. Eli a Fugitive from Justice is filed in two courts; and

-10) Disinformation campaign from the Internet extends to foreign media.

In each of these, Bro. Eli believes the The Almighty he serves has been saving him. Advertisements welcoming people to listen to his Bible Expositions are a part of normal routine. The fact that he advertises himself belies the claim that he is in hiding, the MCGI explained. Secondly, he preaches to the world via satellite and could be located if he is really wanted. The disinformer exerting influence on foreign media had not considered that advertising oneself and preaching openly could hardly be the behavior of a fugitive from justice.

Despite the continued disinformation, instead of seeing Bro. Eli banished from the face of the earth as desired by his enemies, all the more he has widened his base for preaching. When he speaks in Bible Expositions, all six continents are linked to his base. From statistics, the MCGI has tremendously grown over the last seven years since Bro. Eli set base in South America.

When asked about images, tithing, practices that are not espoused by the Bible, Bro. Eli continues to irk religious leaders with his answers. But it is part of his role as Truthcaster, preaching the Bible whole, the preacher claims.

What did the INC not want the world to hear from Bro. Eli as broadcaster? For one, the preacher underscores the devious effect of the Iglesia ni Cristo Command Votes practice that is actively influencing politics in the country. Public knowledge reveals that the members are commanded to elect certain candidates – be it someone judged to be unworthy for the elected position. Failure to do so would  merit sanctions. After the elections, the INC would recommend their people to sensitive positions as forms of payback. The devious effect can be said to have filtered into the justice system of the country by way of these Command Votes for the President of the Land and other national elective positions. [Read this book for more on the justice system: Shadow of Doubt: Probing the Supreme Court by Marites Danguilan Vitug, Public Trust Media Group Inc 2010].

To analytical minds, “Command Votes” is the right term because there is bloc voting that allows the will of the voter to reign. In contrast, in the Command Votes practice of the INC supposedly for unity, there is no freedom to choose, such that some leave the INC on account of such practice. Most leavers can be found in the MCGI who lament that they had to vote for the rivals of their very own relatives – against their will.

An earlier blog of Jake Astudillo (April 21, 2013, this blogsite)  wrote –

Alex Magno of Philippine Star calls this more of “command votes.” As practiced by the INC it is command votes, he said, “evoking sad imagery of witness voters and omnipotent political lords.”

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

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

Jake Astudillo is talking about the controversial re-naming of already-named streets to Felix Manalo Street’s by politicians, and granting INC (July 27) holidays to INC members in their localities. It is a practice gradually getting established that takes a less strenuous exercise than having to go to the INC Palace for endorsement or inclusion in bloc voting.

Why do politicians do this – rename streets in heroes’ names into Felix Manalo’s and grant holidays to INC’s in their localities?  Did the INC ask for these street re-naming and July 27 holidays? They did not, some INC claim. Isn’t it an effect or more precisely an offshoot of this Command Votes practice? To re-quote Astudillo, “There is the obvious hope of abbreviated efforts in having to troop to their chapels for endorsement during election time….  this syndrome has affected the country as exemplified by politicians’ sycophantic bestowal of favors to the Iglesia ni Cristo.”

The INC Command Votes practice is really at the root of the INC Syndrome, some quarters swear to that. They get their influence from it and use it to persecute others. Meanwhile, they ensconce themselves in power. This INC is hardly a CHURCH, according to Bro. Eli. If this were a true church, it would not display these symptoms.

But there is the necessity to speak – for the benefit of others. At his age, when Bro. Eli goes, at least he has been harping about the nefarious practices of this so-called very influential group: scattering their grandiose chapels everywhere but deforming their members within. With him, enemies may do everything, but he depends on what God can do.

“I am old. I don’t know how far my work will take me. As to preaching, there’s a direction to follow: from east to west to north to south. We are going north,” Bro. Eli would say.The Bible indeed points to that direction in not only with a single verse. When you consider what the preacher is saying and referring to, it is the Antipodal Map that he is busy following.

 

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Corruption in News Media and the Charge of Power-grab

By Jane Abao

Manila, Philippines (9/24/2014) – Arrogance is defined in the dictionary as revealing an exaggerated sense of one’s own importance. It can also mean displaying a sense of overbearing self-worth or ability. When media does this or when one ascribes to media such power or importance, then its performance of its supposed social function of being watchdog is being judged amiss. Indeed, is media incorruptible?

The Column

On September 9, 2014, an Efren N. Padilla wrote an opinion blog titled, “VP Jejomar Binay and the third commandment.” He wrote this in an online site, gmanetwork.com. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The columnist began with a public pet peeve: that of Binay being of ill repute. Vice President Jejomar Binay was said to deny the testimony of his former vice mayor in Makati at a Senate blue ribbon committee investigation – that he received kickbacks from the construction of the Makati City Hall’s overpriced P2.3-billion building.  He swore in Tagalog that he never received kickbacks –

Sa Diyos at sa tao, taas-noo kong sinasabi na wala akong tinanggap o hiningi na anumang pera sa proyektong
ito o anumang proyekto sa Makati. (Before God and people, I hold my head up high and say that I never received or asked any money for this project or any project in Makati).

Padilla said such denial and swearing sent shivers down his spine. “It stunned me. More so, it terrified me,” he said. The reason was that Binay had the gall to swear in God’s name.

Then Padilla inserted a short anecdote about Svengali, one he looks at as a powergrabber –

And talking about power-grab, I am reminded of Svengali, a fictional character in George du Maurier’s 1895 novel “Trilby.” The story tells of Svengali who seduces and controls Trilby into becoming a great singer using hypnosis. Of course, without Svengali, Trilby cannot perform.

Padilla’s piece was short of calling Binay a power grabber. From whom, Padilla did not elaborate.

Just like our power grabbers, they seduce and control particularly the “great unwashed” to do their bidding for power and make them helpless and dependent. Oh, how quickly we are reminded of the charming and bewitching entrepreneurship of our political and religious personae, and the involuntary ignorance of the lived experiences of our people.

Next, he pigeon-holed Binay with many others.

Is there a difference between the likes of Binay, Estrada, Marcos, Arroyo, Enrile, Revilla, Velarde, Quiboloy, Manalo, Soriano, et cetera? For me, there is none. Our political reality is that religion is now simply a sinister means rather than a noble end to pursue.

The many others, however, do not fall into one category.

Finally, the columnist made an exaggerated claim – that of news media being incorruptible.

I am glad that our people still have an advocate whose job is also to research the issues and to present the facts, to debunk the lies, and to tell the truth—the incorruptible news media!

Rhetorical Analysis

Everyone is presumed right until another one comes forward to prove him wrong. Padilla ended with an arrogant endorsement of news media as being incorruptible, but that is also his claim. What was his issue? That Binay is of ill repute is not debatable anymore – from the context that Padilla had detailed and supported this contention. Indeed, from the daily news reports, we read of the public wish that Filipinos will have as next President one who is not connected with any corruption charge. That is one thing no one would quarrel with. It is every nation’s desire anywhere in the world. From this angle, Padilla’s charge is tenable.

The structure of Padilla’s argument led to discussions about a Svengali. Who is he? The word origin and history for Svengali, according to Reference.com is “one who exerts controlling or mesmeric influence on another,” 1914, from hypnotist character of that name in the novel “Trilby” (1894) by George Du Maurier.

Another definition from Chris Welles as posted in The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition is “A person who, with evil intent, tries to persuade another to do what is desired. In the story, the “singing machine” who was Trilby was under the spell of Svengali.

Padilla was therefore referring to non-thinking people made victims by powergrabbers. But he appeared confused because Svengali worked by hypnosis – not by power-grab – although Svengali held power. What do these grabbers do?

They seduce and control particularly the “great unwashed” to do their bidding for power and make them helpless and dependent. Oh, how quickly we are reminded of the charming and bewitching entrepreneurship of our political and religious personae, and the involuntary ignorance of the lived experiences of our people.

This charge is serious! Padilla should go to court – now that he had included Soriano in his tirade against Binay which he implied as power grabber and playing on the ignorance of the great unwashed.

What is Power

Power is different from power grab. One can have power through the appointment of people or through the appointment of God. Power taken forcibly is power grab. But Power is not hypnosis and people are not that frail and corrupt as to be mindless following fools.

Power is not the same as power grab. Power is not always negative. In fact, power can bring order. Power does not necessarily take away thinking as in hypnosis. When people are ruled in a democracy, their minds do not melt at the powerful’s will.

Not Protected Speech

By equating Binay to a potpourri of personalities, this opinionator is left without a conclusion to the ethical issue he presented.

It is not protected speech anymore, Mr. Padilla, when you cannot give reasons why WXYZ is equivalent to Binay. Here’s an analogy:  You would get angry if someone said your book is like the book of Weber on Page 31. One said that without support, with nary a proof given. From a Johari window, that is how you appear to the audience, Mr. Accuser. You get angry because it implies you plagiarized someone. But that is how you impress those assessing your opinion blog. You may have bulls-eyed with Binay, but you hit and run in some.

What is protected speech? The freedom of speech is enshrined in the Philippine Constitution. Article III Section 4 of the Bill of Rights provides that: “No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.”

Free speech comes from facts – not rumors – and the intention must be constructive, not to do harm. There are laws to protect a person’s good name and integrity against false information. There are laws against saying or writing things to incite hatred against others because of their ethnicity or religion. Freedom of speech is not an excuse to harm others. One can always speak, but what if one comes up to demand you to support your allegations?

Responsibility

The right to speak means you are entitled to voice whatever you want to say. However, freedom of speech does not give you the right to anything without consequences to the law.  If you defame anyone or lie about him, there are laws to prevent that, which is in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights article number 19. This Declaration states that every human being has the right to express their opinions and ideas without hindrance. But you cannot besmirch one’s reputation and cite free speech. It is said that with the right to free speech there comes a responsibility.

Missing Supports

Padilla was making an assertion without an explanation as to why audience would agree – to his equation. What are missing are reasons responsible for his claim. Reasons to arguments are beliefs, evidence, metaphors, analogies, and other statements offered to support or justify conclusions. They are statements that together form the basis for demonstrating the credibility of a conclusion. But the man was hardly reasoning out at all. After describing a scoundrel and fully showing why he thinks of him as scoundrel, he merely dropped bombs on many others innocent to his charges. One of them is Bro. Eli Soriano.

When Freedom is Bad

There is a time that freedom of speech is bad. When is that? When it is practiced irresponsibly, freedom is bad. Too often, some take advantage and claim freedom of speech and of the press and use it as a shield to hide behind. There is a misuse of freedom of the press when anything in print or other media is used to harm another, for whatever reason. There is a misuse of the press when a writer publishes what he chooses without considering the facts. Freedom of the press is misused when reporters, columnists, editors, publishers have little or no accountability for what they produce. That is what this law means.

Disinformer

We call the misuser of this freedom a disinformer. Unfortunately, Efren Padilla has chosen to be a disinformer – a naïve public relations man for media, while at the same time condemning innocent people. Did he do research? Did he look at his facts? Does he really know Bro. Eli Soriano? Or is he merely quoting Soriano’s enemies? Why did Soriano come to have those enemies? Isn’t it because he tells the truth from the Bible?

In fact, it is because media has become foxy that media literacy came into force to protect the public which purpose is to inform the citizens how media can work negatively and how not to be fooled.

Looking back, the reason a government should affirm freedom of the press is to enable the free flow of ideas. In a democracy, the authority to govern comes from the people. The people need to be able to freely access information and put information out for others to consume.  But media can be wayward some ways and that is why media literacy is being taught especially to the youth.

Column Writing

What is the scope of opinion writing? Columnists are opinion writers, but they do not simply write opinions. Here is the scope of opinion or column writing according to ZeePedia.com (MCM 514:19)

Anybody can be trained to write straight news because it is very mechanical. Feature articles, though also somewhat formulaic, are harder because they require good writing.  But column writing is the hardest type of writing of all because it requires good thinking.

To write a good column requires more than just the ability to articulate an opinion. Your opinions must make sense, provide insight and be convincing. And you must do this in an entertaining way.  It requires you to be almost like a lawyer. Through your arguments, you will need to convince the jury (your readers) that your client (your viewpoint) is right. Shaping a powerful argument takes practice and requires both breadth and depth of knowledge as well as the ability to critically analyze a particular issue.

It is clear that column writing is highly personalized journalism but it does not mean one can be illogical and irresponsible. Padilla’s work shows thinking tools that are poorly calibrated for any analytical work. Just from concepts alone that jump from one thing to another without showing their valid connections, it doesn’t pass for a positive teacher’s mark. Especially for one known to have written a book and the fact that an author is expected of more refined thinking than one who is merely writing opinions, one can only shake one’s head.

It is unfortunate that Padilla is as a pretentious visionary whose vision does not have a foothold on reality. When did news media ever become incorruptible?

For one making a prognosis such as looking for facts, facts, and more facts to save people from power-brag and hypnotism but never considering the system that houses his fawning compliments, there is much to say. You should have done your research, man! (Clue: Google for boycott and 37K+ supporters). And did you ever imagine that fawning could be a form of corruption too?

Padilla’s Argument

Here’s the actual structure of Padilla’s simplistic argument:

  1. Binay is a scoundrel (has moral/ethical issues).
  2. Binay is like the following: a, b, c, d, e, f, g (who are Svengali-like).
  3. The answer is facts, facts, and more facts.
  4. News media is incorruptible.

The best that the gentleman could have done is to tie his prescriptive issue to a conclusion and fix it there.

Prescriptive issue: A Presidential Candidate should be upright and proper. Lying and swearing, using God’s name is the last thing he should think of doing.

Supports: A, B, C, D, E, F, and G.

A: The Office of the President is the conscience of the nation, it deserves a moral occupant.

B: Swearing in God’s name does not make a lie true.

C: Binay swore lies in God’s name.

Etcetera.

However, what Padilla did was to drag in other people aside from mixing the concepts of power-grab and hypnotism, and then finally tossed in the uncalled-for praise on media that is devoid of logic. In effect, how is the flow of connections? If this is not the equivalent of garbled wires in an incoherent’s head, what could it otherwise be?

Mere Assumptions

There is no coherent structure in Padilla’s opinion piece. From his charge of a “Svengali-like political or religious character who covets power by all means, even if it means damning one’s soul or undermining one’s sense of personal integrity,” he was only cat-pawing. Was this Binay?  Estrada? Marcos? Arroyo? Enrile?  Revilla? Velarde? Quiboloy? Manalo? Soriano? But he made an equation, right?

So all of them are deemed equivalent to Binay in Padilla’s assertion. The assertion, however, was not supported and his supposed conclusion for “the incorruptible press” to look for facts, facts, and more facts is looking for truth in reverse. He then takes a dangerous, illogical and unjust path: that of making assertions first and then calls for the press to prove his assertions.

Mr. Padilla, you have included Soriano in your accusation, right? Then prove it!

The Soriano

The only link that can be seen between Bro. Eli Soriano and “power” is that of him correcting Pope Francis in his skewed statements to an atheist. That is because Bro. Eli is well-versed in the Bible and is primarily a faithful steward of Bible truth such that he cannot let these things pass: Firstly, calling Christ a man and not spirit; and secondly, advising Eugenio Scalfari, journalist of the Italian Newspaper, “La Repubblica” to follow his conscience on the question of whether to believe in God or not.  Correcting the Pope maybe shocking to Padilla who does not appear steep in spiritual experience but to people honed in an environment that is suffused with learning, that is expected of Bro. Eli. Is that power-grab? That was rather power of knowledge and understanding at play but not power-grab.

If thousands of Catholics are leaving their Church every week after learning the truth from the Bible Expositions of Bro. Eli, that is hardly power-grab. It is enlightenment.  It is the power of the Holy Spirit in the man that can explain mysteries from the Bible. Bro. Eli does not merely tell stories like priests in other churches do. He expounds on Bible verses very well.

It is also not the work of hypnotism if people can listen to Bro. Eli for hours and hours on end for three consecutive days and more. It is rather due to the understanding of the man that is un-equalled in the entire world. Of all churches, it is only in the Members Church of God International or Ang Dating Daan as locally known where members are encouraged and challenged to think with the preacher. They do not merely listen. Bro. Eli conducts his preaching through Socratic questioning. The style is interactive – between preacher and the audience – and a group that facilitates Bible reading because every teaching comes from the Bible.

Here, there is no place for a Svengali because the culture within is characterized by questioning and answering all the time. Every week-end where there is Worship Service followed by Thanksgiving, there is a Consultation Period where any question can be asked.

To be sure, the language used in Church services is mostly Tagalog and then translated into English, Spanish, and Portuguese, so there is nothing hidden from the members attending services through satellite systems worldwide. Lately, Chinese and Japanese translations were added. There are no images around to venerate and everything is directed to God where the members are taught to worship The Almighty in spirit and in truth.

The names Padilla mentioned do not fall under a single category. Are they dictators like Marcos? Are they known as corrupt like Arroyo? What connection do they have to power-grab that Padilla implied?

Padilla is hitting fellows he does not like. The danger with his equation is that he has hit innocent people like Soriano. Surely, there is no other Soriano that is a religious leader than Bro. Eli – or a religious leader of his stature.

Now, ask the millions of members of the MCGI if that is how they see Soriano. Is he like Binay that he described as corrupt and a liar with the gall to be swearing in God’s name? Does Bro. Eli have entrepreneurship to speak of that are the product of corruption?

Between one man who cannot construct well his arguments, yet accuse Soriano whom he only knows from rumor, and the average of 1,500 people getting baptized every week from Bro. Eli’s preaching, credibility would incline more to the latter than to this opinionator. Verily, he has not even seen fit to supply a single support to his equation claim. Logos, Mr. Padilla! You have to supply it to be credible.

And to a supposed author, tsk! Of course, anyone can be an author nowadays, but not a writer. A writer would be careful about his reasoning.

Media Literacy

Why was there a need for media literacy to be taught in the first place? The premise is that media is not all the time responsible. It can give out lies or half-lies. It can be tricky. Why so? There are many factors. There are many influences that may come in between performing its social responsibilities and offers for material comfort. There are the owners of media who may want to earn profits from political ads and would like to forego rules of parameters. There are the advertisers who may threaten to leave if their rival is given preferential treatment. There are the customers with money with some demands, and the like. On the other hand, there are the audiences that can believe that whatever they read and watch are true – just like what Padilla just wrote – until debunked.  In effect, some people become victims of media carelessness or irresponsibility.

Padilla’s column is clearly confused.  It is false and hollow in most parts. Yet, let’s bet: That piece will stay there no matter what untruth it preaches. Written on GMAnetwork.com  the author appears to be merely ingratiating himself to those housing his opinions. Now is the time they will know that Padilla lacks proper perspective – to even call himself a journalist. Haw-haw! Media is incorruptible? A backhanded compliment – that is rightfully what it is! An “insult” according to the dictionary.

Aside from tossing that unmerited praise to media, the sycophant clearly lacks a wide perspective on religion, more yet a sound spiritual experience. Doesn’t he know that religion cannot be forced on anyone – much less play it by hypnosis?  It appears that his search for truth – if there is – is very much behind his eagerness to write and blow off praise to those who do not deserve while he compromises the innocent. He writes –

This means that the only way to debunk lies and to uncover the truth is to research and present the facts, facts, and more facts.

Sure! As scholarly writing is, yes! That also goes for journalism – even personalized journalism like column writing. This advice is apt for you, Efren Padilla.

Scholarly writing, as well as journalism, does not exaggerate and encourage the penchant for observing adjectives only at the extreme ends of supposed binaries. There could be things in-between as one thing may not be the opposite of another. Nor is everything in superlatives or necessarily the cause of another. For example, how could Svengali-like leaders thrive in our midst? From the other extreme, how could news media be incorruptible? If there is incorruptible news media, there could still be Svengali’s – like it or not – because media is not god nor has the power of God, and secondly, because it depends upon the people if they submit to hypnotism or not. Will they? Definitely, where church services are held in Latin and where idols are venerated, there is hypnotism there because people cannot tell what is true or not.

Here are recent charges of corruption in Philippine media. It doesn’t look like Padilla has been in a cave, yet why doesn’t he know these?

Corruption in Media

Chay Florentino-Hofileṅa (1998, 2004) wrote “News for Sale, The Corruption of the Philippine Media.” This is part of the books of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ). Notice the introduction and the beginning –

No one in journalism will deny that media corruption exists. There is contention only in the extent of the corruption and the damage it causes…. This study shows both the remarkable continuity of the forms of media corruption as well as the new types of malfeasance that emerged in the 2004 campaign.” (http://pcij.org/bookshop/newssale.html)

Fast forward to 2014, posted in ABS-CBNnews.com is “Time to speak up about media corruption – NUJP”

In a statement, NUJP Chairperson Rowena Paraan said: “We hope that any discussion of ethics and professionalism shall encompass all aspects of the media industry as a whole and not be limited only to weeding out individual offenders. After all, for all its virtues and faults, the Philippine media is a reflection of the society from which it springs and which it claims to serve.”

This comes on the heels of a Philippine Daily Inquirer report that claimed broadcast journalists Erwin Tulfo and Melo del Prado received payoffs from the National Agribusiness Corp. (NABCOR), one of several government offices used in the pork barrel scam. (http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/03/20/14/time-speak-about-media-corruption-nujp?

The news said among others that Paraan mentioned ownership as well as management patterns that play a major role into why journalists “fall astray.” This is a reality playing into the work of journalists which is why one cannot say news media is incorruptible. Just like in other professions, journalists can fall astray in their work.

Already there is a dictionary for corruption in media in the country (Glossary, 2004). Just where did these terms come from if not from experiences, from reality? We have, for example, Hao siao or Warik-warik. The first is used in Manila while the second one, in Cebu. It is “a derogatory term used to refer to pseudo-journalists, those not employed by a reputable news organization but pass themselves off as journalists in order to cash in on payoffs and bribes made by news sources, particularly during elections.”

Then there is smiling money. The compilation says it is “Cash that is given to reporters or editors for no particular reason except to create goodwill between a source and the journalists. It can also be used to refer to a payoff given after the publication of a positive story, supposedly as a gesture of the source’s appreciation.”

Among many others, there is also Shepherds. These are “journalists who are either jobless or on leave from their news organizations and act as guides to reporters covering a particular candidate or party.” Shepherds are said to take care of the reporters’ needs including accommodations, food, plane fare and other transportation expenses, as well as “extras” like nights out.

Here’s a snippet of a profile interview (Magno, 2004) on Chay Florentin Hofileña on how to battle media corruption. Hofileña from the Center for Journalism, Ateneo de Manila University, is the author of News for Sale. Leo Magno was IT editor of the Philippine Daily Inquirer and executive editor of INQ7.net when he spoke with her about her latest book.

Magno: In your book, Malaya publisher Jake Macasaet said the problem with mediacorruption is that businessmen and politicians are afraid of the press, that’s why they resort to bribing journalists. Has the press become too powerful and too drunk with power en route to gaining freedom that it feels it could now throw its weight around?

Chay: There is no such thing as absolute freedom. With freedom comes greatresponsibility. The press in the Philippines enjoys tremendous freedom and it has become terribly irresponsible. This irresponsibility will have its costs as credibility is continuously eroded. Look at print – diminished credibility has affected readership,circulation and sales. This is the future of the media that insist on being obstinate and irresponsible.

Jon Joaquin (2014), the managing editor of the largest circulation newspaper in Mindanao, the Mindanao Daily Mirror in Davao City, wrote in Pilipino Express

There are enough bad eggs to spoil the reputation of the media. These are the ones who think nothing of twisting facts in order to enrich themselves, spreading lies or withholding the truth in exchange for money. Some do it passively, merely receiving grease money from their benefactors, while others do it actively, literally extorting money from hapless victims who are targeted for their so-called “AC-DC” activities — Attack-Collect, Defend-Collect. The truth suffers, and ultimately it is the people who are victimized.

Media corruption is a painful topic according to Marissa Robles (2012) –

There is one main reason why readers do not get a complete understanding of the corruption in mass media – the people in the industry don’t want to talk about it. The reason? It involves colleagues, friends, people you see and work with everyday. Apart from this, it’s hard to give names for the simple reason that there is no documentary proof. It’s the kind of practice where people don’t keep records, for obvious reasons.

Talking about corruption in different kinds of media reporting, Robles says of opinion makers –

A different set of rules is followed by newspaper columnists or opinion writers. Sometimes, columnists come from the ranks of reporters but oftentimes they don’t. They are contracted by the newspaper owner or by an editor to dish out opinion on mostly anything under the sun. Because of this, political and corporate strategists love to sit down with columnists, massage their egos and shower them with presents and favors. Some columnists are quite ethical in their dealings with news sources. Others are not.

I have been frequently told by colleagues in the industry the names of this or that columnist demanding freebies from hotels and airlines – just because they are columnists.

The point I’m trying to make is, please don’t blame reporters in general for what columnists write. Columnists are not writing hard news but their opinions and if they parrot word for word the stand of companies or corporate sectors on certain issues, then just stop reading them….

In January 2013, a Covenant Against Media Corruption 2013 was drawn. It was basically about election deals where politicians used to pay for media favors to journalists. In the covenant they are to stop doing these practices and to report of such cases when there are.  The covenant is said to be an outcome of Media Nation 9 last November 2012, an annual conference of media leaders convened by anti-corruption advocates from civil society. The covenant was signed by a diverse group that included representatives of three major TV networks and political parties and the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Not long after, on May 19, 2014, there was publicized a report that some media personalities allegedly benefitted from the notorious pork barrel scam. The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported that some media personalities allegedly received cash gifts from pork barrel mastermind Janet Lim Napoles as shown in financial records by principal whistleblower Benhur Luy. How did the covenanters take it? The statement of the National Union of Journalists (NUJP) began this way –

Let Us Take the Bull by the Horns

We have said it before and we will say it again, there can be no denying that corruption is as serious a problem within the media as it is within government and, let us face it, society in general.

Media, after all, do not exist in a vacuum.

Without passing judgment on anyone, the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s report on media personalities who allegedly benefited from the pork barrel scam according to accounting records purportedly drawn up by whistleblower Benhur Luy comes as no surprise….

It is time that the Philippine media – and we speak not only of those who work in the news but everyone in the industry, including, yes, the managements and owners – recognize the problem and save ourselves and our people from ourselves. 

Foxy Media

So there!  News media is after all as corruptible as ever! And to preach that it is not is insane. The likes of Efren Padilla feeding the public about news media being incorruptible is already corruption itself. It can make the people believe that everything written and published is true and incontestable. The truth is, with too much entertainment from media, the great unwashed are made content and forgetful of their realities. With focus on celebrities from media, the great unwashed are taught that success is materialism, and that life is about make-up and false pretense. With games and time-consuming gift-giving programs from media, laziness is encouraged and that lining up for hours as a gamble is preferable to working meaningfully at home. With gyrating at the studios from media, the children are taught that learning from their books is painful and that the boob-tube is a better school. With gossip and exposure depending on power and exchange of favor preferred by our media, the great unwashed are all at attention, and that is about all the information they get. Add the campaign for media being incorruptible and you peddle total untruth.

In writing about, “The high cost of media corruption” in his column for Philippine Star, William M. Esposo (2012) wrote –

Planting false information in peoples’ minds is a worse form of corruption than simply giving a public official a bribe. A poisoned mind fails to properly discern and eventually makes some very bad decisions for the country — like electing the worst candidates that corrupt media promoted. The only reason why these corrupt media practitioners have not been checked and prosecuted is because legislators are politicians and are afraid of a media backlash.

What about the Filipino minds? Should we blame their kind on Svengali-like leaders like Padilla said?

Filipino minds today are over-entertained and under-informed, with a good part of the blame going to the tri-media that failed to provide its most important service. This over-entertained and under-informed state of the Filipino mind can be likened to the proverbial devil’s workshop of the corrupt media practitioners.

Marites Vitug (2012) from Rappler.com wrote on “Media Secrets” and began, “Are you prepared for this? Colleagues in the media estimate that 85% of us are corrupt! That’s a super majority.” That is closer to truth because the respondents are media people themselves. But according to Transparency International, only 14% of the respondents think Philippine Media is corrupt. That shows how the public is sadly ignorant of what is happening.

Accordingly, in other countries like United Kingdom, the latest Transparency International on corruption reflects that media is perceived as the most corrupt group at #1 (69% respondents), beating politicians (45% respondents). In France, media is #2 most corrupt next to political parties; and in Germany, media is #3 most corrupt, next to political parties. In Switzerland, media is #2 perceived worse than public officials, and in the United States, media is #3 most corrupt group next to government and congress.

Last Word

In helping media to know themselves better, this piece is written as reader feedback to column writing that needs CORRECTION. Following Danguilan-Vitug’s (2012) proposal for covenanters to “not get caught” corrupt as part of media’s attempt at self cleansing, here’s an advice to Dr. Efren Padilla and those like him: 1) Shun away from loose talk about media being incorruptible; 2) Increase your research and retrieval skills before you publish; 3) Don’t believe gossips and rumors for you build on falsities; 4) Own up to innuendos you have started. Support them or else apologize for your error if you made one; 5) Man up if you cannot, and face the world. When you fail to do these that is corruption too.

____________

 

References on Corruption in Philippine Media:

A glossary of media corruption. Excerpted from News for Sale. The Corruption & Commercialization of the Philippine Media. (2004, October 12). http://www.hotmanila.ph/content/media/glossary-media-corruption

Buenaobra, M. & Reyes, J. (2013, January 30). New covenant to curb media corruption in Philippines ahead of Midterm Elections. Retrieved from http://asiafoundation.org/in-asia/2013/01/30/new-covenant-to-curb-media-corruption-in-philippines-ahead-of-midterm-elections/

Danguilan-Vitug, M. (2012, November 26).  Media secrets. Retrieved from http://www.rappler.com/thought-leaders/16756-media-secrets

Diaz, P. (2012, November 28).   Corruption in the media. Globalita.com. Retrieved from http://globalbalita.com/2012/11/28/corruption-in-the-media/

Esposo, W. M. (2012, December 30).  The high cost of media corruption. The Philippine Star. http://www.philstar.com/opinion/2012-12-30/891421/high-cost-media-corruption

Florentino-Hofileṅa, C. (1998, 2004). News for sale. The Corruption of the Philippine Media. http://pcij.org/bookshop/newssale.html.

 In face of shady election deals, media leaders issue covenant against corruption. (2013, January 22). http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/291507/news/nation/in-face-of-shady-election-deals-media-leaders-issue-covenant-against-corruption

Joaquin, J. (2014, April 1).  Corruption in Philippine media. http://www.pilipino-express.com/editorialopinions-sp-161843661/pov-philippines/2418-corruption-in-philippine-media.html

Magno, L. (2002). Battling media corruption in the Philippines: Profile interview: Chay Florentin Hofileña, Center for Journalism, Ateneo de Manila University, Asia Pacific Media Educator, 15, 221-225. Retrieved from http://ro.uow.edu.au/apme/vol1/iss15/20

Media tackle issue of corruption, Philippine Daily Inquirer. (2012, November 24). Retrieved from http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/312063/media-tackle-issue-of-corruption

Robbles, R. (2012, November 30).  “Part 1: A painful topic – media corruption,” http://raissarobles.com/2012/11/30/part-1-a-painful-topic-media-corruption/

Time for PH media to address corruption in ranks – NUJP. Raapler.com. May 19, 2014. http://www.rappler.com/nation/58413-ph-media-corruption-nujp

Time to speak up about media corruption – NUJP. ABS-CBNnews.com. http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/03/20/14/time-speak-about-media-corruption-nujp. 03/20/2014

 

 

 

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

By Jane Abao

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Searching for Truth

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

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

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

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

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

Use of Reasoning, Discourses

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

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

Blessing from God

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

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

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

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

Lay it on the Table

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

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

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

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

The Lackeys: Rise of Greenhorn Defenders

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

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

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

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

Duane Yan’s Fallacies

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

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

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

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

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

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

A3) False Analogy

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

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

A4) Diversion

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

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

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

A5) Strawperson Argument

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

B2) Emotive language

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

B3) Ad Populum Argument

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

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

B4) Either-or Argument

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

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

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

B5) Slippery Slope

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

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

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

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

B6) Strawperson Argument

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

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

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

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

What We Can Learn From the Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John 7: 17-18 (KJV)

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

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

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

Authority to Speak

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

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

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

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

To Be an Apologist

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

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

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

Debate on TV All That’s Needed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aloysius Kayiwa

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another one –

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

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

This is your statement –

Enter in Soriano – a charlatan pretending to be wise

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

By Jane Abao

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

People's Journal, May 8, 2014

People’s Journal, May 8, 2014

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

Judge Josephine Zarate-Fernandez dismisses case of attempted murder on January 14. 2014

Judge  dismisses case of attempted murder, Feb 11, 2010. No evidence of alleged conspiracy.

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

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

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

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

Judge found no malice. Accused acquitted

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Judge rules that INC is a public figure. Comments on the Abella case is a matter of public interest.

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

 

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

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

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

 

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