*Revisiting the “Interpol Wanted” caper, the group responsible for it and their futile attempts to force the courts to declare Bro. Eli Soriano as “fugitive from justice.”
*Challenging lawmakers to do something about the command bloc voting practice of the Iglesia ni Cristo that is practically making government servile to their whims.
By Jane Abao
Manila, Philippines (February 28, 2019) – THE JUDAS OFFER would flourish in a materialistic, godless world where there is loathing for anyone who stands in the way of one’s slide and carousel. In the same godless world are the venal, who, by all indications say, “Here I am; corrupt me!”
What will you give me… is not even a question but an offer. The person is willing to do it for a prize. And it is made possible because we have surrendered or are surrendering to people whom we have given political clout to.
People hating Bro. Eli Soriano’s big mouth is a case in point. Some people loathe him for what he says – because he gives them a run for their money. Most of all, some people want him dead and would hound him to the ends of this earth to stop him from talking.
But Preacher Soriano is not that totally hated; nor his words totally loathed. He has helped several souls come to know the true God and follow His ways, as such is Bro. Eli’s calling.
I am looking for lost sheep
Bro. Eli doesn’t preach about false prophets as a topic per se, if that is what people hate; they are only side issues. The focus on them come only at certain points that there is any association with the topic at hand. The preacher doesn’t give long lectures to dumb the mind, in fact. He makes the audience highly engaged with his discourses similarly found in unique academies. He is teaching from the Bible – yet encouraging critical thinking. While he has to be sensitive to the probable absence or presence of his target audience (lost sheep), he, all the more, is very sensitive to his material – always. And this is where the “problem” begins because he has to teach the whole truth – not just a part – no matter how it hurts.
If the plan is intact, wherever you take it, the house will be built. Strictly speaking, even a jot or a title should not be diminished.
To show how important this principle is to Bro. Eli, before there any texto (topic) is given in the Members Church of God International (MCGI) , the following verse is displayed on the screen is several languages. [The screen is the blackboard for his worldwide preaching as viewed from Apalit, Pampanga to his audience in 6 continents]:
“Thus saith the LORD; Stand in the court of the LORD’S house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the LORD’S house, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a word:” (Jeremiah 26:2)
Following this order, random grabs from Bro. Eli’s lectures show a deep sensitivity for the Bible. Already, beginning with the first verse of the Bible, Bro. Eli has a comment, noticing the supposed logic of the statement in relation to the verse coming after it. He makes sure the translations are proper before proceeding.
GENESIS 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
[Checking against the Bible Concordance] Gen 1:1 In the beginningH7225 GodH430 createdH1254 (H853) the heavenH8064 and the earth.H776
Gen 1:2 And the earthH776 wasH1961 without form,H8414 and void;H922 and darknessH2822 was uponH5921 the faceH6440 of the deep.H8415 And the SpiritH7307 of GodH430 movedH7363 uponH5921 the faceH6440 of the waters.H4325
If this were faithfully translated, he says, it would show the status of the earth when it was created. It should read, “When God began to create heaven and earth, earth was without form and void.” Moses was showing the status of the earth when it was created. It was without form and void, he says.
But in the case of Matthew 24:37, “days” should be actually be “day” only.
MATTHEW 24:37 (KJV) But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
This is not in the proper context, he says. Not days. Almost all translators put “days,” even in the Greek. You can only base on the original context of the Bible. It is not right to think that it is “days,” but only one day. Particular day. Particular hour and second of that particular day, he says.
PROVERBS 28:8 (KJV) He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor.
It is not logical that he takes to pity the poor, so he increases his substance by usury and unjust gain. Illogical, he says.
[Checking against the Bible Concordance] Pro 28:8 He that by usuryH5392 and unjust gainH8636 increasethH7235 his substance,H1952 he shall gatherH6908 it for him that will pityH2603 the poor.H1800
There are words added in the translation, he says. There was no “he that by” in the original Hebrew. The subject is the action, hence, “Usury and unjust gain increaseth…” Consider this other verse.
DEUTERONOMY 15:11 (KJV) For the poor shall never cease out of the land:
The poor shall never cease. There will always be the poor.
An explanation for mistranslations, Bro. Eli says, is that readers of the Bible have their minds veiled. Translators read the Bible also, like the translators of the Douay-Rheims version which was derived from the Latin Vulgate. There are translators, and there are readers whose minds are veiled. The veil will only be taken away through Christ, he added.
Working against Soriano for promotion
Being a serious Bible student and teacher, exposing those with erroneous doctrines is part and parcel of Bro. Eli’s work, hence the hatred and vitriol from people who do not want to rectify their ways are expected. The system they don’t want to leave behind has monetarily supported them all these years, and they prefer status quo. They do not want anybody interfering. But ”interference” to one maybe “work” to another. Wherever there is lost sheep, expect a Soriano to speak.
And how “Eliseo F. Soriano” had ended up in the Interpol’s wanted list for “sex crimes” is a puzzle to most. Those in the know, however, are not surprised at how far the enemies of Eliseo F. Soriano, simply “Bro. Eli” to them, would go to humiliate him. They are wont to learning his identity get stolen; his very name used to counter information about himself; his biopage [at Wikipedia] mangled to include lies. The truth is, he has no enemies but false preachers he is trying hard to expose.
But there were really works done at the background to explain how these things happen: for placement in lucrative positions, for promotion, for retaliation in a supposed “libel.” And the system is very much accommodating.
As often pointed out, the INC’s bloc voting practice has earned for them preferential treatment in the government so that they can recommend their own men to sensitive positions even as high as the Supreme Court. When this happens, there is what Rivera (2015) calls “the willingness to prostitute convictions and the rule of law” – but this is not limited to politicians only.
Justice Presbitero J. Velasco Jr. is someone backed by the Iglesia ni Cristo as mentioned by Marites Dañgilan Vitug in “Shadow of Doubt: Probing the Supreme Court.” This justice was the one who wrote the decision sustaining the suspension of Ang Dating Daan, the program of Bro. Eli, upon the complaint of the Iglesia ni Cristo. On pages 93-94 of Vitug’s book –
It did help immensely that Velasco was endorsed by Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, a relative of his wife, and the Iglesia ni Cristo. Velasco listed Cardinal Vidal as one of his references when he applied for the Supreme Court. Asked about the INC nomination, Velasco said, “Some of my friends and classmates may have approached the Iglesia ni Cristo.”
Years later, Velasco wrote a decision in favor of the INC when he upheld the three month suspension of the TV program, Ang Dating Daan, whose host used offensive language against a minister of the INC who also anchors a TV program, Ang Tamang Daan. These religious rivals had been at each other’s throats for years.
The majority sided with Velasco. Four justices dissented, calling the decision a “prior restraint” and therefore, a blow to freedom of speech.
The perception was that Velasco was paying his dues to INC. “It was an en banc decision,” [Velasco] said, dismissing the perceived bias.
The question is: Why didn’t Justice Velasco inhibit himself from the case, considering his links with the Iglesia ni Cristo? He even wrote the decision! (Astudillo, 2013)
When the Iglesia ni Cristo launched “Ang Tamang Daan” way back in 2001, Bro. Eli knew its principal function was to destroy the person of the preacher through that TV program. But the Interpol-wanted caper was different because of the scope and the sufferings that Bro. Eli had to undergo. Worse, it was a patent display of church and state in virtual collusion. In the words of Randy David (2015), “Nothing is more explosive than the mixture of religion and politics.”
Why was this made possible? The INC were able to place their men in strategic positions: in the police force, in the justice system, and in many similar others. And who can tell secrets best but the people who are/were also one of them.
Ebanghelista (2017), for one, mentions that there was/is an Eli Soriano Crusade. “Antonio Ramirez Ebangelista,” according to TJ Burgonio (2015) is the pseudonym of a blogger who not only exposed what he called irregularities in the sect, but also dished out timely updates on expelled INC ministers who were allegedly illegally detained or kidnapped.
The filing of libel cases against Bro. Eli, Ebanghelista (2017) says was a contribution from INC ministers. There was a covert operation (black-ops) on Bro. Eli and his supporters at the ADD Convention Center in Pampanga using none other than the INC Police Officers of the Quezon City Police Department… All those who belonged to this Black-ops (team of Atty. Barcellano) were under an oath of silence. Result: The cases were never solved; Atty. Vimar Barcellano was promoted – immediately and strategically.
Some time ago during the Eli Soriano crusade, the head of the INC Legal Department was the Minister/lawyer, Restituto Lazaro and the one who handles the actual legal operations was the Ministerial Student/lawyer, Atty. Vimar Barcellano. These people were not forthcoming to the Administration of Bro. Eraño G. Manalo then. They reported lies to him and covered up most of their heinous crimes. [Underscoring by Ebanghelista (2017)].
As a result, Atty. Resty Lazaro committed so many legal blunders for the church, he was eventually relieved of his position. As for Atty. Barcellano, after his wife discovered his extra-marital affairs, he was kicked out from the Ministry and from the INC Legal Department but because of his contributions to the Eli Soriano filing of libel cases, he was not expelled from the Church. Instead, he was “advised” to join the police force, after which he became Captain in the notorious INC bailiwick, the Quezon City Police District, as the head of its Legal Department…
All those who belonged to Atty. Barcellano’s Black-Ops Team were under an oath of silence, that is why the cases were never ever solved. And this paved the way to Atty. Vimar Barcellano’s immediate and continuous promotion in his position up to the highly strategic post he now holds as CHIEF PROSECUTOR of Dasmariñas, Cavite. It’s much clearer now, why most of the highly questionable activities of the Church Administration of Eduardo V. Manalo is done in Cavite, Philippines because Chief Prosecutor Vimar Barcellano is there to make everything “appear to be a legit procedure.” (Ebanghelista, 2017)
A black operation (or black ops) is a covert operation by a government, a government agency, or a military organization. This can include activities by private companies or groups. Key features of a black operation are that it is secret and it is not attributable to the organization carrying it out. (Wikipedia)
What went before
On March 27, 2005, Bro. Eli posted on The Manila Times a challenge to debate with Eraño Manalo of the Iglesia ni Cristo “to once and for all settle our doctrinal differences.” He was refused and instead was pushed to ask Pope John Paul II at Vatican, who was dying that time, for a debate and to speak in Latin. That would be the time his request would be accepted. The implication was that the Iglesia ni Cristo was superior to the Roman Catholic Church.
By December 2005, Bro. Eli Soriano was forced to leave the Philippines, with so many cases filed in court. While he was out of the country, a rape case against him was filed by no other than one he had excommunicated and went to the Iglesia ni Cristo. This case was dismissed In January 2006 for lack of evidence. Curiously, it was re-filed by the Secretary of Justice whose office fell under the Office of the President.
In 2007, INC members who had filed Criminal Case 5957 (For Libel) at the Regional Trial Court, Fourth Judicial Region, Branch 76 of San Mateo Rizal, sought a motion to declare Bro. Eli a fugitive from justice. Judge Josephine Zarate Fernandez on August 31, 2007 denied the motion. Soriano’s counsel had underscored that his client is under intense persecution by the INC, explaining his failure to return to the country. DENIED.
The following year (August 2008), the “Interpol wanted” news came out – at least from the news report of Alfred Dalizon of Journal Online. The offense being true or not, it said Eliseo Soriano was being wanted by the Interpol for “sex crimes.” The Interpol website that displayed the photo and information of Bro. Eli dated January 28, 2009 said, “If you have any information, contact your national or local police, General Secretariat of Interpol.”
At the same time, GMA7 showed an interview with the supposed complainant with Arnold Clavio as the anchorman. That was the only time the MCGI congregation came to know Bro. Eli’s location: Brazil in Latin America. All the time, information about his location was kept from the organization.
The MCGI went into full force. To introduce to the Interpol the supposed victim, “Portrait of the ‘raped man’ for whom the Interpol would mobilize” was written on “Censored News Uncensored,” WordPress, a parody of the interview of Arnold Clavio, “Case Closed Unclosed.” It described the accuser and narrated the reasons why Daniel S. Veridiano was excommunicated by Bro. Eli in the first place.
All the while, the Internet helped to show: (1) That the rape case was dismissed, (2) The case was re-filed under questionable circumstances, (3) That there is an age-old and on-going battle between the INC and MCGI, (4) That powerful people, not involved, are themselves being used in persecuting Bro. Eli, and (5) That there is the INC to be pleased by these people.
In 2009, since nothing was happening with the Interpol notice (No Bro. Eli yet in their jails) but just a notice, INC 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. Just as with the first motion in 2007, this second motion seeking to declare Bro. Eli as fugitive from justice was turned down by the court. 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.” DENIED
In fact, there was a third one: Criminal Case 06-248365 (For Libel) failed to get its motion to declare the preacher as fugitive from justice, and was archived. ARCHIVED.
By December 2009, suddenly Bro. Eli began broadcasting from a garage, turned into a makeshift studio, located in Florianópolis, Brazil. Here was the “wanted” man showing himself to the world. Yet he was still supposed to be “wanted.”
Fast forward to August 2011, GMA News, a sister station of GMA7, replayed the interview made on August 2008 made with the supposed rape complainant despite protestations from MCGI members. This resulted in more than 36,000 MCGI members responding with a boycott of the station and opened an online page purposely to communicate with GMA.
The following year [March] 2012, the Interpol dropped Bro. Eli’s name – after some three years. It said their investigations depended on up-to-date global data.
In sum, the Iglesia ni Cristo were not successful in having Bro. Eli be declared a fugitive from justice. They were not able to have him incarcerated. The cases they filed began to be dismissed one after the other. The Interpol Wanted list deleted Bro. Eli’s name. Meanwhile, on the Internet, he is being seen preaching worldwide from Brazil.
Was the Interpol really looking for Bro. Eli?
An Alfred P. Dalizon wrote in August 2008 a story on World News of Journal Online, saying Bro. Eli was served an international Red Notice from the Interpol for the charge of rape. The request was supposedly made by the Regional Trial Court of Macabebe, Pampanga. This was the very court that tried the rape case that was first dismissed, but was re-filed.
Dalizon was clearly partial to the INC that he wrote Bro. Eli was a former INC, just as he said, Daniel Veridiano, the complainant, was an INC member who went to Bro. Eli’s group, then returned to the INC. These are patent lies.
As records reveal, the investigating prosecutor found no probable cause to prosecute Soriano as he believed that Veridiano’s accusations were all lies and fabricated. It highly considered the rift going on between the INC and the ADD. It was penned by Alexandro Lopez, Asst. Provincial Prosecutor, and approved by Jesus Manarang, the Provincial prosecutor, Province of Pampanga, San Fernando City, on January 26, 2006.
But the case was re-filed. How was this done? Manarang, with some filial links to Raul Gonzalez, the Secretary of Justice under the Office of the President, was replaced by Jaime Umpa from Mindanao that took care of the re-filing of the case. After that, Manarang was returned to his place and Umpa was returned to Mindanao.
Ebanghilista (2015) on his website shows photos of the concerned documents. The document shots duly captioned, are as follows:
(1) Rape case filed against Bro. Eli was dismissed by Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Alexandro Lopez and submitted by Jesus Y. Manarang on January 26, 2006.
(2) March 21, 2006. DOJ Secretary Raul Gonzalez orders the records of the rape case to be elevated to his office. The President at that time was Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, widely supported by the INC for their bloc voting practice.
(3) April 10, 2006, Jesus Manarang, Provincial Prosecutor, complies with the order of DOJ Sec Raul Gonzalez to elevate the case.
(4) April 25, 2006, DOJ Sec Raul Gonzalez assigns Jaime L. Umpa to Pampanga especially to resolve the case, “Daniel Veridiano vs. Eliseo Soriano.” Department Order 255, April 25, 2006 was signed by Raul Gonzalez.
Ebanghelista’s (2015) assessment was that –
[This is] a case of special treatment, of obvious manipulation and interference! The “common sense” that can explain this is that the one who filed the case is an Iglesia ni Cristo member and the accused happens to be a Bro. Eli Soriano, one who has no influence [with] the government.
Notes: In (2), directed to elevate the records to the Office of the Department of Justice was Regional State Prosecutor Jesus Simbulan of Region III.
In (3), there’s a notation that says, ‘Together with the prepared resolution of Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Alexandro Lopez.’
Question: What happened now to the earlier resolution? Was Lopez forced to change his first resolution of ‘DISMISSED’?
Because the clear intention is to once and for all apprehend Bro. Eli wherever he was in any part of the world, the Interpol was used. So that the Interpol would have something to hold on to, a court case for mere libel (2007) sought a motion to declare him “fugitive from justice.” Hence, the following year (April 2008), the Interpol wanted list appeared, but that was all. Only a notice. In 2009, another court case, again for mere libel, sought a motion to have Bro. Eli be declared as fugitive from justice. Still no handcuffing. And yet a third attempt was made, despite the court junking the two earlier motions, but was archived. How persistent these efforts were, the court cases can tell.
The Iglesia ni Cristo were having a feast from all of these, as shown by their spams on social media sites. But their problem was that because Bro. Eli is being seen on the Internet preaching world-wide, how could he be someone hiding with activities that required the intervention of the Interpol?
Questions on Interpol Notice
The Interpol does not also involve itself in any political, military, religious, or racial crimes. This is written in its constitution.
Moreover, the work of Interpol focuses primarily on public safety, terrorism, organized crime, war crimes, illicit drug production, drug trafficking, weapons smuggling, human trafficking, money laundering, child pornography, white-collar crime, computer crime, intellectual property crime and corruption.
For which of these crimes was Soriano guilty of to merit an Interpol notice? If Bro. Eli Soriano cannot even be declared a “fugitive from justice” by the courts, how could the Interpol be looking for him? Two times denied; the third time, archived. For whatever motive his name was placed there, only the culprit knows.
The Interpol emphatically states in their database that a Red Notice is not an international arrest warrant in contrast to Dalizon’s report of April 2008 about Bro. Eli. It also gives a warning in bold letters that the person should be considered innocent until proven guilty.
But did someone make a killing for the temporary posting? The Internet was so full about this Interpol thing. The humiliation was too much. Those who had filed cases, and those that moved the powers that be to hound Bro. Eli, are those who had made a feast of all these – and it took 3 painful years, and more.
What were they able to disable from Bro. Eli?
Why in the world would Dalizon pretend to direct the Interpol to places where Bro. Eli goes as a tip? Was the preacher hiding? How could Interpol not know about the activities of Bro. Eli when he is on the Internet teaching the world day in and day out? For a while, the enemy seemed victorious. Bro. Eli laments to the congregation (Skype conference, 2016) –
The enemy was doing everything to destroy me. I asked permission from the court to leave the Philippines to conduct a Bible Exposition in Singapore.
When I was already in Singapore, the enemies filed a rape case against me, so that they can take me. That is without bail. Atty. Frank Chavez called me and advised me not to return to the Philippines. He said it would be dangerous for me to go home to the Philippines.
I did not know where to go. My mind was troubled.
Considering that they had wanted Bro. Eli to suffer, they enjoyed placing him in difficulty. While Bro. Eli was jumping from country to country, he was not able to preach – but he was thinking.
We jumped from one country to the next. We found out that Brazil is predominantly Catholic. I was thinking, there may be people of God there.
In the map, Brazil is the opposite of the Philippines. We had to go to Uruguay first. With God’s help, I was given a visa. But the lawyer advised me to lay low for a while. That was for three months. I was not happy because I was not able to preach.
We exited to different countries every 30 days. I was like a man without a nation because I had no visa in Singapore. And then I was eventually granted a work visa. I did not need to exit to neighboring countries. But we were not allowed to preach in Singapore.
I was thinking, what would I be doing here? Will I just die here without preaching? In Singapore, we sold snacks. I was earning. I had a savings account in a bank. But the bank told me to get my money and close the account. It turned out that I have an Interpol notice.
Enter the God of Justice
For all his sufferings, Bro. Eli knew God would not allow him to suffer injustice for long. He will assert his presence. The God of Justice will balance things. One day, his lawyer said, “They cannot arrest you anymore. There is no extradition treaty here in Brazil. Before they can have you deported, they have to get through me.”
Bro. Eli started going out. He told Bro. Josel Mallari, one of the ministers, to look for a television station. It was rather expensive, but they gave it a try. They aired a program. After two weeks, they received many responses, and so they conducted a Bible Exposition. Guests swarmed in.
People attended the exposition for the whole day – 14 hours. Bro. Eli spent much; it was in millions. It turned out that this thing is already in the Bible: the prophecy that salvation will start in the east and then go to the west. He asks, and answers his own question: “Was anyone able to hinder it? No!”
In December 2009, TV Verdade was born. Its broadcast feed originated from a small garage, around 48 square meters, transformed into a makeshift broadcasting studio located in Florianópolis, Brazil. The station now carries the 24-hour Portuguese broadcast of O Caminho Antigo (English: The Old Path, Tagalog: Ang Dating Daan) hosted by Bro. Eli.
After virtually driving Bro. Eli away from the Philippines, his enemies thought they would be safe from his mouth. But feeling that the Interpol would not be acting, they tried three times to have him be declared as “fugitive from justice.” No results. The courts did not approve. Worse, Interpol dropped Bro. Eli’s name from being “wanted.”
Now that Bro. Eli had based himself in Brazil, failing from the Interpol attempt, they wanted to have him extradicted so they can have some access to him. But such request was archived, too. With God’s mercy, Bro. Eli came to have legal status in Brazil.
Even if they killed me
The notion of an antipodes map first came to Bro. Eli when he tried to make sense of what was happening to him and found it is a package by itself. His being hunted and hounded is merely a part, but it doesn’t mean those party to it are blessed and should be blessed.
With the antipodes map, the direction of preaching that MCGI should follow is dictated: Coming from the east that is the Philippines, it goes to the west (Brazil); then it should go up north and finally go down south. That is in the prophecy. As far as the MCGI is concerned, the one tasked to save people in these areas is the Church affiliated with the Church mentioned in the Bible.
Bro. Eli has been 12 years in Brazil now. In all places in south and Latin America, there are now MCGI locales: 259 in Spanish-speaking countries (Latin America), and 149 Portuguese-speaking locales (Brazil). By April 2016, TV Verdade was announced as adding 23 relay stations, to total 50 relay stations in the west.
TV Verdade airs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via Star One C2 satellite in South American countries and SES-6 satellite which also covers South American countries as a redundancy, including other nations in North America, Europe and North Africa.
If you will look at the antipodes map, if you bury a tunnel right through the center of the earth to the other side of the world, you will end up in Brazil, in South America.
The church is growing. They cannot hinder it. Even if they killed me, the word of God is already planted. It already started to grow and to bear fruits. I hold Bible Expositions in different places. That’s how I look for lost sheep.
Why did he say, “even if they killed me?” From experience, Bro. Eli knows that there are people who cannot accept truth.
When he was just 27 years old, preaching in the barrios of Central Luzon, Philippines, the young Eli was mauled by deacons of the Iglesia ni Cristo in Betis, Pampanga. The topic he was discussing was about the “other angel ascending from the east.” According to several sources, Felix Manalo, the founder of the INC, had declared himself to be the fifth angel calling out to four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: “Do not harm the land or sea or trees until we have sealed the foreheads of the servants of our God.”…
Santa Romana (1955) and four other sources write, it was in 1922 that Felix Manalo first declared himself to be the “fifth angel” or “another angel rising in the east” as mentioned in Revelation 7:2. Accordingly, he developed this doctrine in order to accumulate power and reassert his leadership in the church.
Bro. Eli said it was impossible that, that angel was Manalo. Can he set one foot upon the sea and another foot on the earth? Impossible! Before he could even do that, he would drown, he said. Members of the Iglesia ni Cristo did not like what they heard. Five deacons beat the young man that he got hospitalized at Mercy Clinic for one week.
INC Interference in Government
Lawmakers should climb a little higher to take note of what’s happening in the environment. What they did to Bro. Eli Soriano is so far the most complicated operations carried out. Involved here were the courts, the media, the Interpol, and the governments of the Philippines and Brazil, with the Iglesia ni Cristo playing major role.
At the background were the many members of the MCGI in 6 continents actively following up on developments. All throughout, there was an online boycott of some 36,000 against GMA7 and GMA News because of their support of the supposed “raped” victim. There was a lot of disinformation on the Internet for three painful years and more, while the “Interpol wanted list” requested by the Iglesia ni Cristo was active. Has there been any other Filipino treated like this? Who will be their next victim?
And yet lawmakers have not done any move because they can milk the corrupt practice for their own purpose. Nothing is being done to check the Iglesia ni Cristo. Not to even mention accessions given to them on a platter, we trace this cancer to the INC practice of bloc voting that has made politicians servile and government corroding to the core. It begins with the Iglesia ni Cristo playing games with their members on one hand and candidates for elections on the other.
The politicians court the INC for votes, the INC dictates to their members. When these politicians win, they act as stooges. It is payback time, and the cancer cells spread out. Now, since the practice is aimed at national officials including the President of the Land, every part of government is not safe from defilement.
One can say there’s nothing wrong with bloc voting, but the kind that INC practices is one of command. There have been dissenting voices but it looks like no one is interested in solutions. As Columnist Conrado de Quiros asked, why do we allow this?
“Why do we allow the INC…to interfere in elections? We know that INC members vote as a bloc for the candidates of their leaders’ choosing. We know this because that church doesn’t bother to hide it; it parades it as one of the reasons for joining it or currying its favor…This is out-and-out flouting of the separation of Church and State, a thing expressly forbidden in a democracy. And yet we see no law stopping it, and yet we see only politicians seeking to profit from it.” (De Quiros, 2012).
Even thinking INC members are not fooled. They can see what’s wrong and they are concerned about the effects on the government –
“Oh, how terrible and weakening the feeling, hearing those words of politicians who are subservient to the influence of the Iglesia ni Cristo! It is like they have lost their mind. Can you imagine Pavlov’s dog? What these politicians actually salivate for are nothing but the bloc votes of these non-thinking Iglesia ni Cristo. That is the reason these politicians cannot stand up for law.
“It appears that the Iglesia ni Cristo ni Manalo can freely do anything they wanted to do without worry of interference from the government even if they aggrieve others. It is indeed discouraging and seemingly marginalized to feel that one belongs to the people who have no “say” to those in the government. (Ebanghelista, 2015)
Of the next victim, can you imagine? It only happens that the God of Bro. Eli is real who also wanted to prove his power. The spikes of the fierce and vicious, he was able to dumb down. But what if the victim is not a Bro. Eli?
Politics of religion
Yet the INC are ever ready to use the infamous tagline, “separation of Church and State” to defend themselves whenever they could capitalize on it. The principle is that the State cannot interfere in purely religious matters and the Church cannot also interfere in matters of the State.
Miraculously, after Bro. Eli was relieved from that “Interpol wanted” caper, things were happening at the Iglesia ni Cristo even as it approaches the INC’s 101st founding anniversary (July 27, 2015). There was fighting within, amidst allegations of corruption. The very family of the Manalos were in contention: the Executive Minister, that is Eduardo V. Manalo, had excommunicated his own mother and his brother (CNN_PH Staff, 2015).
Corruption was being alleged within the organization even by Angel Manalo, the very brother of the Executive Minister (Malig, 2015). Some ministers have either gone missing or were being held as prisoners within. Court cases flew. At one point in time, the Secretary of Justice Leila de Lima called for a preliminary investigation of several INC church leaders based on the testimony of Mr. Isias Samson, a former minister, with allegations of serious illegal detention.
Wikipedia records that on August 27-31, 2015, the INC held protests. The INC were calling it an alleged violation of separation of church and state due to the DOJ acting on the filed illegal detention case. The twin goals were: (1) Removal of DOJ secretary Leila de Lima from her post, and (2) Junking of the Case filed by Isaias Samson Jr. The results of the 5-day protest were that (1) The Iglesia Ni Cristo announced the end of the protests following talks between church and government officials. And (2) The Iglesia ni Cristo in protester created a heavy traffic jam on EDSA, causing major re routing and road closures. (3) De Lima remained DOJ secretary.
Here comes the question:
Who gave a minority religious group like the Iglesia Ni Kristo, not even one-tenth as many as the Catholic Church, so much power and influence that it has the audacity… to stage a protest and expect the State to kowtow in fear?…It is amazing why election after election, presidentiables and senatoriables have to make a courtesy call to INC leadership like their political lives depended on it. It is mind-boggling how the announcement of INC-supported candidates get more media mileage than the CBCP list (Rivera, 2015).
Buenaobra (2016) echoes the same sentiment: “Despite the failed endorsements, candidates still trooped to the INC compound to get the ‘blessing’ (and votes) of its executive minister.” As news accounts show, previous endorsements of the INC that have failed include: Eduardo Cojuangco who came in 3rd; Estrada who was ousted in 2001 because of corruption charges; Macapagal-Arroyo who had graft charges, and Manny Villar who lost the elections.
Rivera (2015) explains that the problem starts when people who want to control the State are willing to use the Church to get elected. Then, the separation of church and state becomes blurry. Wielding influence in the matters of State is made possible by giving religious groups leeway to dictate election results by their open endorsements, Rivera said.
That is the reason why some politicians are willing to prostitute convictions and the rule of law so they will not earn the ire of the INC and others who may already know their fate with the INC to readily criticize it (Rivera, 2015).
But it may not be the same again to claim that INC members are ‘just protecting their faith.’
Until we learn that we get our ails from our own doing, we cannot say to the INC, it may not be the same again. What we have now is a government fast deteriorating and cheapened from engaging in barter schemes with a “church” demanding special privileges. And this is done through politicians, prosecutors, justices, police and personalities of like stature from wrongful political couplings demonstrated herein. #
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Ebanghelista, A.R. (2017, June 7). Eduardo V. Manalo’s Administration: Undeniably a Bully Disguised as Holy. Retrieved from https://incsilentnomore.com/2017/06/07/eduardo-v-manalos-administration-undeniably-a-bully-disguised-as-holy/
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Soriano, E. F. (2016, April 6) Lamentations. (Statements in italics). Skype Conference. Members Church of God International
Wikipedia. 2015 Iglesia ni Cristo protests. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2015_Iglesia_ni_Cristo_protests