August 4, 2011 UPDATE: THIS EPISODE WAS REPLAYED BY GMANews TV11 on August 3, 2011 in their noontime show.
The following is an analysis of that Case Unclosed episode of June 18, 2009 aired by GMA7 and replayed by GMANEWS TV11 on August 3, 2011 that discussed the rape case filed by an excommunicated member of ADD against Bro. Eli Soriano. It is written from the perspective that the ADD feel their leader is trapped in a context of convoluted systems: broadcast network fight for audience ratings, influence of a rival church group over the media and the courts, personalities’ climb to promotion and prominence, and probably secret envy nursed for a long time. Some background of the events that followed are sandwiched for balance – things that Case Unclosed could not provide. The instrument in all this syndrome is one cast away by the ADD for spiritual filth and fully accepted by the INC – Daniel Veridiano alias Puto. Puto gets to persecute the man whose influence he had been using, whose identity he had been stealing, whose blessings he readily enjoyed. He gets organizations to fight Soriano for his being “raped,” rapist that he himself is. He had the local courts of Pampanga behind him, the Department of Justice, the Interpol. Most recent in the queue is GMA7. The question that perplexes ADD is why this rascal is getting everything for himself and yet is going scotfree. Meanwhile, the evangelist-in-a-hurry is leaving it all to his lawyers, and continues preaching worldwide while people think he should come home to face this mocked-up rape case against him. Case Unclosed that presented Soriano as making himself scarce, however, is not entitled to discuss the case. Nevertheless, Arnold Clavio, the host of the program, went ahead and aired his half-a-data. Soriano earlier said he is determined to face the International Court of Human Rights if given the chance.
By Jane Abao
Manila, Philippines (July 20, 2009) – That GMA7 is a “house of truth” is a lie, an untruth, a falsehood, a tall tale. This sums up the opinions of the church group belonging to Members Church of God International (MCGI) or Ang Dating Daan (ADD) as it is more popularly known, particularly on the presentation of GMA7 in one of its programs. The program was unfair and more yet, the station acted as a vehicle to spread more lies, the ADD said.
The news tagline of this TV channel says, “Not siding with anyone; not protecting anyone; just genuine service.” In Tagalog, it is “Walang Kinikilingan, Walang Pinoprotektahan, Serbisyong Totoo lamang.” However, GMA7 has done the opposite. To the Ang Dating Daan, it presented just one side and risked the rights of the other. Most of all, GMA7 has lined up itself with the forces made willing tools in the persecution of the ADD leader, Bro. Eliseo Soriano.
On the night of June 18, 2009, Case Unclosed, a program of GMA7 tackled the double rape case filed against Bro. Soriano by someone he had excommunicated sometime in August 2005. The program extended to an hour with just Daniel Veridiano alias Puto presenting his side of the case.
Soriano, the Presiding Minister of the MCGI or Ang Dating Daan booted out Veridiano from the congregation after some reports of serial rape and exorbitant unauthorized use of church funds for personal wants.
The accuser’s admission
Veridiano admitted sexually abusing 9 among the 14 that were complaining in a confession letter he signed November 21, 2004 to two ministers of the Church. Incidentally, in his bid to be lifted off his suspension of Church membership, Veridiano found himself being videoed during the investigation process, the results of which were to be presented to the Presiding Minister for his decision-making. In that investigation, Veridiano was asked why he was admitting to only 9; he said he cannot anymore recall (“Hindi ko na matandaan”). After some months of observation and upon the recommendation of an investigation panel, Veridiano was excommunicated.
In the Church, suspension is also observation time for repentance and for express changes in one’s life. Failing that, a member maybe excommunicated; and once excommunicated, one cannot appeal. This was the case of Veridiano who went to the fold of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) that readily took him in. Earlier however, when he was under suspension and appealing to be taken back, Puto said, “I will not join them; it would be a quick jump to hell.”
The members of Ang Dating Daan were surprised that GMA7 would be presenting as resource person the one they knew as Puto – a professional liar, a rapist, and one excommunicated from the Church for filthy living and failure to reform. Moreover, the program gave the opportunity for Puto to give out more lies and spew more made-up stories against Preacher Soriano who is out of the country since 2005. In such an instance the ADD felt twice aggrieved.
Closing the eyes
Despite the fact that Puto admitted raping some of his subordinates as posted in YouTube, Arnold Clavio chose to close his eyes and instead honored Puto, as a credible witness. It was not even one, or two, or three victims for Puto whom Soriano said was given many chances to change. If Clavio failed to watch Puto’s admission and if he failed to watch the raped boys describe in YouTube Veridiano’s penis with a round “o” with such and such a short length, then Clavio clearly had not done his research before airing his program.
Clavio was the host of that Case Unclosed program of GMA7, obviously shown with careless abandon like it was safe to hit Preacher Soriano and get away with it unscathed. Never did Clavio try to establish the credibility of his resource person by challenging his statements. For that program, Clavio simply let the statements of Veridiano pass – a no-no for investigative journalism. For example, Clavio did not bother asking why Veridiano was excommunicated from the church and if that was true. Clavio should have done that for the audience if he wanted to show even a semblance of fairness.
Clavio began it all like he had no obligation to hear the other side of the story. There was no hedging from Clavio’s episode of patches, mostly made to magnify the picture of an oppressed “raped man.”
If Arnold Clavio did not know it yet, there is a full coverage of this “raped man for whom Interpol would mobilize.” The star of the moment some few years back enjoyed his brief exposure to prominence when earlier, the powers of the Iglesia ni Cristo got the Interpol to post Soriano’s bio as a Wanted Person. The attempts at Interpol-assistance obviously failed the Iglesia ni Cristo for by that time, Bro. Eliseo Soriano had come to be known as TruthCaster and that his international activities only involved the propagation of the words of God – contrary to “sex crimes” that the INC had wanted the Interpol to believe.
Using now the memory lanes of a supposed helpless victim, Clavio’s voice boomed – “Daniel said he could not forget that afternoon of May 17, 2000 when he was called by the leader of the religion that he was a member of….”
Veridiano’s voice came on and right away planted a “teaching of Ang Dating Daan” that is false and unheard of: “There is a teaching in Dating Daan that a messenger of God does not sin, whatever he does to you. At that time, I feared him greatly because whatever he asks from you, you must oblige. You need to oblige; if not, it is as if you get cursed; as if something grave will happen to you if you do not do what he requires you to do – this so-called messenger of God.”
Video clips of the preacher came on, followed by Arnold Clavio’s vioice: “The one being pointed to by Daniel that had abused him: the leader of Ang Dating Daan, Bro. Eliseo ‘Eli’ Soriano.”
Vehement protests from the ADD members rained on GMA7 after that episode. Shortly thereafter, the channel issued a denial that it was biased and that it was intrusive of the case. It also declared a welcome note that the channel is open to present the side of Bro. Soriano in the future. This was reported by Mark Angelo Ching in Philippine Entertainment Portal (PEP, July 2, 2009) and NRJ Ramos of Manila Bulletin (MB, July 3, 2009). Retrieved from http://www.pep.ph/news/22318/GMA-7-denies-partiality-in-reporting-Bro.-Eli-Soriano-rape-case and http://www.mb.com.ph/node/209094/religiou
The problem with that denial is that it is not telling the truth. The ADD thinks the presentation is biased; it is intrusive. The case is still open. You cannot right that wrong with a second part on another date and say it is the continuation of the previous one. One does not chop matters of contention between two parties on separate dates. Principles of communication declare that such action is unfair, inequitable, and lacking of correct judgment of timing and impartial audience impact.
It is after all what an Arnold Clavio seemed to project in that program: that he had no qualms about it if he was to be viewed as partial. Twice Puto was allowed to say “If only he is here, he would be behind bars. It cannot be that he will not.”
To the ADD members still boycotting this network, Arnold Clavio does not know his Journalism. Had he done his research well, he would have known what Bro. Soriano was saying as “Sub judice.” Soriano cannot comment as the case (dismissed but re-filed) was pending. Therefore, it was not even a proper item for Case Unclosed because it is not of the vintage kind.
Knowing that he only had a half part of the whole thing, Clavio went ahead and aired it. Granted that the case may be discussed, if he had to deal with two sides, why did he present one ahead of the other? Doesn’t Clavio know that June 18, 2009 is not the same as another future date if he had to present the other half? How sure was he that the sample of the people who saw his first part will be the same sample seeing his second part? Moreover, how much time-gap would there be between the first presentation and a subsequent one if ever there would be one? Is that what he can call a presentation with a level-playing field?
Doesn’t Clavio know that if he had to get data from people, he is not to get them by force? Is he already treating Soriano as the guilty party and Veridiano as an innocent victim? To add insult to injury, Clavio ended the program with these words: “Although Bro. Eli Soriano insists that the accusations against him are simply lies, his appearance and his facing his case are hoped to clear out the questions left unanswered.”
A program with legal elements like Case Unclosed must have someone there with enough legal background. But as it is, Clavio had risked the network’s reputation with ignorance. Most of the ADD comments ask GMA7 management that Arnold Clavio be axed from that channel. The structure of Clavio’s presentation also shows he does not know much about broadcasting. That he was only presenting what was written for him as a script is no excuse.
Right from the start, the episode impressed the audience of presenting only the side of the “raped man,” as if to make the ADD regret they had not issued any statement for Arnold Clavio.
Clavio was quick to say they tried to get the side of the ADD regarding the case of Veridiano but could not get any response. However, knowing full well that he only had data from one side, Clavio went ahead and aired the program. That he was not able to get a response was already license to air to this Clavio.
Infractions of good practice in journalism
There were many infractions of good practice in journalism noticed by the ADD members.
Clavio disregarded challenging his resource person that Soriano could not be around Apalit at 1:30 in the afternoon of May 17, 2000 considering that he was under treatment in Manila in the morning and then traveled to Lipa for a bible exposition afterwards. Aside from a patient’s registration copy, Soriano has a copy of the venue permit used during that day. If he really wanted to be objective, Clavio should have interviewed the two doctors of the Biological Center mentioned as having treated Bro. Soriano that day which was why Soriano could not be in Apalit raping Veridiano.
When Veridiano denied his signature appearing in the confession letter about raping 9 males, Clavio did not try to establish if Veridiano was lying or not. Again, if he had wanted to play fair, and to establish Veridiano’s credibility, Clavio should have interviewed those boys raped by Veridiano. The names are there in that confession letter. In Youtube, these boys gave out their testimonies against Veridiano and what he did to them. One was even just 17 that time and until now, he appears shocked, talking very little as much as possible.
The ADD members note that it is not easy for rape victims to come out to the public and admit they were raped – much more by one rascal like Puto. And yet they had to do it and make use of the Internet for failing to get justice in the kind of courts obtaining in the country.
And now, GMA7 is a House of Truth?
Baloney! says the Ang Dating Daan. The news tagline, “Not siding with anyone; not protecting anyone; just genuine service” is a lie.
For the way it has behaved, GMA7 should be ashamed enough and change that tagline because it does not become them, the members said.
Moreover, the question of the ADD until now is, “What the blazes is GMA7 glorifying a liar for?”
Puto, the “raped man,” lies
There is no such teaching in Ang Dating Daan that anyone can make demands and oppress the other – much more by the leader who teaches righteousness. Puto was lying.
Puto was excommunicated in August 2005 for filthy living; he did not leave ADD all by his own. In fact, he made attempts to be taken in but didn’t pass it. His signature in that confession letter is genuine; it was not faked by anyone. The challenge from ADD is for Clavio and the public to view Puto online. A video-taped recording in YouTube may be used to triangulate data about his confession of serial rape. From there, the public can see if anyone fed those admission words into his mouth. From there, Arnold Clavio can see if he had an innocent “raped man” not lying to him.
Puto may deny everything to get the Iglesia ni Cristo to use him still as a lying witness against Soriano. In that same video, however, Veridiano damned the Iglesia ni Cristo as satanic and with false teachings so that going there is equivalent to going to hell. Not for long, however, Puto was heard attending INC services.
Other lies that Veridiano alias Puto said over GMA7 were that he had been “writer-editor of Ang Dating Daan Magazine.” There is no magazine with such name. Records have it that Puto attempted to handle a magazine called TOP (The Old Path). During one of the national thanksgiving days, Ryan Borja, an assistant to Puto then, approached a professional journalist from Mindanao and showed her a copy. The journalist laughed and asked Borja how come the magazine looked that way. “Can you help us?” asked Borja. During breaktime, the journalist went from cover to cover, red-penciled the pages, and returned it to Borja.
Bro. Eli saw the red-markings, studied it, and called for a meeting, angry at what he saw. After that, the issue was shelved and the management of the magazine was transferred from Puto’s office to ADDCaption, another office that started its own maiden issue. Puto’s work did not pass. He never had been a writer-editor for ADD.
Puto also bragged in Clavio’s program that the Attendance Monitoring System was his idea. Jay Jimenez, former head of the ADD Communications, Information, and Technology (ADDCIT) denies that the Attendance Monitoring System (AMS) was Puto’s idea. This was the statement of Jimenez:
“The Computerized attendance monitoring system was the idea of Bro. Daniel Razon, including that of the Internet webcast. Actually we started the IT of the church since 1999, and we had designed the first website of angdatingdaan.org already before Puto came in.
“Because of Puto’s envy to us, he took over our group and he absorbed us. At that time, he was a worker typist of Bro. Eli. He promised us support by providing the infrastructures needed for websites and webcast. He formed ADD Correspondents July 20, 2000. We were the pioneers.
“Daniel is just a typist – fast typist! In fairness, fastest typist ever! Dapat sa gilid siya ng SEC magwork, yung nag tatype ng mga documents dun; o di kaya sa quiapo, yung taga type ng mga thesis ng mga estudyante (Trans: He should work at the side of SEC among those typing documents there; if not in Quiapo, among those typing thesis for students.)”
Grabbing credit for Puto is something not to be ashamed of, just as lying is. Ever since, the idea man in ADD is Daniel Razon. He is responsible for most of the conception of ADD projects.
Puto also said he was an “Assistant Secretary General.” Bro. Soriano had already clarified in court even that there is no assistant general secretary position in the church. The structure of the church is such that it does not need a Secretary General – more so an assistant general secretary.
“In the ministry, in teaching, I was the one in charge before Soriano would teach,” Puto claimed. As everyone in the ministerial class knows, Puto’s work in this area was merely in assisting or in checking that sitting and equipment arrangements were in order. While he wanted to impress people that he can preach as well as or better than the ministers, his work was no different from a janitor.
To be minister had long been a dream of Puto which he never got in the ADD. Would-be ministers in ADD are being well screened. Spiritual growth for Puto was a question that even in leading prayers, the task had been taken off him.
“June 8, 2001, it was my spiritual birthday. He called for me and I thought he would give me a gift. For all I knew, it was another of those things he did to me last year,” Puto said.
Veridiano, alias Puto, mentioned about a second count of rape on June 8, 2001. As written earlier in ADD newsreports, Soriano had testified in court that he went with Rico Fernandez to the office of one Ma. Evangeline Veloira in a bank located in Bambang, Manila. They then proceeded to Sushimoto Restaurant to meet a certain Aida P. Briones, an accountant recommended by Veloira regarding the loan transaction they were applying for. As publicly known, the preacher is known for gallantly financing big church projects which explains the growth of the congregation to an international scope. The transaction was held from 12noon to 4pm. Veridiano said he was raped around 3:00 in the afternoon that day.
The investigating prosecutor found no probable cause to prosecute Soriano as he believed that Veridiano’s accusations were all lies and fabricated. The case was filed sometime before October 5, 2005 and was dismissed on January 26, 2006. It was penned by Alexandro Lopez, Asst. Provincial Prosecutor and approved by Jesus Magarang, Provincial prosecutor, Province of Pampanga, San Fernando City. The court highly considered the rift going on between the INC and the ADD.
Arnold Clavio and his lines
Some lines of Arnold Clavio need a second look because they encouraged the lies of Puto.
Arnold Clavio: “According to Daniel, still he was not able to fight him.”
Anyone who knows Bro. Eli Soriano would know something is wrong with this statement. It does not fit into the paradigm that is the man leading the Church and who has love immeasurable for the brethren but ready anger for a fake brother exposed for his wrongdoings. The members have seen Soriano react in diverse situations mostly in consultation sessions through satellite system that they can easily predict his behavior in most situations. From what they know of his character, Soriano would be the first one to get angry with a brother found doing wrong. Moreover, it is impossible that Soriano could be raping anybody and still retain that unequaled understanding of the Bible that he is well-known for. For the man who keeps warning that the wicked cannot understand, it is impossible that he could explain the deepest mysteries in the Bible in an unending fashion like drawing from an eternal spring, if he is that wicked. Soriano’s energies are dedicated towards propagating the words of God and studying for it – if not cooking for big crowds of members and guests. Puto’s organ or that of anyone else would not even be the last of his interests. Soriano’s sights are trained on his commission for which he is ever in a hurry. “We have to be part of those who will fulfill prophecy,” he would say to the congregation.
No one is like a prisoner in Apalit like Puto wanted to convey. In fact, instead of attending church functions, Puto takes pleasure trips to famous beaches of the country, charged to a credit card meant for the church – a card which he abused to include beautifying his new face. No member’s mouth is ordered closed that he cannot talk of what is right and proper. Puto, himself, knows that. The preacher would often warn the brethren that those who keep secret the wrong doings of others would suffer consequences too. Soriano even said that had the brothers exposed Puto much earlier, he would not have become that worse. Since Puto was one working closely with Bro. Eli, people feared to report his wrong doings. It was Puto who used his influence and used it wrongly. He would threaten those he aggrieved with suspensions and excommunication. His typing work involved preparing Church circulars.
Arnold Clavio: “It was year 2004 when Daniel Veridiano decided to leave the ADD Convention Center.”
At this time, Puto was suspended as a member and was placed under observation. He knew that his case was heavy and came in multiple levels: illicit sex, wide-spread thievery, misuse of a credit card meant for the church, identity theft, possession of porno materials and a penis-enlarger that told much of his promiscuous gay activities. Puto lived hardly a Christian life to be able to hold on to an ADD membership.
Arnold Clavio: “He hid for a while. He broke his silence in September 2005. He gave his statements in the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Pampanga about the abuse made on him. It was Atty. Alex Avisado and some others in his office that handled the case of Daniel.”
Puto did not go into hiding. It is not the practice of ADD to hunt for people – more so when one is declared spiritually sick. The members would keep a distance – as far away as possible.
Instead of hiding, Puto walked around for help in the ADD. He tried to get two ministers to back him up in his bid to return to the ADD. When the findings from an investigating panel came out, Puto failed to meet the mark. In August 2005, he was finally expelled. At that same time he was reported to be attending church gatherings of the Iglesia ni Cristo.
The Gumaru paragraph sprouting
Arnold Clavio: “According to the Bureau of Immigration, December 14, 2005, flight PR501 of Philippine Airlines going to Singapore was the last list recording the name of Bro. Eli. That is why according to the lawyers of Daniel, it is impossible that the Manila Police District reported that Bro. Eli surrendered in 2008 to PO3 Jun Gumaru of Pandacan Police. Accordingly, it was Gumaru who processed the application of Soriano to pay bail. It was reported that he did not tell his supervisors so that Gumaru was placed under investigation that is being held until now. There was an order of release also that the Branch 26 of Manila Regional Trial Court issued for Eli Soriano. It was written there that he had paid a bail of P240, 000, and was signed by Jun Gumaru.”
No matter how untrue this surrender-to-Gumaru is, the Iglesia ni Cristo members blazed the media with it, pinning falsification of documents on “Ely” Soriano wherever they could get their hands on. The story was poorly written by a certain Allison Lopez of Philippine Daily Inquirer on August 29, 2008 and then posted in Scribd.com. Lopez appeared to have used INC sources with the tell-tale “Ely” name that INCs insist on calling the preacher. She also showed no background knowledge of the case as if it were just the beginning.
Just the same, the paragraph on Gumaru from the story of Lopez transformed into a video piece. Cut out from the whole story, it highlighted Gumaru’s denial that an Eliseo Soriano had surrendered to him. The intention of those who had re-produced this paragraph into video items, cut out from the whole story, was clearly to let the public believe that Soriano is found guilty of falsification of documents in the Philippines. They made a feast of it. All the while, Soriano was out of the country.
Though taken out of context, this paragraph cum video piece is embedded in many blogs of INC local members and foreigners in the Internet, whether they discussed astronomy or music, but not Philippine conditions. When queried about what they knew about the case, they kept mum about it. INC posters like Rizalino L. Arrabis and Conrad J. Obligacion took turns taunting Soriano of that “falsification charge” in news sites all over the Internet, most prominently in NowPublic.com and Topix.net.
Many other incognito INC sympathizers did the same just as they did when Interpol posted Soriano’s bio as one of those wanted. The first who made news out of this was Alfred P. Dalizon of World News Journal Online on August 8, 2008. Dalizon’s links with the INC showed when he wrote that Soriano is a former INC member and Veridiano alias Puto, instead of being excommunicated from the ADD, was merely going back to his former church, the INC. Dalizon also wrote that Soriano is a fugitive, is on a Red Notice and an international warrant of arrest – contrary to definitions of the Interpol on “fugitive” and “Red Notice.” Furthermore, Dalizon in his half-baked news carried only blind items, never having a name for “police authorities” that he kept mentioning as his source. Nevertheless, Dalizon’s story was honored as a reference in Wikipedia on the much public-edited bio of Soriano that appeared like it is describing an entirely different person.
Incidentally, there are many hate blogsites against Bro. Soriano by as many as 50, initiated and supported by Ka Webspy (Real name: Sustines E. Laplana), a member of the Iglesia ni Cristo. The contents consist of twisting the preaching of the preacher and maligning him in every way possible.
From history, the Ang Dating Daaan began as a small group catering to Philippine membership only in its incipient years in the 1980s. Today, the ADD Convention Center, the biggest convention center in Asia, houses an average of 70,000 people every week for its thanksgiving functions, and that is for Apalit alone. With Bro. Soriano working feverishly outside the country, membership has truly become international and church locales have been established in six continents. Soriano preaches to them simulcast through satellite systems every Saturday and every International Thanksgiving days.
Every Friday, thousands get baptized from diverse religious groups to an annual average of 20,000 in the country alone and another set of thousands abroad – including those from the Iglesia ni Cristo who obviously blame Soriano for their dwindling membership. This is the group that refuses to take the criticisms of the preacher without striking back by way of filing court cases and using the excommunicated members as witnesses; by way of raids; and by way of using the influence of their members in the courts to intervene in judicial processes.
ADD: Principle of no revenge
Nevertheless, the unity and strength of the ADD had been tested through the years – not by their growing numbers but by following the spiritual principles taught to them by their leader. This is noted in their remarkable policy of not taking any revenge. The principle is to let God take charge.
This was tested so many times when the Iglesia ni Cristo through the NBI under the leadership of Director Gen. ReynaldoWycoco, himself an INC member, in February 1-2, 2002 raided the ADD Convention Center just for a case of libel; when the INC hoodlums hit the ADD brothers near Jollibee Restaurant in Apalit, Pampanga on April 18, 2005; when the ADD Convention Center was raided by the local police that belonged to the INC in search for their minster, Abner Martizano, who joined the ADD in 2005; and when clearly an INC deacon was implicated in the April 27, 2008 death of Marcos Mataro, a UNTV host that hit hard on the INCs in his “dX-man”program.
The Jollibee encounter between ADD brothers and INCs was misreported inAbsoluteAstronomy.com as a free-for-all initiated by Marcos Mataro, an ADD member but a former INC. It did not report that ADD brothers were badly browbeaten by the INCs and in the courts, they were accused as the perpetrators instead of the other way around. Ref: http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Iglesia_ni_Cristo
The raid on the ADD Convention Center on account of former INC minister Martizano was covered by Sun.Star Pampanga (December 16, 2005), the raid being carried out allegedly on grounds of “multiple rape.” The report, however, made it appear that Martizano only left the INC because he is a criminal and sought refuge in the ADD. Ref: http://www.sunstar.com.ph/static/pam/2005/12/16/news/quezon.city.cops.charged.with.robbery.html
Public news have it that Nickson Icao and Felizardo “Ka Zaldy” Lumagham, both of Macabebe, Pampanga and who claim to be members of INC, (the latter, a deacon) were charged before the San Fernando prosecutors office for the death of Marcos Mataro. Until now, however, both persons have yet to be accounted for.
The real House of Truth
The GMA network counts its age today as 59 glorious years, chalking March 1, 1950 as its day of birth. Over the air lanes, this giant broadcast network proudly banners itself as “House of Truth,” (Tahanan ng katotohanan). And GMA7 is part of them.
As far as the Ang Dating Daan (The Old Path) is concerned, GMA is one broadcast network that cannot be trusted for its branding and its news taglines. It thrives in hollow branding to sell itself without truly working. Calling itself “house of truth,” it does not offer genuine service beyond mere reproduction of news events and even that is questionable.
To reckon, is GMA of the likes of UNTV – the public service channel? By all counts, GMA cannot equal the humanitarian services given by UNTV that is strongly supported by Bro. Soriano – one whose public image GMA7 recently compromised. Soriano’s works include the several orphanages in the country, the feeding programs among depressed areas, the medical and dental missions, the transient houses, the free bus rides; and some of these, he does through UNTV. In effect, UNTV does not merely produce news unlike GMA – and that’s what is genuine service.
And to top it all, as far as information is concerned, Soriano works for the propagation of God’s words and the teaching of truth for the salvation of souls. This he does in the country strongly through UNTV. People need to know how to live properly according to Soriano, which is why he preaches 24/7 wherever he can, to include UNTV. No gyrating lewd bodies; no nonsense programs – just plain public service.
Inside the country, Soriano has “adopted” the poor and the outcast of the society – things that politicians should be doing. Outside the country, Soriano has “adopted” victims of war and racism and gave them hope through teaching God’s word. All in all, it is truth that Bro. Eli Soriano deals with – day in and day out. In the Church of God which is the House of God, truth is the service. The Church of God is appropriately the House of Truth – not GMA.
To call itself then as “House of Truth” is for GMA to go over bounds. Branding to this network is hollow, without truth, and more of a habit. In effect, GMA comes out with bubble branding: one blast and it bursts to nothing.
The Razon experience
So, is this network not really siding with anyone as promised by its news tagline?
Sometime in 2005, Daniel Razon, the Vice Presiding Minister of the Members Church of God International or ADD had the same taste of fate as that of Bro. Soriano, Razon’s uncle and partner in Church ministry. Razon was then a co-anchor of Arnold Clavio in Unang Hirit, GMA7’s morning show. Razon is now UNTV executive and is blessed with many opportunities to grow while Clavio stayed where he stays until now. The ADD wonder if Clavio secretly looks at Soriano as he does Razon today, his former colleague and now his rival in the industry. Years back in 2005 when Razon was in GMA7, Management asked him for alternatives: to refrain from mentioning the Iglesia ni Cristo or to resign. He chose the latter in what he called a choice for his God and not for his job. Dindo M. Balares wrote about this in Manila Bulletin (June 16, 2005) and can be found here: http://www.articlearchives.com/entertainment-arts/broadcasting-industry-television/458213-1.html
The ADD members said if GMA7 broke their tagline promise of not siding with anyone by pushing out Razon, one of their very own anchors to please the Iglesia ni Cristo, how much more others like Bro. Soriano who is an outsider.
Some sectors of the ADD still believe that GMA7 has somehow compromised Bro. Soriano’s public image in its audience ratings’ fight with ABS-CBN. However, GMA7 made a wrong decision if courting this audience is their target in their controversial topics. The ADD are still on boycott. The ADD is a growing force that can be counted on in any elections, much more in broadcast audience ratings.
Bro. Soriano left the country in a huff in late 2005 when reports from the enemy camp said his life was in danger and his quest for justice was nil. As observed by the preacher, the justice system in the country is such that in Pampanga where the rape case was filed and dismissed, and then re-filed by then Secretary of Justice Raul Gonzalez, the prosecutors keep on changing. One week after a pronouncement of judgment against Bro. Soriano, another prosecutor comes in. And then another. In fact, this rape case is one for the Guinness Book of Records, and is a recommended case study for all students of Law. There are so many meddlers but Soriano sees the hand of the Iglesia ni Cristo in it – they who keep no secret about their hatred for Soriano through the pronouncements of the INC ministers in Net25. Soriano is the most vocal critic of the Iglesia ni Cristo.
GMA7: advancing the “raped man’s” cause
The same “raped man,” now a member of the Iglesia ni Cristo, was also used to get the Interpol’s intervention to get Soriano behind bars, the failed mission of which the ADD interprets is the present task of GMA7. In his program, Clavio had underscored that nothing could be done while Soriano is out of the country according to Puto’s lawyers. To get Soriano behind bars, GMA7 would then use a professional liar because no one in his right sense would accuse Soriano of rape, let alone raping a rapist.
Finally, Arnold Clavio contradicted himself. While he explained that there is no extradition treaty between the Philippines and Brazil, and that a Red Notice of the Interpol is not an International Arrest Warrant, at the same time he said of Soriano, “he can be arrested for the meantime and an extradition can be worked out for him.” Quoting the lawyers or not, Clavio is not careful which information to propagate or not.
By this time, Bro. Soriano is thinking the world must be crazy to believe he would rape a rapist – most of all a rapist of not only 9 but more! His enemies are that corrupt of imagination.
The insistence of the Iglesia ni Cristo to pin a rape case on Bro. Eli is interpreted by the ADD as a cosmeticizing effort meant to restructure the much tarnished image of Felix Manalo, their so-called “messenger of God.” In his bible expositions, whenever he is asked about Felix Manalo, Bro. Eli would speak of him as a rapist, not worth a man to be speaking the words of God which Manalo mixes with many lies to hold on to his members. But Soriano is not speaking from mere hearsay.
Rape and INC’s Manalo
In a 1954 newspaper called “The Bombshell,” Joe Cruz serialized the immoral escapades of Felix Manalo and included the court cases wherein he was tried, foremost of which was the Rosita Trillanes case. Manalo had been convicted in court in the 1950s for raping Rosita Trillanes, a deaconess. It was this Rosita, according to Cruz, who had revealed to the INC what this supposed messenger did to women of their church. The Court of Appeals sided with Rosita. The court had established the immoral activities of Felix Manalo. Rosita’s story of how Manalo raped her was published in the Philippine Official Gazette, Vol. 1, July, 1942. She also mentioned about the other women abused by Manalo.
Records have it that accusations of sexual immorality plagued Felix Manalo throughout his life. In a decision by the Court of Appeals, in the case of “The People vs. Rosita Trillanes” published in July 1942, the Justices gave an extremely unfavorable estimate of Manalo’s character stating:
“…Manalo, took advantage of his position as head of the Iglesia ni Cristo, and…employed religion as a cloak to cover his…immoral practices; that he pretended to be the Messias sent by God; and that to persuade his victims, he cited the example of Solomon and his many wives.” (Source: Official Gazette, Volume 1 No. 7, July 1942, pages 393-395.)