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

By Jake Astudillo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why do we allow this?

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

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

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

____________

NOTES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Advertisements

Much Maligned Preacher Wins Over Distinguished Author in International Open Web Awards

Bro. Eliseo Soriano, Filipino preacher on exile, felt vindicated by an award given him by an international social media site that did not pay attention to disinformation about him scattered all over the Internet.

A victim of religious persecution and disinformation, the preacher exiles himself to continue preaching in South America. Deprived of his own home country, he started blogging to aid his preaching. His truth blog makes a mark among the counted in Mashable International – one that did not pay attention to disinformation that scattered all over the Internet.

By Jake Astudillo

Manila, Philippines, (01/18/2010) – If things are played fair, we can always win. These were the words of the man for whom justice had long been elusive.

Bro. Eliseo Soriano, Filipino preacher on exile, felt vindicated by an award given him by an international social media site that did not pay attention to disinformation about him scattered all over the Internet.

Soriano easily beat Paulo Coelho, the Portuguese famous author in the 3rd Mashable Open web awards competition of 2009.

Pete Cashmore, CEO of Mashable.com, in an e-mail to Ang Dating Daan or The Old Path, the congregation lead by Soriano said, http://www.esoriano.wordpress.com takes its place among the top 50 websites and services of the year, having won the ‘Most Educational to Follow’ category in the Open Web Awards 2009.

Cashmore said the Mashable team, dealt with over 440,000 nominations with over 70,000 nominees and over 780,000 votes for the recent Open Web Awards. Mashable.com, an international social media site, partnered with Motorola this year to bring the 3rd Annual Open Web Awards: Social Media Edition. Reports show that past winners of this international competition include YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Digg, and iGoogle, to name a few.

In terms of written works, and literary reputation, Soriano is no match to Paulo Coelho.

Coelho began blogging in 2003, four years ahead of Soriano. Coelho could write as much as 186 in a month. It was in 2007 that that he jacked up his batting average, the same time that Bro. Soriano just opened his blog. By competition time, Coelho had written 3, 224. He also had forums on the spiritual or biblical just like the preacher. Coelho had 219,056 followers and 5,743 were listed. Soriano did not reflect his number of followers.

Apparently, it was not quantity of posts that mattered in the competition. Bro. Soriano posted a measly number: 117 posts from April 2007 to December 2009. The most that he could write in a month was 26 in July 2007 since his work involved traveling to the untamed regions of South America to preach. His blog, however, is pregnant with interaction, mostly on issues of truth.

Coelho’s forums included questions like the following: Do you think man is intrinsically bad? Do you think sex is dominating the human civilization? Do you think you’re following your personal legend? How do you interpret Adam’s experience? What do you think about reincarnation? Why are we born if we have to die? These were some of his forums.

Meanwhile, the posts of Preacher Soriano include: Will God Contradict Himself? Not everything is Possible with God. God is Not Everywhere. Perfect Justice in God’s Perfect Time. Karl Marx’s Unwise Definition of Religion. The Covenant on the Fleshy Tables of the Heart. The Imprudent Freedom to Question Free Will.

While Coelho’s posts remained pondering over many things, Soriano was assertive – just with the Bible as his reference.

There are bizarre similarities between Soriano and Coelho. Both of them were born in the same year. Paulo Coelho was born August 24, 1947 (1947-08-24) (age 62) while Eliseo Soriano was born April 7, 1947 (age 62). Both of them are from the same place in the same continent – South America to be exact. They dealt closely about the same topics.

The difference, however, between them is great. Coelho is a distinguished author. Soriano is unschooled formally. Though fearless, the preacher is much maligned and persecuted. To this day, he had exiled himself in order to continue preaching worldwide. Justice in the Philippines to him was scant and not within reach. Moreover, many bad things were written about Soriano.

The preacher’s bio in Wikipedia appears more as a list of accusations than a description of the man. They were the result of his work as preacher where he had to do the things no one wants to do: tell the truth and nothing but. None had the guts to expose false teachings and defend truth as Soriano does. Called the most sensible preacher of our time, his audience had evolved from just the Filipinos to include other nationalities.

Coelho therefore was made famous for his literary works. Soriano on his part was popularized by vicious media out to get his neck for things he had said against powerful groups. They were able to attach “rape” to his name, as is the practice of some bent on destroying a personality.

Reports on Coelho show that he radically wrote from the other side of truth. His first book was Hell Archives. In 1985, he contributed to the Practical Manual of Vampirism and the following year, he wrote The Pilgrimage. In 1987, he wrote The Alchemist. This is the book that got Coelho famous. It was translated in 68 languages, and published in 150 countries, winning the Guinness World Record for most translated book by a living author. The novel exploited the theme of looking for one’s dream in other lands only to find it in one’s home.

The backpage of the novel, “The winner stands alone” written by Coelho says Coelho was named United Nations Messenger of Peace in 2007.

In contrast, Soriano was not schooled by the universities of men. He studied by himself with just the bible as his book. He grew up to be a principled preacher and the most learned man when it comes to biblical matters. In debates, no one could beat him.

For 45 years preaching the word of God, he had become an expert on matters of Christian living and salvation that his preaching had changed many lives. Known as the nemesis of false preachers, he had attracted many enemies far and wide. One by one, anyone claiming to be appointed by God to prophesy, much more to be the son of God, Soriano would challenge and expose. Later on, he would reap many cases filed in court due to his mouth. Nevertheless, he feared no one as long as truth was involved, no matter that people tore him to pieces. He remained as “appointed messenger of God” to millions of those who believed in his preaching due to his unequalled understanding of biblical truth, reaping another moniker, “Truthcaster.” Today, he maintains a program by that name.

A book review on The Alchemist, Coelho’s famous book, said, “Perhaps this is the secret of Coelho’s success: that he tells people what they want to hear, or rather that he tells them what they wish for but never thought possible could even be probable.” In contrast, Soriano is about telling the truth, no matter how bitter.

Preacher Soriano had disappeared from his own country in 2005 but like a turtle thrown to the water, he appears through satellite systems still preaching to the world. Religious persecution forced him to use as much technology as possible. He continued on with his work of preaching to the consternation of his enemies. They declared to the public that his congregation had dissolved while he, in turn, ran away from crimes – all of which were lies peddled by the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) members led by Rizalino L. Arrabis, a retired US Navy man based in Guam.

Bro. Eli as he is called, had difficulties then in residence. In 2007, he started his blog, using it to further his preaching purposes and to reach out to those asking questions. It is this blog, http://www.esoriano.wordpress.com that had won as the most educational to follow in the 3rd Mashable Open web awards competition of 2009.

Soriano was fair game to Philippine media with connections to those whose interests were being risked. He was humiliated by them who were able to post his bio in the Interpol’s wanted list. Soriano had excommunicated a self-confessed rapist, Daniel “Puto” Veridiano, from his congregation but the rapist joined the forces of the powerful INC. In the end, the tables were turned: Soriano is being accused as the rapist (“sex crimes”) while the rapist turns the complainant with all the support of the INC in tow.

With malice or not, the Interpol posting did more to introduce Bro. Eli to the world, thanks to the influence of his enemies in the Philippine government. It is public knowledge that the INC practiced bloc voting and had the power to make and unmake kings. As a result, while persecuting the preacher, they had ironically given him avenues to become an international evangelist in the real sense. That Interpol posting was blunted to the core. Positive media competed with disinformation and the public had more chances to evaluate who is telling the truth. That the preacher remains free to this day despite the lot of disinformation created by the INC is something truth has to answer.

In South America, many preachers had been converted to the congregation that Soriano led – the Ang Dating Daan (The Old Path). More and more lives are being converted as a result of this work. Learning of the dangers that the preacher faced, some military men promised to take care of the evangelist while he preached openly. The INC may be powerful in the Philippines but not in other countries.

Unlike Coelho, Soriano defended God and the bible, truly interpreting his role as commissioner for biblical truth. He taught the bible from cover to cover and unlocked many mysteries like one can drink from an ever-flowing spring. The preacher is an educator of a different breed that many come to his blog to ask questions of all kinds. With just the bible as his reference, Soriano is one educator unequalled of all time. Until today, there is no program in the world that equals his “Ask Soriano, the bible answers.”

In tracking Mashable awards, records show that Eli Soriano was not even in the list of 500 top nominated individuals, tools, and organizations as posted by Sharon Feder. Feder said, “With just two days left in the nominations period we thought it would be appropriate to take a look at 500 of the current leaders in the competition’s 50 categories each selected by you, our readers. Add your voice to this list by nominating your favorites…”

Evan as Ben Parr of Mashable announced the short list of 10 nominees to each category, Soriano’s name was not there. On the other hand, Paulo Coelho was nominated in two categories: “Most Educational to Follow” and “Most Inspiring to Follow.”

By the time Pete Cashmore, CEO of Mashable, announced the full list of finalists (the short list of 5), Esoriano.wordpress.com made it to the category of “Most Educational to Follow” while @Paulocoelho made it to “Most Inspiring to Follow.” Coelho had failed to make it in the first category.

On December 16, 2009, Pete Cashmore announced the winners and Eliseo Soriano was the only name found under the category, “Most Educational to Follow.” Meanwhile, for “Most Inspiring to Follow,” Paulo Coelho lost to LoraAndLayton. In the end, Coelho didn’t make it to either of the two categories.

A check on the site of LoraAndLayton shows that it is about “A Young Family Beating the Odds.” Meanwhile, on Soriano’s blog banner is written: “Celebrating 45 years of serving THE ALMIGHTY.” In contrast, nothing is written in the banner of Coelho except, “Paulo Coelho’s Blog.”

Mashable was reported to have carefully monitored situations and discounted all votes made from “fake” or “new” Twitter accounts, especially the ones that only had references to their voting.

It was not the first time Eliseo Soriano won an award for his truth blog. On February 2009, his blog was the People’s choice awardee in the 2009 Philippine Web Awards in the blog category. Moreover, that blog was the awardee for that year for the most popular website, besting all others in all categories.

If Philippine media preferred to keep distance from the preacher, it was mostly because of much ignorance about his true personality. Soriano was not concerned about what people thought of him more than he cared for his work. Media greatly ignored his existence but wrote about him in negatives. That Soriano is offering assistance to dependents of fallen journalists suddenly made great news though.

Up until now, the UNTV host maintained a dawn-to-dawn preaching with his Ang Dating Daan (The Old Path) program that managed to gather more converts to his campaign to true Christianity. It is the first thing that early risers watched; it is also the last program that insomniacs watched. Outside the country, he had begun buying time from foreign stations to repeat the Philippine experience. In all, he stood as one from whom people kept asking questions from dawn to dawn. He only had one reference – the word of God.

First published in Quazen (Biography) on January 19, 2010