Manila, Philippines (6/23/09) – The congregation of the Members Church of God, International (MCGI), more popularly known as Ang Dating Daan (ADD) have declared a formal boycott on GMA, a giant television network in the country for its biased and uncalled-for airing of a case against its Presiding Minister filed by one he had excommunicated in 2005.
GMA7, through Case Unclosed anchored by Arnold Clavio, on the night of June 18, 2009, tackled the double rape case filed against Bro. Eliseo Soriano by Daniel Veridiano alias Puto. The preacher had excommunicated the complainant from MCGI way back in 2005 for raping some 14 of his subordinates, and misappropriating church funds for personal use. Failing to be forgiven and received back into the folds of MCGI, Veridiano joined the Iglesia ni Cristo, where Soriano is its most severe critic.
Before some 70,000 members gathered in a week-end thanksgiving in Apalit, Pampanga, and several thousands more in 6 continents, the preacher explained on June 23, 2009 over satellite that he cannot issue any statement to a current case, otherwise risk himself to the sub judice rule. Sub judice, in legal parlance means “under judicial deliberation” or “awaiting judicial determination,” or in simple terms, “not yet decided.”
“There was no sense of justice and equity in the Case Unclosed of Arnold Clavio over GMA7. In the first place, the invented rape case against me is still in the courts,” the subject of Arnold Clavio’s program said.
In last Thursday’s episode of Case Unclosed, Veridiano played resource person, and without batting an eyelash, repeated what he had been saying ever since: that on two occasions in 2000 and 2001, the preacher raped him. As recorded in the court case, these incidents had been denied by Bro. Soriano and with evidences presented in the court, the case was dismissed on January 26, 2006 as penned by Alexandro Lopez, Assistant Provincial Prosecutor of Region III, San Fernando, Pampanga and as approved by Jesus Y. Manarang, the Provincial Prosecutor.
But months later, however, Raul Gonzalez, Secretary of Justice, on March 21, 2006, directed Regional State Prosecutor Jesus Simbulan to elevate the records of the rape case to his office, the Department of Justice. The Ang Dating Daan considers this as highly irregular and for a Secretary of Justice to be doing this, DOJ appears to have become personal and justice owned and franchised by some selected citizens.
“There was an email to me why we do not answer the broadcast of GMA. There is a principle of sub judice. Under our laws, I cannot answer because I will be cited for contempt of court. That case has just started. It should not be part of the program, Case Unclosed,” Soriano said. “ If a case is already in the court, you cannot speak on the merits of it. That would be under the principle of sub judice. However, not talking about it does not mean that we are not responding at all,” he added.
For a self-confessed serial rapist, Veridiano was given credibility by Arnold Clavio. Veridiano also was the star of the moment when the preacher’s bio was placed in the wanted list of the International Criminal Police Organization or Interpol as requested allegedly by a Macabebe, Pampanga court for “sex crimes” – the word “crimes” to make it to Interpol level.
The international activities, however, of Soriano, is preaching the gospel now centered in the West.
Veridiano has become the accuser, and influential bodies like the courts of Pampanga, the DOJ and recently, the GMA TV have become vehicles used against Soriano. To Soriano’s group, however, the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) is behind all these moves in a desperate attempt to destroy the credibility of the preacher. His challenge to Eraño Manalo to an open debate on TV as published in Manila Times dated March 27, 2005 to “once and for all settle our doctrinal differences” remains un-responded to until today. What remains active from the Manalo camp are filing of cases against him, using excommunicated members of Ang Dating Daan.
The INC practices bloc voting (“command votes”) where every member votes for their leader’s choice, a practice that has hooked Philippine politics ever since. No politician would dare displease INC leadership for want of power. Soriano, however, as fearless preacher, does not consider INC beliefs as godly and therefore exposes whatever he knows in every instance that he is asked. He has a program, “Ask Soriano,” where everyone can ask questions on matters of salvation and INC beliefs are most often touched.
Bro. Soriano said that what Arnold Clavio tackled in his program is not considered tenable. What Clavio could have discussed are vintage cases like the bribery issue concerning former Justice Secretary Hernani Perez and the anomaly in the Expo Filipino, he said.
Arnold Clavio used to co-anchor Unang Hirit of GMA7 with Daniel Razon, the Vice Presiding Minister of MCGI. Razon, who is now playing it great in UNTV as Executive, was asked by GMA some years back to choose between his religion and his job. Asked not to be mentioning “Iglesia ni Cristo,” Razon uttered: “I would rather lose my job than lose my God!” Razon was then yanked out of GMA7.
Soriano notes that although the Iglesia ni Cristo tries hard to press charges on him, “there is no case filed by the Church of Manalo in which I was convicted,” he said. “Our enemies accuse us of the evil deeds they are doing, and wanting to cover up the evil works of their group, they impute their crimes on us,” he told the congregation.
When his lawyers updated him on court matters, Soriano said there is hardly justice in the country. “This is a clear harassment and religious persecution. I can fully defend myself if the International court of Justice will allow me,” Soriano said.