MCGI Choir is Current World’s Largest Gospel Choir – Guinness

By Jane Abao

UPDATE, Manila, Philippines (5/25/2016) – On May 22, 2016, the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) made an attempt to break the Guinness World Record to Largest Gospel Choir with an alleged 21, 272 participants. They then made an announcement that they broke the record. The announcement was made in defiance about to whom they were supposedly breaking the record. Eagle News of the INC earlier reported: “The current record is 8,688 held by man choir of the Believers LoveWorld Ministry, also known as Christ Embassy on December 2015.”

This is gross violation to broadcast ethics according to the Members Church of God International (MCGI). First, the INC made an announcement of having broken the record. Second, they did not recognise the current title holder that is the ADD Chorale of MCGI that won the award on October 12, 2015 with 8,688 participants.

Understandably, they think winning a Guinness is like a basketball game wherein if you add, you get back the title. The INC was title holder to Largest Gospel Choir on July 27, 2014 with only 4,745 singers. But this 2016 attempt is one that they soon realize is still uncooked. Here’s a video they posted in YouTube saying their attempt still has to be submitted to Guinness. They were forced to admit that this is something “still in progress” upon receiving many complaints from the public that they are lying. Normally, awards from the Guinness World Records are given the same day, the GWR adjudicator being present during the event. But there was none in attendance in this INC event. The reporter who first reported about the attempt had clarified that. There was no GWR Adjudicator in attendance during that May 22,2016 event: a failed attempt to get back the title of Largest Gospel Choir.

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 12.11.05Manila, Philippines (1/9/2016) – Guinness World Records (GWR) has recently confirmed that the present titleholder to Largest Gospel Choir is still the Members Church of God International (MCGI) in the Philippines.

The confirmation sought for by MCGI from the reporter’s website and GWR was necessary in the wake of reports that Christ Embassy Choir (No country indicated) is the present titleholder to the record.

On October 12, 2015, Ang Dating Daan, a Bible-based program of the MCGI, was celebrating its 35th anniversary at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, Philippines. As part of the celebration, the Ang Dating Daan Chorale sang a medley of gospel songs properly conducted under concert conditions. In attendance were 8,688 choristers as verified by an external auditing firm P & A Grant Thornton using Turnstile counting, barcoded ticketing method. Acting as official witness was Philippine Congressman Neil Tupas. Having met all the requirements listed on the Guinness World Records website to bag the Largest Gospel Choir Category, Adjudicator, Mrs. Fortuna Burke Melhem judged them as the current record-breaker of all time. Melhem congratulated the organization and welcomed the Ang Dating Daan Chorale to the Guinness World Records family. The previous record-holder of 4,745 participants was that of the Iglesia ni Cristo, also from the Philippines.

However, on December 23, 2015, the kingdomboiz.com site reported about a Christ Embassy Choir bagging a Guinness World Record, and it was about being “Largest Gospel Choir.” Incidentally, such false reporting was exploited by enemies to heckle the incumbent titleholder. Guinness’ reply to MCGI’s inquiry proved that the report about Christ Embassy bagging the Largest Gospel Choir award is misleading or at worst, false.

This false report was used widely by members of the Iglesia ni Cristo to heckle MCGI, much more claim that the award won by the latter is fake. INC is publicly known as an archenemy of MCGI. An archenemy, as defined, is one who is extremely hostile or opposed to someone. The Presiding Minister to MCGI, Bro. Eli Soriano, is known to expose false teachings in his Bible Exposition programs, but among all religions, it is the INC that does not take criticisms fairly. The activities of the INC prompted MCGI to find out the truth.

MCGI, among others, challenged the report for the lack of mention of a GWR adjudicator present, the rounded number of 12,000 participants, and the no-show of a clip of the awarding ceremony.

MCGI noticed that a report by a certain Tobisyn in kingdomboiz.com (12/26/2015) mentioned that Christ Embassy choir bagged a Guinness World Record with their 12,000 participants to largest gospel choir.

The report said they sang Christmas songs and carols “to honor Christ on his birthday.” He had asked that the video be shared and by the time of inquiry had 555 shares. The 12,000 was obviously repeated in the paragraphs to underscore the number supposedly beating all others.

MCGI was then tasked to find out. Google search results at Guinness World Records reflect the following (some 13 days after the report said Christ Embassy won as Largest Gospel Choir). The one at top left reflects MCGI (Members Church of God International) as present titleholder.

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In their inquiry from both Tobisyn’s group and Guinness World Records, MCGI asked the following: “Did it really happen that Guinness awarded this Christ Embassy Choir with Largest Gospel Choir in December 2015?”

It challenged that the report did not mention any Guinness World Records Adjudicator who was present during the affair.

The MCGI inquiry also wondered about the 12,000 and the absence of a video clip on the awarding, thus –

The rounded number of 12,000 is also a surprise because in life, it does not happen that people come in by rounded numbers. What was the exact number of participants? If at all, why did the video not present the awarding if there was such an awarding?

The video being propagated in kingdomboiz.com and YouTube only shows someone beating at a distance and numbers of people being shot. Meanwhile, Guinness World Records answered the MCGI inquiry (1/9/2016) thus –

The largest gospel choir consists of 8,688 participants and was achieved by the Members Church of God International (Philippines), at the Araneta Coliseum, Manila, Philippines, on 12 October 2015. We can also confirm that an adjudicator was present for the event.

This is the letter from GWR –

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And this is about MCGI winning in the Guinness site –

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http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/largest-gospel-choir

Meanwhile, to date there was no response from the side of Christ Embassy Church although the website says it welcomes inquiries and complaints. A check on Wikipedia says –

Christ Embassy, also known as Believers’ LoveWorld Incorporated, is a Church and Mission Group led by Pastor Chris Oyakhilome. It is based in Lagos, Nigeria and has offices in the United Kingdom, United States of America, and South Africa.

Here was Tobisyn’s report that MCGI found as false reporting –

http://kingdomboiz.com/christ-embassy-choir-bags-a-guinness-world-record/

The false report was also replicated in YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwRsB3JHmIM

The MCGI letter reminded the website bannering Christ Embassy Choir that if the report is not true, it does not advance truth. The reporter should correct himself, at best through public apology. The letter ended thus –

A true church would fight for truth and not shield anyone attempting to lie, in the same way that your site should stand for truth. We hope we can correct things so that we won’t be adding to the confusion being propagated in the world.

However, to date, there was no explanation coming from Christ Embassy Church or choir or website. #

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

By Jane Abao

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Atheists Fighting Religion as “Virus” of the Mind?

By Jane Abao

Manila, Philippines (12/11/2014)  – Religion is a virus of the mind that should be eradicated according to an American philosophy instructor and atheism advocate, and proposes how it should be done. However, there is much that this man has not accounted for, from the view of some Christians.

Peter Boghossian wrote in his book, “A Manual for Creating Atheists” (Amazon, November 2013) some protocols towards “containing such virus.”  Boghossian wrote –

A key containment protocol is to financially cripple any institution that propagates a faulty epistemology, starting with the most egregious perpetrators: religious institutions.

Containment as defined in the dictionary has to do with preventing the expansion of a hostile power or ideology or something hazardous.

Boghossian whom Christians believe is a cultist seeking fame and followers and Atheist_1recognition among the atheistic intellectuals (of which he is not one) began his book with his version of a definition for faith. Faith accordingly is a faulty reasoning process because it is “belief without evidence,” and it is “pretending to know things you don’t know.” (pp 23-24).

Whenever you hear the word faith, replace it with ‘pretending to know what you cannot know.’ It is definitive of faith that it is pretending.

Boghossian’s whole approach, based on his definition of faith, contains what are viewed by some Christians as urging extremisms. On the other hand, these are being welcomed by atheists who in fact parrot him.

 

The Bad and the Good

The following are some of Boghossian’s containment protocols excerpted –

  1. Use the word “faith” only in a religious context.

When the faithful are pressed on the definition of faith… they usually retreat to the words ‘hope,’ ‘trust,’ and ‘confidence,’ abandoning knowledge and certainty.

  1. Stigmatize faith-based claims like racist claims.

Don’t let people of faith sit at the Adult Table. Those at the Kid’s Table can talk about anything they’d like, but they have no adult responsibilities and no voice in public policy.

The faithful are to be told, “You are pretending to know things you don’t know. Go to the Kid’s Table, this is a conversation for adults.”

  1. Treat faith as a public health crisis.

We must reconceptualize faith as a virus of the mind … and treat faith like other epidemiological crises: contain and eradicate… it is a public health

  1. Remove religious exemption for delusion from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM).

Once religious or delusions are integrated into the DSM, entirely new categories of research and treatment into the problem of faith can be created. These will include removal of existing ethical barriers, changing treatments covered by insurance, including faith-based to special education programs in the schools, helping children who have been indoctrinated into a faith tradition, and legitimizing interventions designed to rid subjects of the faith affliction.…

In the long term, once these treatments and this body of research are refined, results could then be used to inform public health policies designed to contain and ultimately eradicate faith.

According to Thomas A. Gilson, editor of True Reason (Kregel Publications, Feb 1, 2014), Boghossian, with the language of hatred, is using a communist psychological approach to dissent.

Another reviewer noticed that Boghossian’s “containment protocols” are informed by sources from the political left.  The methodology begins with redefining words to one’s advantage, then to stigmatize, and segregate –

It’s the politics of personal destruction and it comes directly from Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals.” We’ve seen many of the New Atheists use these same tactics. No one more so than Richard Dawkins who really popularized the idea that religious believers shouldn’t be reasoned with, they should be laughed at.

Reviewer Gilson said although roughly the book is urging extremism, there are three good things it does: 1) The author takes a serious swipe at whether there is such a thing as truth, 2) He makes a strong plea for rational thinking, and 3) He recommends a Socratic approach to learning about religious beliefs.

Bro. Eli of MCGI

Smiling side

If Boghossian had heard of a Bro. Eli Soriano, he might have never written this Manual or had written it differently. Called TruthCaster, this Filipino – Brazilian preacher deeply espouses rational thinking when it comes to faith such that he has incurred the ire of all religions other than the one he is Presiding Minister to.

The set-up in the Members Church of God International (MCGI), whether it be a weekly thanksgiving or worship service where Soriano preachers is interactive, allowing him to utilize Socratic questioning to preach the word of God. Although he uses the Bible as main reference, in addition to other resources like Strong’s Greek and Hebrew Dictionary, and evidences for what he is saying, the communication is two-way, and never the hypodermic model utilized by some.

At the front is a presidential table where two or more facilitators are asked questions by Soriano allowing the topic to unfold. In all parts of the world, since the Church is international, there are translators for the church service – from Tagalog to English, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, or German. This extends from the introduction of the topic by his assistant, to the consultation period, and finally to the main part where Soriano finishes off the topic for the service. The audience have their Bibles and they each take notes for review purposes. It is also to enhance their understanding.

A thanksgiving service begins at 3:00 PM (Saturdays, Philippine time) and ends usually at 11:30 – an average of 8 hours with consultation in between. Aside from questions about husband-wife relationships, family management, health, and related concerns, the Consultation as in the Church service proper, involves faith questions such as the following: What is man? What is his purpose? Why are we here? Is life merely physical? After a man dies, where does he go? Is death merely physical? Why did God place the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden? How did sin enter into the world? What is sin? What are angels? You said that angles are spiritual stars, what purpose do they serve? If Satan has children: who are they? What is the purpose of Jesus? Why is transgression of the heart of man described in the Bible as the worst kind of sin? What is the role of Satan? If Satan has deceived the whole world, in what forms has he deceived them?

This preacher is the most queried man on earth, in fact. He carries a Q&A segment in his Bible expositions. He is asked these questions because of his unequalled understanding and he mainly uses the word of God. In discussing this kind of questions, he necessarily exposes false doctrines and practices. – to the mortification of false prophets. More so when he gives Bible Expositions to the public that can be heard worldwide via satellite systems.

In a fight therefore between the religions and the atheists, one can find Preacher Soriano with both because he draws the line. He fights the religions, just as he fights the atheists – all for truth. Either side to him has flaws.

When the evangelist says he is the most maligned preacher, it is on account of having to stand for truth that people try very hard to discredit him for making them run for their money. No one and no one had been humiliated through an Interpol Wanted scheme but Soriano. One politically influential church group had made a game out of filing Soriano case after case, making use of church members the latter had excommunicated – either as complainants or witnesses. The local courts had declared that he is not a fugitive from justice as his enemies would want to put out. (https://kotawinters.wordpress.com/2014/10/22/eli-soriano-not-fugitive-from-justice-two-courts-deny-motions/). Anyone wanted for a crime would not be advertising himself and his activities, and facing the world to answer questions about God’s mysteries – a routine for the preacher.

If there is someone whose biopage in Wikipedia reads more like a charge sheet, it is Soriano’s. This is the work of his enemies as Wikipedia is open to public editing. But aside from the so-called religions running after Soriano’s neck, there are the atheists who engage him in fiery discussions. Soriano happened to chide an actress atheist, Kathy Griffins, for her irresponsible words. During an awarding in 2007, Kathy remarked –

A lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus. Suck it, Jesus, this award is my god now!

When it became known to the public that the preacher rebuked Kathy, another atheist named Kate twitted to him in anger, “I Wikipedia’d you!”

Sweeping and Misplaced Definition of Faith

What follows are contentions of the Christian side on Boghossian’s book. First, it is noted that he quoted John W. Loftus, a leading crusader against Christianity for his definition of faith as evidence-free. Loftus had converted from Christianity to atheism. Such understanding of faith cannot stand for all times, all people, and all places according to Gilson. Definitions are conventional, are developing through usage and have historic meanings. As such, the definition of faith involves evidence. Moreover –

When Boghossian says faith is evidence-free, everyone who has any awareness of the truth of the term knows that he (and other New Atheists in the past decade or so) made that up; it’s not the historic meaning of the term, it’s not the conventional meaning, and it’s not the meaning that applies to…. persons of faith who present evidences for [their] beliefs.

Many Kinds of Religions

Second, there are many kinds of religions. Hinduism, Buddhism, and tribal religions are called religions by some but are not typically theist.  There are important variations in religious beliefs just as there are important differences in non-belief. In fact, not all who claim Christianity can be called Christian, for example. One cannot conclude that100 religions calling themselves Christians accept each other as true and therefore do not disagree. This is on account of false religions existing. Moreover, if these 100 religions differ from one another, one cannot conclude that Jesus Christ is false and did not exist due to these differences.

Third, and as a corollary, a true church would agree with some of Boghossian’s proposals as in the need for rational thinking. It is these false religions that TruthCaster Soriano is waging war on. Partly because of them, people have turned away from believing – what with their idol worship and many other false practices. By inference, these false religions have contributed to the hatred of people on the notion of a creator because of how they unfaithfully have stood for God. In short, they had breed atheism some way, such that atheists relish laughing at God and calling him an underachiever – one whose existence they try to disprove at all costs. But this does not make Boghossian right in his placement of “the virus.” Lumping all religions into one is likened to an attempt at throwing the water with the baby.

Naturalism Not the Standard

Fourth, Boghossian’s book implies that naturalism is the standard of truth. Is it? Naturalism is a theory denying that an event or object has supernatural significance, or is the doctrine that scientific laws are adequate to account for all phenomena. This ism is what infidels adhere to, as declared in Infidelsdotorg that owns The Secular Web (htto://infidels.org/)

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Organization of Infidels

Infidelsdotorg is an international organization of atheists who would rather call themselves “infidels,” defined in the dictionary as unbeliever, disbeliever, un-Christian. A most familiar name – Richard Dawkins – is a member of the Honorary Board, as one from his country, the United Kingdom (http://infidels.org/infidels/honorary.

This organization covets the time spent by the faithful in praying which it says should be better used for gainful pursuits. To some extent, this is true. Catholics, for example, pray with their rosary, 5 Our Father’s and 50 Hail Mary’s.  However, to God who knows the hearts of men, payers need not be long. A true-faith believer would know God will not appreciate treating him like deaf and dumb with repetitious prayers.  But more importantly, the wrong manner of praying does not void the presence of a creator, and praying to a believer is invoking his rights for help and protection from his maker.

Infidelsdotorg claims religious believers waste their money on church buildings. That is admittedly true for one that taxes its members the whole year through for lagak (literally means “drop”) and more lagak to build chapels and chapels but their doctrines are questionable, according to their most severe critic, Soriano.

Infidelsdotorg also mentioned “miracle healing” as practiced by some, with the uncured patient dying as a result. It also mentioned the Catholic Church’s opposition to birth control measures, the religious wars, justified murders on grounds of blasphemy, and many others as making religion “harmful.”

Infidelsdotorg is not exactly right, however, primarily for the reason that all religions cannot be lumped into one and then generalized as “harmful,” just as atheism comes in many forms.

As explained by Infidelsdotorg, an atheist is not looking for meaning or purpose in his life, does not believe in eternal life, is not afraid of death, and if he dies, that is the end of it. Atheists would not therefore readily turn to the teachings preached by Soriano because the Members Church of God International (MCGI) believes that man has to be saved from his sins, there is an eternal life, and that life has meaning and a purpose set by the Creator. Most of all, man has to live by God’s laws and not according to his own wishes. The end for man is to be glorious as his creator has set it – ruling over spirits and man that do not conform to the good and order.

In the history of the MCGI where Soriano is Presiding Minister to, there were only two converts to atheism, but this was not surprising since the two were found leading licentious lives.  As expected, they were excommunicated by the preacher. But notable is the fact that there have not been any liabilities to society among the MCGI members because the church looks after them. A lot of testimonies claim their lives have changed for the better after knowing the Christ being preached by Soriano.

Bro. Eli’s Longer List of the Harmful

The preacher has a longer list to what Infidelsdotorg calls religions’ “harmful” and he has a stronger term for these things: Udyok ni Satanas or Satan-inspired. They are invariably what false religions do and they are what he often calls attention to. To name a few, they include: (1) Baptizing children who have no knowledge of what is going on and who cannot give their consent to the ritual; (2) The forever-baby representations of Jesus Christ, and through images yet; (3) Virgin Mary believed not as a person but as direct mediator to Christ; (4) Santa Claus and celebration of Christ’s “birthday;” (5) Tithing; (6)Forever praying for the dead and forever paying services “for the repose of their soul;” (7) Calling the priest Father, Reverend, Most Reverend, Most Worshipful and many other addresses; (8) Use of Latin for Church services that people do not understand; (9) Prohibiting Church members from reading the Bible; and (10) Bad role modeling among church leadership who do not apply Bible injunctions: from improper way of dressing, to licentious living among the members. They only select what they teach for fear of losing members if they strictly teach all.

By calling these things Satan-inspired, Soriano recognizes something that naturalism denies. People sound being “in” when people mouth atheist ideas. But Soriano teaches that aside from matter that is admittedly living, there is something besides matter in man. This aspect is important in considering those whose ideas become truth for most of the public, the scientists for example.

Soriano goes beyond atheist scientists who do not recognize the existence of ethos as drivers of science and proponents of hypotheses.  Ethos, as defined, is the distinguishing characteristic, moral nature, or guiding belief of a person, group, or institution. A cat playing with a mouse as it dies slowly is hurting to them. There is the ethos of sympathy – for the dying mouse. What about a pupa that kicks and kicks itself to tiredness? If that is senseless, one’s sympathy for these beings may just be self-righteousness but one does not see that internal structures may need these interventions. Before a pupa becomes a beautiful butterfly, it has to kick and kick inside its cocoon to generate oil in its body. This is needed for its growth to the next phase. Grant it sympathy and tear the cocoon and see whether it can become a butterfly that it is meant to be.

It’s all About Ethos

Communicating anything – especially what one believes in like the origin of the universe or one’s religion is actually all about ethos. So when a person loses one’s faith, it is more like having one’s ethos changed. It is said that Charles Darwin “lost his faith” while writing On the Origin of species. Darwin wrote:

There seems to me too much misery in the world. I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designed the Ichneumonidae with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars, or that a cat should play with mice. Not believing this, I see no necessity in the belief that they eye was expressly designed. On the other hand I cannot anyhow be contented to view this wonderful universe and especially the nature of man, and to conclude that everything is the result of brute force. I am inclined to look at everything as resulting from designed laws, with the details, whether good or bad, left to the working out of what we may call chance. Not that this notion at all satisfies me. I feel most deeply that the whole subject is too profound for the human intellect. A dog might as well speculate on the mind of Newton. (http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/entry-2814)

Darwin mentioned CHANCE, not seeing order into the existence of things. To a believer however, there is no chance with God. He had created all things – with a purpose, from the beginning to its end. Whatever happens, God has allowed it and it is not by chance (Bro. Eli Soriano, MCGI, SPM, 12/1/2014).

Richard Dawkins, who is looked upon by many as the successor of Darwin, made a pitch against a supposed beneficent creator, referring to the same incident that Darwin spoke of –

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He wrote this in his book, The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution (2010). Notice that he wrote “victim” for caterpillar. He wrote “paralyze but not kill” for feeding within the living bodies. Where reasoning is involved, there is ethos. Communicating reason carries mood or emotion, but it speaks more of the person’s norms, principles, standards. There is no reasoning without speech. So with two people talking about one incident, the ethos can vary. Aren’t these not carried into the labs? Scientific information is supposedly relayed with care, preserving the original as best as one can, cleaving to truth.

Ichneumonidae refers to parasitoid wasps seen as most beautiful and most amazing by some biologists. As implied, there is a creator who made these insects with a purpose in mind – no matter how we do not like what these insects do.

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It was Richard Dawkins who popularized the idea that religious believers shouldn’t be reasoned with, they should be laughed at. Another Atheist Scientist Lawrence Krauss is on record saying God is not needed for a universe to exist. These are the new heroes of emerging atheists today. Understandably, since communicating about existence or anything carries ethos, there is the need to be careful least one pick up the ethos of another.

In Charles Darwin’s account, the ethos is of an absence of readiness to consider a creator. In Richard Dawkin’s account, the ethos is of obvious negative or hostile state of mind against a supposed beneficent creator.

Ethos acts to level the playing field this way: Since the supposed reasoning comes from the person involved (the supposed thinker), justice plays its part for everyone. The religions may do their practices, harmful or not, but as they do them, it is up to the individual to submit to them or not, to question them or not, to consider them well as of life or as of death and then to decide what to do. If the individual fails to evaluate properly what his religion (harmful or not) offers, given his capacity to understand, then ethos has not worked for him. Ethos has been displayed or is being displayed by the subject religion as opportunities for him to assess, but he has not used his mind properly for an appropriate decision. So whether his religion is virus or not, is actually not an issue.

On the other hand, scientists come out from the labs with their hypothesis – but not everyone is able to watch them or read them as they communicate their findings. As Dr. Lawrence Krauss, for example, talks about his “Universe from Nothing,” he keeps on laughing at the religious as “those guys” and mocking at God as useless and not needed for a universe to exist. But Krauss gave conferences and wrote a book on this hypothesis. Although yet a hypothesis, it will most probably find its way into children’s books as the theory of evolution did. In this case, ethos from Krauss which should have provided the supposed thinker some window of him is almost nil – except those who have viewed him on YouTube most probably – or read his book.

Between false religions and atheistic science, the latter can do more harm then. Nevertheless, ethos from the communicant (religion or science) can logically be met with the principle,”from death to death and from life to life.” Life only comes from life. What we put in the mind and what we accept comes from this principle (II Cor 2: 15-16).

Local Atheists Parrot Atheist Scientists

As described by Infidelsdotorg, an atheist may be neutral or harmless, and that is probably when he is quiet. The moment he actively campaigns for their belief of a “There is no creator” and parrot their new-found heroes in Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss among others, Christians may not look at this kind of atheists as harmless. That is the view of creationists or of at least true Christians like Soriano. Krauss wrote “A Universe from Nothing” (Atria Books (January 1, 2013).

Jeremy Lucban, a locale atheist, exemplifies these new atheists now pontificating to people to be unbelievers.  He laughed derisively at Bro. Eli Soriano’s post on the Mitochondrial Eve without understanding the preacher’s position. In return, the preacher called his mouth “stinking.”

Atheists do not recognize a creator and do not feel bound by God’s laws; therefore they do not look to the Bible as a reference for morality. They laugh at it as a book of fairy tales and Lucban just did it with the title of his newly-opened blog.  A true atheist would believe in evolution for it is sacrilege not to, and so he does. Not believing the Bible as true, Lucban cherry-picked verses “to prove” his point.

A creationist, particularly a true Christian, recognizes a creator and looks upon God’s laws as his guide to morality and truth. “Stinking” to a Christian therefore takes the word of God as to what it is. What are fragrant to God are those that are of Christ, and there are two types of aroma in the eyes of God: the aroma from life to life, and the aroma from death to death (II Corinthians 2:15-16).  Those who are not of Christ then have no life above the material and therefore they “stink” – not just in the mouth for they are spiritually dead, having taken their death from the non-life. In contrast, life can only be taken from life.

In his blog, Soriano posted ISAIAH 40:22 as in from the Bible –

ISAIAH 40:22

 It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:

As a response, Lucban insolently posted “Isaiah 40:22 is FLAT EARTH with a DOME.” This was according to Lucban’s source, but what he meant to do was to load the ignorance of some believers on Soriano. Obviously, Lucban did this to jibe with his agenda of presenting the Bible as a book of fairy tales. And so everyone must believe the earth is flat with a dome – according to foolish believers. He even added an image of that “flat earth with a dome.” That’s pure Strawman fallacy, Lucban! You are boxing against the wind!

As to doing good without the Bible to follow, this is not impossible to some. The God of the Bible claims he has placed that desire on man. However, to unbelievers, they can never be moral (as with spiritual life) since their knowledge comes from non-life or death and is separated from the life of the maker.

The rest of Lucban’s arguments do not deserve attention. With Reductio ad absurdum he cuts up pieces, perhaps in his lack of understanding, or in his bid to find flaws before he could understand what is being said.

The Real Virus of the Mind

The mind, after all, necessarily needs to be free from whatever virus that impinges on it. The question then is not so much as where to locate the virus but why it is virus.That virus needs to be qualified from being just referred to as “virus because X does not reason.” There is a need to go deeper and say the virus is “virus because X does not reason properly. And why so? Because X, in man’s thinking carries ethos and it is seen in the way he communicates. Man, the actor in religion or science, is matter but he has a sentient part – exemplified simply in the way he thinks, in the way his words come. If reason is all that important to us, then virus must be located (for its presence or its absence) – but more than that: the reason of the reason.

Applied to the laboratories where scientists work, ethos is evident. Until now, the theories or hypotheses of scientists remain only theories or hypotheses after several centuries of studying. These include Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection, the Big Bang, and now Lawrence Krauss’ Quantum Mechanics’ universe from nothing.  If these are just theories or hypotheses, why act as if they were true? Why teach them? Why write books on them and make money out of them? It is obviously hard to believe in a scientist who, in his attempt to rationalize God fails, and curses him all along.

Applied to religions, ethos is also evident, and so a believer should be able to reason. Why, for example, should one kiss a wooden crucifix passed from one mouth to another? Why one should preach at chapels when he is a womanizer or a pedophile or a murderer? Why one should vote for a politician against one’s will for so-called church unity? There is much that religions have done to breed atheism – false that they are. It is worse than not knowing God at all.

The real virus of the mind is not religions per se, or scientism/naturalism. The real virus specifically comes in many names like greed and self-righteousness. It is very evident in ethos – in the way one communicates as a result of his thinking. It is the spirit of falsehood – the spirit that can rule in the mind of anyone (in science or in the religions) if he does nor watch out.

And the source of it? The same source of chaos, a spirit being that is seemingly doing its best to suppress exposure of the spiritual dimension (of existence, of man, of truth) because then he would be exposed – Satan. However, not in all cases is Satan responsible for the failings of man; it can be man himself.

For Bro. Eli Soriano who stands against these religions and stands against atheism, it is time the world asks him the question, why so? #

Eli Soriano Not Fugitive from Justice: Two Courts Deny Motions

By Jane Abao

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Corruption in News Media and the Charge of Power-grab

By Jane Abao

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

The Column

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next, he pigeon-holed Binay with many others.

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

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

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

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

Rhetorical Analysis

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is Power

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

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

Not Protected Speech

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

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

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

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

Responsibility

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

Missing Supports

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

When Freedom is Bad

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

Disinformer

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

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

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

Column Writing

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

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

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

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

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

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

Padilla’s Argument

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

C: Binay swore lies in God’s name.

Etcetera.

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

Mere Assumptions

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

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

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

The Soriano

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Media Literacy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Corruption in Media

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let Us Take the Bull by the Horns

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

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

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

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

Foxy Media

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Last Word

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

____________

 

References on Corruption in Philippine Media:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

By Jane Abao

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

People's Journal, May 8, 2014
People’s Journal, May 8, 2014

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

Judge Josephine Zarate-Fernandez dismisses case of attempted murder on January 14. 2014
Judge  dismisses case of attempted murder, Feb 11, 2010. No evidence of alleged conspiracy.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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