GMA7 uses self-confessed serial rapist vs. crusading preacher, Ang Dating Daan boycott stays

The Giant TV network that allowed more lies to proliferate by glorifying a liar

By Jane Abao

Manila, Philippines (July, 1, 2009) – A giant TV network used a self-confessed serial rapist as a resource person recently to discuss a pending case he had filed against a fearless preacher known for exposing false practices.

GMA7, considered the biggest among TV networks in the country used Daniel Veridiano alias Puto as a resource person in an episode in Case Unclosed, a program in GMA7 the night of June 18, 2009.

Veridiano claimed that the preacher, Bro. Eliseo Soriano, raped him on two counts – in 2000 and in 2001. Soriano is the Presiding Minister of the Members Church of God, International (MCGI) or Ang Dating Daan (ADD) as known to the public. Tagged as “the most sensible preacher in our time,” a bible scholar so adept in biblical teachings that any question could be asked of him, he has become an international evangelist since 2005.

With the West as his present focus, Soriano has tremendously increased the membership of the MCGI or ADD in six continents with the effective use of technology. Known as TruthCaster for his biblical expositions, foreigners have largely come to know him through Truth in Focus, a compact disk reproduction of his discussions on the Word of God. Soriano’s preachings therefore have reached remote places like those in South Africa and Saudi Arabia.

Veridiano filed his complaint after a lapse of some 5 years when he could not be admitted back to the folds of the Church and subsequently left for the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) that readily accepted him. Preacher Soriano is considered the most vocal critic of the INC and Veridiano knew that.

According to court records that first dismissed the case, Veridiano is “indisputably ill-motivated from the inception” which is why he had filed the case. Soriano said Veridiano is retaliating for being excommunicated.

As penned by Alexandro Lopez, Assistant Provincial Prosecutor of Region III, San Fernando, Pampanga and as approved by Jesus Y. Manarang, the Provincial Prosecutor: “The foregoing facts, together with the rift going on between the INC and the ADD, which we cannot deny, only show that the complainant was indisputably ill-motivated from the inception, and these necessarily, without any scintilla of doubt, substantially affect, if not lessen, his credibility as an unperjured affiant.

Case Unclosed is a news and public affairs TV show in the Philippines aired every Thursday evenings by GMA Network.  Currently hosted by Arnold Clavio, it supposedly showcases vintage cases unsolved by authorities.

“There was no sense of justice and equity in the Case Unclosed of Arnold Clavio over GMA7. In the first place, the invented rape case against me is still in the courts,” the preacher said. Suggesting that vintage cases should have been the coverage of such a program, he underscored the status of the case that is still in the courts.

Daniel Razon, the Vice Presiding Minister of the Church of God International, and a current executive of UNTV, used to co-anchor a morning show, Unang Hirit, with Arnold Clavio in GMA7. Razon was asked some years back by GMA7 if he could give up something from his religion to please the Iglesia ni Cristo. He instead chose to remain with his faith. From there, Razon was asked to resign.

The Ang Dating Daan began its boycott of GMA on June 19, 2009 the following day that the episode was shown.

GMA is publicly known to compete with ABS-CBN, another TV network, for ratings. The Kapuso network of GMA is bruited about as dominating ratings in Mega Manila and Urban Luzon, based on the data of AGB Nielsen Philippines. But even as they claim so, the ABS-CBN insists its programs from daytime to primetime trumped its rival GMA’s shows nationwide based on overnight TV ratings of Taylor Nelson Sofres. As publicly known, day in- day out, GMA and ABS-CBN would compete for viewer ratings.

The fight for ratings between GMA and ABS-CBN is seen by the Ang Dating Daan sector as partly the reason why GMA7 readily jumped into showing this highly questionable Case Unclosed episode. To reckon, the average number of ADD attendees in Apalit, Pampanga alone during regular thanksgivings is 70,000. If GMA7 thought of creatively increasing their ratings by dealing with this rape case where the accused is an international figure, then this network made a false move. This is the current mood of the ADD now that posted many critical assessments of that GMA show.

The presentation tackled only the side of the complainant, Veridiano, and nothing for the accused, Bro. Eliseo Soriano. As presented in Clavio’s program, Veridiano also added more lies to his statements, obviously calculated to mislead the public and that he is an innocent victim.

Veridiano has become a member of the Iglesia ni Cristo whose habit appears to be that of maligning Soriano. Preacher Soriano routinely exposes the INC of their false beliefs using largely the text discourses in the INC magazine, Pasugo. With it, Soriano has found many errors which he would discuss in bible expositions that obviously embarrass the INC ministers no end. As an effect, the dwindling of the INC membership is credited to Soriano whose preachings were able to enlighten several members of the INC to leave their chapels and join ADD.

“It was in May of 2000 when he summoned me to his room. I was shocked at what followed. At that time I couldn’t resist his advances. There is a teaching in Ang Dating Daan which says the messenger of God does not commit sin. Whatever he does to you is right and just. At that time, I was really terrified of him; and there also is a teaching in Ang Dating Daan that one must do what Soriano tells him to do, at all times. Obey him, otherwise you’ll be cursed. Something really, really bad will happen to you if you disobey this supposed messenger of God,” Veridiano said in Clavio’s program.

Veridiano ended his drama with this statement that sounded like a warning about a dangerous man:  “If I don’t fight and speak up, a lot of people will be in danger; and they need to know what he really is and that he is not sinless and he is not true.”

The Ang Dating Daan is readying charges against Veridiano, Arnold Clavio, and GMA. Veridiano knows very well that there is no teaching in Ang Dating Daan from where he was ex-communicated that the messenger does not commit sin and that what he tells one to do is a command to be followed or else one gets cursed.

That Veridiano had been raping his subordinates over many years, taking advantage of a Church credit card for a considerable time, vacationing around beaches during worship services, and traveling abroad at the expense of the Church money entrusted to him are facts that run counter to his made-up stories. Soriano said Veridiano was given all the chances to reform, but he did not. Instead, he tried to cover up some of his doings that surfaced later on after he was expelled from the ADD environs.

Veridiano was excommunicated from the church by Soriano in August 2005 upon recommendation of an investigating panel tasked to look into complaints of raping his subordinates at the ADDCIT, and gross misappropriation of church funds. Some 14 boys had complained of rape and acts of lasciviousness where Veridiano had admitted of the 9 in a confession letter that he wrote to two ministers of the Church dated November 21, 2004.

Records show that the double rape case was filed in October 2005 but was dismissed on January 6, 2006 for lack of evidence by the Regional Court of Pampanga. It was re-filed in higher court by the then Secretary of Justice, Raul Gonzalez who was particularly interested in the case. Through a memorandum to RSP Jesus Simbulan, ORSP, Region III, Gonzalez directed that the records of the case be elevated to his office. To the Ang Dating Daan, however, this action is highly irregular and suspect.

As earlier reported, Soriano explained to the congregation worldwide via satellite that he could not give a statement regarding the case. As such, Clavio should not have gone ahead and aired that episode, knowing fully well that his report is not balanced.

“There was an email to me why we do not answer the broadcast of GMA. There is a principle of sub judice. Under our laws, I cannot answer because I will be cited for contempt of court. That case has just started.  It should not be part of the program, Case Unclosed,” Soriano said. “If a case is already in the court, you cannot speak on the merits of it. That would be under the principle of sub judice. However, not talking about it does not mean that we are not responding at all,” he added.

Meanwhile, members of Ang Dating Daan are actively encouraging their peers to delete GMA from their list of TV channels. All over the web, all church locales including those overseas are actively voicing their opinions of a biased TV network. Behind it all, however, they see the invisible hand of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) that habitually makes things difficult for the preacher and the ADD.

The INC intervention in the biblical expositions of Preacher Soriano reveals a pattern. Whenever the ADD would rent public venues for the affair, most often there is interruption, or the management of the place that has been paid for, calls for cancellation. This was what happened in Bulacan. In Malolos, a new Chief of Police that was a member of the Iglesia ni Cristo said the ADD could not use the paid-for venue but he could not give a reason at all. The ADD staff had to remove all their stuff and leave the place.

They recall that the same thing happened in Cainta, Rizal, in Tagaytay, and in Puerto Princesca of Palawan. In Palawan, it was the Office of the President, Gloria Arroyo, that called management not to let ADD use the facilities.

In Virac, Catanduanes, the management did not allow the ADD to use the facilities. Electrical wires were destroyed just so the air conditioning system of the building would not be usable. The bible exposition then was delayed.

Soriano then reminded his men not to be renting public places as the public officials are beholden to the Iglesia ni Cristo. The INC finds power in their practice of bloc voting where every member has to vote for the choice of their church leader. Every election time, the New Era palace of the INC in the Commonwealth Avenue of Quezon City becomes the beat of politicians seeking their endorsement. Such endorsements later on, however, transform into political debts that have to be collected later on in the form of interventions in government systems. This is what Preacher Soriano would condemn often as the root cause of corruption in government systems to include justice.

“I think they want to put me on hold,” Bro. Soriano said, referring to the INC. Perhaps they are so envious that we are able to establish churches in other parts of the world. Let them wait for the fulfillment of the prophecy. Let them witness the unfolding of the Church of God in the West.

“The Church of Manalo came ahead of us in Saudi Arabia but we are greater in number now than they are. I don’t know if they can influence the government here. The laws here are different,” Soriano who is overseas  said.

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The Face of War: Preacher in Exile Dares Powerful Nemesis to Finally Debate

By Jane Abao

An international evangelist, considered as the most queried man on earth today reiterated his need to face his powerful nemesis in a one-on-one debate on television live. Also counted as the most sensible preacher of our time today, his challenge is not one to be easily dismissed. Some quarters look at this challenge as a spur to the debate of the century long expected by those familiar with this preacher.

Filipino evangelist Bro. Eliseo Soriano who had exiled himself for expediency, reiterated today (23/1/2008) his challenge to a church leader of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC, translated as Church of Christ) to come out in the open so that this man could defend his teachings. Soriano had been very critical of false preachers ever since, most especially those of the INC.

Eraño Manalo, the Executive Minister of the INC, one whom Soriano calls a false preacher, has been ignoring Soriano’s call for a debate. Soriano is the presiding minister of the Church of God, International, better known through their program, as Ang Dating Daan (The Old Path) by the public.

Eraño is the son of Felix Manalo, founder of the INC. He is politically a kingmaker in the Philippines for his bloc-voting congregation and is much sought after by politicians for help come election time.

Soriano, 61, left the Philippines in a hurry towards the end of 2005 when conditions turned sour to his interests as preacher, on the belief that Manalo had much to do with the string of cases maliciously filed against him. Word had reached the evangelist of impending events to happen. As he did not want anyone of his people to be sacrificed if they defended him, Soriano left the country upon advice of his security personnel.

A formal challenge to debate with Manalo was published by Soriano in one whole page of the broadsheet, Manila Times, in March 2005. The intention was to end once and for all the contentions between them and to let the public see who among them was telling the truth.

However, the INC Executive Minister Manalo merely told Soriano through his ministers in their TV program, Ang Tamang Daan (The Right Path), to debate with the Pope of Rome first and speak Latin before attempting to debate with him.

Ang Tamang Daan is an INC counterfeit of Ang Dating Daan (The Old Path), Soriano’s long running program which has won several awards. For the nth time, Soriano who has been based abroad for two years now is reiterating the call for debate with Manalo.

In a bible exposition where the interactive portion, “Ask Bro. Eli” was held today at Marinduque, south of Manila, via satellite from the United States, Soriano who is called Bro. Eli, has been challenged by a minister of the Iglesia ni Cristo or INC to explain why Soriano kept referring to his church as Iglesia ni Manalo (Church of Manalo). Soriano replied that there are so many churches of Christ but it is only the INC who refers to Christ as man and that he never was God at any time. Therefore, to make a distinction that the church of Christ he was referring to is the one that believes in Christ as man, Soriano had to refer to this group as Iglesia ni Manalo, he said.

Further, Soriano reasoned out that the Wesleyans did not find it offensive if their church was referred to as the Church of Wesley, just as the Mormons and the Aglipays did not feel slighted when they were referred to as the Mormon church or the Aglipayan church. Soriano also showed some documents on screen for the audience to see that Felix Manalo, the founder of this church, referred to the Iglesia ni Cristo as “my church.”

Piqued with the preacher’s answer, the minister of the INC (name unidentified to the audience) insisted that he could debate with Soriano at that very moment, but the latter countered that he must have the authority of Manalo first. The minister claimed that Soriano had been evading debate with his group, to which Soriano retorted that he was the one who had long been challenging Manalo to come out in the open and defend his teachings. He also warned the INC minister not to reverse the truth.

Answering from his seat abroad where is he based, Soriano said in a raised voice, “It is I who kept calling for Manalo to come out in the open and debate with me. Don’t you dare reverse the truth.”

As published in Wikipedia, “Eliseo Soriano posted a paid advertisement in Manila Times broadsheets and invited the camp of Iglesia ni Cristo in a one on one debate and discussion. The Iglesia ni Cristo answered Soriano on their program by asking him to debate first with Pope John Paul II which was bedridden at that time and died a few days after this was posted.”

The INC minister, who was tagged as the 14th inquirer in the “Ask Bro. Eli” portion of the program that night, walked out of the hall after failing to get what he wanted. As he left the hall, many of his followers took after him that several seats were vacated up front. However, even as the INC group left, there was excitement in the air.

It is nights like this that the audience becomes excited whenever one would dare challenge Bro. Eli. Until now, it is said, no one has proven this man wrong when it comes to biblical matters. His work history is one tracked with many exciting debates – with the losers leaving in bitterness after their erroneous teachings were exposed. Bro. Eli does not flinch whenever he comes face to face with false preachers, it is said. The INC are not excluded from the many fiery attacks of this evangelist.

It was evident that the inquirer was not there to ask questions on matters of faith or salvation but to register his angst and anger against the host for labeling their church as Iglesia ni Manalo.

Eliseo Soriano comes off as the most queried man on earth today. Working initially with Filipino audiences wherever they could be found, he had expanded on to international audiences. In his program, “Ask Bro Eli,” he is asked several questions ranging from relationships, to dreams, to ailments, to spiritual concerns, to management, to governance, to deep matters of truth, and he would answer by reading direct from the bible.

Each month, Soriano’s program gives off an average of 10 bible expositions where about 20 complex questions in each are asked and he would give long comprehensive answers. Each month, therefore, Soriano’s program that is held in the evening up to midnight could reap about 200-250 questions and each year, about 2,500 questions. The program had started its heydays in the radio then. Most of the questions are those not answered by the pastors of the inquirers. They included questions about idols, spirits, prayers, death, tithing, the real Jesus Christ, resurrection, judgment day, living, God the father, false preachers.

“Ask Bro. Eli ” has long been showcasing Soriano’s prowess in answering questions where most of the inquirers were enlightened and had joined Soriano’s faith – not excluding those from the Iglesia ni Cristo.

Soriano is now facing multiple charges in the Philippines filed by the Iglesia ni Cristo and its sympathizers – all of them arising from his work as evangelist. The witnesses are either those Soriano had excommunicated from his congregation for various offenses, public officials who had benefited from the bloc-voting practices of the INC, and even those who stood to gain from the filed cases.

The impact of the evangelist’s work has drastically reduced the membership of Manalo’s church that heavily depended on tithing – which practice Soriano has been preaching against. Tithing according to him is merely Mosaic law that is not applicable to Christians today.

Wanting to continue with his mission as one in a hurry, Soriano tries yet to be safe from those who would want his downfall. With his impressive humanitarian work of caring for the helpless of Philippine society, he feels he is not being given the justice due a Filipino citizen.

In one of the many earlier discussions of Soriano on Biblical topics, he had intimated that the last war to be fought will be a war between truth and evil.

Soriano had earlier filed a case with the International Human Rights Commission.