Iglesia ni Cristo: Snapping Dissent with Familiar Patterns

By Jane Abao

Manila, Philippines (August 15, 2015) – What did experts think about the dissent within the Iglesia ni Cristo?

The INC is facing a crisis. That’s very clear from recent news. Critics claim that the leaders of the group are wasting money citing the millions of pesos being spent for their airplane. Rappler reports-

The Airbus that [Eduardo] Manalo and his ministers are using is aside from a Boeing Business Jet 737 that had been described as “the best-selling jet airliner in the history of aviation.” Depending on the model, a passenger business jet can seat from 85 to 215 passengers, while a customized executive jet can have a bedroom and seats good for 20-30 passengers, sources familiar with aircraft told Rappler.

The Boeing Business Jet 737 is said to have been purchased 4 years ago at an estimated price of about P3.6 billion ($80 million), the sources told us. Yearly maintenance costs of these types of aircraft, according to those in the know, easily amount to from P3 million to P4 million. This excludes fuel expenses. (http://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/investigative/100445-iglesia-leaders-billions-pesos-aircraft).

Added to this is abduction of ministers who were critical of the administration. Lowell Menorca’s case, for one, is intriguing. (http://www.rappler.com/nation/100501-inc-minister-lowell-menorca-released). There are allegedly no abductions happening. This is denied by the church. (http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/707413/what-split-what-corruption-iglesia-ni-cristo-spokesman)

But they immediately excommunicated some critics including the mother and brother of the Executive Minister, Eduardo Manalo. (http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2015/07/23/1480126/iglesia-ni-cristo-expels-leaders-mother-brother)

They even filed libel cases against the critics. (http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/metro-manila/07/28/15/iglesia-ni-cristo-sues-expelled-minister-libel)

The crisis is not yet over as the critics try to create a movement “to return the church to its old splendor when it first began with Felix Manalo.” (See Nehemiah Ecclesiastes, Official videos, Facebook, 8/10/2015).

What is happening with the Iglesia ni Cristo? Where is the Iglesia headed for?

Four sources have invariably discussed what is happening with the Iglesia ni Cristo through their own platform: a professor of Philippine Studies, a Sociologist of Religion, a Bible Scholar, and a minister of the Iglesia ni Cristo who left his organization with many questions on his head.

The professor of Philippine Studies was asked about what he thought about the INC controversy. The sect is usually secretive, he said. There is a need for transparency.

Written by Joe Torres (ucanews, 8/10/2015), the interviewee noted that secrecy is one of hallmarks of this religious sect. In “Public rift puts 101-year-old Philippines sect under spotlight,” he highlighted the need for transparency. Here’s part of the report –

David Michael San Juan, professor of Philippine Studies at De La Salle University in Manila, said the public rift represents a crossroads for the usually secretive sect.

“The rift may weaken it if it fails to address concerns on transparency and other issues,” he said. “The rift may strengthen it if it leads to more transparency in their highly respected institution.”

In other words, secrecy in the sect has contributed to their undoing. San Juan said some issues that church members raised are valid and that includes the allegation about certain ministers trying to extort money from politicians, and the allegation that church funds for being used for some leaders’ luxury. These are public issues, he said.(http://www.ucanews.com/news/public-rift-puts-101-year-old-philippines-sect-under-spotlight/74040)

Earlier, Rappler.com posted a Podcast titled “Saan patungo ang Iglesia ni Cristo?” (Where is the Iglesia ni Cristo bound for? (8/8/2015). Jayeel Cornelio a Sociologist of Religion is said to point to some INC growth at another level: “religious worldling.”

Worldling is inherently negative, but as the column of Cornelio proposes the concept of “religious worldling” to explain what is happening with the INC, he lauds the group in terms of sophistication in the positive sense.

The Director of Development Studies Program of Ateneo in “INC, Philippine Arena, and religious worldling” was theorizing that with the mammoth Philippine Arena, the INC has achieved some sophistication.

Worldling

WorldlingDotOrg says the term “worlding” cannot be found in any dictionary, even though the term has been in use for nearly a century. Martin Heidegger is said to have popularized the neologism in his 1927 Being and Time to mean “being-in-the-world.”

A worldling is a person who is primarily concerned with worldly matters or material things. As applied with the Iglesia ni Cristo, the focus was on expansion – material at that, with the Philippine Arena giving the high point of assessment.

Now, we come to a preacher. What did he think about this INC crisis? It is a judgment from God says Bro. Eli Soriano, Presiding Minister to the Members Church of God International (MCGI). Do not mistake that for “pagsubok” or trial. Only fanatics insist it is trial, and that corruption is being revealed only now. No, that church has been corrupt from the beginning, he says.

Soriano’s blog says it best. In “Gravity Floating Up All Secrets of Secrets,” he writes –

What is obtaining now with the Iglesia ni Cristo ni Manalo is that in spite of their indoctrinated secrecy of what they do, a force from above is making those secrets surface. Undoubtedly, it is the power of God! That group has long been practicing the act of covering up ugly matters inside their church, of bringing them down, and layering them into secrecy.

But what they did to five PUP students in secret, for example, came out. The case said their members involved mangled the victims’ bodies at the basement of their chapel. The dead bodies floated and were fished out from the muddy Pasig River!!!! (See Supreme Courts Annotated, Vol. 339, August 28, 2000 on the case People vs. Abella).

In an attempt to flush the killing off, the river was the supposed solution. But the bodies floated up to witness against the killers.

What did Soriano think about what’s happening?

Can we say this is like the Cambrian Period where it is said there is a massive explosion of revelation? (Note: I do not believe in the Cambrian Period being an explosion).

We cannot say that corruption in the Iglesia ni Cristo ni Manalo evolved! What is true in the Cambrian Period is collaterally true with the INC of Manalo. Since its inception, there are the corrupt practices of its ministers! It is proven by the very words of Eraño Manalo, second generation Executive Minister, that the corruption among the present generation of his ministers was inherited from ministers pioneering their works of corruption! It was earlier proven by a circular signed by Felix Manalo, first generation Executive or Presiding Minister, himself revealing the corrupt practices of his pioneering ministers. (http://www.controversyextraordinary.com/2015/08/gravity-floating-up-all-secrets-of.html)

Finally, we look into a minister who left the INC.

On a circular read in the whole district of Leyte, July 25, 2015, Joven O. Sepillo Sr is excommunicated for allegedly fighting the Administration and circulating false information with the objective of troubling the church. Sepillo Sr. said he had decided to come out in public to clear out his name against this charge.

Sepillo, Sr. an INC minister for 29 years but excommunicated by the Sanggunian together with his family, was bidding goodbye to his calling as minister for what he considered to be irreconcilable to his principles. He was expelled instead. The following are excerpts from his post [translated from Tagalog] centered on many questions similar to those being voiced out by other excommunicated INC ministers –

If only I left in an orderly way, it would not reach this far, they said. Is what is orderly, bidding goodbye without mentioning any shenanigans and not calling the Administration to counter these? Have they found out that there is no corruption going on now? Has the Administration done an honest-to-goodness investigation to protect the Sanggunian from false accusations? If they have but the ones told to investigate are themselves the accused, will justice be seen by the brethren who are looking for truth?

I am sad that what is often heard from the Spokesman of the Iglesia regarding critics is that they are only defaming without showing any evidence. Those opposing corruption are shown as evil and creating trouble in the church. They are the ones being persecuted, threatened, and done with, just to silence them.

Is there no one from the Sanggunian who will stand for truth? Shall we only wait for the hand of God to render judgment on the guilty? They may have forgotten that it is a Nation of God that they are managing.

The root cause of these troubles now is the change of perceptions among ministers about their supposed life in the ministry. Some are not aware that this is where corruption entered in – the supposed lifestyle of ministers. (See post by Jorge. http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/711261/doj-secures-3-expelled-iglesia-ni-cristo-members).

Interpretations

San Juan, the professor, said secrecy has not done good to the INC. He considers that some of the issues raised by the members of the INC are public and therefore valid.

Cornelio, the sociologist says the INC has come to religious worldling, a sophistication that he tends to congratulate, although it is not about being godly but worldly. Cornelio has barely scratched the surface and his basic fault is the color of his tone. He provides no proper guidance for the reader since his moral compass is also faulty. Notice his use of the term, “Moral Economies.”

At the bottom of his column is written this part:

Some parts of this column are derived from the paper Cornelio presented at the international workshop “Emerging Moral Economies in Southeast Asia” at L’ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris in June 2014.

This italics part in a way explains the deficiency in Cornelio’s analysis. The original material was written one year before this public clash between the Manalo brothers with the Sanggunian on the side of Eduardo Manalo, the incumbent executive minister. Where was Cornelio all the time?

The column of this Sociologist of Religion is pathetically dead and deaf to events that have recently unfolded and still are. There was no attempt at updating. He had disregarded the fact that the INC members question the purpose of the mammoth building and even as basic as its maintenance. This is moral economy for Cornelio?

The second review of this Jayeel Serrano Cornelio talks of “restorationist ethos” of the INC but still suggests a patronizing attitude. With all the news coming out from many quarters, one would wonder if Cornelio is a PR man for the INC. His article of August 13, 2015 says –

The church espouses a restorationist ethos as it claims to be the one true church called to take Christianity back to its original character and form of worship. It has several distinctive elements, among which is the absolute oneness doctrine that pits it against the Trinitarian mainstream in the Philippines.

Its founder, Felix Y. Manalo, is believed to be the fulfillment of a biblical prophecy that in the last days, an Angel from the East will arise. The church has therefore effectively sacralized the Philippines as a nation that plays an instrumental role in the last days.

The church’s unity is also one enduring source of pride for its members.

Unity manifests itself in different ways, such as doctrinal uniformity and submission to the leadership. Members are expected to heed their ministers, for example, on matters of faith and interpretation of Scriptures.

Members also fall in line during national elections, voting as a bloc for whatever candidates church leaders tell them to support. Members cannot take each other to court nor can they marry nonmembers. Even the predictable neo-gothic architecture of its churches is evocative of Iglesia ni Cristo’s institutional unity.  (http://www.ucanews.com/news/after-101-years-growing-pains-for-philippines-iglesia-ni-cristo/74075)

One wonders now how Cornelio was educated. Was he taught to think critically?

Here’s a quote from Albert Einstein’s Ideas and Opinions (1954). It emphasizes the importance of bracing all education with critical thinking principles and the development of character – no matter what specialization.

It is not enough to teach a man a specialty. Through it he may become a kind of useful machine but not a harmoniously developed personality. It is essential that the student acquire an understanding of and a lively feeling for values. He must acquire a vivid sense of the beautiful and of the morally good. Otherwise he – with his specialized knowledge – more closely resembles a well-trained dog than a harmoniously developed person. He must learn to understand the motives of human beings, their illusions, and their sufferings in order to acquire a proper relationship to the individual fellow-men and to the community.

It’s a waste of time when a sociologist of religion writes without first manifesting on the environment. It is even dangerous that he professes to teach the Catholic world about the INC. If he is writing for United Catholic Asia News, he is only misleading the people there. Has he come across what the critic ministers are saying? There’s a Farley de Castro that is often reported by Ces Drilon of ABS-CBN. De Castro is one of the INC ministers excommunicated. Here are excerpts (translated from Tagalog) from his talk (Part III) –

They are just running away. They just do not want to answer the many questions about the anomalies and corruption issues happening now in the church.

Why don’t they answer? They said they will answer the questions last Tuesday [August 4, 2015] during the Prayer Meeting but they dealt with another topic. Aren’t they liars? And until now they haven’t answered the questions regarding anomalies in the church.

 

In Part II, here are some of Farley de Castro’s words [translated from Tagalog] addressing his brothers –

We saw how the words of God were used as basis in persecuting and abusing others by those who have no right. The abuse and wrong use of the words of God to deceive and make the brethren believe to accept their deeds and their reasons. Our poor brethren, our brethren who cannot do anything but follow.

But my question is, why is this done in the management of ministers? They said, isn’t it true that this church won’t apostate anymore? Yes, but many individuals will apostate if they do not move – if we don’t help them, if we don’t love them. Most of them are poor but with full faith, giving their all with readiness.

But our offerings are being wasted in a lifestyle meant only for personal interest.

He addresses Eduardo Manalo, the Executive Minster, and asks many questions, even an intriguing one about the spirit that dwells at their Central. [Note: Central refers to the main headquarters of the INC).

Bro. Eduardo, I have been hearing you for a very long time and I know that you love the church. But why now, why did you allow the church to go this way?

Didn’t you know that from the beginning the church would become like this if your wife will always intervene? Because this was the order of Bro. Eraño G. Manalo before he died. Why is it that we who are standing for righteousness are the very ones being expelled? Is it really true that the spirit of the devil thrives at Central? We love you, Bro. Eduardo.

Didn’t you know from the beginning what your mother and your brother wanted, especially Bro. Angel? Didn’t you know that never did he want to grab your rights? Didn’t you know that they only wanted to let the church restored from the beginning when the messenger of the last days started it? May God have mercy and remember his nation.(https://www.facebook.com/NehemiahEcclesiastesOfficial/videos/vb.414257252092254/440362976148348/?type=2&theater)

If Cornelio had scanned the environment well before writing, he would know that there’s no honest attempt at “restoration ethos” in the way he presented it. There is logically no restoration ethos where communication lines are not open. As a consequence, there’s no restoration ethos where the leader is found decidedly weak and indecisive, cutting off links even with his very own mother and siblings.

What sorely obtains is more of a group confronting the administration and calling for a movement (kilusan) to force a return to the old set-up (physical) – because things are not normal. The resolution they basically wanted was for Eduardo Manalo not to listen to his wife, some peace, and a simple life style for the ministers. For a restoration ethos to materialize, it should start from the head having the drive, the discipline, and the desire. It should not come from the few critics at the side. But clearly, when a fish rots, it begins from the head.

As expected, there’s no response from his side. From all accounts, he and his men were not even answering questions of their brethren who wanted at least the children of Eraño Manalo to be back to their posts and their power restored. But Sociologist Cornelio appeared more of writing public relations pieces, taking extreme care lest he mention any fault. One is inclined to think he is an INC trolling in United Catholic Asia News, ready to neutralize whatever is written against the INC. That is barely a way to be helpful to society as a sociologist of religion.

Back to interpretations, when it comes to religion, the most that should be consulted are those that handle the words of God for this is the commodity in question. What is happening now? Preacher Soriano declares it is a judgment from God that the INC is being revealed as corrupt even from the beginning.

Admitting that he is the fiercest critic of the INC, Soriano would examine their beliefs and practices now and then – would answer to questions about the INC in his regular Bible Expositions. For that, he has attracted many court cases filed against him by the INC – including threats on his life. These have all become the drama that the broadsheets, the TV and the Internet would banner for several years.

The preacher talks about disturbing familiar patterns in the way the INC reacts to dissent – coming from his experience with the INC and paralleling those reported in the news. These practices and their attendant difficulties have been inflicted on him and those of others he knew, but never in his mind did he imagine they will happen to the very members of the INC.

What about the INC minister who had decided to leave his ministry? Sevillo Sr, the expelled INC minister, tends to agree with all of these three experts: (1) There is lack of transparency in the INC as pointed out by Prof. San Juan; (2) The INC has become worldly-wise as discussed by Sociologist Cornelio, but in the sense that it has become materialistic; (3) Corruption is with them according to Preacher Soriano, yes; but judgment may not have come yet. Sevillo Sr. seems hesitant to admit God’s judgment happening at this time, but he uses it as a warning stick against Eduardo Manalo’s administration. He adds a fourth one, his own interpretation of events: (4) The lifestyles of the ministers have led to this organizational upheaval

Like other INC’s who have began to doubt why these things are happening within them if they are a true church, Sevillo Sr. is still staying with the INC despite what he had observed. His belief is intact – presumably including the belief that Christ is mere human being.

Bro. Eli and the INC

As dissent within the INC develops amidst efforts to counter them – mostly suppress them – the following chips have in many forms bobbed up like familiar patterns of a template observed in the past: (a) Pressure on the Department of Justice, (b) Use of the National Bureau of Investigation as a personal bodyguard, (c) Framing up for a charge of rape, (d) Case closed case unclosed, (e) One-sided media, (f) Assignment to kill, (g) No mercy, (h) Humiliating the victim, (i) Hounding the leaving or those who criticize, (j) Gunshots fired at the home, (k) Brainwashing the members.

These were so in the case of Bro. Eli Soriano, the foremost critic of the INC. The INC has applied all of these to him and the people with him.

Aren’t these parts of the culture of the Iglesia ni Cristo? Why do they repeat themselves and this time on their very own people? It is not enough to just mention them as how they are worsening, only the victims can tell. But definitely politicians are wittingly or unwittingly part of the whole scheme. We will look into five of these practices later.

As defined in the dictionary, dissent is the expression or holding of opinions at variance with those previously, commonly, or officially held. Synonyms are disapproval, disagreement, difference of opinion.

But not all dissent is bad. Some are good when truth is king as in the case of critiquing their beliefs by Preacher Soriano and disapproving of maltreatment of the family of Eraño Manalo by Sevillo Sr.

In brief, here are how the familiar patterns have come into Bro. Eli’s life: He, as a bible man, believes he should correct whatever practices he finds are not biblical. That is part of his commission. But the INC is one that takes criticisms to the point of wanting him killed, if not imprisoned (with false charges), and humiliated before the world.

That explains how Luisito Amansec, a former INC hitman, found out the truth about the preacher and confessed that he was around to bump Bro. Eli dead. He became a member of the MCGI instead. Lying has long been with the INC ministers that Bro. Eli is not what they picture him to be. Amansec realized that his heart learned mercy for the first time when he saw Bro. Eli, long pictured as evil in the Iglesia ni Cristo.

In a case for libel where Bro. Eli won, video tapes and DVD’s had been provided to the court where INC ministers were calling him names like “dayukdok,  “mandarambong, “mongongotong,’ “matakaw sa pera,” “Seaman-loloko,” among many other names through their program, Ang Tamang Daan. In English, they mean starved, plunderer, extortioner, money-hungry, and deceiver. They were doing this but MTRCB never sanctioned them.

Bro. Eli also had provided proofs that the INC had distorted his speeches and commentaries to prove consistent patterns of mangling of tapes by the Iglesia ni Cristo on statements made by him. An example was when Soriano was asking for 3.6 million on January 10, 2004; the mangled tape was shown in Ang Tamang Daan aired over Net 25 on March 29, 2004 that Soriano was asking for 6 trillion.

A discussion of these can be found in the court records of Criminal Case No. Q-05-136679 filed for libel for an Ang Dating Daan TV program aired on January 21, 2005 with Ramil T. Parba as representative complainant of the Iglesia ni Cristo along with Marianito Cayao and Bernardo Santiago.

Accused were Eliseo Soriano, Danilo Navales, Jocel Mallari, and Luzviminda Cruz, all anchors of Ang Dating Daan program on TV. This libel case was dismissed for lack of evidence. Cayao and Santiago are former members of MCGI having been excommunicated by Bro. Eli and then later joined the INC. What the MCGI throws away for spiritual filth, the INC accepts.

INC hates dissent. It also explains why Lydia Manuyag, former INC auditor from Central Diliman was straffed at her home for speaking in SBN21 where she had corrected Bro. Eli. The preacher was quoting the magazine, SAY, that Manalo is a billionaire. Trillionaire, said Manuyag, not billionaire. Afterwards their home was straffed. Lydia’s husband, also a former INC member, was hit with four bullets.

It also explains why Daniel Veridiano, Bernardo Santiago, Marianito Cayao and their kind who have been excommunicated by Bro. Eli for several offenses, have, in turn, been used against the preacher as either complainant or witness.

If media can be used against people especially the TV, it has not been forgotten that Soriano is a victim of this trick, which is why until now the Members Church of God International (MCGI) are boycotting GMA7-11. It is to send a strong message that it is not taking things sitting down. The dramatization in the interview with Daniel Veridiano in “Paninirang Puri, Case Unclosed” presented the Church leader as a shameless old man devoid of the knowledge of the Bible and hungry for sex – and for the same gender yet. The members were pictured as fools – laggards with the brain of a shrimp. This had been so after the Interpol caper has failed. Interpol whom the INC had access to, had found out that the Bro. Eli whom enemies wanted to humiliate before the world is not in hiding – and is even a man of God – not a sex-starved fugitive as the dramatization painted him to be.

The interviewee was Daniel Veridiano, excommunicated from MCGI where Soriano is Presiding Minister to. Veridiano became a member of the INC. By twist of faith, it is GMA being boycotted by MCGI for 5 years now for what they did to Bro. Eli and the organization. Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 22.18.36

What about GMA 7-11? Earlier, it had made Daniel Razon to decide whether to remain as anchor and restrict his language when referring to the Iglesia ni Cristo, or resign. If he does not like restrictions, the INC may boycott the station. Where? On stage when he preaches to the congregation of the MCGI or Ang Dating Daan (as the church is more popularly known). Razon is Soriano’s nephew and the appointed next-in-rank to Bro. Eli. At the same time, he was working for GMA. But he chose to leave GMA rather than restrict his language – not even in anchoring but in preaching in church.

Imagine GMA representing the INC and asking one to restrict his language – and in another venue yet? Why does INC use GMA to restrict one’s language outside of the studio that is the very workplace of Razon? Can’t he preach before the congregation without an outsider’s intervention? Why did religion have to involve a TV station?

The Australian Journalists’ Code of Ethics says in #8 rule:

Do not allow advertising or other commercial considerations to undermine accuracy, fairness or independence.

There is an equivalent in the Code of Ethics of the Philippine Press Institute and the National Press Club of the Philippines in #5:

I shall not let personal motives or interests influence me in the performance of my duties nor shall I accept or offer any present, gift, or other consideration of a nature that may cast doubt on my personal integrity.

INC hates being critiqued. That explains why the NBI had been used to raid the ADD Convention Center in 2001 on a simple charge of libel filed by the INC. The director at that time was Reynaldo Wycoco, an INC member. They came in full-battle gear looking for Bro. Eli whom they could not recognize though they talked to him. Wycoco was reported preparing another raid in 2005 when he succumbed to heart attack.

The MTRCB had suspended the Ang Dating Daan TV Program including all the anchors at least three times in the past at the behest of the Iglesia ni Cristo. One time, it was because Bro. Eli was calling them Iglesia ni Manalo that they took as insult.

BELOW: Thousands upon thousands of people gathered in front of the Human Rights Commission in the Philippines to show their support to Brother Eli when the latter was indefinitely suspended by the MTRCB from appearing in any television program. The Human Rights Commission later ruled in favor of Brother Eli stating that the MTRCB committed a grave abuse of authority against the preacher.

Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 21.57.49

The Department of Justice also through Secretary Raul Gonzalez had been utilized to persecute Bro. Eli.

A rape charge filed against him was dismissed as the investigating prosecutor found no probable cause to prosecute Soriano. The judge believed that Veridiano’s accusations were all lies and fabricated. Filed sometime before October 5, 2005, the case was dismissed on January 26, 2006. It was penned by Alexandro Lopez, Asst. Provincial Prosecutor and approved by Jesus Magarang, Provincial prosecutor, Province of Pampanga, San Fernando City. The case highly considered the rift going on between the INC and the ADD.

But the dismissed case was ordered re-filed by the Office of the President Gloria Arroyo, one widely known as supported by the INC through bloc voting.

Media People Talking

Why do we allow these things to happen? Columnist Conrad de Quiros, in exasperation, asked this question. He mentions about the INC’s habits of “trying to keep certain prominent citizens out of jail or, in the case of public officials, keeping them in power.” He also questions why we allow the Iglesia ni Cristo meddling in the justice department, and interfering in elections, among many others.

Here are excerpts from de Quiros’ column –

The INC has grown over the years to become the second biggest church in this country. You’ve got to wonder, though, what it is asking its fold to do. Over the same years it has grown, it has been trying to keep certain prominent citizens out of jail or, in the case of public officials, keeping them in power.

Not too long ago, the INC made headlines by railing against the government for axing Magtanggol Gatdula, the director of the National Bureau of Investigation and an INC stalwart. P-Noy himself did the axing after finding out that Gatdula had a hand in the illegal detention of a Japanese fugitive. Despite De Lima’s strenuous attestations that the justice department did its homework before recommending Gatdula’s dismissal, the INC complained that he was not given a chance to explain.

All of these must make us ask: Why do we allow this?

Why do we allow the INC to begin with to interfere in elections? We know that INC members vote as a bloc for the candidates of their leaders’ choosing. We know this because that church doesn’t bother to hide it; it parades it as one of the reasons for joining it or currying its favor….This is out-and-out flouting of the separation of Church and State, a thing expressly forbidden in a democracy. And yet we see no law stopping it, and yet we see only politicians seeking to profit from it.  (http://opinion.inquirer.net/29267/why-do-we-allow-this#ixzz3ilLClbI2)

It’s not only de Quiroz questioning the behavior of the INC as an organization. Here’s an excerpt from what Blogger Jake Astudillo wrote about INC power in government offices –

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

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

Jake Astudillo mentioned Lawyer Panopio’s analysis, Reporter Romero’s observation, and Author Vitug’s book. Panopio had underscored INC’s influencing court litigation results; Romero and Vitug were aware of INC recommending justices where these justices decide in favor of the Iglesia ni Cristo once put into place. More from Astudillo –

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

Purple S. Romero of Newsbreak took note that Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr. of the Supreme Court is publicly known to have been highly recommended by the INC. Marites Vitug, in her book, Shadow of Doubt: Probing the Supreme Court, gave the same observation. For three days after the publication of her book, Vitug was receiving death threats on her mobile phone.

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

And Justice Velasco? Of all people, why did he not inhibit himself from the case, considering his links with the Iglesia ni Cristo? With just their endorsement, the message is clear: they expected someone to exchange favor with. And as venial as one can be, if your ambition is lying in wait for an invitation, you can be used and finally play the willing tool. But it takes two to tango.(https://kotawinters.wordpress.com/2013/04/03/are-we-now-going-to-give-the-country-to-bloc-voting-people/)

Familiar Patterns

These familiar patterns keep repeating themselves. Are we that weak to resist? Recent events with the INC and INC influence show the following:

1) Intervening with the Justice System

A recent news report stated that Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has directed National Bureau of Investigation Director Virgilio Mendez to discipline an official who declared earlier that the bureau’s probe on the alleged abduction of 10 ministers of the influential Iglesia Ni Cristo was deemed closed. (http://manilastandardtoday.com/2015/08/04/doj-iglesia-case-still-open/#

Written by Rey E. Requejo titled “DOJ: Iglesia case still open”(Manila Standard, 8/04/2015), De Lima was said to have made the statement reiterating that the authorities are still investigating the supposed abduction of INC ministers. This was in contrast to the claim of NBI Anti-Organized Transnational Crime Division chief Manuel Eduarte that the case is now considered closed.

De Lima was reportedly surprised said Eduarte had declared the case was closed when he is not even involved in the investigation nor part of the team.

A check into records show that Eduarte is a member of the Iglesia ni Cristo.

Not long after, The Daily Tribune came out with “Binay asks De Lima to stop ‘reckless’ statements vs INC” (Tribune Wires, 8/07/2015) (http://www.tribune.net.ph/nation/binay-asks-de-lima-to-stop-reckless-statements-vs-inc)

The report said Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay had advised Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to refrain from giving “unwarranted statements” on the alleged abduction of Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) ministers.

In a letter to De Lima, the Vice President said he felt compelled to “call your attention to the unwarranted statements you have been expressing in the mass media in your capacity as Secretary of the Department of Justice asserting that the alleged abduction of ministers of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) is not yet a ‘closed’ case.”

Binay reportedly noted that De Lima’s statements contradicted the findings of National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) authorities that conducted the investigation.

“It taxes credulity that you had to publicly contravene the findings of the NBI Anti-Organized Transnational Crimes Division, which itself conducted the investigation on the alleged abduction,” the Vice President said.

“According to your own people in the NBI, no such abduction took place, which finding is bolstered by the fact that there is no complainant who has come forward to attest to its commission. In short, there is apparently no crime committed or being committed,” he added.

If there was no abduction that happened, why are there many complaining from diverse places? Would it hurt to check if there are? What is the hurry in Manuel Eduarte in trying to close the lid and in Binay pressuring the DOJ Secretary if there are lives involved?

2) Riding on one-sided media for personal agenda

The Daily Tribune is also the one that reported earlier on Jose Norelito Fruto, 50, of Amparo Road, Nova Ville Subdivision, Novaliches in “Bogus gay doctor apprehended for molesting Caloocan student” by Arlie O. Calalo (The Daily Tribune, 07/14/2015).

Fruto was one of the INC ministers picked up earlier for questioning regarding the Antonio Ebanghelista blogs that blared corruption issues within the Iglesia ni Cristo.

The report said a 22 year old man (Robert Anthony, not real name) was allegedly sodomized by Fruto and that a CCTV tape showed at least the first of two incidents, the first one (July 4) inside the victim’s house, and the second one inside Fruto’s home.

This Daily Tribune report was used by the INC against Fruto as the “proof” to truth, just as they used it against Justice De Lima. It is clear that The Daily Tribune is not as popular as other broadsheets. The comments are scanty and are lorded over by INC members who spam the same comments over and over.

In the case where Binay berated Justice Secretary De Lima whose group is trying to look into reports of abduction, media was also used in impressing to the public which case is closed or unclosed.

3) Promoting lying and falsehood

Letters posted on Social Media by those expelled show that they were being forced to do things against their conscience. Here’s one written by Joven O. Sepillo Sr –

On July 18, 2015, my name was written in social media as one among those ministers who were abducted and could not be seen. We told our contacts that we are safe and not abducted. My family were wondering why my name was included there when we are just silently doing our responsibilities in the Locale of San Roque in Tolosa Extension, Leyte East District. Who could have done that and what was his aim?

On July 21, I was made to produce a video and say, “I am INC.” I cooperated and did the video according to the order of Bro. Rommel Sanvictores of INCTV and then sent it through email. My family felt safe then that when the video will be shown, it will be clear that I was not abducted and that I won’t be missing but will be found doing my work. When July 24, 2015 came, I welcomed the order from Central to make another video together with the brethren from the Locale with all of us saying,” All of us with responsibilities and all the brethren of the Locale of San Roque, Ecclesiastical District of Leyte East are proclaiming that we are fervently following doctrines and are submitting to obedience so that we will be saved.” Then we would greet Happy 101st Anniversary to the Iglesia ni Cristo. 

Upon arrival at the San Roque Locale, I found the brethren already gathered by the Head Deacon based on the order of the District and there was the Video man. It was not a day for Worship Service at San Roque, but the video would show that the service was just over. At that moment, I decided not to make the [second] video because, first I had already made one last July 21, 2015 as proof that I was not abducted. Second, the brethren already knew on July 23, 2015 about the call from Ka Tenny and Ka Angel, and because of that, they will be asking questions like what is happening with the church.

The following day, July 24, 2015, came the reading of the Circular pertaining to the family of Ka Erdy. I have read that Circular concerning the expulsion in the Worship Service at Tolosa Extension, but I felt so hurt that it has come to this. I could not anymore take it that after reading about the expulsion of the family, they would order me to proclaim fervent obedience and submission to the Administration – and with that I had to involve even the brethren!” (See post by Jorge. (http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/711261/doj-secures-3-expelled-iglesia-ni-cristo-members).

4) Threatening the lives of those who leave their religion or dis-agree with them.

These are lines from a report titled, “Iglesia ni Cristo expels members who joined protest in US (Coconuts Manila, 8/06/2015) –

According to another expelled INC member who was at the rally, fears of retaliation from the church against protesters were heightened a week later after gunshots were fired at his home. (http://manila.coconuts.co/2015/08/07/iglesia-ni-cristo-expels-members-who-joined-protest-us).

The members clearly know about killing being a part of the culture of the Iglesia ni Cristo.

Recently, Joy Yuson, one of the expelled ministers said in the vernacular, “We have to be careful. If they find us on the way, they will kill us. They may run over us, hold us up, kill or trace our steps to home.” (http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/focus/08/06/15/witnesses-vs-inc-placed-under-witness-protection-program).

According to ABS-CBN News, expelled INC Minister Joy Yuson had allegedly received information that the INC has a private army of 100 people that can strike any time. His companions also had other information –

“[Roel] Rosal, who used to work for the New Bilibid Prisons, told De Lima that INC can release inmates from prison, while [Lito] Fruto said an assistant state prosecutor from the justice department was involved in the arrest of one of the ‘missing’ INC ministers, Lowell Menorca, as well as in framing him up for a charge of rape.”

Yuson, Fruto, and Rosal are former members of INC who were expelled from the church after expressing support to the family of the late executive minister Eraño Manalo. (http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/focus/08/06/15/witnesses-vs-inc-placed-under-witness-protection-program).

These reports need verification, and if true, should be addressed by proper government authorities.

  1. No Mercy

A church is supposed to be the very first example in showing how character is supposed to be developed in a vibrant community. It may be none of people’s business questioning how a son can tolerate not talking to a mother for five years. But it has become public that the mother of Eduardo Manalo, Executive Minister of the INC, had wanted to talk to her son. Wasn’t she claiming her life was in danger together with the others? She was expelled from the organization in a show of force with the INC leadership claiming Ka Tenny and the rest of the family were creating division in the church. Farley de Castro, one of those expelled ministers claimed the widow of Eraño Manalo is more than 80 years old and is ill.

Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 22.08.03

The Public is Watching: One-Sided Media

The Daily Tribune was decidedly one-sided. It did not mention earlier reports that De Lima had wanted the erring NBI Anti-Organized Transnational Crime Division chief Manuel Eduarte who said that the case is now considered closed to be sanctioned.

The Daily Tribune is obviously one of creating news instead of being a news courier. A good story would present both sides.

There is a tendency now for journalists to create news. And that is completely wrong. Journalists have a responsibility to report the news and comment upon the news. But they don’t have the right to create news. (Oscar R. Landicho, “Ethics in Journalism,” Booklore Publishing Corporation, Mla: 2002).

Indeed, what our country needs are good and honest journalists who can tell us what our people need or what is wrong with some government officials including judges and justices.

A look into a description of this paper says –

The Daily Tribune is a daily English-language broadsheet publication in the Philippines. Its office is in the 1st Floor of the Bel-Air Apartments along Roxas Boulevard, Manila. Its editor-in-chief is Ninez Cacho-Olivares. The Tribune is known for being critical of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her successor, Benigno S. Aquino III; conversely, it is often cited as supporting former President Joseph Estrada (now Mayor of Manila) and Vice President Jejomar Binay. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Daily_Tribune).

As a politician who has declared running for President as early as 2010, Binay, in his act of throwing down the gauntlet for the Iglesia ni Cristo is suspect. First, the INC’s practice of coercive bloc voting is a magnet for many politicians to woe the INC’s favor, ignoring the negative effect on the voters.

Second, the INC has been embroiled in controversy and has occupied the news spots in the recent months. But The Daily Tribune shows no indication of knowing anything before hand, as their reports reflected nothing of the other side.

What’s with a news outfit that cannot be objective? A journalist can do his job if his hands are free of bribes. Lest we be seen as imputing anything, there are many things aside from money that can corrupt a journalist: gadgets, electrical appliances, cars, free gasoline, gift vouchers in some department stores, free trips, free meals and drinks. Take that from a seasoned journalist like Oscar Landicho.

Here’s an excerpt from Landicho’s (2002) chapter on Envelopmental Journalism –

Only in the Philippines is ‘envelopmental journalism’ practiced with notoriety and frequency. Envelopmental journalism is not only illegal but also unethical. People who promote envelopmental journalism are peddlers of corruption, dishonesty, and immorality. Some journalists are … in the payroll of some politicians and businessmen.

The report on extensive lecture of Vice President Binay on DOJ Secretary De Lima is not balanced sans just one-liner saying Manuel Eduarte was not involved in the project of ascertaining abduction of INC ministers, or that De Lima was surprised on Eduarte’s “Case Closed” pronouncement. Instead, Binay was marking that Eduarte is a lawyer – as if being lawyer is equivalent to being honest and correct.

What citizens can do for now are the following: 1) Watch for wayward media and expose them; and 2) Watch the moves of politicians and expose them.

The Public is Watching: Politician’s Pressure

An evaluation of Binay’s motherland statements manifests an over-representation of this politician in the absence of a report on De Lima’s stance. He was clearly standing for Manuel Eduarte – someone not involved with the case – or even for the INC. This group is widely known to be influential with a reputation of actively lobbying to be able to place their own people in sensitive positions of the government.

From The Daily Tribune

“By your actuations, you are promoting the image of disunity, discord and even corruption in the INC to its clear prejudice and detriment,” Binay said.

“As public officials, it is our duty to respect the internal affairs and concerns of the INC and allow them, without the unwarranted interference from government, to conduct their own business in accordance with their religious beliefs. No less than our Constitution guarantees this inviolable separation of church and state,” he added.

“For the sake of upholding our Constitution, as well as protecting the integrity and good name of the INC as a religious community, I urge you to refrain from uttering baseless, if not reckless and irresponsible, statements that would tend to harm the religious institution of the INC,” Binay said. (http://www.tribune.net.ph/nation/binay-asks-de-lima-to-stop-reckless-statements-vs-inc)

Binay might not know it but it is the very ministers of the INC running for their lives who had requested for government intervention. Isaias Samson Jr. at a press conference held in July 23, said that government intervention in the crisis would help resolve the issue. Samson is one of those expelled INC ministers. (Tetch Torres-Tupas, “INC crisis: Suspended minister urges gov’t intervention”Inquirer.net. 7/23/2015).

Samson claimed that the INC was after him because of he had opposed INC general auditor Glicerio Santos Jr. According to reports, he was also accused of being the man behind the blog of Antonio Ebangelista, who has released critical articles against the group. (http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/707346/minister-detained-by-armed-guards-escapes-corrupt-inc-practices-bared).

The 1987 Constitution of The Republic of the Philippines in Article III Bill of Rights is enough cover for those running for their lives from the powerful.

Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 22.10.51Consider this: Binay, a candidate for President in 2016, pitches for a religion that is publicly known as influential, but he does not feel for those individuals in it being abducted and reporting fear for their very lives.

The fact is that the INC does not need protection because it is very powerful – unlike individuals in them being threatened after exposing anomalies in their organization.

The right to life, liberty and the protection of the laws is guaranteed by the constitution. It is the right of citizens to be protected and secure in their persons.

The least that Vice President Binay could have done is not to contribute to the INC cover-up – unless he is a willing tool and has become part of these familiar patterns. Politicians are well-entrenched in these practices of the INC having become stooges or willing to become one.

A bird of the same feather knows its kind. It is time for everyone to choose whom to side with: the good or the evil.

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

By Jake Astudillo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why do we allow this?

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

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

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

____________

NOTES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When Texts are Made Into Pictures: Desperate Morphing to Fool The Foolish

Intentional manipulation of data for selective perception to mislead the public and pre-judge the subject.

By Jake Astudillo

Manila, Philippines, (01/07/2010) -News is information about recent events. The reporter then is expected to relay it as objectively as he can in reproducing the event.

Videos can do the same thing but the reproduction of events is done through images. The objectivity is also expected to be there if the video is supposed to deal with information. That is the reason the images are not to be tampered with so that truth can be established.

The danger comes in when news is made into videos. As such, news is not text anymore as manipulation is done into its many parts. The structure is mangled and whatever truth it carries is morphed. It is now picture over text; however, the video comes in the guise of news. It is intentionally manipulated for selective perception to mislead the public and pre-judge the subject.

For example, some parts of the text are enlarged as the camera zooms in, and some are relegated to the background as fine print. Other elements come into play to satisfy the motive as text become pictures and put life into the otherwise neutral text. Sounds and motion complete the evil design. It is not anymore news that you watch but it gives the impression that it is so.

Being charged of a case, for example, is not equivalent to conviction. However, the author of such video cum news in the manipulation of text may mislead the public that it is so.

Take the case of the story written by Allison Lopez of the Philippine Daily Inquirer titled, “Ely Soriano charged with falsification of public document” (08/29/2008). It was made into a video presentation and is all over the Internet, planted in all possible sites like an advertisement.
The news report was very much underwritten. Much information was suppressed. And yet it was made into video.

The news reporter, Allison Lopez, could have done her work better she had exerted effort to learn more about “the raped man.” Was Daniel “Puto” Veridiano really raped? Wasn’t he the one who raped 14 of his officemates? Though he had admitted to only 9, many others claim Puto molested them over the years he was around. The Internet is there for Lopez to watch for some evidence, had she done her part.

Also, Allison Lopez had no background on this case that was dismissed but re-filed by Sec. of Justice Raul Gonzalez himself who is not in any way connected with the case. Lopez did not mention that. There were a lot she had suppressed.

The telltale spelling, “Ely,” is an INC trademark that does not hide Allison Lopez and her connections. INC stands for Iglesia ni Cristo that cannot sleep over the many revelations of the mouth that cannot stop: the mouth of Bro. Eliseo Soriano.

And for the man whom Allison Lopez claimed had fabricated documents, all the time since 2005, he was away from his country, the Philippines. How can he fabricate any document then?

Soriano is known as the nemesis of false preachers. Earning the ire of many who wanted to make money out of religion, he had come to a dangerous level: getting himself as Wanted Person in the Interpol site, at the same time being tagged with a ridiculous crime: “Sex crimes.” How that came to be is a puzzle, with so-called media men with INC connections playing the game of accuser and judge. It was only that the preacher stayed far away and went about his work in whatever forms technology could offer: He still preached via satellite wherever he was. But his enemies also worked. With him gone, they spread word that his congregation was fast dissipating but he proved them wrong.

While Soriano’s enemies kept saying he was on the run, he was busy as ever, working on the war victims of South America. He beams now that although admittedly religious persecution figured in his exile, “This is the work of God; these people are hungry for God’s word” he said. Claiming it was not Manalo of the INC who had caused him to go on exile, he says he does not feel bad anymore. Relating the story of Joseph who was sold by his very brothers to the Egyptians out of jealousy, he says he now understands why he had to leave for foreign shores. “Let me show you,” he says and out come Latinas playing the guitar and singing Tagalog praise songs. The camera spans some more and shows hundreds of foreigners getting baptized and giving testimony to a changed life. They embrace him like hungry souls having found a gem after so long a time of famine.

The preacher had been accused of rape by one he had excommunicated and who readily went to the church group of his arch enemy. That was the pattern ever since: One gets excommunicated from The Old Path (ADD) and went straight to the INC to assume a series of legal battles. The irony is that while in The Old Path (ADD) Jesus Christ is spirit and is the wisdom of God and son of God, with the INC, Jesus is mere human being, was a human being, and will come back a human being. The jump from one belief to another is appalling.

Bro. Eli would exhort the Filipinos at home lest they be thinking of revenge: “Love your fellowmen. The accusations against me are not surprising. I have done nothing wrong to anybody. I had been helping even those who accuse me. The prophets of old had been treated the same way. Jesus Christ had been treated worse. I am less than they are, yet these things are expected.”

Preacher Soriano left his country, the Philippines, in December 2005. Concentrating later his preaching on foreign shores, he had all the more enlarged the congregation of The Old Path (Ang Dating Daan) or Members Church of God International to mammoth proportions. The ever widening Convention Center in Apalit, Pampanga, north of Manila, stands to be the biggest in the whole of Asia, and every week there are baptisms all over the globe. He preaches to his people via satellite simulcast through 6 continents.

Lately, Bro. Eliseo Soriano’s Truth blog (http://esoriano.wordpress.com) won in the Mashable’s Open Web Awards for 2010 in the Most Educational to Follow category. It was not the first time though that this blog has earned an award. His blog was the People’s choice awardee in the 2009 Philippine Web Awards in the blog category. More than that, Soriano’s blog was the awardee for the most popular website, besting all others in all categories.

First posted in Newsflavor, January 7, 2010

Ang Dating Daan blasts GMA7 self-branding as House of Truth

August 4, 2011 UPDATE: THIS EPISODE WAS REPLAYED BY GMANews TV11 on August 3, 2011 in their noontime show.

The following is an analysis of that Case Unclosed episode of  June 18, 2009  aired by GMA7 and replayed by GMANEWS TV11 on August 3, 2011 that discussed the rape case filed by an excommunicated member of ADD against Bro. Eli Soriano. It is written from the perspective that the ADD feel their leader is trapped in a context of convoluted systems:  broadcast network fight for audience ratings, influence of a rival church group over the media and the courts, personalities’ climb to promotion and prominence, and probably secret envy nursed for a long time. Some background of the events that followed are sandwiched for balance – things that Case Unclosed could not provide. The instrument in all this syndrome is one cast away by the ADD for spiritual filth and fully accepted by the INC – Daniel Veridiano alias Puto. Puto gets to persecute the man whose influence he had been using, whose identity he had been stealing, whose blessings he readily enjoyed. He gets organizations to fight Soriano for his being “raped,” rapist that he himself is. He had the local courts of Pampanga behind him, the Department of Justice, the Interpol. Most recent in the queue is GMA7.  The question that perplexes ADD is why this rascal is getting everything for himself and yet is going scotfree. Meanwhile, the evangelist-in-a-hurry is leaving it all to his lawyers, and continues preaching worldwide while people think he should come home to face this mocked-up rape case against him. Case Unclosed that presented Soriano as making himself scarce, however, is not entitled to discuss the case. Nevertheless, Arnold Clavio, the host of the program, went ahead and aired his half-a-data. Soriano earlier said he is determined to face the International Court of Human Rights if given the chance.

By Jane Abao

Manila, Philippines (July 20, 2009) – That GMA7 is a “house of truth” is a lie, an untruth, a falsehood, a tall tale. This sums up the opinions of the church group belonging to Members Church of God International (MCGI) or Ang Dating Daan (ADD) as it is more popularly known, particularly on the presentation of GMA7 in one of its programs. The program was unfair and more yet, the station acted as a vehicle to spread more lies, the ADD said.

The news tagline of this TV channel says, “Not siding with anyone; not protecting anyone; just genuine service.”   In Tagalog, it is “Walang Kinikilingan, Walang Pinoprotektahan, Serbisyong Totoo lamang.”  However, GMA7 has done the opposite. To the Ang Dating Daan, it presented just one side and risked the rights of the other. Most of all, GMA7  has lined up itself with the forces made willing tools in the persecution of the ADD leader, Bro. Eliseo Soriano.

On the night of June 18, 2009, Case Unclosed, a program of GMA7 tackled the double rape case filed against Bro. Soriano by someone he had excommunicated sometime in August 2005. The program extended to an hour with just Daniel Veridiano alias Puto presenting his side of the case.

Soriano, the Presiding Minister of the MCGI or Ang Dating Daan booted out Veridiano from the congregation after some reports of serial rape and exorbitant unauthorized use of church funds for personal wants.

The accuser’s admission

Daniel Veridiano alias Puto with a new cosmetized face and a new name - his victim's.

Veridiano admitted sexually abusing 9 among the 14 that were complaining in a confession letter he signed November 21, 2004 to two ministers of the Church. Incidentally, in his bid to be lifted off his suspension of Church membership, Veridiano found himself being videoed during the investigation process, the results of which were to be presented to the Presiding Minister for his decision-making. In that investigation, Veridiano was asked why he was admitting to only 9; he said he cannot anymore recall (“Hindi ko na matandaan”). After some months of observation and upon the recommendation of an investigation panel, Veridiano was excommunicated.

In the Church, suspension is also observation time for repentance and for express changes in one’s life. Failing that, a member maybe excommunicated; and once excommunicated, one cannot appeal. This was the case of Veridiano who went to the fold of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) that readily took him in. Earlier however, when he was under suspension and appealing to be taken back, Puto said, “I will not join them; it would be a quick jump to hell.”

The members of Ang Dating Daan were surprised that GMA7 would be presenting as resource person the one they knew as Puto – a professional liar, a rapist, and one excommunicated from the Church for filthy living and failure to reform. Moreover, the program gave the opportunity for Puto to give out more lies and spew more made-up stories against Preacher Soriano who is out of the country since 2005. In such an instance the ADD felt twice aggrieved.

Closing the eyes

Despite the fact that Puto admitted raping some of his subordinates as posted in YouTube, Arnold Clavio chose to close his eyes and instead honored Puto, as a credible witness.  It was not even one, or two, or three victims for Puto whom Soriano said was given many chances to change. If Clavio failed to watch Puto’s admission and if he failed to watch the raped boys describe in YouTube Veridiano’s penis with a round “o” with such and such a short length, then Clavio clearly had not done his research before airing his program.

Clavio was the host of that Case Unclosed program of GMA7, obviously shown with careless abandon like it was safe to hit Preacher Soriano and get away with it unscathed. Never did Clavio try to establish the credibility of his resource person by challenging his statements. For that program, Clavio simply let the statements of Veridiano pass – a no-no for investigative journalism. For example, Clavio did not bother asking why Veridiano was excommunicated from the church and if that was true. Clavio should have done that for the audience if he wanted to show even a semblance of fairness.

Clavio began it all like he had no obligation to hear the other side of the story. There was no hedging from Clavio’s episode of patches, mostly made to magnify the picture of an oppressed “raped man.”

If Arnold Clavio did not know it yet, there is a full coverage of this “raped man for whom Interpol would mobilize.” The star of the moment some few years back enjoyed his brief exposure to prominence when earlier, the powers of the Iglesia ni Cristo got the Interpol to post Soriano’s bio as a Wanted Person. The attempts at Interpol-assistance obviously failed the Iglesia ni Cristo for by that time, Bro. Eliseo Soriano had come to be known as TruthCaster and that his international activities only involved the propagation of the words of God – contrary to “sex crimes” that the INC had wanted the Interpol to believe.

Using now the memory lanes of a supposed helpless victim, Clavio’s voice boomed – “Daniel said he could not forget that afternoon of May 17, 2000 when he was called by the leader of the religion that he was a member of….”

Veridiano’s voice came on and right away planted a “teaching of Ang Dating Daan” that is false and unheard of: “There is a teaching in Dating Daan that a messenger of God does not sin, whatever he does to you. At that time, I feared him greatly because whatever he asks from you, you must oblige. You need to oblige; if not, it is as if you get cursed; as if something grave will happen to you if you do not do what he requires you to do – this so-called messenger of God.”

Video clips of the preacher came on, followed by Arnold Clavio’s vioice: “The one being pointed to by Daniel that had abused him: the leader of Ang Dating Daan, Bro. Eliseo ‘Eli’ Soriano.”

The protests

Vehement protests from the ADD members rained on GMA7 after that episode. Shortly thereafter, the channel issued a denial that it was biased and that it was intrusive of the case. It also declared a welcome note that the channel is open to present the side of Bro. Soriano in the future. This was reported by Mark Angelo Ching in Philippine Entertainment Portal (PEP, July 2, 2009) and NRJ Ramos of Manila Bulletin (MB, July 3, 2009). Retrieved from http://www.pep.ph/news/22318/GMA-7-denies-partiality-in-reporting-Bro.-Eli-Soriano-rape-case and http://www.mb.com.ph/node/209094/religiou

The problem with that denial is that it is not telling the truth. The ADD thinks the presentation is biased; it is intrusive. The case is still open. You cannot right that wrong with a second part on another date and say it is the continuation of the previous one. One does not chop matters of contention between two parties on separate dates. Principles of communication declare that such action is unfair, inequitable, and lacking of correct judgment of timing and impartial audience impact.

It is after all what an Arnold Clavio seemed to project in that program: that he had no qualms about it if he was to be viewed as partial. Twice Puto was allowed to say “If only he is here, he would be behind bars. It cannot be that he will not.”

To the ADD members still boycotting this network, Arnold Clavio does not know his Journalism. Had he done his research well, he would have known what Bro. Soriano was saying as “Sub judice.” Soriano cannot comment as the case (dismissed but re-filed) was pending. Therefore, it was not even a proper item for Case Unclosed because it is not of the vintage kind.

Knowing that he only had a half part of the whole thing, Clavio went ahead and aired it. Granted that the case may be discussed, if he had to deal with two sides, why did he present one ahead of the other? Doesn’t Clavio know that June 18, 2009 is not the same as another future date if he had to present the other half? How sure was he that the sample of the people who saw his first part will be the same sample seeing his second part?  Moreover, how much time-gap would there be between the first presentation and a subsequent one if ever there would be one?  Is that what he can call a presentation with a level-playing field?

Doesn’t Clavio know that if he had to get data from people, he is not to get them by force? Is he already treating Soriano as the guilty party and Veridiano as an innocent victim? To add insult to injury, Clavio ended the program with these words: “Although Bro. Eli Soriano insists that the accusations against him are simply lies, his appearance and his facing his case are hoped to clear out the questions left unanswered.”

A program with legal elements like Case Unclosed must have someone there with enough legal background.  But as it is, Clavio had risked the network’s reputation with ignorance. Most of the ADD comments ask GMA7 management that Arnold Clavio be axed from that channel. The structure of Clavio’s presentation also shows he does not know much about broadcasting. That he was only presenting what was written for him as a script is no excuse.

Right from the start, the episode impressed the audience of presenting only the side of the “raped man,” as if to make the ADD regret they had not issued any statement for Arnold Clavio.

Clavio was quick to say they tried to get the side of the ADD regarding the case of Veridiano but could not get any response. However, knowing full well that he only had data from one side, Clavio went ahead and aired the program. That he was not able to get a response was already license to air to this Clavio.

Infractions of good practice in journalism

There were many infractions of good practice in journalism noticed by the ADD members.

Clavio disregarded challenging his resource person that Soriano could not be around Apalit  at 1:30 in the afternoon of May 17, 2000 considering that he was under treatment in Manila in the morning and then traveled to Lipa for a bible exposition afterwards.  Aside from a patient’s registration copy, Soriano has a copy of the venue permit used during that day. If he really wanted to be objective, Clavio should have interviewed the two doctors of the Biological Center mentioned as having treated Bro. Soriano that day which was why Soriano could not be in Apalit raping Veridiano.

When Veridiano denied his signature appearing in the confession letter about raping 9 males, Clavio did not try to establish if Veridiano was lying or not. Again, if he had wanted to play fair,  and to establish Veridiano’s credibility, Clavio should have interviewed those boys raped by Veridiano. The names are there in that confession letter.  In Youtube, these boys gave out their testimonies against Veridiano and what he did to them. One was even just 17 that time and until now, he appears shocked, talking very little as much as possible.

The ADD members note that it is not easy for rape victims to come out to the public and admit they were raped – much more by one rascal like Puto. And yet they had to do it and make use of the Internet for failing to get justice in the kind of courts obtaining in the country.

And now, GMA7 is a House of Truth?

Baloney! says the Ang Dating Daan. The news tagline, “Not siding with anyone; not protecting anyone; just genuine service”   is a lie.

For the way it has behaved, GMA7 should be ashamed enough and change that tagline because it does not become them, the members said.

Moreover, the question of the ADD until now is, “What the blazes is GMA7 glorifying a liar for?”

Puto, the “raped man,” lies

There is no such teaching in Ang Dating Daan that anyone can make demands and oppress the other – much more by the leader who teaches righteousness. Puto was lying.

Puto was excommunicated in August 2005 for filthy living; he did not leave ADD all by his own. In fact, he made attempts to be taken in but didn’t pass it. His signature in that confession letter is genuine; it was not faked by anyone. The challenge from ADD is for Clavio and the public to view Puto online. A video-taped recording in YouTube may be used to triangulate data about his confession of serial rape. From there, the public can see if anyone fed those admission words into his mouth. From there, Arnold Clavio can see if he had an innocent “raped man” not lying to him.

Puto may deny everything to get the Iglesia ni Cristo to use him still as a lying witness against Soriano. In that same video, however, Veridiano damned the Iglesia ni Cristo as satanic and with false teachings so that going there is equivalent to going to hell. Not for long, however, Puto was heard attending INC services.

Other lies that Veridiano alias Puto said over GMA7 were that he had been “writer-editor of Ang Dating Daan Magazine.” There is no magazine with such name.  Records have it that Puto attempted to handle a magazine called TOP (The Old Path). During one of the national thanksgiving days, Ryan Borja, an assistant to Puto then, approached a professional journalist from Mindanao and showed her a copy. The journalist laughed and asked Borja how come the magazine looked that way. “Can you help us?” asked Borja. During breaktime, the journalist went from cover to cover, red-penciled the pages, and returned it to Borja.

Bro. Eli saw the red-markings, studied it, and called for a meeting, angry at what he saw. After that, the issue was shelved and the management of the magazine was transferred from Puto’s office to ADDCaption, another office that started its own maiden issue. Puto’s work did not pass. He never had been a writer-editor for ADD.

Puto also bragged in Clavio’s program that the Attendance Monitoring System was his idea. Jay Jimenez, former head of the ADD Communications, Information, and Technology (ADDCIT) denies that the Attendance Monitoring System (AMS) was Puto’s idea. This was the statement of Jimenez:

“The Computerized attendance monitoring system was the idea of Bro. Daniel Razon, including that of the Internet webcast. Actually we started the IT of the church since 1999, and we had designed the first website of angdatingdaan.org already before Puto came in.

“Because of Puto’s envy to us, he took over our group and he absorbed us. At that time, he was a worker typist of Bro. Eli.  He promised us support by providing the infrastructures needed for websites and webcast. He formed ADD Correspondents July 20, 2000. We were the pioneers.

“Daniel is just a typist – fast typist! In fairness, fastest typist ever! Dapat sa gilid siya ng SEC  magwork, yung nag tatype ng mga documents dun; o di kaya sa quiapo, yung taga type ng mga thesis ng mga estudyante  (Trans: He should work at the side of SEC among those typing documents there; if not in Quiapo, among those typing thesis for students.)”

Grabbing credit for Puto is something not to be ashamed of, just as lying is. Ever since, the idea man in ADD is Daniel Razon. He is responsible for most of the conception of ADD projects.

Puto also said he was an “Assistant Secretary General.” Bro. Soriano had already clarified in court even that there is no assistant general secretary position in the church. The structure of the church is such that it does not need a Secretary General – more so an assistant general secretary.

“In the ministry, in teaching, I was the one in charge before Soriano would teach,” Puto claimed. As everyone in the ministerial class knows, Puto’s work in this area was merely in assisting or in checking that sitting and equipment arrangements were in order. While he wanted to impress people that he can preach as well as or better than the ministers, his work was no different from a janitor.

To be minister had long been a dream of Puto which he never got in the ADD. Would-be ministers in ADD are being well screened. Spiritual growth for Puto was a question that even in leading prayers, the task had been taken off him.

“June 8, 2001, it was my spiritual birthday. He called for me and I thought he would give me a gift. For all I knew, it was another of those things he did to me last year,” Puto said.

Veridiano, alias Puto, mentioned about a second count of rape on June 8, 2001.  As written earlier in ADD newsreports, Soriano had testified in court that he went with Rico Fernandez to the office of one Ma. Evangeline Veloira in a bank located in Bambang, Manila. They then proceeded to Sushimoto Restaurant to meet a certain Aida P. Briones, an accountant recommended by Veloira regarding the loan transaction they were applying for. As publicly known, the preacher is known for gallantly financing big church projects which explains the growth of the congregation to an international scope. The transaction was held from 12noon to 4pm. Veridiano said he was raped around 3:00 in the afternoon that day.

The investigating prosecutor found no probable cause to prosecute Soriano as he believed that Veridiano’s accusations were all lies and fabricated. The case was filed sometime before October 5, 2005 and was dismissed on January 26, 2006. It was penned by Alexandro Lopez, Asst. Provincial Prosecutor and approved by Jesus Magarang, Provincial prosecutor, Province of Pampanga, San Fernando City.  The court highly considered the rift going on between the INC and the ADD.

Arnold Clavio and his lines

Some lines of Arnold Clavio need a second look because they encouraged the lies of Puto.

Arnold Clavio: “According to Daniel, still he was not able to fight him.”

Anyone who knows Bro. Eli Soriano would know something is wrong with this statement. It does not fit into the paradigm that is the man leading the Church and who has love immeasurable for the brethren but ready anger for a fake brother exposed for his wrongdoings. The members have seen Soriano react in diverse situations mostly in consultation sessions through satellite system that they can easily predict his behavior in most situations. From what they know of his character,  Soriano would be the first one to get angry with a brother found doing wrong. Moreover, it is impossible that Soriano could be raping anybody and still retain that unequaled understanding of the Bible that he is well-known for. For the man who keeps warning that the wicked cannot understand, it is impossible that he could explain the deepest mysteries in the Bible in an unending fashion like drawing from an eternal spring, if he is that wicked. Soriano’s energies are dedicated towards propagating the words of God and studying for it – if not cooking for big crowds of members and guests. Puto’s organ or that of anyone else would not even be the last of his interests. Soriano’s sights are trained on his commission for which he is ever in a hurry. “We have to be part of those who will fulfill prophecy,” he would say to the congregation.

No one is like a prisoner in Apalit like Puto wanted to convey. In fact, instead of attending church functions, Puto takes pleasure trips to famous beaches of the country, charged to a credit card meant for the church – a card which he abused to include beautifying his new face.  No member’s mouth is  ordered closed that he cannot talk of what is right and proper.  Puto, himself, knows that. The preacher would often warn the brethren that those who keep secret the wrong doings of others would suffer consequences too. Soriano even said that had the brothers exposed Puto much earlier, he would not have become that worse. Since Puto was one working closely with Bro. Eli, people feared to report his wrong doings. It was Puto who used his influence and used it wrongly. He would threaten those he aggrieved with suspensions and excommunication. His typing work involved preparing Church circulars.

Arnold Clavio:  “It was year 2004 when Daniel Veridiano decided to leave the ADD Convention Center.”

At this time, Puto was suspended as a member and was placed under observation. He knew that his case was heavy and came in multiple levels: illicit sex, wide-spread thievery, misuse of a credit card meant for the church, identity theft, possession of porno materials and a penis-enlarger that told much of his promiscuous gay activities. Puto lived hardly a Christian life to be able to hold on to an ADD membership.

Arnold Clavio: “He hid for a while. He broke his silence in September 2005. He gave his statements in the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Pampanga about the abuse made on him. It was Atty. Alex Avisado and some others in his office that handled the case of Daniel.”

Puto did not go into hiding. It is not the practice of ADD to hunt for people – more so when one is declared spiritually sick. The members would keep a distance – as far away as possible.

Instead of hiding, Puto walked around for help in the ADD. He tried to get two ministers to back him up in his bid to return to the ADD. When the findings from an investigating panel came out, Puto failed to meet the mark. In August 2005, he was finally expelled. At that same time he was reported to be attending church gatherings of the Iglesia ni Cristo.

The Gumaru paragraph sprouting

Arnold Clavio: “According to the Bureau of Immigration, December 14, 2005, flight PR501 of Philippine Airlines going to Singapore was the last list recording the name of Bro. Eli. That is why according to the lawyers of Daniel, it is impossible that the Manila Police District reported that Bro. Eli surrendered in 2008 to PO3 Jun Gumaru of Pandacan Police. Accordingly, it was Gumaru who processed the application of Soriano to pay bail. It was reported that he did not tell his supervisors so that Gumaru was placed under investigation that is being held until now. There was an order of release also that the Branch 26 of Manila Regional Trial Court issued for Eli Soriano. It was written there that he had paid a bail of P240, 000, and was signed by Jun Gumaru.”

No matter how untrue this surrender-to-Gumaru is, the Iglesia ni Cristo members blazed the media with it, pinning falsification of documents on “Ely” Soriano wherever they could get their hands on. The story was poorly written by a certain Allison Lopez of Philippine Daily Inquirer on August 29, 2008 and then posted in Scribd.com. Lopez appeared to have used INC sources with the tell-tale “Ely” name that INCs insist on calling the preacher. She also showed no background knowledge of the case as if it were just the beginning.

Just the same, the paragraph on Gumaru from the story of Lopez transformed into a video piece. Cut out from the whole story, it highlighted Gumaru’s denial that an Eliseo Soriano had surrendered to him. The intention of those who had re-produced this paragraph into video items, cut out from the whole story, was clearly to let the public believe that Soriano is found guilty of falsification of documents in the Philippines. They made a feast of it. All the while, Soriano was out of the country.

Though taken out of context, this paragraph cum video piece is embedded in many blogs of INC local members and foreigners in the Internet, whether they discussed astronomy or music, but not Philippine conditions. When queried about what they knew about the case, they kept mum about it. INC posters like Rizalino L. Arrabis and Conrad J. Obligacion took turns taunting Soriano of that “falsification charge” in news sites all over the Internet, most prominently in NowPublic.com and Topix.net.

Many other incognito INC sympathizers did the same just as they did when Interpol posted Soriano’s bio as one of those wanted. The first who made news out of this was Alfred P. Dalizon of World News Journal Online on August 8, 2008.  Dalizon’s links with the INC showed when he wrote that Soriano is a former INC member and Veridiano alias Puto, instead of being excommunicated from the ADD, was merely going back to his former church, the INC. Dalizon also wrote that Soriano is a fugitive, is on a Red Notice and an international warrant of arrest – contrary to definitions of the Interpol on “fugitive” and “Red Notice.” Furthermore, Dalizon in his half-baked news carried only blind items, never having a name for “police authorities” that he kept mentioning as his source. Nevertheless, Dalizon’s story was honored as a reference in Wikipedia on the much public-edited bio of Soriano that appeared like it is describing an entirely different person.

Incidentally, there are many hate blogsites against Bro. Soriano by as many as 50, initiated and supported by Ka Webspy (Real name: Sustines E. Laplana), a member of the Iglesia ni Cristo. The contents consist of twisting the preaching of the preacher and maligning him in every way possible.

From history, the Ang Dating Daaan began as a small group catering to Philippine membership only in its incipient years in the 1980s. Today, the ADD Convention Center, the biggest convention center in Asia, houses an average of 70,000 people every week for its thanksgiving functions, and that is for Apalit alone. With Bro. Soriano working feverishly outside the country, membership has truly become international and church locales have been established in six continents. Soriano preaches to them simulcast through satellite systems every Saturday and every International Thanksgiving days.

Every Friday, thousands get baptized from diverse religious groups to an annual average of 20,000 in the country alone and another set of thousands abroad – including those from the Iglesia ni Cristo who obviously blame Soriano for their dwindling membership. This is the group that refuses to take the criticisms of the preacher without striking back by way of filing court cases and using the excommunicated members as witnesses; by way of raids; and by way of  using the influence of their members in the courts to intervene in judicial processes.

ADD: Principle of no revenge

Nevertheless, the unity and strength of the ADD had been tested through the years – not by their growing numbers but by following the spiritual principles taught to them by their leader. This is noted in their remarkable policy of not taking any revenge. The principle is to let God take charge.

This was tested so many times when the Iglesia ni Cristo through the NBI under the leadership of Director Gen. ReynaldoWycoco, himself an INC member, in February 1-2, 2002 raided the ADD Convention Center just for a case of libel; when the INC hoodlums hit the ADD brothers near Jollibee Restaurant in Apalit, Pampanga on April 18, 2005; when the ADD Convention Center was raided by  the local police that belonged to the INC in search for their minster, Abner Martizano, who joined the ADD in 2005; and when clearly an INC deacon was implicated in the April 27, 2008 death of Marcos Mataro, a UNTV  host that hit hard on the INCs in his “dX-man”program.

The Jollibee encounter between ADD brothers and INCs was misreported inAbsoluteAstronomy.com as a free-for-all initiated by Marcos Mataro, an ADD member but a former INC.  It did not report that ADD brothers were badly browbeaten by the INCs and in the courts, they were accused as the perpetrators instead of the other way around. Ref: http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Iglesia_ni_Cristo

The raid on the ADD Convention Center on account of former INC minister Martizano was covered by Sun.Star Pampanga (December 16, 2005), the raid being carried out allegedly on grounds of “multiple rape.”  The report, however, made it appear that Martizano only left the INC because he is a criminal and sought refuge in the ADD. Ref: http://www.sunstar.com.ph/static/pam/2005/12/16/news/quezon.city.cops.charged.with.robbery.html

Public news have it that Nickson Icao and Felizardo “Ka Zaldy” Lumagham, both of Macabebe, Pampanga and who claim to be members of INC, (the latter, a deacon) were charged before the San Fernando prosecutors office for the death of Marcos Mataro.  Until now, however, both persons have yet to be accounted for.

The real House of Truth

The GMA network counts its age today as 59 glorious years, chalking March 1, 1950 as its day of birth.  Over the air lanes, this giant broadcast network proudly banners itself as  “House of Truth,” (Tahanan ng katotohanan). And GMA7 is part of them.

As far as the Ang Dating Daan (The Old Path)  is concerned, GMA is one broadcast network that cannot be trusted for its branding and its news taglines. It thrives in hollow branding to sell itself without truly working. Calling itself “house of truth,” it does not offer genuine service beyond mere reproduction of news events and even that is questionable.

To reckon, is GMA of the likes of UNTV – the public service channel? By all counts, GMA cannot equal the humanitarian services given by UNTV that is strongly supported by Bro. Soriano – one whose public image GMA7  recently compromised. Soriano’s works  include the several orphanages in the country, the feeding programs among depressed areas, the medical and dental missions, the transient houses, the free bus rides; and some of these, he does through UNTV. In effect, UNTV does not merely produce news unlike GMA – and that’s what is genuine service.

And to top it all, as far as information is concerned, Soriano works for the propagation of God’s words and the teaching of truth for the salvation of souls. This he does in the country strongly through UNTV. People need to know how to live properly according to Soriano, which is why he preaches 24/7 wherever he can, to include UNTV.  No gyrating lewd bodies; no nonsense programs – just plain public service.

Inside the country, Soriano has “adopted” the poor and the outcast of the society – things that politicians should be doing.   Outside the country, Soriano has “adopted” victims of war and racism and gave them hope through teaching God’s word. All in all, it is truth that Bro. Eli Soriano deals with – day in and day out. In the Church of God which is the House of God, truth is the service. The Church of God is appropriately the House of Truth – not GMA.

To call itself then as “House of Truth” is for GMA to go over bounds. Branding to this network is hollow, without truth,  and more of a habit. In effect, GMA comes out with bubble branding: one blast and it bursts to nothing.

The Razon experience

So, is this network not really siding with anyone as promised by its news tagline?

Sometime in 2005, Daniel Razon, the Vice Presiding Minister of the Members Church of God International or ADD had the same taste of fate as that of Bro. Soriano, Razon’s uncle and partner in Church ministry. Razon was then a co-anchor of Arnold Clavio in Unang Hirit, GMA7’s morning show. Razon is now UNTV executive and is blessed with many opportunities to grow while Clavio stayed where he stays until now. The ADD wonder if Clavio secretly looks at Soriano as he does Razon today, his former colleague and now his rival in the industry. Years back in 2005 when Razon was in GMA7, Management asked him for alternatives: to refrain from mentioning the Iglesia ni Cristo or to resign. He chose the latter in what he called a choice for his God and not for his job. Dindo M. Balares wrote about this in Manila Bulletin (June 16, 2005) and can be found here: http://www.articlearchives.com/entertainment-arts/broadcasting-industry-television/458213-1.html

The ADD members said if GMA7 broke their tagline promise of not siding with anyone by pushing out Razon, one of their very own anchors to please the Iglesia ni Cristo, how much more others like Bro. Soriano who is an outsider.

Some sectors of the ADD still believe that GMA7  has somehow compromised Bro. Soriano’s public image  in its audience ratings’ fight with ABS-CBN. However, GMA7 made a wrong decision if courting this audience is their target in their controversial topics. The ADD are still on boycott. The ADD is a growing force that can be counted on in any elections, much more in broadcast audience ratings.

Bro. Soriano left the country in a huff in late 2005 when reports from the enemy camp said his life was in danger and his quest for justice was nil. As observed by the preacher, the justice system in the country is such that in Pampanga where the rape case was filed and dismissed, and then re-filed by then Secretary of Justice Raul Gonzalez, the prosecutors keep on changing. One week after a pronouncement of judgment against Bro. Soriano, another prosecutor comes in.  And then another. In fact, this rape case is one for the Guinness Book of Records, and is a recommended case study for all students of Law. There are so many meddlers but Soriano sees the hand of the Iglesia ni Cristo in it – they who keep no secret about their hatred for Soriano through the pronouncements of the INC ministers in Net25. Soriano is the most vocal critic of the Iglesia ni Cristo.

GMA7: advancing the “raped man’s” cause

The same “raped man,” now a member of the Iglesia ni Cristo,  was also used to get the Interpol’s intervention to get Soriano behind bars, the failed mission of which the ADD interprets is the present task of GMA7. In his program, Clavio had underscored that nothing could be done while Soriano is out of the country according to Puto’s lawyers. To get Soriano behind bars, GMA7 would then use a professional liar because no one in his right sense would accuse Soriano of rape, let alone raping a rapist.

Finally, Arnold Clavio contradicted himself. While he explained that there is no extradition treaty between the Philippines and Brazil, and that a Red Notice of the Interpol is not an International Arrest Warrant, at the same time he said of Soriano, “he can be arrested for the meantime and an extradition can be worked out for him.” Quoting the lawyers or not, Clavio is not careful which information to propagate or not.

By this time, Bro.  Soriano is thinking the world must be crazy to believe he would rape a rapist – most of all a rapist of not only 9 but more! His enemies are that corrupt of imagination.

The insistence of the Iglesia ni Cristo to pin a rape case on Bro. Eli is interpreted by the ADD as a cosmeticizing effort meant to restructure the much tarnished image of Felix Manalo, their so-called “messenger of God.” In his bible expositions, whenever he is asked about Felix Manalo, Bro. Eli would speak of him as a rapist, not worth a man to be speaking the words of God which Manalo mixes with many lies to hold on to his members. But Soriano is not speaking from mere hearsay.

Rape and INC’s Manalo

In a 1954 newspaper called “The Bombshell,” Joe Cruz serialized the immoral escapades of Felix Manalo and included the court cases wherein he was tried, foremost of which was the Rosita Trillanes case. Manalo had been convicted in court in the 1950s for raping Rosita Trillanes, a deaconess. It was this Rosita, according to Cruz, who had revealed to the INC what this supposed messenger did to women of their church. The Court of Appeals sided with Rosita. The court had established the immoral activities of Felix Manalo. Rosita’s story of how Manalo raped her was published in the Philippine Official Gazette, Vol. 1, July, 1942. She also mentioned about the other women abused by Manalo.

Records have it that accusations of sexual immorality plagued Felix Manalo throughout his life. In a decision by the Court of Appeals, in the case of “The People vs. Rosita Trillanes” published in July 1942, the Justices gave an extremely unfavorable estimate of Manalo’s character stating:

“…Manalo, took advantage of his position as head of the Iglesia ni Cristo, and…employed religion as a cloak to cover his…immoral practices; that he pretended to be the Messias sent by God; and that to persuade his victims, he cited the example of Solomon and his many wives.” (Source: Official Gazette, Volume 1 No. 7, July 1942, pages 393-395.)