What will you give me if I can hand him over to you?

*Revisiting the “Interpol Wanted” caper, the group responsible for it and their futile attempts to force the courts to declare Bro. Eli Soriano as “fugitive from justice.”
*Challenging lawmakers to do something about the command bloc voting practice of the Iglesia ni Cristo that is practically making government servile to their whims.

By Jane Abao

Manila, Philippines (February 28, 2019) – THE JUDAS OFFER would flourish in a materialistic, godless world where there is loathing for anyone who stands in the way of one’s slide and carousel. In the same godless world are the venal, who, by all indications say, “Here I am; corrupt me!”

What will you give me… is not even a question but an offer. The person is willing to do it for a prize. And it is made possible because we have surrendered or are surrendering to people whom we have given political clout to.

Bro. Eli Soriano

People hating Bro. Eli Soriano’s big mouth is a case in point. Some people loathe him for what he says – because he gives them a run for their money. Most of all, some people want him dead and would hound him to the ends of this earth to stop him from talking.

But Preacher Soriano is not that totally hated; nor his words totally loathed. He has helped several souls come to know the true God and follow His ways, as such is Bro. Eli’s calling.

I am looking for lost sheep 

Bro. Eli doesn’t preach about false prophets as a topic per se, if that is what people hate; they are only side issues. The focus on them come only at certain points that there is any association with the topic at hand. The preacher doesn’t give long lectures to dumb the mind, in fact. He makes the audience highly engaged with his discourses similarly found in unique academies. He is teaching from the Bible – yet encouraging critical thinking. While he has to be sensitive to the probable absence or presence of his target audience (lost sheep), he, all the more, is very sensitive to his material – always. And this is where the “problem” begins because he has to teach the whole truth – not just a part – no matter how it hurts.

If the plan is intact, wherever you take it, the house will be built. Strictly speaking, even a jot or a title should not be diminished.

To show how important this principle is to Bro. Eli, before there any texto (topic) is given in the Members Church of God International (MCGI) , the following verse is displayed on the screen is several languages. [The screen is the blackboard for his worldwide preaching as viewed from Apalit, Pampanga to his audience in 6 continents]:

 “Thus saith the LORD; Stand in the court of the LORD’S house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the LORD’S house, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a word:” (Jeremiah 26:2)

Following this order, random grabs from Bro. Eli’s lectures show a deep sensitivity for the Bible. Already, beginning with the first verse of the Bible, Bro. Eli has a comment, noticing the supposed logic of the statement in relation to the verse coming after it. He makes sure the translations are proper before proceeding.

GENESIS 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

[Checking against the Bible Concordance] Gen 1:1  In the beginningH7225 GodH430 createdH1254 (H853) the heavenH8064 and the earth.H776 

Gen 1:2  And the earthH776 wasH1961 without form,H8414 and void;H922 and darknessH2822 was uponH5921 the faceH6440 of the deep.H8415 And the SpiritH7307 of GodH430 movedH7363 uponH5921 the faceH6440 of the waters.H4325

If this were faithfully translated, he says, it would show the status of the earth when it was created. It should read, “When God began to create heaven and earth, earth was without form and void.” Moses was showing the status of the earth when it was created. It was without form and void, he says.

But in the case of Matthew 24:37, “days” should be actually be “day” only.

MATTHEW 24:37 (KJV) But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

This is not in the proper context, he says. Not days. Almost all translators put “days,” even in the Greek. You can only base on the original context of the Bible. It is not right to think that it is “days,” but only one day. Particular day. Particular hour and second of that particular day, he says.

PROVERBS 28:8 (KJV) He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor.

It is not logical that he takes to pity the poor, so he increases his substance by usury and unjust gain. Illogical, he says.

[Checking against the Bible Concordance] Pro 28:8  He that by usuryH5392 and unjust gainH8636 increasethH7235 his substance,H1952 he shall gatherH6908 it for him that will pityH2603 the poor.H1800

There are words added in the translation, he says. There was no “he that by” in the original Hebrew. The subject is the action, hence, “Usury and unjust gain increaseth…” Consider this other verse.

DEUTERONOMY 15:11 (KJV) For the poor shall never cease out of the land:

The poor shall never cease. There will always be the poor.

An explanation for mistranslations, Bro. Eli says, is that readers of the Bible have their minds veiled. Translators read the Bible also, like the translators of the Douay-Rheims version which was derived from the Latin Vulgate. There are translators, and there are readers whose minds are veiled. The veil will only be taken away through Christ, he added.

Working against Soriano for promotion

Being a serious Bible student and teacher, exposing those with erroneous doctrines is part and parcel of Bro. Eli’s work, hence the hatred and vitriol from people who do not want to rectify their ways are expected. The system they don’t want to leave behind has monetarily supported them all these years, and they prefer status quo. They do not want anybody interfering. But ”interference” to one maybe “work” to another. Wherever there is lost sheep, expect a Soriano to speak.

And how “Eliseo F. Soriano” had ended up in the Interpol’s wanted list for “sex crimes” is a puzzle to most. Those in the know, however, are not surprised at how far the enemies of Eliseo F. Soriano, simply “Bro. Eli” to them, would go to humiliate him. They are wont to learning his identity get stolen; his very name used to counter information about himself; his biopage [at Wikipedia] mangled to include lies. The truth is, he has no enemies but false preachers he is trying hard to expose.

But there were really works done at the background to explain how these things happen: for placement in lucrative positions, for promotion, for retaliation in a supposed “libel.” And the system is very much accommodating.

As often pointed out, the INC’s bloc voting practice has earned for them preferential treatment in the government so that they can recommend their own men to sensitive positions even as high as the Supreme Court. When this happens, there is what Rivera (2015) calls “the willingness to prostitute convictions and the rule of law” – but this is not limited to politicians only.

Justice Presbitero J. Velasco Jr. is someone backed by the Iglesia ni Cristo as mentioned by Marites Dañgilan Vitug in “Shadow of Doubt: Probing the Supreme Court.” This justice was the one who wrote the decision sustaining the suspension of Ang Dating Daan, the program of Bro. Eli, upon the complaint of the Iglesia ni Cristo. On pages 93-94 of Vitug’s book –

It did help immensely that Velasco was endorsed by Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, a relative of his wife, and the Iglesia ni Cristo. Velasco listed Cardinal Vidal as one of his references when he applied for the Supreme Court. Asked about the INC nomination, Velasco said, “Some of my friends and classmates may have approached the Iglesia ni Cristo.”

Years later, Velasco wrote a decision in favor of the INC when he upheld the three month suspension of the TV program, Ang Dating Daan, whose host used offensive language against a minister of the INC who also anchors a TV program, Ang Tamang Daan. These religious rivals had been at each other’s throats for years.

The majority sided with Velasco. Four justices dissented, calling the decision a “prior restraint” and therefore, a blow to freedom of speech.

The perception was that Velasco was paying his dues to INC. “It was an en banc decision,” [Velasco] said, dismissing the perceived bias.

The question is: Why didn’t Justice Velasco inhibit himself from the case, considering his links with the Iglesia ni Cristo? He even wrote the decision! (Astudillo, 2013)

When the Iglesia ni Cristo launched “Ang Tamang Daan” way back in 2001, Bro. Eli knew its principal function was to destroy the person of the preacher through that TV program. But the Interpol-wanted caper was different because of the scope and the sufferings that Bro. Eli had to undergo. Worse, it was a patent display of church and state in virtual collusion. In the words of Randy David (2015), “Nothing is more explosive than the mixture of religion and politics.”

Why was this made possible? The INC were able to place their men in strategic positions: in the police force, in the justice system, and in many similar others. And who can tell secrets best but the people who are/were also one of them.

Ebanghelista (2017), for one, mentions that there was/is an Eli Soriano Crusade. “Antonio Ramirez Ebangelista,” according to TJ Burgonio (2015) is the pseudonym of a blogger who not only exposed what he called irregularities in the sect, but also dished out timely updates on expelled INC ministers who were allegedly illegally detained or kidnapped.

The filing of libel cases against Bro. Eli, Ebanghelista (2017) says was a contribution from INC ministers. There was a covert operation (black-ops) on Bro. Eli and his supporters at the ADD Convention Center in Pampanga using none other than the INC Police Officers of the Quezon City Police Department… All those who belonged to this Black-ops (team of Atty. Barcellano) were under an oath of silence.  Result: The cases were never solved; Atty. Vimar Barcellano was promoted – immediately and strategically.

Some time ago during the Eli Soriano crusade, the head of the INC Legal Department was the Minister/lawyer, Restituto Lazaro and the one who handles the actual legal operations was the Ministerial Student/lawyer, Atty. Vimar Barcellano. These people were not forthcoming to the Administration of Bro. Eraño G. Manalo then. They reported lies to him and covered up most of their heinous crimes.  [Underscoring by Ebanghelista (2017)].

As a result, Atty. Resty Lazaro committed so many legal blunders for the church, he was eventually relieved of his position. As for Atty. Barcellano, after his wife discovered his extra-marital affairs, he was kicked out from the Ministry and from the INC Legal Department but because of his contributions to the Eli Soriano filing of libel cases, he was not expelled from the Church. Instead, he was “advised” to join the police force, after which he became Captain in the notorious INC bailiwick, the Quezon City Police District, as the head of its Legal Department…

All those who belonged to Atty. Barcellano’s Black-Ops Team were under an oath of silence, that is why the cases were never ever solved. And this paved the way to Atty. Vimar Barcellano’s immediate and continuous promotion in his position up to the highly strategic post he now holds as CHIEF PROSECUTOR of Dasmariñas, Cavite. It’s much clearer now, why most of the highly questionable activities of the Church Administration of Eduardo V. Manalo is done in Cavite, Philippines because Chief Prosecutor Vimar Barcellano is there to make everything “appear to be a legit procedure.” (Ebanghelista, 2017)

A black operation (or black ops) is a covert operation by a government, a government agency, or a military organization. This can include activities by private companies or groups. Key features of a black operation are that it is secret and it is not attributable to the organization carrying it out. (Wikipedia)

What went before 

On March 27, 2005, Bro. Eli posted on The Manila Times a challenge to debate with Eraño Manalo of the Iglesia ni Cristo “to once and for all settle our doctrinal differences.” He was refused and instead was pushed to ask Pope John Paul II at Vatican, who was dying that time, for a debate and to speak in Latin. That would be the time his request would be accepted. The implication was that the Iglesia ni Cristo was superior to the Roman Catholic Church.

By December 2005, Bro. Eli Soriano was forced to leave the Philippines, with so many cases filed in court.  While he was out of the country, a rape case against him was filed by no other than one he had excommunicated and went to the Iglesia ni Cristo. This case was dismissed In January 2006 for lack of evidence. Curiously, it was re-filed by the Secretary of Justice whose office fell under the Office of the President.

In 2007, INC members who had filed Criminal Case 5957 (For Libel) at the Regional Trial Court, Fourth Judicial Region, Branch 76 of San Mateo Rizal, sought a motion to declare Bro. Eli a fugitive from justice. Judge Josephine Zarate Fernandez on August 31, 2007 denied the motion. Soriano’s counsel had underscored that his client is under intense persecution by the INC, explaining his failure to return to the country. DENIED.

The following year (August 2008), the “Interpol wanted” news came out – at least from the news report of Alfred Dalizon of Journal Online. The offense being true or not, it said Eliseo Soriano was being wanted by the Interpol for “sex crimes.”  The Interpol website that displayed the photo and information of Bro. Eli dated January 28, 2009 said, “If you have any information, contact your national or local police, General Secretariat of Interpol.”

At the same time, GMA7 showed an interview with the supposed complainant with Arnold Clavio as the anchorman. That was the only time the MCGI congregation came to know Bro. Eli’s location: Brazil in Latin America. All the time, information about his location was kept from the organization.

The MCGI went into full force. To introduce to the Interpol the supposed victim, “Portrait of the ‘raped man’ for whom the Interpol would mobilize” was written on “Censored News Uncensored,” WordPress, a parody of the interview of Arnold Clavio, “Case Closed Unclosed.” It described the accuser and narrated the reasons why Daniel S. Veridiano was excommunicated by Bro. Eli in the first place.

All the while, the Internet helped to show: (1) That the rape case was dismissed, (2) The case was re-filed under questionable circumstances, (3) That there is an age-old and on-going battle between the INC and MCGI, (4) That powerful people, not involved, are themselves being used in persecuting Bro. Eli, and (5) That there is the INC to be pleased by these people.

In 2009, since nothing was happening with the Interpol notice (No Bro. Eli yet in their jails) but just a notice, INC complainants in Criminal Case 06-248365 (For Libel) at the Regional Trial Court, National Capital Region, Branch 8, Manila, also sought a motion to declare accused Eliseo Soriano a fugitive from justice. Just as with the first motion in 2007, this second motion seeking to declare Bro. Eli as fugitive from justice was turned down by the court. Penned by Presiding Judge Felixberto T. Olalia, Jr. on December 15, 2009, in the absence of evidences to support accusations, the court said the accused cannot be declared a “fugitive from justice.” DENIED

In fact, there was a third one: Criminal Case 06-248365 (For Libel) failed to get its motion to declare the preacher as fugitive from justice, and was archived. ARCHIVED.

By December 2009, suddenly Bro. Eli began broadcasting from a garage, turned into a makeshift studio, located in Florianópolis, Brazil. Here was the “wanted” man showing himself to the world. Yet he was still supposed to be “wanted.”

Fast forward to August 2011, GMA News, a sister station of GMA7, replayed the interview made on August 2008 made with the supposed rape complainant despite protestations from MCGI members. This resulted in more than 36,000 MCGI members responding with a boycott of the station and opened an online page purposely to communicate with GMA.

The following year [March] 2012, the Interpol dropped Bro. Eli’s name – after some three years. It said their investigations depended on up-to-date global data.

In sum, the Iglesia ni Cristo were not successful in having Bro. Eli be declared a fugitive from justice. They were not able to have him incarcerated. The cases they filed began to be dismissed one after the other. The Interpol Wanted list deleted Bro. Eli’s name. Meanwhile, on the Internet, he is being seen preaching worldwide from Brazil.

Was the Interpol really looking for Bro. Eli?

An Alfred P. Dalizon wrote in August 2008 a story on World News of Journal Online, saying Bro. Eli was served an international Red Notice from the Interpol for the charge of rape. The request was supposedly made by the Regional Trial Court of Macabebe, Pampanga. This was the very court that tried the rape case that was first dismissed, but was re-filed.

Dalizon was clearly partial to the INC that he wrote Bro. Eli was a former INC, just as he said, Daniel Veridiano, the complainant, was an INC member who went to Bro. Eli’s group, then returned to the INC. These are patent lies.

As records reveal, the investigating prosecutor found no probable cause to prosecute Soriano as he believed that Veridiano’s accusations were all lies and fabricated. It highly considered the rift going on between the INC and the ADD. It was penned by Alexandro Lopez, Asst. Provincial Prosecutor, and approved by Jesus Manarang, the Provincial prosecutor, Province of Pampanga, San Fernando City, on January 26, 2006.

But the case was re-filed. How was this done? Manarang, with some filial links to Raul Gonzalez, the Secretary of Justice under the Office of the President, was replaced by Jaime Umpa from Mindanao that took care of the re-filing of the case. After that, Manarang was returned to his place and Umpa was returned to Mindanao.

Ebanghilista (2015) on his website shows photos of the concerned documents. The document shots duly captioned, are as follows:

(1) Rape case filed against Bro. Eli was dismissed by Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Alexandro Lopez and submitted by Jesus Y. Manarang on January 26, 2006.

(2) March 21, 2006. DOJ Secretary Raul Gonzalez orders the records of the rape case to be elevated to his office. The President at that time was Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, widely supported by the INC for their bloc voting practice.

(3) April 10, 2006, Jesus Manarang, Provincial Prosecutor, complies with the order of DOJ Sec Raul Gonzalez to elevate the case.

(4) April 25, 2006, DOJ Sec Raul Gonzalez assigns Jaime L. Umpa to Pampanga especially to resolve the case, “Daniel Veridiano vs. Eliseo Soriano.” Department Order 255, April 25, 2006 was signed by Raul Gonzalez.

Ebanghelista’s (2015) assessment was that –

[This is] a case of special treatment, of obvious manipulation and interference! The “common sense” that can explain this is that the one who filed the case is an Iglesia ni Cristo member and the accused happens to be a Bro. Eli Soriano, one who has no influence [with] the government.

Notes: In (2), directed to elevate the records to the Office of the Department of Justice was Regional State Prosecutor Jesus Simbulan of Region III.

In (3), there’s a notation that says, ‘Together with the prepared resolution of Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Alexandro Lopez.’

ELEVATING THE CASE

Question: What happened now to the earlier resolution? Was Lopez forced to change his first resolution of ‘DISMISSED’?

Because the clear intention is to once and for all apprehend Bro. Eli wherever he was in any part of the world, the Interpol was used. So that the Interpol would have something to hold on to, a court case for mere libel (2007) sought a motion to declare him “fugitive from justice.” Hence, the following year (April 2008), the Interpol wanted list appeared, but that was all. Only a notice. In 2009, another court case, again for mere libel, sought a motion to have Bro. Eli be declared as fugitive from justice. Still no handcuffing. And yet a third attempt was made, despite the court junking the two earlier motions, but was archived. How persistent these efforts were, the court cases can tell.

The Iglesia ni Cristo were having a feast from all of these, as shown by their spams on social media sites. But their problem was that because Bro. Eli is being seen on the Internet preaching world-wide, how could he be someone hiding with activities that required the intervention of the Interpol?

Questions on Interpol Notice

The Interpol does not also involve itself in any political, military, religious, or racial crimes. This is written in its constitution.

Moreover, the work of Interpol focuses primarily on public safety, terrorism, organized crime, war crimes, illicit drug production, drug trafficking, weapons smuggling, human trafficking, money laundering, child pornography, white-collar crime, computer crime, intellectual property crime and corruption.

For which of these crimes was Soriano guilty of to merit an Interpol notice? If Bro. Eli Soriano cannot even be declared a “fugitive from justice” by the courts, how could the Interpol be looking for him? Two times denied; the third time, archived. For whatever motive his name was placed there, only the culprit knows.

The Interpol emphatically states in their database that a Red Notice is not an international arrest warrant in contrast to Dalizon’s report of April 2008 about Bro. Eli. It also gives a warning in bold letters that the person should be considered innocent until proven guilty.

But did someone make a killing for the temporary posting? The Internet was so full about this Interpol thing. The humiliation was too much. Those who had filed cases, and those that moved the powers that be to hound Bro. Eli, are those who had made a feast of all these – and it took 3 painful years, and more.

What were they able to disable from Bro. Eli?

Why in the world would Dalizon pretend to direct the Interpol to places where Bro. Eli goes as a tip? Was the preacher hiding? How could Interpol not know about the activities of Bro. Eli when he is on the Internet teaching the world day in and day out? For a while, the enemy seemed victorious. Bro. Eli laments to the congregation (Skype conference, 2016) –

The enemy was doing everything to destroy me. I asked permission from the court to leave the Philippines to conduct a Bible Exposition in Singapore.

When I was already in Singapore, the enemies filed a rape case against me, so that they can take me. That is without bail. Atty. Frank Chavez called me and advised me not to return to the Philippines. He said it would be dangerous for me to go home to the Philippines.

I did not know where to go. My mind was troubled.

Considering that they had wanted Bro. Eli to suffer, they enjoyed placing him in difficulty. While Bro. Eli was jumping from country to country, he was not able to preach – but he was thinking.

We jumped from one country to the next. We found out that Brazil is predominantly Catholic. I was thinking, there may be people of God there.

In the map, Brazil is the opposite of the Philippines. We had to go to Uruguay first. With God’s help, I was given a visa. But the lawyer advised me to lay low for a while. That was for three months. I was not happy because I was not able to preach.

We exited to different countries every 30 days. I was like a man without a nation because I had no visa in Singapore. And then I was eventually granted a work visa. I did not need to exit to neighboring countries. But we were not allowed to preach in Singapore.

I was thinking, what would I be doing here? Will I just die here without preaching? In Singapore, we sold snacks. I was earning. I had a savings account in a bank. But the bank told me to get my money and close the account. It turned out that I have an Interpol notice.

Enter the God of Justice

For all his sufferings, Bro. Eli knew God would not allow him to suffer injustice for long. He will assert his presence. The God of Justice will balance things. One day, his lawyer said, “They cannot arrest you anymore. There is no extradition treaty here in Brazil. Before they can have you deported, they have to get through me.”

Bro. Eli started going out. He told Bro. Josel Mallari, one of the ministers, to look for a television station. It was rather expensive, but they gave it a try. They aired a program. After two weeks, they received many responses, and so they conducted a Bible Exposition. Guests swarmed in.

People attended the exposition for the whole day – 14 hours. Bro. Eli spent much; it was in millions. It turned out that this thing is already in the Bible: the prophecy that salvation will start in the east and then go to the west. He asks, and answers his own question: “Was anyone able to hinder it? No!”

In December 2009, TV Verdade was born. Its broadcast feed originated from a small garage, around 48 square meters, transformed into a makeshift broadcasting studio located in Florianópolis, Brazil. The station now carries the 24-hour Portuguese broadcast of O Caminho Antigo (English: The Old Path, Tagalog: Ang Dating Daan) hosted by Bro. Eli.

After virtually driving Bro. Eli away from the Philippines, his enemies thought they would be safe from his mouth. But feeling that the Interpol would not be acting, they tried three times to have him be declared as “fugitive from justice.” No results. The courts did not approve. Worse, Interpol dropped Bro. Eli’s name from being “wanted.”

Now that Bro. Eli had based himself in Brazil, failing from the Interpol attempt, they wanted to have him extradicted so they can have some access to him. But such request was archived, too. With God’s mercy, Bro. Eli came to have legal status in Brazil.

Even if they killed me

The notion of an antipodes map first came to Bro. Eli when he tried to make sense of what was happening to him and found it is a package by itself. His being hunted and hounded is merely a part, but it doesn’t mean those party to it are blessed and should be blessed.

With the antipodes map, the direction of preaching that MCGI should follow is dictated: Coming from the east that is the Philippines, it goes to the west (Brazil); then it should go up north and finally go down south. That is in the prophecy. As far as the MCGI is concerned, the one tasked to save people in these areas is the Church affiliated with the Church mentioned in the Bible.

Bro. Eli has been 12 years in Brazil now. In all places in south and Latin America, there are now MCGI locales:  259 in Spanish-speaking countries (Latin America), and 149 Portuguese-speaking locales (Brazil). By April 2016, TV Verdade was announced as adding 23 relay stations, to total 50 relay stations in the west.

TV Verdade airs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via Star One C2 satellite in South American countries and SES-6 satellite which also covers South American countries as a redundancy, including other nations in North America, Europe and North Africa.

If you will look at the antipodes map, if you bury a tunnel right through the center of the earth to the other side of the world, you will end up in Brazil, in South America.

The church is growing. They cannot hinder it. Even if they killed me, the word of God is already planted. It already started to grow and to bear fruits. I hold Bible Expositions in different places. That’s how I look for lost sheep.

Why did he say, “even if they killed me?” From experience, Bro. Eli knows that there are people who cannot accept truth.

When he was just 27 years old, preaching in the barrios of Central Luzon, Philippines, the young Eli was mauled by deacons of the Iglesia ni Cristo in Betis, Pampanga. The topic he was discussing was about the “other angel ascending from the east.” According to several sources, Felix Manalo, the founder of the INC, had declared himself to be the fifth angel calling out to four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: “Do not harm the land or sea or trees until we have sealed the foreheads of the servants of our God.”…

Santa Romana (1955) and four other sources write, it was in 1922 that Felix Manalo first declared himself to be the “fifth angel” or  “another angel rising in the east” as mentioned in Revelation 7:2. Accordingly, he developed this doctrine in order to accumulate power and reassert his leadership in the church.

Bro. Eli said it was impossible that, that angel was Manalo. Can he set one foot upon the sea and another foot on the earth? Impossible! Before he could even do that, he would drown, he said. Members of the Iglesia ni Cristo did not like what they heard. Five deacons beat the young man that he got hospitalized at Mercy Clinic for one week.

INC Interference in Government

Lawmakers should climb a little higher to take note of what’s happening in the environment. What they did to Bro. Eli Soriano is so far the most complicated operations carried out. Involved here were the courts, the media, the Interpol, and the governments of the Philippines and Brazil, with the Iglesia ni Cristo playing major role.

At the background were the many members of the MCGI in 6 continents actively following up on developments. All throughout, there was an online boycott of some 36,000 against GMA7 and GMA News because of their support of the supposed “raped” victim. There was a lot of disinformation on the Internet for three painful years and more, while the “Interpol wanted list” requested by the Iglesia ni Cristo was active. Has there been any other Filipino treated like this? Who will be their next victim?

And yet lawmakers have not done any move because they can milk the corrupt practice for their own purpose. Nothing is being done to check the Iglesia ni Cristo. Not to even mention accessions given to them on a platter, we trace this cancer to the INC practice of bloc voting that has made politicians servile and government corroding to the core. It begins with the Iglesia ni Cristo playing games with their members on one hand and candidates for elections on the other.

The politicians court the INC for votes, the INC dictates to their members. When these politicians win, they act as stooges. It is payback time, and the cancer cells spread out. Now, since the practice is aimed at national officials including the President of the Land, every part of government is not safe from defilement.

One can say there’s nothing wrong with bloc voting, but the kind that INC practices is one of command. There have been dissenting voices but it looks like no one is interested in solutions. As Columnist Conrado de Quiros asked, why do we allow this?

“Why do we allow the INC…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.” (De Quiros, 2012).

Even thinking INC members are not fooled. They can see what’s wrong and they are concerned about the effects on the government –

“Oh, how terrible and weakening the feeling, hearing those words of politicians who are subservient to the influence of the Iglesia ni Cristo! It is like they have lost their mind. Can you imagine Pavlov’s dog? What these politicians actually salivate for are nothing but the bloc votes of these non-thinking Iglesia ni Cristo. That is the reason these politicians cannot stand up for law.

“It appears that the Iglesia ni Cristo ni Manalo can freely do anything they wanted to do without worry of interference from the government even if they aggrieve others. It is indeed discouraging and seemingly marginalized to feel that one belongs to the people who have no “say” to those in the government. (Ebanghelista, 2015)

Of the next victim, can you imagine? It only happens that the God of Bro. Eli is real who also wanted to prove his power. The spikes of the fierce and vicious, he was able to dumb down. But what if the victim is not a Bro. Eli?

Politics of religion

Yet the INC are ever ready to use the infamous tagline, “separation of Church and State” to defend themselves whenever they could capitalize on it. The principle is that the State cannot interfere in purely religious matters and the Church cannot also interfere in matters of the State.

Miraculously, after Bro. Eli was relieved from that “Interpol wanted” caper, things were happening at the Iglesia ni Cristo even as it approaches the INC’s 101st founding anniversary (July 27, 2015). There was fighting within, amidst allegations of corruption. The very family of the Manalos were in contention: the Executive Minister, that is Eduardo V. Manalo, had excommunicated his own mother and his brother (CNN_PH Staff, 2015).

Corruption was being alleged within the organization even by Angel Manalo, the very brother of the Executive Minister (Malig, 2015). Some ministers have either gone missing or were being held as prisoners within. Court cases flew. At one point in time, the Secretary of Justice Leila de Lima called for a preliminary investigation of several INC church leaders based on the testimony of Mr. Isias Samson, a former minister, with allegations of serious illegal detention.

Wikipedia records that on August 27-31, 2015, the INC held protests. The INC were calling it an alleged violation of separation of church and state due to the DOJ acting on the filed illegal detention case. The twin goals were: (1) Removal of DOJ secretary Leila de Lima from her post, and (2) Junking of the Case filed by Isaias Samson Jr. The results of the 5-day protest were that (1) The Iglesia Ni Cristo announced the end of the protests following talks between church and government officials. And (2) The Iglesia ni Cristo in protester created a heavy traffic jam on EDSA, causing major re routing and road closures. (3) De Lima remained DOJ secretary.

Here comes the question:

Who gave a minority religious group like the Iglesia Ni Kristo, not even one-tenth as many as the Catholic Church, so much power and influence that it has the audacity… to stage a protest and expect the State to kowtow in fear?…It is amazing why election after election, presidentiables and senatoriables have to make a courtesy call to INC leadership like their political lives depended on it. It is mind-boggling how the announcement of INC-supported candidates get more media mileage than the CBCP list (Rivera, 2015).

Buenaobra (2016) echoes the same sentiment: “Despite the failed endorsements, candidates still trooped to the INC compound to get the ‘blessing’ (and votes) of its executive minister.” As news accounts show, previous endorsements of the INC that have failed include: Eduardo Cojuangco who came in 3rd; Estrada who was ousted in 2001 because of corruption charges; Macapagal-Arroyo who had graft charges, and Manny Villar who lost the elections.

Rivera (2015) explains that the problem starts when people who want to control the State are willing to use the Church to get elected. Then, the separation of church and state becomes blurry. Wielding influence in the matters of State is made possible by giving religious groups leeway to dictate election results by their open endorsements, Rivera said.

That is the reason why some politicians are willing to prostitute convictions and the rule of law so they will not earn the ire of the INC and others who may already know their fate with the INC to readily criticize it (Rivera, 2015).

But it may not be the same again to claim that INC members are ‘just protecting their faith.’

Until we learn that we get our ails from our own doing, we cannot say to the INC, it may not be the same again. What we have now is a government fast deteriorating and cheapened from engaging in barter schemes with a “church” demanding special privileges. And this is done through politicians, prosecutors, justices, police and personalities of like stature from wrongful political couplings demonstrated herein. #

References

Abao, J. (2008, August 27). Portrait of the “raped man” for whom the Interpol would mobilize. Retrieved from https://jakeastudillo.wordpress.com/2009/06/26/portrait-of-the-raped-man-for-whom-the-interpol-would-mobilize/ First posted on Newsvine.com

Abao, J. (2014, October 22). Eli Soriano Not Fugitive from Justice: Two Courts Deny Motions. Retrieved from https://kotawinters.wordpress.com/2014/10/22/eli-soriano-not-fugitive-from-justice-two-courts-deny-motions/

Astudillo, J. (2013, April 3). Are We Now Going to Give the Country to Bloc-Voting People? Retrieved from https://kotawinters.wordpress.com/2013/04/03/are-we-now-going-to-give-the-country-to-bloc-voting-people/

Buenaobra, MI. T. (2016, February 24). The Politics of Religion in the Philippines. Retrieved from https://asiafoundation.org/2016/02/24/the-politics-of-religion-in-the-philippines/

Burgonio, T.J. (2015, November 29). Blogger ‘Ebangelista’ writes Inquirer, warns Iglesia elders. Retrieved from https://technology.inquirer.net/45477/blogger-ebangelista-writes-inquirer-warns-iglesia-elders?utm_expid=.XqNwTug2W6nwDVUSgFJXed.1

CNN Philippines Staff (2015, July 24). Iglesia ni Cristo expels Manalo siblings, mother. Retrieved from http://cnnphilippines.com/news/2015/07/23/Iglesia-ni-Cristo-expels-Manalo-siblings-mother.html1

Dalizon, A.P. (2008, August 16). Int’l arrest warrant out for Eli Soriano. Retrieved from http://article.wn.com/view/2008/08/16/Intl_arrest_warrant_out_for_Eli_Soriano/

Dalizon, A.P. (2008, August 17) [Tabloid version posted in People’s Tonight]. Retrieved from http://www.journal.com.ph/index.php?issue=2008-08-17&sec=1&aid=70285

David, R. (2015, August 30). Law, politics and the INC, Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved from https://opinion.inquirer.net/88043/law-politics-and-the-inc#ixzz5gcEUY8du

De Quiros, C. (2012, May 23). Why do we allow this? Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved from https://opinion.inquirer.net/29267/why-do-we-allow-this#ixzz5gVDXkCjH

Ebanghelista, A.R. (2015, September 21). Iglesia ni Cristo Straining the Gnats but not the Camel. Retrieved from https://incnomore.wordpress.com/2015/09/21/iglesia-ni-cristo-straining-the-gnats-but-not-the-camel/

Ebanghelista, A.R. (2017, June 7). Eduardo V. Manalo’s Administration: Undeniably a Bully Disguised as Holy. Retrieved from https://incsilentnomore.com/2017/06/07/eduardo-v-manalos-administration-undeniably-a-bully-disguised-as-holy/

Malig, J. (2015, July 24). Angel Manalo alleges ‘massive corruption’ in Iglesia Ni Cristo. ABS-CBNnews.com. Retrieved from https://news.abs-cbn.com/nation/metro-manila/07/23/15/angel-manalo-alleges-massive-corruption-iglesia-ni-cristo

Rivera, B.V. (2015, September 1). The Iglesia ni Cristo and the game of politics. Retrieved from https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/opinion/content/535108/the-iglesia-ni-cristo-and-the-game-of-politics/story/

Santa Romana (1955:381-5), Gumban (1968:41), Fabian(1969:7-8), Sanders (1969:353-5) and Tuggy (1976:57-9,116-9). Fallacies of the Iglesia ni Cristo. https://sites.google.com/site/fallaciesoftheiglesianicristo/biography-of-felix-y-manalo

Smith, Jr., W. Thomas (2003). Black-ops. Encyclopedia of the Central Intelligence Agency. New York, NY: Facts on File, Inc. p. 31. ISBN 0-8160-4666-2. In Wikipedia

Soriano, E. F. (2016, April 6) Lamentations. (Statements in italics). Skype Conference. Members Church of God International

Vitug, M. D. (2010). Shadow of Doubt: Probing the Supreme Court. Public Trust Media Group Inc.

Wikipedia. 2015 Iglesia ni Cristo protests. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2015_Iglesia_ni_Cristo_protests

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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.