By Jake Astudillo
He maybe in the wanted list of The International Criminal Police Organization but he is the People’s choice awardee in the recent 2009 Philippine Web Awards in the blog category. More than that, he is the awardee for the most popular website, besting all others in all categories.
The truth blog of Eliseo Soriano, esoriano.wordpress.com, tackled biblical truth which explains his monicker, Truthcaster. He has a YouTube channel too in this name.
Some people hate Bro. Eli’s big mouth. Some people loathe what he says. Most of all, some people want him dead and would hound him to the ends of this earth to stop him from talking. These days, there is one identified as Conrad J. Obligacion in Topix.net using Soriano’s monicker, Truthcaster, in various websites ironically with the aim of maligning the preacher as far as “editing” Wikipedia with false information.
But Preacher Soriano is not that totally hated; nor his words totally loathed. At the same time that his blogsite won, all his organizational’s affiliates won: the Ang Dating Daan – Bible Exposition Online (organization category), Kaanib.net – Christian Web Newsmagazine (magazines and zines category), UNTV – Your Public Service Channel (entertainment category; UNTV is heavily supported by the Church of God, International), and DanielRazon.com – Mr. Public Service’s Official Website (celebrities and personalities category. Razon is the vice presiding minister of the MCGI, second to Bro. Eli. Except for the preacher’s blogsite which was newly launched middle of 2007, these other websites has been winning year after year since 5 years ago.
How Eliseo Soriano 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 his enemies would go to humiliate him. His identity gets stolen; his biography gets mangled to include lies. His very name is used to counter information about him. However, he has no enemies but false preachers he is trying hard to expose.
About August 19, 2008, a media man named Alfred P. Dalizon, writing in World News Network on Journal online, said that International Evangelist, Bro. Eliseo Soriano, is wanted for rape and that an international warrant of arrest is out for him. The story did not explain how come the Interpol is suddenly in the picture. The offices he mentioned like the Philippine National Police did not even carry a single name.
In order to maintain as politically neutral a role as possible, Interpol’s constitution forbids its involvement in crimes that do not overlap several member countries. 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.
Therefore, Dalizon or whatever group he represents, cannot merely call upon the Interpol to do things to their bidding as implied in the report he produced.
The Interpol emphatically states in their database that a Red Notice is not an international arrest warrant that Dalizon would like to have the public believe. It also gives a warning in bold letters that the person should be considered innocent until proven guilty.
Dalizon also said “the PNP noted that the Bureau of Immigration has already included Soriano in the Bureau’s watch list effective November 11, 2005.” However, a check with the office of the BI that time revealed that they had received no order from proper authorities to that effect. While Dalizon kept quoting the Philippine National Police in his report, he could only come up with just “PNP.”
Soriano is the presiding minister of the Church of God, International, more popularly known as Ang Dating Daan (The Old Path). This is, however, a multi-awarded radio and thence television program of this preacher that has been running for almost three decades. Being the head of an international church organization, the evangelist is now based in foreign countries although he reaches his Filipino audience 24 hours a day through his satellite programs. All over the world, there are locales for this church which is growing leaps and bounds.
Time and again, while the evangelist is out of the country, Philippine media is used as a weapon against him but the contents, Soriano said, are pure lies. Now and then, reports about his arrest or surrender are bannered by Philippine tabloids and picked up by TV and radio as legitimate news. In these instances, a pattern shows that media men are being used to make life difficult for him.
The style of Dalizon is the same one repeated over and over in the Philippines. The news rendition is not complete but come with generic terms and with no particular names. What are prominent are the whereabouts of the evangelist. Because they could not get Soriano killed, his enemies use the media, perchance other newspapers pick up the items and reproduce them as legitimate news. The danger, however, is that the public might be fooled – and this time, the Interpol. Dalizon reveals himself partial to the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) by saying that Soriano is a former member of this group which is not true.
The Iglesia ni Cristo is often challenged by Preacher Bro. Eliseo Soriano to defend its teachings, since it runs counter to the task of Soriano who looks at himself as having to save Filipinos from the continuing deception of the Manalos. Felix Manalo, the founder of the Iglesia ni Cristo in 1913 is succeeded by his son, Eraño Manalo whom Soriano has long been challenging to come out to a debate on television live. Manalo has not bothered to answer, however.
Due to Manalo’s silence, Soriano challenged him to a debate in March 2005 as published through Manila Times, a national broadsheet. As expected, Manalo did not come out but his ministers told Soriano over television Net 25 to debate first with the Pope who was then ill at that time and speak in Latin. Then and there, Manalo can debate with Soriano, they said.
Instead of answering to the charges of false preaching, the INC short cuts things and use media people in the guise of news scoops. Most of the time, these media people used are innocent about the tricks the INC uses and more so about the long-time feud between the INC and the Ang Dating Daan (The Old Path) group that Eliseo Soriano heads.
With the same style of Dalizon, the INC ministers as anchors in their Ang Tamang Daan (The Right Path) program, had been airing over Net 25 television station the usual travel routes of Soriano and encouraged the Abu Sayyaf (Moro rebels in the Philippines) to run after him. They say that on particular days, he is in San Vicente and passes by these distinct routes. For the hearing of Muslims, these ministers claim Soriano has called them killers and therefore Muslims should run after him also. It is not a secret that the INC had been using the Muslims against Soriano with some of the latter unaware of the issues. Ang Tamang Daan program (ATD) of the INC is a poor counterfeit of the successful Ang Dating Daan of Soriano that had reaped the Gawad America Award for the most informative religious program in 2006. A large portion of ATD is used to hit Soriano and spite him as the direct cause of their dwindling membership.
Dalizon’s style is the same trick applied by Rizalino L. Arrabis, most rabid defender of the INC. Over in NowPublic.com, Arrabis had been calling for people to post the phone number of Soriano, his fax number, his email address, his phone number as the preacher, he said, is wanted for rape and other crimes. He also called for the Interpol to catch what he called a criminal. For all his personal attacks, however, the site deleted all of his hundred and one posts with a warning from Rob Walker. Commenting November 14, 2007 to an article in OhmyNews International, Arrabis called Soriano the phenomenal criminal fugitive preacher and wrote “WORKINGMEN OF ALL COUNTRIES, UNITE!!! POLICE OFFICIALS OF ALL COUNTRIES, UNITE!!! LEASH AND IMPOUND THIS RABID DOG, ELISEO SORIANO, BEFORE HE SPREADS HIS CORRUPTION.”
In World News of Journal Online, Dalizon said Soriano would likely be visiting the following places: Brazil, Singapore, Thailand and the United States. Some quarters believe Dalizon is pitching for the Interpol who may believe that they are being tipped off by proper authorities. The Interpol who are not aware of the ways of the Iglesia ni Cristo may believe the story just upon the word of the Philippine military who are INC members without verification.
This World News incident was protested over by publication editors of Soriano’s group. They demanded that World News of the Philippine Journal group of publications sanction the erring reporter who obviously did not check his details before posting. The evangelist has in his possession two evidences to counter the rape case that Veridiano filed with the courts: (1) Lipa City Youth and Cultural Center permit for the use of the premises for the Bible Exposition that Soriano held for May 17 of 2000 – the day that Veridiano claimed he was raped; and (2) Chelation Therapy Schedule by the doctors who had attended to him that day before he went to his Bible Exposition. Veridiano, alias Puto, in the case he filed with the courts, claimed that he was raped around 1:30 in the afternoon of May 17, 2000 at the Convention Center in Pampanga. At those times, the evangelist was out of the Convention Complex as he was being attended to by his doctors and then he moved on to his Bible Exposition which ended at midnight. These Bible Expositions usually take time to prepare for the public and they begin much early in the day and end at midnight.
On what Veridiano reported as a second count of rape on June 8, 2001, Soriano said 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. 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 that was filed sometime before October 5, 2005 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. It highly considered the rift going on between the INC and the ADD.
Veridiano only filed his complaint after some 14 of his subordinates complained to Soriano that he raped them.
The story of Dalizon that is being protested to by the editors can be found here: http://article.wn.com/view/2008/08/16/Intl_arrest_warrant_out_for_Eli_Soriano/
The tabloid version posted in People’s tonight can be read here:
The rape story was one connected with Daniel Veridiano, a former member of Ang Dating Daan and who had joined the Iglesia ni Cristo. While he was the one who raped his office mates, he filed a rape case against Preacher Soriano, obviously helped by the new church group he joined to spite Soriano after being excommunicated from Soriano’s group.
In Dalizon’s story, Veridiano was untruthfully presented as a former member of the Iglesia ni Cristo, just like Dalizon did in the case of Soriano – a poor attempt of Dalizon to hide his connections with the Iglesia ni Cristo. Dalizon also implied that Veridiano merely returned to his former fold, the Iglesia ni Cristo, when the truth is that Veridiano could no longer be acceptable to Soriano’s group.
Veridiano was excommunicated by Soriano for several offenses, including rape of some 14 of his subordinates and pilfering the church collections. His confessions can be viewed in YouTube. According to the church leader, the rape case Veridiano filed against the evangelist was in retaliation for his excommunication. This case was once dismissed by the courts for lack of evidence, but due to the intervention of Raul Gonzalez, himself the Secretary of Justice, the case was re-filed. Wikipedia carries this item in the biography of Eliseo Soriano where it mentions that Gonzalez has no connection with the case and yet he had it re-filed.
Some of the false teachings of the INC that Soriano had been attacking are: That anyone who is outside of the INC will not be saved, and other churches are of the devil thus condemning their members to the fires of hell; that Jesus Christ is a human being, was a human being, and remains a human being, and that Manalo is an angel; that holy supper is observed in the morning and with financial contributions.
Soriano had to leave the country in late 2005 upon receiving word that he would be left for dead. The INC had been filing case after case against Soriano beginning with libel and other cases to include rape. When he found that he could not even get the local and national courts to give him justice, he filed a case with the International Court of Human Rights.
The most vicious of the strategies that the INC had been using against Soriano is that of media. First, they used comics to depict Soriano in sodomy. These comics have been mandatory for their ministers to distribute and they were required quotas. Abner Martizano, the INC minister who got affiliated with the Ang Dating Daan group had provided all the details and showed on screen the directives from his former church in the viewing of thousands of Ang Dating Daan members.
The INC is known for its king-maker capacity with its bloc voting practice and is well sought for by politicians in times of elections. After the elections, these elected people return the favor in so many ways. Soriano, as beleaguered international evangelist, has left his country on account of persecutions by this rival church group quite influential to the Philippine government. Fortunately, for him, his being abroad has turned much good for his work as evangelist. More church locales have been opened and many nationalities have joined his faith including those from Canada, North and South America, Africa, Spain, and some from Asia.