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

By Jane Abao

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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What the Dissenting Judges Wrote: Bro. Eliseo Soriano Vs Laguardia, MTRCB on Speech

Free speech must be protected so that the people can engage in the discussion and deliberation necessary for the successful operation of democratic institutions. – Justice Antonio T. Carpio

Justice Roberto Abad

The following is an update on the case of Bro. Eli Soriano versus Ma. Consoliza Laguardia and the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB). It begins with the preacher’s account with a snippet from TOP magazine. It then leads to Erika T. Dy’s news on Supreme Court’s en banc decision, and Newsbreak Purple S. Romero’s voting report of the Supreme Court on the case. The focus is on the dissenting opinions of two justices: Justice Roberto A. Abad and Justice Antonio T. Carpio.The dissenting opinions carry facts of the case which can update the reader.

Dissent means that judges that do not agree with the majority may write their own dissenting opinions to state their views.

Justice Antonio Carpio

Background:

MTRCB suspended Bro. Soriano’s television broadcasts after the same religious group, the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC), had filed practically the same complaints about the use of harsh words by Bro. Soriano or alleged “bad words” and defamation against the INC. Soriano contested the suspensions at the high court, complaining that the MTRCB violated his constitutional right to free religion, speech, and expression.

“The statements were merely in response to the detestable conduct of the ministers of the Iglesia ni Cristo hosting a television program entitled, Ang Tamang Daan,” he said.

In taking Ang Dating Daan off the air, the MTRCB cited Section 3 of Presidential Decree 1986, granting the Board the power to screen, review, and examine all movie and TV programs and to delete materials that it deems morally offensive.

But Soriano countered that Section 3c of PD 1986 “is unconstitutional in so far as it sanctions the censorship of religious TV programs as a form of subsequent punishment.” [SOURCE: THE OLD PATH MAGAZINE. Vol. 1 No. 3 | 2005. http://www.angdatingdaan.org/publications/pub_top_2.htm%5D

After four years, this report came out –

The Supreme Court en banc, in an 11-4 vote, upheld the three-month suspension imposed by the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board on the TV program Ang Dating Daan, aired on UNTV 37, after its host, petitioner Eliseo S. Soriano, was found to have uttered offensive and obscene remarks during its August 10, 2004 broadcast.

The majority, in a consolidated decision, speaking through Justice Presbitero J. Velasco, Jr., held that the suspension is not a prior restraint, but rather a “form of permissible administrative sanction or subsequent punishment.” In affirming the power of the MTRCB to issue an order of suspension, the majority said that “it is a sanction that the MTRCB may validly impose under its charter without running afoul of the free speech clause.” [Source: Erika T. Dy. SC Upholds MTRCB Suspension of Ang Dating Daan. Supreme Court of the Philippines. April 30, 2009.]

A researcher from Newsbreak had provided a capsule report of the voting of the High Court on this issue as follows –

How the Supreme Court decided on
Soriano v. Laguardia; Soriano v. MTRCB

(on the suspension of “Dating Daan” preacher for uttering profanities on air against the Iglesia ni Cristo)

Why is it important: The case raised questions on what constitutes prior restraint.

The SC upheld the 3-month suspension of Dating Daan host Eliseo Soriano, who uttered profanities against the religious sect Iglesia ni Cristo on his show.

The Movie and Television Review Classification Board first slapped Soriano with a 20-day preventive suspension upon preliminary probe. It then issued a 3-month suspension against Soriano after he was found guilty of expressing obscenities on air.

The majority ruled that it is within the powers of the MTRCB to issue a preventive suspension.

However, those who dissented, which included Chief Justice Reynato Puno, said that the sanction will extend to Soriano’s future speech, and thus would constitute prior restraint.

How they voted: De Castro concurred with the decision. Carpio and Carpio-Morales dissented. Brion and Corona voted to dismiss the petition. [Research by Purple S. Romero. Newsbreak.com]

Here come now the excerpts from Law Monitor of the Supreme Court showing the dissenting opinions of Justice Roberto A. Abad and Justice Antonio T. Carpio.

Saturday, June 5, 2010
Supreme Court Decisions and Resolutions March 2010

G.R. No. 164785/G.R. No. 165636. March 15, 2010
Eliseo F. Soriano Vs. Ma. Consoliza P. Laguardia, etc. et al./Eliseo F. Soriano Vs. Movie and Television Review and Classification Board, et al.

Dissenting Opinion
J. Carpio, J. Abad

This is The DISSENTING OPINION OF JUSTICE J. ABAD [Source: http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/2010/march2010/164785_abad.htm%5D

EN BANC

G.R. No. 164785 — ELISEO F. SORIANO, Petitioner, versus MA. CONSOLIZA P. LAGUARDIA, in her capacity as Chairperson of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board, MOVIE AND TELEVISION REVIEW AND CLASSIFICATION BOARD, JESSIE L. GALAPON, ANABEL M. DELA CRUZ, MANUEL M. HERNANDEZ, JOSE L. LOPEZ, CRISANTO SORIANO, BERNABE S. YARIA, JR., MICHAEL M. SANDOVAL and ROLDAN A. GAVINO, Respondents.

G.R. No. 165636 — ELISEO F. SORIANO, Petitioner, versus MOVIE AND TELEVISION REVIEW AND CLASSIFICATION BOARD, ZOSIMO G. ALEGRE, JACKIE AQUINO-GAVINO, NOEL R. DEL PRADO, EMMANUEL BORLAZA, JOSE E. ROMERO IV, and FLORIMONDO C. ROUS, in their capacity as members of the Hearing and Adjudication Committee of the MTRCB, JESSIE L. GALAPON, ANABEL M. DELA CRUZ, MANUEL M. HERNANDEZ, JOSE L. LOPEZ, CRISANTO SORIANO, BERNABE S. YARIA, JR., MICHAEL M. SANDOVAL and ROLDAN A. GAVINO, in their capacity as complainants before the MTRCB, Respondents.

Promulgated:

March 15, 2010
x —————————————————————————————- x

DISSENTING OPINION

ABAD, J.:

I am submitting this dissent to the ably written ponencia of Justice Presbiterio J. Velasco, Jr. that seeks to deny the petitioner’s motion for reconsideration of the Court’s decision in the case.

Brief Antecedent

Petitioner Eliseo F. Soriano, a television evangelist, hosted the Ang Dating Daan, a popular television ministry aired nationwide everyday from 10:00 p.m. to midnight over public television. The program carried a “general patronage” rating from the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB).

The Ang Dating Daan’s rivalry with another religious television program, the Iglesia ni Cristo’s Ang Tamang Daan, is well known. The hosts of the two shows have regularly engaged in verbal sparring on air, hurling accusations and counter-accusations with respect to their opposing religious beliefs and practices.

It appears that in his program Ang Tamang Daan, Michael M. Sandoval (Michael) of the Iglesia ni Cristo attacked petitioner Soriano of the Ang Dating Daan for alleged inconsistencies in his Bible teachings. Michael compared spliced recordings of Soriano’s statements, matched with subtitles of his utterances, to demonstrate those inconsistencies. On August 10, 2004, in an apparent reaction to what he perceived as a malicious attack against him by the rival television program, Soriano accused Michael of prostituting himself with his fabricated presentations. Thus:

“….gago ka talaga Michael. Masahol ka pa sa putang babae. O di ba? Yung putang babae ang gumagana lang doon yung ibaba, kay Michael ang gumagana ang itaas, o di ba! O, masahol pa sa putang babae yan. Sabi ng lola ko masahol pa sa putang babae yan. Sobra ang kasinungalingan ng demonyong ito…”

Michael and seven other ministers of the Iglesia ni Cristo lodged a complaint against petitioner Soriano before the MTRCB. Acting swiftly, the latter preventively suspended the airing of Soriano’s Ang Dating Daan television program for 20 days, pursuant to its powers under Section 3(d) of Presidential Decree 1986 and its related rules.

Petitioner Soriano challenged the validity of that preventive suspension before this Court in G.R. 164785. Meanwhile, after hearing the main case or on September 27, 2004, the MTRCB found Soriano guilty as charged and imposed on him a penalty of three months suspension from appearing on the Ang Dating Daan program. Soriano thus filed a second petition in G.R. 165636 to question that decision. The Court consolidated the two cases.

On April 29, 2009 the Court rendered a decision, upholding MTRCB’s power to impose preventive suspension and affirming its decision against petitioner Soriano with the modification of applying the three-month suspension to the program And Dating Daan, rather than to Soriano.

Issue Presented

This dissenting opinion presents a narrow issue: whether or not the Court is justified in imposing the penalty of three-month suspension on the television program Ang Dating Daan on the ground of host petitioner Soriano’s remarks about Iglesia ni Cristo’s Michael prostituting himself when he attacked Soriano in the Iglesia’s own television program.

The Dissent

The Ang Dating Daan is a nationwide television ministry of a church organization officially known as “Members of the Church of God International” headed by petitioner Soriano. It is a vast religious movement not so far from those of Mike Velarde’s El Shadai, Eddie Villanueva’s Jesus is Lord, and Apollo Quiboloy’s The Kingdom of Jesus Christ. These movements have generated such tremendous following that they have been able to sustain daily television and radio programs that reach out to their members and followers all over the country. Some of their programs are broadcast abroad. Ang Dating Daan is aired in the United States and Canada.

The Catholic Church is of course the largest religious organization in the Philippines. If its members get their spiritual nourishments from attending masses or novenas in their local churches, those of petitioner Soriano’s church tune in every night to listen to his televised Bible teachings and how these teachings apply to their lives. They hardly have places of worship like the Catholic Church or the mainstream protestant movements.

Thus, suspending the Ang Dating Daan television program is the equivalent of closing down their churches to its followers. Their inability to tune in on their Bible teaching program in the evening is for them like going to church on Sunday morning, only to find its doors and windows heavily barred. Inside, the halls are empty.

Do they deserve this? No.

1. A tiny moment of lost temper.

Petitioner Soriano’s Bible ministry has been on television continuously for 27 years since 1983 with no prior record of use of foul language. For a 15-second outburst of its head at his bitterest critics, it seems not fair for the Court to close down this Bible ministry to its large followers altogether for a full quarter of a year. It is like cutting the leg to cure a smelly foot.

2. Not obscene.

Primarily, it is obscenity on television that the constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech does not protect. As the Court’s decision points out, the test of obscenity is whether the average person, applying contemporary standards, would find the speech, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest. A thing is prurient when it arouses lascivious thoughts or desires or tends to arouse sexual desire.

A quarter-of-a-year suspension would probably be justified when a general patronage program intentionally sneaks in snippets of lewd, prurient materials to attract an audience to the program. This has not been the case here.

3. Merely borders on indecent.

Actually, the Court concedes that petitioner Soriano’s short outburst was not in the category of the obscene. It was just “indecent.” But were his words and their meaning utterly indecent? In a scale of 10, did he use the grossest language? He did not.

First, Soriano actually exercised some restraints in the sense that he did not use the vernacular word for the female sexual organ when referring to it, which word even the published opinions of the Court avoided despite its adult readers. He referred to it as “yung ibaba” or down below. And, instead of using the patently offensive vernacular equivalent of the word “fuck” that describes the sexual act in which the prostitute engages herself, he instead used the word “gumagana lang doon yung ibaba” or what functions is only down below. At most, his utterance merely bordered on the indecent.

Second, the word “puta” or “prostitute” describes a bad trade but it is not a bad word. The world needs a word to describe it. “Evil” is bad but the word “evil” is not; the use of the words “puta” or “evil” helps people understand the values that compete in this world. A policy that places these ordinary descriptive words beyond the hearing of children is unrealistic and is based on groundless fear. Surely no member of the Court will recall that when yet a child his or her hearing the word “puta” for the first time left him or her wounded for life.

Third, Soriano did not tell his viewers that being a prostitute was good. He did not praise prostitutes as to make them attractive models to his listeners. Indeed, he condemned Michael for acting like a prostitute in attacking him on the air. The trouble is that the Court, like the MTRCB read his few lines in isolation. Actually, from the larger picture, Soriano appears to have been provoked by Michael’s resort to splicing his speeches and making it appear that he had taught inconsistent and false doctrines to his listeners. If Michael’s sin were true, Soriano was simply defending himself with justified anger.

And fourth, the Court appears to have given a literal meaning to what Soriano said.

“Gago ka talaga x x x, masahol ka pa sa putang babae x x x. Yung putang babae ang gumagana lang doon yung ibaba, [dito] kay Michael ang gumagana ang itaas, o di ba!”

This was a figure of speech. Michael was a man, so he could not literally be a female prostitute. Its real meaning is that Michael was acting like a prostitute in mouthing the ideas of anyone who cared to pay him for such service. It had no indecent meaning. The Bible itself uses the word “prostitute” as a figure of speech. “By their deeds they prostituted themselves,” said Psalm 106:39 of the Israelites who continued to worship idols after God had taken them out of Egyptian slavery. Soriano’s real message is that Michael prostituted himself by his calumny against him.

If at all, petitioner Soriano’s breach of the rule of decency is slight, one on a scale of 10. Still, the Court would deprive the Ang Dating Daan followers of their nightly bible teachings for a quarter of a year because their head teacher had used figures of speech to make his message vivid.

4. The average child as listener

The Court claims that, since Ang Dating Daan carried a general patronage rating, Soriano’s speech no doubt caused harm to the children who watched the show. This statement is much too sweeping.

The Court relies on the United States case of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) v. Pacifica Foundation, a 1978 landmark case. Here are snatches of the challenged monologue that was aired on radio:

The original seven words were, shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits. Those are the ones that will curve your spine, grow hair on your hands and maybe, even bring us, God help us, peace without honor and bourbon…Also cocksucker is a compound word and neither half of that is really dirty…And the cock crowed three times, the cock—three times. It’s in the Bible, cock in the Bible…Hot shit, holy shit, tough shit, eat shit, shit-eating grin…It’s a great word, fuck, nice word, easy word, cute word, kind of. Easy word to say. One syllable, short u. Fuck…A little something for everyone. Fuck. Good word. x x x

Imagine how the above would sound if translated into any of the Filipino vernaculars. The U.S. Supreme Court held that the above is not protected speech and that the FCC could regulate its airing on radio. The U.S. Supreme Court was of course correct.

Here, however, there is no question that Soriano attacked Michael, using figure of speech, at past 10:00 in the evening, not at 2:00 in the afternoon. The average Filipino child would have been long in bed by the time Ang Dating Daan appeared on the television screen. What is more, Bible teaching and interpretation is not the stuff of kids. It is not likely that they would give up programs of interest to them just to listen to Soriano drawing a distinction between “faith” and “work or action.” The Court has stretched the “child” angle beyond realistic proportions. The MTRCB probably gave the program a general patronage rating simply because Ang Dating Daan had never before been involved in any questionable broadcast in the previous 27 years that it had been on the air.

The monologue in the FCC case that was broadcast at 2 in the afternoon was pure indecent and gross language, uttered for its own sake with no social value at all. It cannot compare to Soriano’s speech where the indecent words were slight and spoken as mere figure of speech to defend himself from what he perceived as malicious criticism.

5. Disproportionate penalty

The Court applied the balancing of interest test in justifying the imposition of the penalty of suspension against Ang Dating Daan. Under this test, when particular conduct is regulated in the interest of public order and the regulation results in an indirect, conditional, partial abridgment of speech, the duty of the courts is to determine which of the two conflicting interests demands the greater protection under the particular circumstances presented.

An example of this is where an ordinance prohibits the making of loud noises from 9:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. Can this ordinance be applied to prevent vehicles circling the neighborhood at such hours of night, playing campaign jingles on their loudspeakers to win votes for candidates in the election? Here, there is a tension between the rights of candidates to address their constituents and the interest of the people in healthy undisturbed sleep. The Court would probably uphold the ordinance since public interest demands a quiet night’s rest for all and since the restraint on the freedom of speech is indirect, conditional, and partial. The candidate is free to make his broadcast during daytime when people are normally awake and can appreciate what he is saying.

But here, the abridgment of speech—three months total suspension of the Ang Dating Daan television bible teaching program—cannot be regarded as indirect, conditional, or partial. It is a direct, unconditional, and total abridgment of the freedom of speech, to which a religious organization is entitled, for a whole quarter of a year.

In the American case of FCC, a parent complained. He was riding with his son in the car at 2:00 in the afternoon and they heard the grossly indecent monologue on radio. Here, no parent has in fact come forward with a complaint that his child had heard petitioner Soriano’s speech and was harmed by it. The Court cannot pretend that this is a case of angry or agitated parents against Ang Dating Daan. The complaint here came from Iglesia ni Cristo preachers and members who deeply loathed Soriano and his church. The Court’s decision will not be a victory for the children but for the Iglesia ni Cristo, finally enabling it to silence an abhorred competing religious belief and its practices.

What is more, since this case is about protecting children, the more appropriate penalty, if Soriano’s speech during the program mentioned was indecent and had offended them, is to raise his program’s restriction classification. The MTRCB classify programs to protect vulnerable audiences. It can change the present G or General Patronage classification of Ang Dating Daan to PG or “with Parental Guidance only” for three months. This can come with a warning that should the program commit the same violation, the MTRCB can make the new classification permanent or, if the violation is recurring, cancel its program’s permit.

This has precedent. In Gonzales v. Katigbak, the Court did not ban the motion picture just because there were suggestive scenes in it that were not fit for children. It simply classified the picture as for adults only. By doing this, the Court would not be cutting the leg to cure a smelly foot.

I vote to partially grant the motion for reconsideration by modifying the three-month suspension penalty imposed on the program Ang Dating Daan. In its place, I vote to raise the program’s restriction classification from G or General Patronage to PG or with Parental Guidance for three months with warning that should petitioner Soriano commit the same violation, the classification of his program will be permanently changed or, if the violation is persistent, the program will be altogether cancelled.

ROBERTO A. ABAD
Associate Justice

[1] Creating the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board.

[2] Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, p. 1829.

[3] Id. at 1274.

[4] New International Version (North American Edition); see other biblical passages that use “prostitute” as a figure of speech: Judges 2:17; 8:27; 8:33; 1Chronicles 5:25; and Leviticus 20:5.

[5] 438 U.S. 726.

[6] 222 Phil. 225 (1985).

Finally, this is The DISSENTING OPINION OF JUSTICE CARPIO [ Source: http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/2010/march2010/164785_carpio.htm%5D

EN BANC
G.R. Nos. 164785 and 165636 – ELISEO F. SORIANO, Petitioner, – versus – MA. CONSOLACION P. LAGUARDIA, in her capacity as Chairperson of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board, MOVIE AND TELEVISION REVIEW AND CLASSIFICATION BOARD, JESSIE L. GALAPON, ET AL., Respondents.

Promulgated:
March 15, 2010
x—————————————————————————————–x

DISSENTING OPINION
CARPIO, J.:

Liberty is a right that inheres in every one of us as a member of the human family. When a person is deprived of his right, all of us are diminished and debased for liberty is total and indivisible.

Among the cherished liberties in a democracy such as ours is freedom of expression. A democracy needs a healthy public sphere where the people can exchange ideas, acquire knowledge and information, confront public issues, or discuss matters of public interest, without fear of reprisals. Free speech must be protected so that the people can engage in the discussion and deliberation necessary for the successful operation of democratic institutions. Thus, no less than our Constitution mandates full protection to freedom of speech, of expression, and of the press. All of the protections expressed in the Bill of Rights are important, but the courts have accorded to free speech the status of a preferred freedom. This qualitative significance of freedom of expression arises from the fact that it is the indispensable condition of nearly every other freedom.

The freedom of expression clause is precisely a guarantee against both prior restraint and subsequent punishment. It protects from any undue interference by the government the people’s right to freely speak their minds. The guarantee rests on the principle that freedom of expression is essential to a functioning democracy and suppression of expression leads to authoritarianism.

Prior restraint has been defined as official governmental restrictions on any form of expression in advance of actual dissemination. But the mere prohibition of government interference before words are spoken is not an adequate protection of the freedom of expression if the government could arbitrarily punish after the words have been spoken. The threat of subsequent punishment itself would operate as a very effective prior restraint.

Any form of prior restraint bears a presumption against its constitutional validity. The burden is on the censor to justify any imposition of prior restraint, not on the censored to put up a defense against it. In the case of print media, it has been held that just because press freedom may sometimes be abused does not mean that the press does not deserve immunity from prior restraint. The settled rule is that any such abuse may be remedied by subsequent punishment.

This Court, in Eastern Broadcasting Corporation v. Dans, Jr., laid down the following guideline:

All forms of media, whether print or broadcast, are entitled to the broad protection of the freedom of speech and expression clause. The test for limitations on freedom of expression continues to be the clear and present danger rule – that words are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that the lawmaker has a right to prevent.

Chief Justice Fernando expounded on the meaning of the “clear and present danger” test in Gonzalez v. Chairman Katigbak, to wit:

The test, to repeat, to determine whether freedom of expression may be limited is the clear and present danger of an evil of a substantive character that the State has a right to prevent. Such danger must not only be clear but must also be present. There should be no doubt that what is feared may be traced to the expression complained of. The causal connection must be evident. Also, there must be reasonable apprehension about its imminence. The time element cannot be ignored. Nor does it suffice if such danger be only probable. There is the requirement of its being well-nigh inevitable.

Where the medium of a television broadcast is concerned, as in the case at hand, well-entrenched is the rule that censorship is allowable only under the clearest proof of a clear and present danger of a substantive evil to public safety, public morals, public health, or any other legitimate public interest.

One of the established exceptions in freedom of expression is speech characterized as obscene. I will briefly discuss obscenity as the majority opinion characterized the subject speech in this case as obscene, thereby taking the speech out of the scope of constitutional protection.

The leading test for determining what material could be considered obscene was the famous Regina v. Hicklin case wherein Lord Cockburn enunciated thus:

I think the test of obscenity is this, whether the tendency of the matter charged as obscenity is to deprave and corrupt those whose minds are open to such immoral influences, and into whose hands a publication of this sort may fall.

Judge Learned Hand, in United States v. Kennerly, opposed the strictness of the Hicklin test even as he was obliged to follow the rule. He wrote:

I hope it is not improper for me to say that the rule as laid down, however consonant it may be with mid-Victorian morals, does not seem to me to answer to the understanding and morality of the present time.

Roth v. United States laid down the more reasonable and thus, more acceptable test for obscenity: “whether to the average person, applying contemporary community standards, the dominant theme of the material taken as a whole appeals to prurient interest.” Such material is defined as that which has “a tendency to excite lustful thoughts,” and “prurient interest” as “a shameful or morbid interest in nudity, sex, or excretion.”

Miller v. California merely expanded the Roth test to include two additional criteria: “the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law; and the work, taken as whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.” The basic test, as applied in our jurisprudence, extracts the essence of both Roth and Miller – that is, whether the material appeals to prurient interest.

The present controversy emanated from the alleged splicing of a video recording wherein petitioner was supposedly made to appear as if he was asking for contributions to raise 37 trillion pesos instead of the allegedly true amount of 3.6 million pesos. The video was played by ministers of Iglesia ni Cristo in their television program “Ang Tamang Daan.”

In response, petitioner Eliseo Soriano, as host of the television program “Ang Dating Daan,” made the following utterances:

Bro. Josel Mallari:
Ulit-ulit na iyang talagang kawalanghiyaan na iyan, naku. E, markado nang masyado at saka branded na itong nga ito anong klase po sila. Wala kayong babalikan diyan Kapatid na Manny. Iyang klase ng mga ministro na iyan, pasamain lamang si Kapatid na Eli e pati mga ninakaw na tape, pati mga audio na pinag-edit-edit, lalagyan ng caption para makita nila, maipakita nilang malinaw ‘yung panloloko nila. Kasi Sis. Luz, puwede mo nang hindi lagyan ng caption e, patunugin mo na lang na ganun ang sinasabi. Pero talagang para mai-emphasize nila ‘yung kanilang kawalanghiyaan, lalagyan pa nila ng caption na hindi naman talagang sinabi ni Bro. Eli kundi pinagdugtong lang ‘yung audio.

Bro. Eli Soriano:
At saka ang malisyoso. Kitang-kita malisyoso e. Paninirang-puri e. Alam mo kung bakit? Mahilig daw ako talagang manghingi para sa aking pangangailangan. Pangangailangan ko ba ‘yung pambayad sa UNTV e ang mga kontrata diyan ay hindi naman ako kapatid na Josel.

Bro. Josel Mallari:
Ay, opo.

Bro. Eli Soriano:
Hindi ko kontrata iyang babayaran na iyan. I am not even a signatory to that contract. Pagkatapos para pagbintangan mo ako na humingi ako para sa pangangailangan ko, gago ka talaga Michael. Masahol ka pa sa putang babae. O, di ba? Yung putang babae ang gumagana lang doon yung ibaba, kay Michael ang gumagana ang itaas, o di ba! O, masahol pa sa putang babae yan. Sabi ng lola ko masahol pa sa putang babae yan. Sobra ang kasinungalingan ng mga demonyong ito. Sige, sumagot kayo. At habang ginaganyan ninyo ako, ang mga miyembro ninyo unti-unting maliliwanagan. Makikita n’yo rin, magreresulta ng maganda iyan.

Bro. Manny Catangay Jusay:
Bro. Eli, ay iyan nga po ang sinasabi ko e, habang gumagawa sila ng ganyan, gaya nung sinabi nung Kapatid natin kagabi dahil napanood ‘yung kasinungalingan ni Pol Guevarra, ay, lumuluha ‘yung Kapatid, inaanyayahan ‘yung mag-anak niya. Magsialis na kayo diyan. Lipat na kayo rito. Kasi kung nag-iisip lang ang isang Iglesia ni Cristo matapos ninyong mapanood itong episode na ito, iiwanan ninyo e, kung mahal ninyo ang kaluluwa ninyo. Hindi kayo paaakay sa ganyan, nagpafabricate ng mga kasinungalingan. Sabi ko nga lahat ng paraan ng pakikipagbaka nagawa na nila e, isa na lang ang hindi ‘yung pakikipagdebate at patunayan na sila ang totoo. Iyon na lang ang hindi nila nagagawa. Pero demanda, paninirang-puri – nagtataka nga ako e, tayo, kaunting kibot, nakademanda sila e. ‘yung ginagawa nila, ewan ko, idinedemanda n’yo ba Bro. Eli?

The majority opinion ruled that the highlighted portion of the aforequoted speech was obscene and was, therefore, not entitled to constitutional protection.

Well-settled is the rule that speech, to be considered obscene, must appeal to prurient interest as defined in Roth and firmly adopted in our jurisdiction. The subject speech cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be said to appeal to any prurient interest. The highlighted portion of the verbal exchange between the two feuding religious groups is utterly bereft of any tendency to excite lustful thoughts as to be deemed obscene. The majority’s finding of obscenity is clearly untenable.

In contrast, a radio broadcast of a monologue replete with indecent words such as shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits, has been held protected speech depending on the context relating to the time of broadcast. However, in this case before us, the words “putang babae” (female prostitute), and the descriptive action phrases “ang gumagana lang doon yung ibaba” and “kay Michael ang gumagana ang itaas” were enough to constitute outright obscenity for the majority. The majority opinion simply forced these words and phrases into a strained standard formula for censorship. But such overbroad standard must be struck down for it indiscriminately infringes upon free speech.

The subject speech in this case may, at most, be considered indecent speech.

Indecent speech conveyed through the medium of broadcast is a case of first impression in our jurisdiction. However, this issue has been settled in American case law, which has persuasive influence in our jurisprudence. There, the rule is that indecent speech is protected depending on the context in which it is spoken. The concept of what is “indecent” is intimately connected with the exposure of children to language that describes, in terms patently offensive, as measured by contemporary community standards for the broadcast medium, sexual or excretory activities and organs, at times of the day when there is a reasonable risk that children may be in the audience.

FCC v. Pacifica Foundation is the landmark U.S. case on the regulation of indecent speech in broadcast. The case involved a radio broadcast of “Filthy Words,” a 12-minute monologue by American stand-up comedian and social critic, George Carlin. Appended to the decision is the following verbatim transcript prepared by the Federal Communications Commission:

The original seven words were, shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits. Those are the ones that will curve your spine, grow hair on your hands and maybe, even bring us, God help us, peace without honor and a bourbon. And now the first thing that we noticed was that word fuck was really repeated in there because the word motherfucker is a compound word and it’s another form of the word fuck. You want to be a purist, it can’t be on the list of basic words. Also, cocksucker is a compound word and neither half of that is really dirty. The word-the half sucker that’s merely suggestive and the word cock is a half-way dirty word, 50% dirty-dirty half the time, depending on what you mean by it. Uh, remember when you first heard it, like in 6th grade, you used to giggle. And the cock crowed three times, the cock-three times. It’s in the Bible, cock in the Bible. And the first time you heard about a cock-fight, remember-What? Huh? It ain’t that, are you stupid? It’s chickens, you know, Then you have the four letter words from the old Angle-Saxon fame. Uh, shit and fuck. The word shit, uh, is an interesting kind of word in that the middle class has never really accepted it and approved it. They use it like, crazy but it’s not really okay. It’s still a rude, dirty, old kind of gushy word. They don’t like that, but they say it, like, they say it like, a lady now in a middle-class home, you’ll hear most of the time she says it as an expletive, you know, it’s out of her mouth before she knows. She says, Oh shit oh shit, oh shit. If she drops something, Oh, the shit hurt the broccoli. Shit. Thank you.

Shit! I won the Grammy, man, for the comedy album. Isn’t that groovy? That’s true. Thank you. Thank you man. Yeah. Thank you man. Thank you. Thank you very much, man. Thank, no, for that and for the Grammy, man, [‘]cause that’s based on people liking it man, that’s okay man. Let’s let that go, man. I got my Grammy. I can let my hair hang down now, shit. Ha! So! Now the word shit is okay for the man. At work you can say it like crazy. Mostly figuratively, Get that shit out of here, will ya? I don’t want to see that shit anymore. I can’t cut that shit, buddy. I’ve had that shit up to here. I think you’re full of shit myself. He don’t know shit from Shinola. you know that? Always wondered how the Shinola people felt about that Hi, I’m the new man from Shinola, Hi, how are ya? Nice to see ya. How are ya? Boy, I don’t know whether to shit or wind my watch. Guess, I’ll shit on my watch. Oh, the shit is going to hit de fan. Built like a brick shit-house. Up, he’s up shit’s creek. He’s had it. He hit me, I’m sorry. Hot shit, holy shit, tough shit, eat shit. shit-eating grin. Uh, whoever thought of that was ill. He had a shit-eating grin! He had a what? Shit on a stick. Shit in a handbag. I always like that. He ain’t worth shit in a handbag. Shitty. He acted real shitty. You know what I mean? I got the money back, but a real shitty attitude. Heh, he had a shit-fit. Wow! Shit-fit. Whew! Glad I wasn’t there. All the animals-Bull shit, horse shit, cow shit, rat shit, bat shit. First time I heard bat shit, I really came apart. A guy in Oklahoma, Boggs, said it, man. Aw! Bat shit. Vera reminded me of that last night. Snake shit, slicker than owl shit. Get your shit together. Shit or get off the pot. I got a shit-load full of them. I got a shit-pot full, all right. Shit-head, shit-heel, shit in your heart, shit for brains, shit-face. I always try to think how that could have originated; the first guy that said that. Somebody got drunk and fell in some shit, you know. Hey, I’m shit-face. Shit-face, today. Anyway, enough of that shit. The big one, the word fuck that’s the one that hangs them up the most. [‘]Cause in a lot of cases that’s the very act that hangs them up the most. So, it’s natural that the word would, uh, have the same effect. It’s a great word, fuck, nice word, easy word, cute word, kind of. Easy word to say. One syllable, short u. Fuck. You know, it’s easy. Starts with a nice soft sound fuh ends with a kuh. Right? A little something for everyone. Fuck Good word. Kind of a proud word, too. Who are you? I am FUCK, FUCK OF THE MOUNTAIN. Tune in again next week to FUCK OF THE MOUNTAIN. It’s an interesting word too, [‘]cause it’s got a double kind of a life-personality-dual, you know, whatever the right phrase is. It leads a double life, the word fuck. First of all, it means, sometimes, most of the time, fuck. What does it mean? It means to make love. Right? We’re going to make love, yeh, we’re going to fuck, yeh, we’re going to fuck, yeh, we’re going to make love. we’re really going to fuck, yeh, we’re going to make love. Right? And it also means the beginning of life, it’s the act that begins life, so there’s the word hanging around with words like love, and life, and yet on the other hand, it’s also a word that we really use to hurt each other with, man. It’s a heavy one that you have toward the end of the argument. Right? You finally can’t make out. Oh, fuck you man. I said, fuck you. Stupid fuck. Fuck you and everybody that looks like you man. It would be nice to change the movies that we already have and substitute the word fuck for the word kill, wherever we could, and some of those movie cliches would change a little bit. Madfuckers still on the loose. Stop me before I fuck again. Fuck the ump, fuck the ump, fuck the ump, fuck the ump, fuck the ump. Easy on the clutch Bill, you’ll fuck that engine again. The other shit one was, I don’t give a shit. Like it’s worth something, you know? I don’t give a shit. Hey, well, I don’t take no shit, you know what I mean? You know why I don’t take no shit? [‘]Cause I don’t give a shit. If I give a shit, I would have to pack shit. But I don’t pack no shit cause I don’t give a shit. You wouldn’t shit me, would you? That’s a joke when you’re a kid with a worm looking out the bird’s ass. You wouldn’t shit me, would you? It’s an eight-year-old joke but a good one. The additions to the list. I found three more words that had to be put on the list of words you could never say on television, and they were fart, turd and twat, those three. Fart, we talked about, it’s harmless. It’s like tits, it’s a cutie word, no problem. Turd, you can’t say but who wants to, you know? The subject never comes up on the panel so I’m not worried about that one. Now the word twat is an interesting word. Twat! Yeh, right in the twat. Twat is an interesting word because it’s the only one I know of, the only slang word applying to the, a part of the sexual anatomy that doesn’t have another meaning to it. Like, ah, snatch, box and pussy all have other meanings, man. Even in a Walt Disney movie, you can say, We’re going to snatch that pussy and put him in a box and bring him on the airplane. Everybody loves it. The twat stands alone, man, as it should. And two-way words. Ah, ass is okay providing you’re riding into town on a religious feast day. You can’t say, up your ass. You can say, stuff it!

Worthy of note, in Pacifica, the FCC did not resort to any subsequent punishment, much less any prior restraint. The station was not suspended for the broadcast of the monologue, which the U.S. Supreme Court merely considered indecent speech based on the context in which it was delivered. According to the U.S. Supreme Court, the monologue would have been protected were it delivered in another context. The monologue was broadcast at 2:00 p.m., when children were presumptively in the audience.

A later case, Action for Children’s Television v. FCC, establishes the safe harbor period to be from 10:00 in the evening to 6:00 in the morning, when the number of children in the audience is at a minimum. In effect, between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., the broadcasting of material considered indecent is permitted. Between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m., the broadcast of any indecent material may be sanctioned.

In this case, the subject speech by petitioner was broadcast starting 10:00 p.m. onwards, clearly within the safe harbor period as established in Action for Children’s Television. Correctly applying Pacifica’s context-based ruling, petitioner’s speech, if indeed indecent, enjoys constitutional protection and may not be sanctioned. The rule on this matter, as laid down by Pacifica in relation to Action for Children’s Television, is crystal-clear. But should the majority still have any doubt in their minds, such doubt should be resolved in favor of free speech and against any interference by government. The suspension of “Ang Dating Daan” by the MTRCB was a content-based, not a content-neutral regulation. Thus, the suspension should have been subjected to strict scrutiny following the rule in Chavez v. Gonzales. The test should be strict because the regulation went into the very heart of the rationale for the right to free speech – that speech may not be prohibited just because government officials disapprove of the speaker’s views.

Further, the majority opinion held that even if petitioner’s utterances were not obscene but merely indecent speech, they would still be outside of the constitutional protection because they were conveyed through a medium easily accessible to children. The majority misapplied the doctrine of FCC v. Pacifica, the leading jurisprudence on this matter. Pacifica did not hold that indecent speech, when conveyed through a medium easily accessible to children, would automatically be outside the constitutional protection. On the contrary, the U.S. Supreme Court emphasized the narrowness of its ruling in Pacifica. The guideline that Pacifica laid down is that the broadcast of a monologue containing indecent speech could be considered protected or unprotected depending on the context, that is, the time of the day or the night when the indecent utterances were delivered.

The majority’s ruling in this case sets a dangerous precedent. This decision makes it possible for any television or radio program, on the slightest suspicion of being a danger to national security or on other pretexts, to likewise face suspension. The exacting “clear and present danger” test is dispensed with to give way to the “balancing of interests” test in favor of the government’s exercise of its regulatory power. Granting without conceding that “balancing of interests” is the appropriate test in setting a limitation to free speech, suspension of a television program is a measure way too harsh that it would be inappropriate as the most reasonable means for averting a perceived harm to society. The restriction on freedom need not be greater than is necessary to further the governmental interest.

The “balancing of interests” test requires that a determination must first be made whether the necessary safeguarding of the public interest involved may be achieved by some other measure less restrictive of the protected freedom. The majority immediately resorted to outright suspension without first exploring other measures less restrictive of freedom of speech. It cites MTRCB v. ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation in justifying the government’s exercise of regulatory power. But the ABS-CBN case involved a mere fine as punishment, not a prior restraint in the form of suspension as in this case. In the cited case, one of the episodes of “The Inside Story,” a television program of ABS-CBN, was aired without prior review and approval by the MTRCB. For this omission, the MTRCB subsequently fined ABS-CBN in the amount of P20,000. However, even as the television station was fined, the program continued to be aired and was never suspended.

Indeed, prior restraint by suspension is an extreme measure that may only be imposed after satisfying the “clear and present danger” test, which requires the perceived danger to be both grave and imminent. Prior restraint is simply uncalled for in this case where what is involved is not even obscene speech, but mere indecent speech. Note too, that the subject utterances in this case were broadcast starting 10:00 p.m. onwards, well within the safe harbor period for permissible television broadcast of speech which may be characterized as indecent.

Suspension of the program stops not only petitioner, but also the other leaders of his congregation from exercising their constitutional right to free speech through their medium of choice, which is television. The majority opinion attempts to assuage petitioner’s misery by saying that petitioner can still exercise his right to speak his mind using other venues. But this proposition assumes that petitioner has access to other venues where he may continue his interrupted exercise of free speech using his chosen mode, television broadcast.

While we may not agree with petitioner’s choice of language in expressing his disgust in this word war between two feuding religious groups, let us not forget that freedom of speech includes the expression of thoughts that we do not approve of, not just thoughts that are agreeable. To paraphrase Voltaire: We may disapprove of what petitioner has said, but we must defend to the death his right to say it.

The three-month suspension cannot be passed off merely as a preventive suspension that does not partake of a penalty. The actual and real effect of the three-month suspension is a prior restraint on expression in violation of a fundamental constitutional right. Even Congress cannot validly pass a law imposing a three-month preventive suspension on freedom of expression for offensive or vulgar language uttered in the past. Congress may punish such offensive or vulgar language after their utterance, with damages, fine, or imprisonment; but Congress has no power to suspend or suppress the people’s right to speak freely because of such utterances. In short, Congress may pass a law punishing defamation or tortious speech but the punishment cannot be the suspension or suppression of the constitutional right to freedom of expression. Otherwise, such law would be abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press. If Congress cannot pass such a law, neither can respondent MTRCB promulgate a rule or a decision suspending for three months petitioner’s constitutional right to freedom of speech. And of course, neither can this Court give its stamp of imprimatur to such an unconstitutional MTRCB rule or decision.

I end this dissenting opinion with a reminder from Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes – that the market place of ideas is still the best alternative to censorship. The market place of ideas makes freedom of speech robust and allows people to be more tolerant of opposing views. It has been said that freedom of speech is not only to freely express oneself within the context of the law but also to hear what others say, that all may be enlightened, regardless of how obnoxious or erroneous the opposing views may be.

Accordingly, I vote to GRANT the motion for reconsideration.

ANTONIO T. CARPIO
Associate Justice

[1] Ordonez v. Director of Prisons, G.R. No. 115576, 4 August 1994, 235 SCRA 152.

[2] Simone Chambers, Deliberation, Democracy, and the Media, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2000, p. xi.

[3] Id. at 3.

[4] Constitution, Article III, Section 4.

[5] Blo Umpar Adiong v. Commission on Elections, G.R. No. 103956, 31 March 1992, 207 SCRA 712.

[6] Joaquin Bernas, S.J. Constitutional Rights and Social Demands, Notes and Cases Part II, 2004. pp. 284-285.

[7] Social Weather Stations, Inc. v. Commission on Elections, 409 Phil. 571 (2001); Iglesia ni Cristo v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 119673, 26 July 1996, 259 SCRA 529 citing Near v. Minnesota, 283 U.S. 697 (1931).

[8] 222 Phil. 151.

[9] 222 Phil. 225.

[10] Id.

[11] L.R. 3 Q.B. 360, 371 (1868).

[12] 209 F. 119, 120 (S.D.N.Y. 1913).

[13] 354 U.S. 476 (1957).

[14] 413 U.S. 15 (1973).

[15] Gonzales v. Chairman Katigbak, supra note 9.

[16] Rollo, G.R. No. 164785, pp. 148-153.

[17] Gonzales v. Chairman Katigbak, supra note 9; Pita v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 80806, 5 October 1989, 178 SCRA 362; Fernando v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 159751, 6 December 2006, 510 SCRA 351.

[18] FCC v. Pacifica Foundation, 438 U.S. 726 (1978).

[19] Id.

[20] Id.

[21] On 21 February 1975, the Federal Communications Commission issued a declaratory order granting the complaint and holding that Pacifica “could have been the subject of administrative sanctions.” The Commission did not impose formal sanctions, but it did state that the order would be “associated with the station’s license file, and in the event that subsequent complaints are received, the Commission will then decide whether it should utilize any of the available sanctions it has been granted by Congress.”

[22] 58 F.3d 654 (1995).

[23] G.R. No. 168338, 15 February 2008, 545 SCRA 441.

[24] See the dissenting opinion of Chief Justice Reynato Puno in this case. Soriano v. Laguardia, G.R. No. 164785, 29 April 2009.

[25] Social Weather Stations, Inc. v. Commission on Elections, supra note 7.

[26] Thomas Emerson, Towards a General Theory of the First Amendment, 72 Yale Law Journal 877 (1963).

[27] 489 Phil. 544 (2005).

[28] Gonzales v. Commission on Elections, No. L-27833, 137 Phil. 471 (1969).

[29] Dissenting Opinion of Justice Holmes in Abrams v. United States, 250 U.S. 616, 40 S. Ct. 17, 63 L. Ed. 1173 (1919).

[30] Ruben Agpalo, Philippine Constitutional Law, 2006, p. 330.

Much Maligned Preacher Wins Over Distinguished Author in International Open Web Awards

Bro. Eliseo Soriano, Filipino preacher on exile, felt vindicated by an award given him by an international social media site that did not pay attention to disinformation about him scattered all over the Internet.

A victim of religious persecution and disinformation, the preacher exiles himself to continue preaching in South America. Deprived of his own home country, he started blogging to aid his preaching. His truth blog makes a mark among the counted in Mashable International – one that did not pay attention to disinformation that scattered all over the Internet.

By Jake Astudillo

Manila, Philippines, (01/18/2010) – If things are played fair, we can always win. These were the words of the man for whom justice had long been elusive.

Bro. Eliseo Soriano, Filipino preacher on exile, felt vindicated by an award given him by an international social media site that did not pay attention to disinformation about him scattered all over the Internet.

Soriano easily beat Paulo Coelho, the Portuguese famous author in the 3rd Mashable Open web awards competition of 2009.

Pete Cashmore, CEO of Mashable.com, in an e-mail to Ang Dating Daan or The Old Path, the congregation lead by Soriano said, http://www.esoriano.wordpress.com takes its place among the top 50 websites and services of the year, having won the ‘Most Educational to Follow’ category in the Open Web Awards 2009.

Cashmore said the Mashable team, dealt with over 440,000 nominations with over 70,000 nominees and over 780,000 votes for the recent Open Web Awards. Mashable.com, an international social media site, partnered with Motorola this year to bring the 3rd Annual Open Web Awards: Social Media Edition. Reports show that past winners of this international competition include YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Digg, and iGoogle, to name a few.

In terms of written works, and literary reputation, Soriano is no match to Paulo Coelho.

Coelho began blogging in 2003, four years ahead of Soriano. Coelho could write as much as 186 in a month. It was in 2007 that that he jacked up his batting average, the same time that Bro. Soriano just opened his blog. By competition time, Coelho had written 3, 224. He also had forums on the spiritual or biblical just like the preacher. Coelho had 219,056 followers and 5,743 were listed. Soriano did not reflect his number of followers.

Apparently, it was not quantity of posts that mattered in the competition. Bro. Soriano posted a measly number: 117 posts from April 2007 to December 2009. The most that he could write in a month was 26 in July 2007 since his work involved traveling to the untamed regions of South America to preach. His blog, however, is pregnant with interaction, mostly on issues of truth.

Coelho’s forums included questions like the following: Do you think man is intrinsically bad? Do you think sex is dominating the human civilization? Do you think you’re following your personal legend? How do you interpret Adam’s experience? What do you think about reincarnation? Why are we born if we have to die? These were some of his forums.

Meanwhile, the posts of Preacher Soriano include: Will God Contradict Himself? Not everything is Possible with God. God is Not Everywhere. Perfect Justice in God’s Perfect Time. Karl Marx’s Unwise Definition of Religion. The Covenant on the Fleshy Tables of the Heart. The Imprudent Freedom to Question Free Will.

While Coelho’s posts remained pondering over many things, Soriano was assertive – just with the Bible as his reference.

There are bizarre similarities between Soriano and Coelho. Both of them were born in the same year. Paulo Coelho was born August 24, 1947 (1947-08-24) (age 62) while Eliseo Soriano was born April 7, 1947 (age 62). Both of them are from the same place in the same continent – South America to be exact. They dealt closely about the same topics.

The difference, however, between them is great. Coelho is a distinguished author. Soriano is unschooled formally. Though fearless, the preacher is much maligned and persecuted. To this day, he had exiled himself in order to continue preaching worldwide. Justice in the Philippines to him was scant and not within reach. Moreover, many bad things were written about Soriano.

The preacher’s bio in Wikipedia appears more as a list of accusations than a description of the man. They were the result of his work as preacher where he had to do the things no one wants to do: tell the truth and nothing but. None had the guts to expose false teachings and defend truth as Soriano does. Called the most sensible preacher of our time, his audience had evolved from just the Filipinos to include other nationalities.

Coelho therefore was made famous for his literary works. Soriano on his part was popularized by vicious media out to get his neck for things he had said against powerful groups. They were able to attach “rape” to his name, as is the practice of some bent on destroying a personality.

Reports on Coelho show that he radically wrote from the other side of truth. His first book was Hell Archives. In 1985, he contributed to the Practical Manual of Vampirism and the following year, he wrote The Pilgrimage. In 1987, he wrote The Alchemist. This is the book that got Coelho famous. It was translated in 68 languages, and published in 150 countries, winning the Guinness World Record for most translated book by a living author. The novel exploited the theme of looking for one’s dream in other lands only to find it in one’s home.

The backpage of the novel, “The winner stands alone” written by Coelho says Coelho was named United Nations Messenger of Peace in 2007.

In contrast, Soriano was not schooled by the universities of men. He studied by himself with just the bible as his book. He grew up to be a principled preacher and the most learned man when it comes to biblical matters. In debates, no one could beat him.

For 45 years preaching the word of God, he had become an expert on matters of Christian living and salvation that his preaching had changed many lives. Known as the nemesis of false preachers, he had attracted many enemies far and wide. One by one, anyone claiming to be appointed by God to prophesy, much more to be the son of God, Soriano would challenge and expose. Later on, he would reap many cases filed in court due to his mouth. Nevertheless, he feared no one as long as truth was involved, no matter that people tore him to pieces. He remained as “appointed messenger of God” to millions of those who believed in his preaching due to his unequalled understanding of biblical truth, reaping another moniker, “Truthcaster.” Today, he maintains a program by that name.

A book review on The Alchemist, Coelho’s famous book, said, “Perhaps this is the secret of Coelho’s success: that he tells people what they want to hear, or rather that he tells them what they wish for but never thought possible could even be probable.” In contrast, Soriano is about telling the truth, no matter how bitter.

Preacher Soriano had disappeared from his own country in 2005 but like a turtle thrown to the water, he appears through satellite systems still preaching to the world. Religious persecution forced him to use as much technology as possible. He continued on with his work of preaching to the consternation of his enemies. They declared to the public that his congregation had dissolved while he, in turn, ran away from crimes – all of which were lies peddled by the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) members led by Rizalino L. Arrabis, a retired US Navy man based in Guam.

Bro. Eli as he is called, had difficulties then in residence. In 2007, he started his blog, using it to further his preaching purposes and to reach out to those asking questions. It is this blog, http://www.esoriano.wordpress.com that had won as the most educational to follow in the 3rd Mashable Open web awards competition of 2009.

Soriano was fair game to Philippine media with connections to those whose interests were being risked. He was humiliated by them who were able to post his bio in the Interpol’s wanted list. Soriano had excommunicated a self-confessed rapist, Daniel “Puto” Veridiano, from his congregation but the rapist joined the forces of the powerful INC. In the end, the tables were turned: Soriano is being accused as the rapist (“sex crimes”) while the rapist turns the complainant with all the support of the INC in tow.

With malice or not, the Interpol posting did more to introduce Bro. Eli to the world, thanks to the influence of his enemies in the Philippine government. It is public knowledge that the INC practiced bloc voting and had the power to make and unmake kings. As a result, while persecuting the preacher, they had ironically given him avenues to become an international evangelist in the real sense. That Interpol posting was blunted to the core. Positive media competed with disinformation and the public had more chances to evaluate who is telling the truth. That the preacher remains free to this day despite the lot of disinformation created by the INC is something truth has to answer.

In South America, many preachers had been converted to the congregation that Soriano led – the Ang Dating Daan (The Old Path). More and more lives are being converted as a result of this work. Learning of the dangers that the preacher faced, some military men promised to take care of the evangelist while he preached openly. The INC may be powerful in the Philippines but not in other countries.

Unlike Coelho, Soriano defended God and the bible, truly interpreting his role as commissioner for biblical truth. He taught the bible from cover to cover and unlocked many mysteries like one can drink from an ever-flowing spring. The preacher is an educator of a different breed that many come to his blog to ask questions of all kinds. With just the bible as his reference, Soriano is one educator unequalled of all time. Until today, there is no program in the world that equals his “Ask Soriano, the bible answers.”

In tracking Mashable awards, records show that Eli Soriano was not even in the list of 500 top nominated individuals, tools, and organizations as posted by Sharon Feder. Feder said, “With just two days left in the nominations period we thought it would be appropriate to take a look at 500 of the current leaders in the competition’s 50 categories each selected by you, our readers. Add your voice to this list by nominating your favorites…”

Evan as Ben Parr of Mashable announced the short list of 10 nominees to each category, Soriano’s name was not there. On the other hand, Paulo Coelho was nominated in two categories: “Most Educational to Follow” and “Most Inspiring to Follow.”

By the time Pete Cashmore, CEO of Mashable, announced the full list of finalists (the short list of 5), Esoriano.wordpress.com made it to the category of “Most Educational to Follow” while @Paulocoelho made it to “Most Inspiring to Follow.” Coelho had failed to make it in the first category.

On December 16, 2009, Pete Cashmore announced the winners and Eliseo Soriano was the only name found under the category, “Most Educational to Follow.” Meanwhile, for “Most Inspiring to Follow,” Paulo Coelho lost to LoraAndLayton. In the end, Coelho didn’t make it to either of the two categories.

A check on the site of LoraAndLayton shows that it is about “A Young Family Beating the Odds.” Meanwhile, on Soriano’s blog banner is written: “Celebrating 45 years of serving THE ALMIGHTY.” In contrast, nothing is written in the banner of Coelho except, “Paulo Coelho’s Blog.”

Mashable was reported to have carefully monitored situations and discounted all votes made from “fake” or “new” Twitter accounts, especially the ones that only had references to their voting.

It was not the first time Eliseo Soriano won an award for his truth blog. On February 2009, his blog was the People’s choice awardee in the 2009 Philippine Web Awards in the blog category. Moreover, that blog was the awardee for that year for the most popular website, besting all others in all categories.

If Philippine media preferred to keep distance from the preacher, it was mostly because of much ignorance about his true personality. Soriano was not concerned about what people thought of him more than he cared for his work. Media greatly ignored his existence but wrote about him in negatives. That Soriano is offering assistance to dependents of fallen journalists suddenly made great news though.

Up until now, the UNTV host maintained a dawn-to-dawn preaching with his Ang Dating Daan (The Old Path) program that managed to gather more converts to his campaign to true Christianity. It is the first thing that early risers watched; it is also the last program that insomniacs watched. Outside the country, he had begun buying time from foreign stations to repeat the Philippine experience. In all, he stood as one from whom people kept asking questions from dawn to dawn. He only had one reference – the word of God.

First published in Quazen (Biography) on January 19, 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.)

Is Ang Dating Daan boycott on GMA7 scoring now?

Recently Updated: Top Programs for July 1 (Wednesday) and the whole month of June 2009

National Daytime Program Rankings for July 1 2009 (Wednesday)

Program Channel Rtg(%)
1 JIM HERNANDEZ’S KAMBAL SA UMA ABS-CBN 25.5
2 WOWOWEE ABS-CBN 24.9
3 PRECIOUS HEARTS ROMANCES PRESENTS: BUD BROTHERS ABS-CBN 19.3
4 SINE NOVELA: KUNG AAGAWIN MO ANG LAHAT SA AKIN GMA 17
5 EAT.. BULAGA! GMA 16.7
6 MR. BEAN ABS-CBN 16
7 PILIPINAS GAME KA NA BA? ABS-CBN 15.7
8 NARUTO SHIPUUDEN (SEASON 2) ABS-CBN 15.5
9 LOVE OR BREAD ABS-CBN 15.2
10 SINE NOVELA: NGAYON AT KAILANMAN GMA 14.6

National Primetime Program Rankings for July 1 2009 (Wednesday)

Program Channel Rtg(%)
1 MAY BUKAS PA ABS-CBN 37
2 TV PATROL WORLD ABS-CBN 35.2
3 ONLY YOU ABS-CBN 34.9
4 TAYONG DALAWA ABS-CBN 34
5 BOYS OVER FLOWERS ABS-CBN 29.4
6 CARLO J. CAPARAS’ TOTOY BATO GMA 22.9
7 ZORRO GMA 22.8
8 24 ORAS GMA 21.3
9 THE WEDDING ABS-CBN 20.7
10 ADIK SA ‘YO GMA 18.9

National Daytime Program Rankings for June 30 2009 (Tuesday)

Program Channel Rtg(%)
1 JIM HERNANDEZ’S KAMBAL SA UMA ABS-CBN 24.4
2 WOWOWEE ABS-CBN 24.2
3 PRECIOUS HEARTS ROMANCES PRESENTS: BUD BROTHERS ABS-CBN 17.7
4 EAT… BULAGA! GMA 17.1
5 SINE NOVELA: KUNG AAGAWIN MO ANG LAHAT SA AKIN GMA 16.1
6 MR. BEAN ABS-CBN 16
7 PILIPINAS GAME KA NA BA? ABS-CBN 15.6
8 LOVE OR BREAD ABS-CBN 15.2
9 NARUTO SHIPUUDEN (SEASON 2) ABS-CBN 15.1
10 SINE NOVELA: NGAYON AT KAILANMAN GMA 14.8

National Primetime Program Rankings for June 30 2009 (Tuesday)

Program Channel Rtg(%)
1 MAY BUKAS PA ABS-CBN 39.4
2 ONLY YOU ABS-CBN 37.3
3 TV PATROL WORLD ABS-CBN 36.7
4 TAYONG DALAWA ABS-CBN 35.7
5 BOYS OVER FLOWERS ABS-CBN 30.1
6 ZORRO GMA 24.8
7 CARLO J. CAPARAS’ TOTOY BATO GMA 23.7
8 THE WEDDING ABS-CBN 21.8
9 24 ORAS GMA 21.6
10 ADIK SA ‘YO GMA 19.1

_____________________________________________________________

Top Ranking Programs for Week 25 (June 21 to June 26)

National Daytime Program Rankings, Week 25 Weekdays (June 22 to 26)

Program Channel Rtg(%)
1 WOWOWEE ABS-CBN 24.9
2 JIM HERNANDEZ’S KAMBAL SA UMA ABS-CBN 23.1
3 PRECIOUS HEARTS ROMANCES PRESENTS: BUD BROTHERS ABS-CBN 18.6
4 EAT… BULAGA! GMA 17.4
5 SINE NOVELA: KUNG AAGAWIN MO ANG LAHAT SA AKIN GMA 16.7
6 LOVE OR BREAD ABS-CBN 16
7 MR. BEAN ABS-CBN 15.5

8

PILIPINAS GAME KA NA BA? ABS-CBN

15.4

SINE NOVELA: NGAYON AT KAILANMAN GMA
9 NARUTO SHIPUUDEN (SEASON 2) ABS-CBN 14.6
10 DAISY SIETE GMA 13.8

National Primetime Program Rankings, Week 25 Weekdays (June 22 to 26)

Program Channel Rtg(%)
1 MAY BUKAS PA ABS-CBN 39.2
2 ONLY YOU ABS-CBN 36.5
3 TV PATROL WORLD ABS-CBN 36.1
4 TAYONG DALAWA ABS-CBN 34.9
5 BOYS OVER FLOWERS ABS-CBN 29.7
6 ZORRO GMA 25
7 CARLO J. CAPARAS’ TOTOY BATO GMA 23.2
8 24 ORAS GMA 23
9 PINOY BINGO NIGHT ABS-CBN 19.8
10 ADIK SA ‘YO GMA 19.6

National Program Rankings, Week 25 Weekend (June 21 AND June 27) WHOLE DAY

Program Channel Rtg(%)
1 MAALAALA MO KAYA ABS-CBN 29.7
2 RATED K HANDA NA BA KAYO? ABS-CBN 27.9
3 THE SINGING BEE ABS-CBN 27.8
4 KAPUSO MO, JESSICA SOHO GMA 24.9
5 MARS RAVELO’S NASAAN KA MARUJA? ABS-CBN 24.5
6 WOWOWEE (SATURDAY) ABS-CBN 23.7
7 CINEMA FPJ DA KING ABS-CBN 22.1
8 XXX (EXKLUSIBONG EXPLOSIBONG EXPOSE) ABS-CBN 22
9 IMBESTIGADOR GMA 21.5
10 GOIN’ BULILIT ABS-CBN 21.3

Source: http://www.tnsglobal.com/global/alm/philippines/philippines-tam.aspx

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UPDATE: July 4, 2009

National Daytime Program Rankings for July 2 2009 (Thursday)

Program Channel Rtg(%)
1 JIM HERNANDEZ’S KAMBAL SA UMA ABS-CBN 26.2
2 WOWOWEE ABS-CBN 22.4
3 EAT… BULAGA! GMA 18.4
4 PRECIOUS HEARTS ROMANCES PRESENTS: BUD BROTHERS ABS-CBN 17.5
5 SINE NOVELA: KUNG AAGAWIN MO ANG LAHAT SA AKIN GMA 16.7
6 LOVE OR BREAD ABS-CBN 16.3
7 NARUTO SHIPUUDEN (SEASON 2) ABS-CBN 15.6
8 MR. BEAN ABS-CBN 15.1
9 SINE NOVELA: NGAYON AT KAILANMAN GMA 14.5
10 DAISY SIETE GMA 14.4

National Primetime Program Rankings for July 2 2009 (Thursday)

Program Channel Rtg(%)
1 MAY BUKAS PA ABS-CBN 40.9
2 ONLY YOU ABS-CBN 39.5
3 TAYONG DALAWA ABS-CBN 38.7
4 TV PATROL WORLD ABS-CBN 36.6
5 BOYS OVER FLOWERS ABS-CBN 30.8
6 ZORRO GMA 25.1
CARLO J. CAPARAS’ TOTOY BATO
7 24 ORAS GMA 22.8
8 ADIK SA ‘YO GMA 21.3
9 THE WEDDING ABS-CBN 21.2
10 CRUEL LOVE GMA 15.8

National Daytime Program Rankings for July 1 2009 (Wednesday)

Program Channel Rtg(%)
1 JIM HERNANDEZ’S KAMBAL SA UMA ABS-CBN 25.5
2 WOWOWEE ABS-CBN 24.9
3 PRECIOUS HEARTS ROMANCES PRESENTS: BUD BROTHERS ABS-CBN 19.3
4 SINE NOVELA: KUNG AAGAWIN MO ANG LAHAT SA AKIN GMA 17
5 EAT… BULAGA! GMA 16.7
6 MR. BEAN ABS-CBN 16
7 PILIPINAS GAME KA NA BA? ABS-CBN 15.7
8 NARUTO SHIPUUDEN (SEASON 2)- ABS-CBN 15.5
9 LOVE OR BREAD ABS-CBN 15.2
10 SINE NOVELA: NGAYON AT KAILANMAN GMA 14.6

National Primetime Program Rankings for July 1 2009 (Wednesday)

Program Channel Rtg(%)
1 MAY BUKAS PA ABS-CBN 37
2 TV PATROL WORLD ABS-CBN 35.2
3 ONLY YOU ABS-CBN 34.9
4 TAYONG DALAWA ABS-CBN 34
5 BOYS OVER FLOWERS ABS-CBN 29.4
6 CARLO J. CAPARAS’ TOTOY BATO GMA 22.9
7 ZORRO GMA 22.8
8 24 ORAS GMA 21.3
9 THE WEDDING ABS-CBN 20.7
10 ADIK SA ‘YO GMA 18.9

________________________________________________________

National Primetime Program Rankings, Week 25 Weekdays (June 22 to 26)

Program Channel Rtg(%)
1 MAY BUKAS PA ABS-CBN 39.2
2 ONLY YOU ABS-CBN 36.5
3 TV PATROL WORLD ABS-CBN 36.1
4 TAYONG DALAWA ABS-CBN 34.9
5 BOYS OVER FLOWERS ABS-CBN 29.7
6 ZORRO GMA 25
7 CARLO J. CAPARAS’ TOTOY BATO GMA 23.2
8 24 ORAS GMA 23
9 PINOY BINGO NIGHT ABS-CBN 19.8
10 ADIK SA ‘YO GMA 19.6

National Program Rankings, Week 25 Weekend (June 21 AND June 27) WHOLE DAY

Program Channel Rtg(%)
1 MAALAALA MO KAYA ABS-CBN 29.7
2 RATED K HANDA NA BA KAYO? ABS-CBN 27.9
3 THE SINGING BEE ABS-CBN 27.8
4 KAPUSO MO, JESSICA SOHO GMA 24.9
5 MARS RAVELO’S NASAAN KA MARUJA? ABS-CBN 24.5
6 WOWOWEE (SATURDAY) ABS-CBN 23.7
7 CINEMA FPJ DA KING ABS-CBN 22.1
8 XXX (EXKLUSIBONG EXPLOSIBONG EXPOSE) ABS-CBN 22
9 IMBESTIGADOR GMA 21.5
10 GOIN’ BULILIT ABS-CBN 21.3

____________________________________________________________

Thank you for the sorrows – Preacher in exile

We have this same group of people that thank God even for misfortunes, even for disasters in their life. They know that these misfortunes are but blessings in disguise. They may not understand what it is at the moment, but later on, at the end of the day, they can find something good. All of these strange and new behaviors are part of the paradigm taught in the Members Church of God International led by Bro. Eliseo Soriano.

The following is an account of systematic attempts to destroy the credibility of the most fearless preacher hereabouts. With faith in his heart, however, he says he cannot stop, delete nor add to what he is supposed to say.

NEVERTHELESS, he thanks his enemies because their persecution has led him to foreign shores and from there, he found many thirsting for truth. With people wanting him dead, he still goes on with the work of salvation.

By Jane Abao

Salamat po, gracias, obrigado, arigato,
Merci, xie xie, do jeh, ta, danke, terima kasih,
Grazie, kamsa hamnida, spasibo,
Mahalo, merci beaucoups,
Thank you.

Thank you may go to a person who did a good job, for one who had a bright idea, for one who has rendered us something. Thank you may be said to a person who has helped us, saved us, had comforted us. Thank you may be given to one who had fixed problems for us.

There are many reasons we can be thankful for – our lives, the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink, the sunshine in the morning, the birds that chirp, the blue skies above. Rarely does it come upon our mind that these things should be thanked for – and to whom it should be given. Sadly, too, there are people that do not know how to give thanks.

Taken to another level, people normally give thanks to other people, but not to God. There is a group that does not thank their peers. They thank God instead – one they recognize as the source of all good things – power, strength, talents, life. They realize that they are nothing without God. They do not thank each other; they thank God. While you can hear others say, alleluia, praise God, to them it is almost always, Thanks be to God. As almost everybody gives thanks to people, they also thank them only for what is pleasurable.

Again, we have this same group of people that thank God even for misfortunes, even for disasters in their life. They know that these misfortunes are but blessings in disguise. They may not understand what it is at the moment, but later on, at the end of the day, they can find something good. All of these strange and new behaviors are part of the paradigm taught in the Members Church of God International led by Bro. Eliseo Soriano.

Take the case of someone who got mad and wrote on the walls with his feces. When the Japanese forces came, they sent him out of the camp as he was crazy – a liability and not an asset. Sometime after that, the place was bombed. Result: he would have died in that place. He lived to tell the story – and thank God he had become crazy.

A matronly woman was troubled that the boys didn’t wake up early to drive her to the bus station. She was hurrying, hurrying, but the boys slept like dead logs and rose up only in their own sweet time. Result: she had to take the next trip then to the province, much to her consternation because her mission was urgent. While on their way home, they passed through the scene of an accident. The first bus that she wanted so much to catch in the early morning fell into a deep ravine where many died.

Some thank God for their deprivations in life – physical, material, financial, or otherwise, for it is these things that have allowed them to have a consciousness of a loving and comforting Creator. Poverty, for example, or similar deprivations, has honed some to be patient and be understanding and tolerant of others. Discrimination in the justice system is one thing difficult to understand; more so when judges who are supposed to dispense with justice are the very ones selling justice to the highest bidder. When this syndrome gets installed as the very system obtaining, where would one go for reprieve but to God?

There are yet so many reasons to thank God for, even in instances where everything seems ugly because there can be a way out. When Martial Law was declared in the Philippines, student leaders were being hounded for their past activities in denouncing the repressive government. One was placed under house arrest by the Southwest Command of the military for a number of months. What was she thankful for? That she was placed under arrest for her political opinions. And the rest is history.

Thank you is a word we merely forget to appreciate but it means a lot. The case of Cain killing his brother Able just because of jealousy over God’s appreciating his brother’s thankfulness is a case in point. The shock the story provides points to the sanctity of God and the importance of being grateful to Him as expressed in one’s behavior. To give thanks is some sacred duty man has to perform properly. You do not merely say, “thank you.” Your heart has to be pure and go in tandem with your thankfulness.

The people of God in the Church of God thank Him through regular activities. In the Philippines where the Central Administration is based, weekly thanksgivings are held every Saturday as are International Thanksgivings every quarter of the year. Hook-up monitoring is made possible in local chapters all over the country for those who could not go to the Convention Center in Apalit, Pampanga, north of Manila. It is the same with the many Church chapters abroad.

The Members Church of God International more popularly known as Ang Dating Daan (ADD) celebrates its thanksgiving days through songs of praise and the rendering of biblical topics by the church leaders. Individually and in groups, the celebrants express thanks. As normally done, Bro. Daniel Razon would speak on management matters first, updates the congregation of Church development and projects, and then gives an introduction to the topic for the day to be discussed by Bro. Eliseo Soriano. Razon is the Vice Presiding Minister to the congregation while the latter is the Presiding Minister.

According to Bro. Eli, thankfulness is part of the prophecy for God’s people mentioned in Jeremiah 30:19 –

And out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of them that make merry: and I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small. (KJV)

Interacting with the God Almighty, day in and day out, it is not surprising to be hearing the members thank God instead of persons. Hence, instead of saying thank you to the person giving them something, they say, Thanks be to God! As in the language of text messaging, it is Tnxb2G! To those outside of the church, however, these people simply say, thank you.

Big Mouth: embracing a Jeremiah 26:2 role

Today, in the Church of God, they thanked again The Almighty for Big Mouth’s 46th year of service. Big Mouth is Bro. Eli – the nemesis of false prophets. His enemies call him that for sheer envy. They even draw the figure of a big mouth to go with their tirades. However, as events prove it, the more they try to destroy him, the more he gets highlighted for his work of salvation. The congregation thanked God for all these miseries Big Mouth is reaping – the very ones that that have driven him away to far-away lands where God has opened the West entirely to his preaching.

People may not like what Bro. Soriano is saying, but he says he gets backing from the scriptures. And God said, I will give you a mouth that others cannot assail – this, much Bro. Soriano has faith in. Loathed by some, it is the very instrument in the propagation of His words in the West as it was done in the East. Consider Luke 21:15 –

for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to withstand or to contradict. (World English Bible).

With the resultant court troubles he reaps, it is clear that it takes guts to expose preachers who fool people, and the willingness to be a tool for truth. As no other preacher is following his track but his ministers, it is also clear that people would rather keep quiet to save their tails and stay free from trouble. However, for one given a commission, it definitely is not the same. That he has to say what there is to say in his crusade for truth is apparent from his embracing a Jeremiah 26:2 role. However, understanding this role and even what he is doing is not for everybody. As stated in the bible, only the wise shall understand. In Daniel 12:10 –

Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand (KJV)

False prophets revealed
An understanding of the work of Bro. Soriano is necessary to understand these protracted conflicts with others that continue to grow and remain ever blooming. The framework from which he operates may be summed up in some distinct verses in the bible although repeated in so many forms. Two of these are the following: Proverbs 28: 4 and Jeremiah26:2. The former speaks of contention and the latter, of not deleting nor adding a word.

Already, he had exposed the false teachings of Felix Manalo of the Iglesia ni Cristo, Apollo C. Quiboloy of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, The Name Above Every Name; Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda” of the Creciendo en Gracia,” the so-called Jehovah’s witnesses and many others.

Bro. Eli has called Felix Manalo of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) a false prophet for his many false teachings. These include denial of the divinity of Jesus Christ. With the INC, Christ is man, always a man and will be a man when he comes back. His false teachings also constitute the claim that the Christian Church “was apostatized after the first century” and “was restored to its pristine purity by God by means of His last messenger, brother Felix Y. Manalo…” (Pasugo, July/August 1988, page 7). This includes salvation coming only through this church according to Manalo (Pasugo, November 1973, page 19).

Bro. Soriano also noted that INC believe Felix Y. Manalo is the ravenous bird from the east mentioned in Isaiah 46:11 – “the man that executeth my counsel from a far country” hence they look up to him as God’s messenger.

Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it. (Isaiah 46:11, King James Bible).

They also believe Manalo is the fulfillment of Isaiah 43:5-7 who will ‘bring your children from the east and gather you from the west.”

5 Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. 6 I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth- 7 everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made. (Isaiah 43:5-7, New International Version).

This is closely tied to Rev 7:2, 3 about “another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the seal of the living God.” No wonder, they believe Manalo is a messenger of God.

2And I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the of the living God; and he cried out with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, 3saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads.” (New American Standard Bible (NASB) Rev 7:2, 3)

As far as Bro. Eli is concerned, Apollo C. Quiboloy is also fake. As written in his website –

The revelation of SONSHIP started in the year 2003 when Pastor Apollo C. Quiboloy officially announced this revelation among the sons and daughters of God. He, being the residence of the Father on earth and heir of all things the Father entrusted to him not only His words, name, life, kingdom but also the lives of his enemies, the power to raise even the dead, riches, fame and power in the airwaves. (http://www.kingdomofjesuschrist.org/2/kd/sonship.html).

Quiboloy has declared Davao City, south of the country as “the Water Center of the World, from whence all nations will receive eternal life when they drink of the spiritual water that comes from Davao City as the New Jerusalem of God.” His website message from “the Son” says –

Now, everything is restored. Paradise is here. Man has been renewed and the Garden of Eden is back. There is a mountain up there, which was my trial ground before, a place where the spirits were present to try and test the Appointed Son of God. I had passed the test and many more are following. That is the same place that the Father has made His Garden of Eden today. It is a showcase of the new earth and the new heaven (http://www.kingdomofjesuschrist.org/2/index.php).

Bro. Eli has openly called this preacher a deceiver. On February 6, 2005, on Sonshine Radio Manila, 1026 kHz AM, Quiboloy cursed Pastor Soriano in his sermon for “blaspheming the Father.” Quiboloy said the preacher of the Ang Dating Daan is already being marked for hell, and that he will be stricken with an incurable disease in the months ahead. He gave the “members of Ang Dating Daan” six months from the time of his pronouncement to leave the congregation or else suffer the same fate as their leader. His Sonshine Radio Manila repeated this over and over for a number of weeks. Today, Bro. Soriano is still alive, still giving worldwide bible expositions, and the congregation is all the more thriving and growing worldwide.

According to Bro. Eli, this Quiboloy himself exposed his own falsity just for that pronouncement that did not come true. The statements of those sent by God are confirmed by God, Bro. Eli said.

There is also Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda, 61, a poor Puerto Rican who had enriched himself through deceit. Interviewed in NBC, he said in this international television that the devil or satan does not exist, that prayer is a waste of time, that in God’s eyes his followers cannot sin, and that he is God. (He is more called De Jesus in media than Miranda).

According to CNN.com, De Jesus leads his church, “Creciendo en Gracia,” (Growing in grace) that is said to claim thousands of members in more than 30 countries. (http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/02/16/miami.preacher/index.html)

De Jesus said he learned he was Jesus reincarnate when he was visited in a dream by angels in 1988. Prophets spoke to him, he said, and that he was who they were expecting in 2,000 years – much like the claim of Apollo Quiboloy who said he is the Appointed Son of God.

Crazier than Quiboloy, De Jesus has 666 tattooed on his arm which action some 30 of his members imitated, according to John Zarrella and Patrick Oppmann of CNN. And yet, this is not supposed to be associated with anti-Christ, he says. He also preaches a different truth: that he is the new Jesus Christ –

“Antichrist is the best person in the world…. Antichrist means don’t put your eyes on Jesus because Jesus of Nazareth wasn’t a Christian. Antichrist means do not put your eyes on Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Put it on Jesus after the cross.”

Hell does not exist according to De Jesus and that the devil has been destroyed. This kind of preaching may explain the growth of his flock: According to him, there are two classes of people: those who reject his message and are therefore predestined, and those who accept his word as true. The latter are saved and cannot lose their salvation. Hence they are allowed to indulge in sin. These beliefs were posted on his website.

Jesus the Man as he is called, misinterpreted Romans 10:4 and Romans 7:8 to mean, if Jesus removed sin, you cannot be called a sinner. On July 22, 2006, calling himself Jesus Christ Man, he wrote on his website, “Today, I publicly accuse that all religions have lied to the world.”

Many others

One of the beliefs of Joseph Smith of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints or Mormon as stated in their Doctrines and Covenants: 61-62 is that man cannot commit adultery if he espouses a second virgin. This is what Bro. Soriano wrote about Smith –

According to Joseph Smith, which I will call a false prophet, this is a revelation that he received from God. I know that Joseph Smith has his god and his god is not the God of the Bible. I do not even want to call this group The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints. With the standards of morality in the Bible the Mormons cannot be considered saints. Pardon me for saying these words.

So if you get two wives then you are not blameless. Just like what happened to Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, the first two leaders of the Mormon Church that exists now in so many parts of the world. Brigham Young had 25 wives; 48 for Joseph Smith. They did not even abide by the revelation that they claim to have received from God. The revelation alleges that you can have only ten wives. But because of their greed for women and their lust, Joseph Smith had 48 and Brigham Young 25. (The Bible has the Highest Morality Code, http://www.esoriano.wordpress.com. Sept. 10, 2008,).

With Jehovah’s witnesses, this is the case. They are a worldwide religious organization teaching that ‘Jehovah’ is the real and personal name of God – a false religion according to Bro. Soriano –

Their claim and their teachings that they are witnesses for Jehovah do not only constitute misnomer, but a deceit, fallacy or hoax.

The name JEHOVAH is not the exact name of God but invented only by Jehovah’s pastors and in fact it was corrupted by adding vowel to its original which is YHWH. Therefore, the god they are worshipping and calling by name is not the God of the old Jews and Christians of the bible but a false god, and if they were obeying the will of their false god and false teacher then the inevitable conclusion is that they were the true witnesses but can be categorized as false witnesses also.

Contentious nature?

If Bro. Eli appears contentious outside the spheres of his church, the more he is with his own people. He practices what he preaches and expects that the whole of the teachings of the bible are applied. As rendered by the King James Bible, in Proverbs 28:4 – “They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them.”

More so that there are expected certain behaviors in the House of God. The very events that happen in the congregation where Bro. Eli belongs show a manager quick to correct the flaws of his people given his notice. There are structures in place for complaints or grievances to be heard. Should there be a need for sanctions, they are applied at the right time and in the correct proportion. There are warnings given and according to the circumstances surrounding the offence, if the person shows no inclination to change, chances are the person gets the end of the stick: a long term suspension, if not excommunication. On this score, many of those involved in filing cases against Bro. Eli are the very same persons he had excommunicated for various reasons.

Preacher in Exile
Bro. Eli left the Philippines towards the end of 2005 upon receipt of news that he would get killed. It was not for his own skin that he had to leave. It was more because his brothers in the faith would not allow any physical assault on him and he did not want to involve them.

The “rape charge” was expected to tear him to pieces. Fabricated no matter, it was blown up into “sex crimes” as his bio posted with the International Criminal Police Commission or Interpol board showed. It was supposed to be upon the request of the Regional court of Macabebe, Pampanga in the country.

The ministers of the Iglesia ni Cristo in Net 25 had anticipated events and reported about an “exodus” from Ang Dating Daan and this was repeated by their members in the Internet. This included Blogger Rizalino Arrabis who in his fighting mood described this exodus as caused by Preacher Soriano who had left his flock and went into hiding from authorities. As Elias Ibarra, he wrote a response on December 28th, 2008 to Colonel Gates in NowPublic.com –

It is not us that is suffering from debacles!!! It is your “Ang Dating Daan” cult!!! From 13,000 a few weeks ago, you are now reduced to more or less 10,000 and soon there will be no one left except the chigoes!!! Wake up!!! Where is now the remaining bravado and bragadocio of the phenomenal fugitive criminal pseudo-preacher? …. Stop your propaganda that your Dear Leader is doing bible expositions worldwide!!! There is none!!! Your remaining congregations are closing shop!!! Your cult is in total agony!!! You are in pain but you are still in denial stage!!!!

While the enemies of Bro. Eli thought he would be placed in an uncompromising position as the world’s agenda and be put to shame, the effect was the opposite.

The agenda
As agenda, Bro. Eli is being talked about and much focus is on him. The Interpol matter has put him in a very bad light but obviously only to those who do not know him. While his enemies may be rejoicing that he has finally been humiliated as a Wanted Person, it is a reason to be thankful for. Bro. Eli had to leave the country for religious persecution but now it is an opportunity to fulfill part of the Commission – the salvation of souls in the West.

Being agenda in this world, however, can be positive as well as destructive. The accusations on Bro. Eli include wild imaginations from the enemy from having debilitating sickness, to running away from the law as a criminal, to heading a cult, to stashing Church money in Switzerland, to putting church properties under his name . These suspicions manifest in the comments and blogs of Iglesia ni Cristo members. [Truth: It’s the other way around.  These are his properties but Bro. Eli placed them under the name of the Church, and none of his relatives may claim them when he dies]. Worse, they use as witnesses against Bro. Eli people who left the INC like Marcos Mataro even as Mataro is dead. Were he alive, he would not condone that as he even died for his exposes as X-Man (Ex-Manalista or formermer member of the INC).

On March 3, 2009, Elias Ibarra [Real name: Rizalino L. Arrabis] posted in Topix.net:

Marcos Mataro was already speaking against the corrupt regime of Eliseo Fernando Soriano when the latter was discovered to have had stashed large amounts of money in Switzerland which belongs to the “Ang Dating Daan”cult!!! The properties and accounts of the cult are all under the name of Eliseo Fernando Soriano!!! He was confronted by some members and the result was his promise to place the properties and accounts under the cult’s name!!! But this never happened!!! Even from his cave, Eliang Soriano is not showing any remorse from what he did!!! The properties and bank accounts are still under his name!!! Daniel Razon and Navales never raised a howl!!! Jane Abao also!!! Why???? They are the immediate beneficiaries in case that debilitating sickness would start to outmaneuver the costly medications of the criminal fugitive!!!

It is to be recalled that Mataro, a UNTV host, and a very vocal critique of the Iglesia ni Cristo, was killed in broad daylight. Motorcycle-riding men shot dead Mataro on the service road of the North Luzon Expressway in San Simon, Pampanga, while waiting for a ride April 27, 2008. The motor vehicle abandoned at the crime of the scene was traced to a deacon of that church group.

On that same day, Arrabis, alias Ibarra, also posted: “The hiding of Eliseo Fernando Soriano is a good sign from above that even on this earth criminals could be already meted with punishment!!!….There is a great decrease in memberships while the complaints filed against Eliseo Fernando Soriano is mounting!!!”

Records show, however, that all court cases against Bro. Eli are coming from only one group: the Iglesia ni Cristo and those whom Soriano had ex-communicated who had become their members.

The Excommunicated
From the Members Church of God International or Ang Dating Daan, there is a short list of those lining up to discredit Bro. Soriano. They are the excommunicated and they include Daniel Veridiano, alias Puto.

Puto was excommunicated by Bro. Eliseo Soriano upon recommendation by an investigating panel in the Members Church of God International where the preacher is the presiding minister. Puto was reported to have raped some 14 of his subordinates and have appropriated church money for personal needs, two offenses of which he had admitted and confessed on. Upon being turned down in his bid to be re-admitted in the church, he retaliated by joining the Iglesia ni Cristo, a church group that Bro. Eli had exposed for its false teachings.

Puto knew that the INC had over the years been filing case after case against Bro. Eli from libel to frustrated murder to obstruction of justice and others. With Puto going to the INC, the rape case saw many allies lining up to defend him including the Secretary of Justice Raul Gonzalez who had re-filed the case after it was dismissed for lack of evidence. From somebody then cast out by the Church of God for filth – physical and spiritual – he becomes the man of the hour who crucifies his benefactor.

Puto, himself, had long been using an identification card bearing the name of Eliseo Soriano to get things facilitated for himself, including a credit card that got him almost everything he wanted and whisked him wherever he wanted to go. After he was discovered at a time he was also being accused of several rape charges, he found himself without source of income where money is his weakness.

Going to the INC appeared the best alternative for Puto – both to seek revenge and to earn money. The destruction of Eliseo Soriano had long been the dream of the INC ministers as openly manifested in their Ang Tamang Daan program (a poor counterfeit of Ang Dating Daan) in Net25. In that program, they influenced people to get the neck of the preacher by giving details of his daily whereabouts. They instigated the Abu Sayyaf (Moro bandits south of the country) to go after Soriano, claiming that the preacher is against Islam.

The Iglesia ni Cristo is a powerful force to reckon with in the Philippines. With its bloc-voting practice, their endorsement is being sought for by politicians especially the president of the land. It is not without unfortunate results though. Once the endorsed candidate wins, the backfire is expressed in meddling in government affairs including in  the justice system. Court cases are followed up to their favor. Their endorsements cannot just be found at election times. It also covers presidential appointments to sensitive positions of the land.

Discrimination by the courts
Soriano’s camp claims that the Secretary of Justice Raul Gonzalez was over-zealous in refiling the dismissed rape case filed by Daniel Veridiano against Eliseo Soriano. They ask if it would be the same if Puto were not a member of the Iglesia ni Cristo. (He was excommunicated by Soriano after which he joined the INC).

They also ask why Chairman Maria Consoliza Laguardia of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) is biased against Eliseo Soriano and his Ang Dating Daan Program versus the Iglesia ni Cristo. They are intrigued that saying “Iglesia ni Manalo” (church of Manalo) is offensive enough to suspend a TV program.

Soriano filed a complaint with the Philippine Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in June 2005, against MTRCB’s decision to ban the program and its hosts from appearing on TV due to complaints filed by the Iglesia ni Cristo. The CHR ruled that MTRCB overstepped its authority by banning Soriano’s TV programs in 2005.

Bro. Soriano would also ask his congregation: if he files for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) why do the Iglesia ni Cristo get theirs in a whisk while it takes him years?

The conclusion of the matter seems to be that the powers that be have it all. Malou Mangahas in her report to the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) claimed, “INC is a shrewd political and business operator. It parlays the votes of its members for political and financial concessions to the church.” (http://www.pcij.org/stories/2002/inc2.html)

While Puto got all the princely attention he needed from the grace of the Iglesia ni Cristo where he became a new member, whether he believed in their doctrines or not, Bro. Eli is fair game to him as Soriano is to those affiliated with the Iglesia ni Cristo and their supporters. Some quarters strongly believe that the good grace Puto is enjoying with the courts is on account of the INC using it to settle scores with Bro. Eli. They only wanted to stop his big mouth from further exposing them. The syndrome in media tells it all.

“Interpol wanted” news

An Alfred P. Dalizon of Journal Online (8/19/2008) wrote about Bro. Soriano as wanted by the Interpol. Clearly twisting facts, Dalizon exposed his links with the Iglesia ni Cristo in so many counts. Bro. Eliseo Soriano is an international fugitive, he said, running away from sex crimes.

The Interpol describes fugitives as “posing serious threat to public safety worldwide …. and financing their continued flight from the law through further criminal activities.” But as seen from video footages shown week after week in the church, Bro. Eli is here and there busy with bible expositions in six continents, propagating the words of God – not doing criminal activities. The new additions to the church membership come in thousands weekly to include those enlightened from the Iglesia ni Cristo, his arch critics.

Soriano’s camp asks, where is the crime victim to speak of, who is denied of justice so that an international order of arrest should be in order? From the records of the case, 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. It was only that the Secretary of Justice had the case refiled.

Dalizon again said that Bro. Eli is on a red notice. According to the Interpol, a red notice means the Interpo’s role is “To seek the arrest or provisional arrest of wanted persons with a view to extradition.” There was not even a blue notice which role is “ to collect additional information about a person’s identity or activities in relation to a crime” nor a green notice “To provide warnings and criminal intelligence about persons who have committed criminal offences and are likely to repeat these crimes in other countries.”

Contrary to what Dalizon wanted the public to believe, the Interpol said an Interpol Red Notice is NOT an international arrest warrant. The Interpol also issues a warning that the person should be considered innocent until proven guilty.

Dalizon also added that the accused Bro. Soriano is a former INC member as well as the complainant Veridiano who is just going back to his former fold, the INC. That both Soriano and Veridiano are claimed to be former INCs is a poor attempt of Dalizon to cosmeticize public impressions about the Iglesia ni Cristo. This practice is not uncommon though for reporters affiliated with the INC.

Research done?

After many posts contesting write-ups intended to malign Bro. Eli by the members of Ang Dating Daan in the Internet, the Interpol is believed to have done their own research. From the camp of the preacher, the Interpol is at least expected to understand the following by this time –

1) That Bro. Eli is admittedly a big mouth who does not spare anyone when it comes to truth. He speaks what he is sent for to speak. He cannot add nor delete. It is part of his Commission (Jeremiah 26:2).

2) That Bro. Eli is not what the report sent to the Interpol purportedly is by the court of Macabebe, Pampanga, Philippines. He never was accused of “sex crimes” in any court on earth except as appearing on the online page of the Interpol website.

3) That the one who sent the report is a liar by all counts, a heel that sorely lacks credibility. It is not expected that the Interpol believe everything passed on to them.

4) That between the complainant and the accused, this is the man to listen to.

Media Overkill

The Philippines is where Bro. Eli is mostly maligned – the country of his birth. From all the discrimination that he got including from the justice system, it is media that does the overkill. The preacher has many cases filed against him and this is fodder for media again and again, not even mentioning that they were coming from the same source: those he had excommunicated from the Church of God and had transferred to the Iglesia ni Cristo, and the INC itself through their ministers.

If this fact is suppressed in media reports, not everybody can be fooled from the patterns that appear. Some quarters of the public are already aware of the long ADD-INC feud that includes doctrinal issues. This was noted by the court that dismissed the rape case filed sometime before October 5, 2005 and was dismissed on January 6, 2006. The decision was the one penned by Alexandro Lopez, Asst. Provincial Prosecutor and approved by Jesus Magarang, Provincial prosecutor, Province of Pampanga, San Fernando City.

With the media, however, there is much quoting and re-posting without effort to check sources.

ABS-CBN. Consider the ABS-CBN Interactive. For about two years, it bannered the rape story and only the date was changing. The name of Veridiano as complainant was also changed to Pedriano. This news outfit was used by Wikipedia as a reference but was dropped for another. ADD writers booed it as unfair for collecting comments online like it was posting an advertisement for the INC. Thereafter, it changed its name to ABS-CBN Online but remains the same careless outfit that does not check its facts before posting. More than that, it acted as paid hack to the INC. What can explain the years of malicious online posting about the “rape case” then where there in an open assault on Bro. Eli as unprotected accused, at the same time protecting Daniel Veridiano, the accused by twisting his family name from Veridiano to Pedriano?

The camp of Soriano scores Wikipedia for its wanton need for controversy and welcoming more the negative posts of the Iglesia ni Cristo without close scrutiny of their sources.

Wkipedia wrote –

A similar exposition was featured on ABS-CBN’s Special Assignment hosted by Luchi Cruz-Valdez. Cruz-Valdez interviewed former members regarding the information presented in a series of anonymously-published comics depicting the alleged anomalous activities of Soriano. The former members unequivocally-confirmed the factuality of the information in the comics…” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eliseo_Soriano).

These were the very same comics that angered much Bro. Soriano for they depicted him of sodomy. Even as they were written anonymous, Soriano’s camp have witnesses that these were coming from the chapels of the Iglesia ni Cristo as testified by Abner Martizano, a former minister of the Iglesia ni Cristo who got affiliated with the Church of God. The “former members” referred to were those excommunicated by Soriano for various offenses. And yet the excommunication angle was suppressed in the presentation of reports by Wikipedia. There was no mention of it.

Wikipedia. Wikipedia appears habitually careless about the information it is quoting. It said, “ Eliseo ‘Eli’ Soriano is in hiding and is now an international fugitive. An International Arrest Warrant was issued against him.” It quoted Alfred P. Dalizon which published a newsreport on August 8, 2008 in World News (Journal Online). This was the very same news item being protested to by editors of the Ang Dating Daan. Alfred Dalizon titled this (August 8, 2008), “Int’l arrest warrant out for Eli Soriano”. World News (Journal Online). http://article.wn.com/view/2008/08/16/Intl_arrest_warrant_out_for_Eli_Soriano/.

By merely quoting Dalizon who has been exposed with INC links by ADD editors, Wikipedia is showing its ignorance in referencing. For example, Dalizon has already pigeonholed Soriano as a fugitive which description does not fit the Interpol’s. Soriano is openly doing worldwide bible expositions as attested to by video news. Second, an Interpol Red Notice is NOT an international arrest warrant as fed by Dalizon to the public. (http://www.interpol.int/Public/Wanted/Default.asp). And yet Wikipedia honored him as a source.

Rizalino Arrabis. There is also Rizalino L. Arrabis, an INC member, a retired US Navy man based in Guam. Arrabis rallied news organizations online and the national and international police forces to unite and impound Soriano. 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.”

Arrabis had been banned from NowPublic.com for his hundred and one personal attacks against Bro. Eli and at the same time given a warning by Editor Rob Walker. Arrabis walked on all newsites where Bro. Soriano is a topic. He believes that what he is doing is “Christian.” He said in Newsvine.com (Thu Dec 27, 2007 7:25 PM EST)-

My idea here is to defend the Iglesia Ni Cristo, demolish, and neutralize the detractors for all these comes up as the battle for the hearts and minds. I know pretty well that I have done a good job worthy of a Christian soldier….”

Liecaster Obligacion. Then there is Conrad J. Obligacion as identified in topix.net who stole the name of Bro. Eli as truthcaster. Called Liecaster by some, Obligacion had been posting online as “truthcaster” in NowPublic.com to humiliate the owner of that name but gets a warning from Amyjudd for slanderous remarks if he could not substantiate his claims. Eventually, his story was closed, following the fate of Arrabis.

Obligacion shows the many marks of being a rabid INC member, beginning with his two-pronged approach: appropriating the monicker of Bro. Eli and at the same time publicly declaring that he is devoting his life to destroying his victim. In the many ‘opinion’ articles he wrote, he simply substituted Soriano as the one the world is waiting for to come out and defend his false teachings.

It is public knowledge that Eraño Manalo, the Executive Minister of the INC, has never dared to respond to the challenge of Preacher Soriano to come out for a debate. (On March 27, 2005, Soriano placed a one-page ad challenging Manalo to come out so that they could once and for all settle their differences. His ministers in Net25 answered him as follows in Tagalog: “Soriano, debate first with the pope in Latin, after which the Executive Minister can face you.”)

“Truthcaster” then appointed himself as one who would re-write the biography of Bro. Soriano to its “true” form. This was where his identity as Conrad J. Obligacion was traced from topix.net where he originally wrote the re-written bio. As no one bothered to react, he repeated this in Nowpublic.com with the name “truthcaster,” His piece, “A false prophet is born” runs as follows –

Eli was sickly, there was something wrong with his heart and this was complicated by bouts of asthma. But Eli has a more troubling disease that would hound him later in his life. The disease was his overwhelming need to borrow money. The late 60’s was the year where he found himself owing about P10, 000.00 from different people. He needed his brother’s help to bail him out of his trouble. To support his growing need for money, while still a minister of his church he turned to cooking food to sell. His first turo-turo was in Sampaloc, Manila. He would go to the market and gather rotting vegetables which market vendors threw away as garbage, and used this to make lumpia which he would then sell for human consumption. He boasted that this was a great idea because he had a his profit margins were high. Aside from his lumpia, he also started selling other things, including women’s bras and panties. On top of this, he also tended to raising chickens and pigs in their own back yard. http://resbak.com/ blog/?p=77 (Dec 27, 2008 | post #1) Topix.net.

While “Truthcaster” had long been associated with Bro. Eli for his many years of broadcasting the truth, Obligacion appropriated it. There would have been no question if he simply sported ‘truthcaster” as username, but then he was employing it to attack the very one using that monicker. This is a case then of ‘truthcaster” attacking TruthCaster. Shamelessly, Obligacion went through the bio of Bro. Eli and changed everything positive to negative. At the end he had to gall to say that it was Soriano who stole his name. In Zimbio.com (03/04/09), he wrote in his article, “Ask Bro. Eli! The ‘most sensible preacher’ does not make sense” –

He sports many monikers such as “the most sensible preacher of our times”, “phenomenal preacher”, “Walking bible”, “Modern [Day] Jeremiah”, “the appointed one”, “he who holds the key”, and others. He even stole my handle, truthcaster…. But is he really all that?

The fake truthcaster, or liecaster as he is called by Ang Dating Daan writers, comes in other aliases like ReadMeIglesiaNiCristo, Resbak,  cover  names like James Mon, John Phillip Rivera, and countless other names.

Ka Webspy. More vicious than Arrabis and Obligacion is Ka Webspy [Real name: Sustines E. Laplana, native  of Masinloc Leyte]  also of the Iglesia ni Cristo who had been for years hitting hard on Bro. Soriano. Laplana or Ka Webspy created about 50 websites purposely to destroy the man. What was quite vicious of him is his use of the name of Soriano and the Church’s name and identity in naming the websites. He uses Eli Soriano to attack Eli Soriano, the Church of God International to attack the Church and naming the church ministers as attacking the preacher, or the preachers as attacking each other.

In http://churchofgodint.blogspot.com/ he wrote –

Ang Dating Daan program aims to propagate the true and everlasting Gospel of Christ based on the Bible (if not scrutinized), convert sinners (convert or hold them to stay sinners?) to believe (to believe God or gods?) and glorify God (Is stealing the property of others glorify God?). Only the Church can teach the wisdom of God in the salvation of mankind (Only the true Church but not the church founded by Eli Soriano.)

All placed under Ka Webspy Network, these are some of his sites: The Ang Dating Daan of Brother Eli Soriano, 101 Kontradiksiyon, Absurd Teaching, Ang Dating Daan, Ang Dating Daan Komiks I, Ang Dating Daan Komiks II,Absurd Teaching, Eli Soriano, Ang Dating Daan Webring ni Eli Soriano.

Ka Webspy Network also supported the following sites against the Members Church of God International (MCGI), more popularly known as Ang Dating Daan: Ang Akweng Daan, Ang Dating Daan Video Clips ni Eli Soriano, Ang Dating Daan Video Clips II ni Eli Soriano, Ang Dating Daan Audio Clips ni Eli Soriano, Ang Dating Daan Audio Clips ni Eli Soriano II, Ang Dating Daan Audio Clips ni Eli Soriano III, Mga Tinig sa Ilang – Pagbubunyag sa Ang Dating Daan, Eli Soriano at Ang Dating Daan – Kontradiksyon, Ang Dating Daan at ang kanyang mga Kasinungalingan, Ang Dating Daan Komiks 1 (ni Eli Soriano), Ang Dating Daan Komiks 2 (ni Eli Soriano), (Ang Dating Daan ni Eli Soriano) 101 Kontradiksiyon, All About Eli Soriano & Ang Dating Daan, Church of God International, Ang Katotohanan Tungkol kay Ginoong Eli Soriano at sa Kaniyang”Ang Dating Daan,” Papalit-palit, Kontra-kontra Doktrina ni Ingkong (Eli Soriano ng Ang Dating Daan), Tuligsa ni Eli Soriano, Mga ang dating…Ang Dating Daan ni Eli Soriano, Linguistic Errors ni Eli Soriano ng Ang Dating Daan, Q & A ng Ang Dating Daan ni Eli Soriano.

All of these are twists posted by Ka Webspy and excommunicated members from the ADD or MCGI. They carried news, audio clips, video clips and comics calculated to mislead the public about Bro. Soriano. For example, Ang Dating Daan Video Clips ni Eli Soriano contained 100 video clips against the preacher, mostly twisting his preaching and calling it doctrines of Eli Soriano. Video Clips II ni Eli Soriano is a continuation that totaled 186 VIDEO clips with “testimonies” of two excommunicated from ADD.

Then there are the audio clips. Audio Clips ni Eli Soriano includes the same twisting of preaching and carries the testimonies of two excommunicated members from ADD with 95 clips. Audio Clips ni Eli Soriano II is a continuation that included testimony of one excommunicated ADD member. In all there were 169 AUDIO clips against Bro. Eli.

Mga Tinig sa Ilang – Pagbubunyag sa Ang Dating Daan (Voices from the Wilderness) contains more accusations that Bro. Eli.

If there is one common trait of Ka Webspy and the other enemies of Bro. Soriano, it is using Soriano’s name against himself. Consider this site: “Eli Soriano Vs Eliseo F. Soriano. All About Eli Soriano of Ang Dating Daan & Members Church of God International.” Worse, the domain name is also named after the preacher. Even the hymns of the Church of God were not spared from their vandalism. The photographs of both Bros. Soriano and Razon were also appropriated and morphed to make them appear sissy.

Ka Webspy had always been discreet with his identity, never mentioning his name while he hit hard on Bro. Soriano. In 2006, he quit blogging as Ka Webspy. By March, he was using Selaplana.com with his real name traced as Sustines E. Laplana. His reason as he was interviewed as a blogger was that he didn’t like the performance of those earlier blogs and what he written in them. Indeed on June 15, 2005, the SEO Files said that Ka Webspy Network was declining. He said he was called idiot blogger before, and he didn’t want that anymore. To date, however, the old sites he had made continue to deliver negative blows on Bro. Soriano.

As he changed topics to increase his earnings, he included results of examinations, songs, and even sex and scandals, and website money making.

Sowing in thousands

Duplication and multiplication seems to be the mode of destruction for Bro. Soriano. Nevertheless, enemies were making the preacher all the more the agenda in whatever form.

Allison Lopez. For example, Allison Lopez of the Philippine Daily Inquirer (08/29/2008) wrote about Ely (Sic) Soriano as having been charged with falsification of documents. “Ely” is the insistent spelling given by INCs to make it appear feminine and Lopez had picked it up. She also didn’t bother to do some background check on the supposed rape victim, Veridiano, even as she highlighted the rape case in the falsification charge. She also made no note of the fact that the preacher was out of the country some 3 years after she wrote her falsification report. To the camp of Soriano, it is Veridiano who had been raping his 14 officemates and there was no mention of this by media people. The case was also dismissed for lack of evidence but refiled by the Secretary of Justice, Raul Gonzalez, to a higher court and this fact was  clearly suppressed.

Nevertheless, this underwritten report was re-posted in Scribd.com (10/22/2008) as a document. It was also posted by The Rick A. Ross Institute both as an HTML document and as a reference with their organization emblazoned as the collector of data
(www.rickross.com/groups/church_of_god.html).

YouTube. Over at YouTube, the whole story of Allison Lopez was posted by EliXWanted. It is not without comments, however, about the obvious bias of the reporter against Soriano, the writer’s ignorance of any connection between Veridiano, the complainant and Soriano, the respondent except that Veridiano was some sort of secretary. YouTube now is replete with much garbage from those trying hard to out-do the debates of the preacher, his Bible expositions, the testimonies attesting to lives that Bro. Eli has changed. The preacher’s enemies have made fair game out of him trying hard to paint a different picture from what he is.

Asterpix. The same news of Allison Lopez, an INC, was posted in Asterpix Interactive Video by Asterbot88 on January 31, 2009 in an identical form as that of YouTube but the poster here displays an even more cunning. There is no place to comment on the page. The author gets all the privilege to post with no feedback allowed. Noticeable though is that it contains no (zero) views on all the 5-7 videos it posted against Soriano.

Foreigner Blogs. Eventually, a paragraph sliced from that Allison Lopez news report was transposed into a video of 2.3 minutes and embedded in many blogs of foreigners. This is the paragraph that bloomed into a picture for entertainment effects:

“Gumaru even received the release order of Soriano to make it appear that Soriano was indeed in his custody … Clearly, Soriano was not arrested nor placed in the custody of Gumaru and thus not entitled to post bail,” said Alva in his report, stressing that an accused cannot post bail without surrendering or being arrested by law enforcers.

In other words, both Police Officer Gumaru and Alva were being used here to influence the public with just a slice of the report and taken out of context.

Up until today since 2008, this sliced paragraph-cum-video item shows now and then in many blogs outside the country, believed by some quarters as a bid to undermine the preacher’s credibility as he does his bible expositions abroad. (In every exposition, it is inevitable that the preacher touch on false beliefs and false preachers which talk the INC disdain).

Jean-Francois Demers, for example, discussed market and economy in his blog, “Flying Squadron” but a post in blogspot, January 29, 2009 embedded this videod paragraph of Allison Lopez. What malice can do!

Wendy Dawson whose passion is Musical Theater also embedded this paragraph-video in her post on “Africa Again,” March 8, 2009, blogspot. There are yet many other others as supplied by Google alert from time to time. Asked why they post this item and if they knew anything about Bro. Soriano, there is no response.

“Foolish” and “stupid” as sorianospeak

If there is something false preachers dislike about Bro. Soriano, it is his calling them foolish (gago) and stupid (tanga). One is not cursing or cussing if that is the truth, the preacher would reason. Soriano is accused of being overly contentious and not “respecting” other religions, but the perspective of the preacher is not the same: Soriano has a task to perform.

Known to be the only preacher who is fearless enough to tell the truth, just before his preaching opens in the Church of God, Jeremiah 26:2 flashes on the screen in several language translations –

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.

Both ‘foolish’ and ‘stupid’ then come from the package of Soriano’s Jeremiah 26:2 role. To understand his discourses better, these terms should not be taken by themselves alone but from the context of what the preacher is trying to point out. The preacher is really that frank and doesn’t mince words. The following excerpts that come from his own website are examples of sorianospeak–

While many enemies of Christ and the Bible delight in the stupid and defamatory story of Dan Brown’s “Da Vinci Code”, a perusal of written and archeological information can easily belie such make-believe bunch of stupidity. (Beyond an Iota of a Doubt, March 5, 2009).

Here’s another one –

Why are there so many starving people on earth? The answer is: Because of those people who do not believe in God — like YOU! Greed in money, wealth, power, and everything earthly is the cause of all evil in this world. It is not God’s fault. (Feeding the Spiritually Starving People with God’s Word from the Bible, May 20, 2007)

In retaliation, his enemies could only dig on his weaknesses and infirmities to which he answers: “The God of all good characters and morals understands my infirmities and weaknesses. They testify that He is greater than I am.”

Tell the world

Russian wiki. What is surprising is the extent to tell the world about Soriano. His bio in Wikipedia that is mostly negative was translated into Russian by Dic.academic.ru. [A translator was used to know what language the page was in].

Astronomy site. It is also intriguing how his bio from Wikipedia would be posted by sites called Absolute Astonomy.com, Exploring the Universe of Knowledge

Bereans. The Bereans never lack interest in Bro. Soriano. Every case filed by his enemies are easily picked up and posted for comment. According to Bro. Eli, Bereans keep on researching but never come into the truth. It is because God sees the heart; anyone truly looking for God will find Him.

Polls. Polls are also made of Bro. Soriano with only one answer. The question in ISTORYA.net posted by botslot on October 2007 was, “Is Ely Soriano of ADD a false Prophet?” (Take note of the spelling and remember the group that spells it that way and why). The answers were: 1) Biggest yes with clapping of hands; 2) Big yes; 3) Resounding yes! 4) Just yes!!!!!. The results: 93.33% said yes, he is; but there were only 14 voters. The total votes cast were just 24. Then the pool was closed – a poll providing a space for only one answer.

There are the neutral sides though and the supposedly neutral sides like The Rick A. Ross Institute but not very many do that. After posting items from one side, it also posts from the other side and this time he placed the link leading to the website of Bro. Eli (http://www.elisoriano.com/).

The response

In answer to those who claim that Soriano is hitting everybody outside of his belief, this is what he says in his official blogsite (http://www.elisoriano.com/).

I want to make it clear to everybody that it is not my goal and never will it be to disgrace or humiliate or anybody personally. I am not against any human person, but on the spirit of wickedness that is in him. (Truth in focus, August 26, 2007)

Claiming he has done a lot of research, he said there is much misleading information that many are being deceived.

I have invited to take a ‘U-turn’ and dig deeper to find the roots of all the fraud and deceit that now dominates almost all sector of society — even the religious helm of it.

In my search, I have found that there are so many irrational views, erroneous teachings, evil ideologies, and misleading information, wherein deceit and fraud are always in essence, but hidden. (Truth in focus, August 26, 2007)

As he exposes false preachers and their false teachings, people react to them prominent of which are issues of idol worship in many forms, and tithing which is part of the Mosaic Law. In the end, he reaps court cases, if not curses; immigration woes and similar problems. Wasn’t he in the wanted list of the Interpol? While this issue was at first humiliating – a time-killer for those with important work to do like propagation of the gospel – he has become an agenda, and this time it is international.

To drain the church’s resources

Bro. Eli’s receiving court cases and accusations in a layer are not without intent. The pattern understood even from the beginning which the preacher explained to the congregation was to drain all his resources until he is financially bankrupt. Then he could not move to do his preaching which necessarily touches on false practices and beliefs.

To date, from church records, there are about 20 criminal cases, majority of which are libel suits and fabricated charges of rape, frustrated murder, obstruction of justice, and libel.

This notion of the church being drained of resources was all the more strengthned when Bro. Daniel Razon, the vice presiding minister of the Church was pushed off his post in GMA7, a big media network. Some believe that management was pressured by some “religious” people so that Razon had to choose between his religion and his job. There were words he was prevented from uttering. As some quarters believe, his only fault was in being a member of the Ang Dating Daan and was forced to choose between his job and serving God.

In June 2005 Dindo M. Balares of Manila Bulletin wrote about this “pressured” resignation. It reportedly came in the wake of a “boycott” of “Unang Hirit” and other GMA-7 shows by the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) members who were raising a protest against Razon.

As reported by Balares, GMA had decided to release Razon “to maintain its neutrality in the midst of the on-going bitter conflict between the Iglesia ni Cristo and Ang Dating Daan.”

More tentacles in government

Daniel Razon was also denied a post in the government after the elections commission laid off the party-list which he represented during the last national elections. The reason? Because the Commission believed that the partly-list he represented was a front of a religious organization.

On November 19, 2007, the Commission on Elections 2nd Division (under Article 6 of Republic Act 7941), disqualified the Bagong Alyansang Tagapagtaguyod ng Adhikaing Sambayanan (BATAS) party-list group. (Translated in English, this means New Alliance of Advocates for National Goals). The COMELEC ruled that Batas is an extension of the Ang Dating Daan of Bro. Eliseo Soriano where Daniel Razon, the party-list group’s first nominee is the second highest official of the religious organization. The petition for disqualification and cancellation of registration was filed by one Nathan Macute, said to be a resident of Sitio Roque, Alabang, Muntinlupa City.

On November 24, 2007, Congressman-elect Daniel S. Razon had to call on Philippine National Police Chief Avelino Razon before some 50,000 followers Saturday to protect his accuser. The former had received word that Macute would be killed and that it would be blamed on him. The conversation was carried over phone patch that morning. Razon made the request after finding out that this Nathan Macute is a seemingly harmless and quiet fellow and might be just a scapegoat.

There is a seeming lack of understanding though in how the public looks at the Church of God, known to the public as Ang Dating Daan. Unlike other church groups, these people are not forced to vote for certain candidates. They are not given orders even to congregate in one place. Judging from their great numbers in all church activities, one may safely conclude that it is their common faith that moves them. They normally support each other in times of need so that it is not surprising if they voted for candidates from the church, much more a church leader like their Bro. Daniel Razon.

Just like his superior, Bro. Eli, Razon’s bio in Wikipedia is much peppered with negative accounts, including a report wherein he was declared “Persona Non Grata” of Apalit, Pampanga. Accordingly, on Razon’s daily morning TV show, “Good Morning Kuya” aired over UNTV 37, he criticized the imposition of the Apalit Municipal Council Resolution No. 15 “enforcing pertinent national and local statutes” on the grounds of the Church. This prompted the Apalit Municipal Government to declare Razon, a bonafide resident of Apalit, Pampanga a “persona non grata” through Resolution 28 series of 2008.

From the reception of people, however, this resolution is rendered toothless. An average weekly attendance of some 60,000 members of the Church of God International meet every Saturday for thanksgiving in Apalit to listen to the preaching of their Bro. Eli Soriano as well as to Bro. Daniel Razon. (The former preaches in 6 continents simulcast through satellite).

A similar incident happened in Zamboanga City in October 2008. Daily Zamboanga Times reported that Commission on Human Rights Regional Director Jose Manuel S. Mamauag had criticized the City Council on its common practice of declaring persons, including Filipino citizens, persona non grata. Atty. Mamauag appealed to the City Council to “vigilantly observe the rule of law and to be mindful of the good name of persons.”

As reported in the news, Mamaug said, “To be persona non grata is to be a social pariah. Branding a person as unacceptable and publicly tagging him as unwelcome in a city wherein he is free to enter and leave by virtue of his being a Filipino is tantamount to imposing a punishment that is not provided by law.”

The Human Rights Commissioner Mamauag explained that the declaration of persona non grata is normally being practiced in diplomatic relations.

How do you “outcast” a bonafide resident in the first place? Jun A. Malig, in his commentary in Sun Star Pampanga some years back (10/25/2005) said literally, persona non grata refers to “an unwelcome person” but that would not include bona fide residents of the territory, it appears. The person may be prevented, depending on existing laws or ordinances, from setting foot in the territorial jurisdiction of those who “outcast” him, he said.

The myth of ADD as INC breakaway group

One item that is repeated over and over in reports and passed on to others is the myth that the Ang Dating Daan is a breakaway away group of the Iglesia ni Cristo. The ones that love to do such repetition, however, are those affiliated with the INC. From obtaining patterns of newsreports, this is the outstanding “background information” they are careful to give, calculated with self-serving motives. Other background information that are critical to the understanding of news are suppressed.

The members of the ADD find this quite ironic in that while the INC members create so much trouble for the former, the latter insist on planting this notion in the mind of the public – whatever gains they can get from that. As far as the ADD constituents are concerned, there is not an iota of similarity in the beliefs of the two that one can be called a breakaway group of the other.

For example, Aries Rufo wrote in his news report that “Soriano founded the religious sect ADD, a breakaway group of the Iglesia Ni Cristo sect.” (Newsbreak Online, SC sustains suspension of Ang Dating Daan, April 30, 2009). It is not only Rufo who does that, however. The wrong information passed also to the Embassy of the United States is the same: that the MCGI or ADD is a break-away group of the INC.

The International Religious Freedom Report 2003 released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor says on Religious Demography : “There are three churches established by local religious leaders: The Independent Church of the Philippines or “Aglipayan,” the Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ), and the Ang Dating Daan (an offshoot of Iglesia ni Cristo).

The American Embassy had been informed as early as 2005 that this is not so since there had been intervening phases to be called offshoot. It cannot also be called breakaway in the sense that it cannot even be called an offshoot. To be breakaway, you have to be a part first. However, the INC benefits from reports like this as again and again they appear in news reports. Coming in other forms, the propagation of this kind may be found in inserting appendages to describe the INC. It is a poor attempt to package this church favorably to the public eye. Some of these pertain to seniority and size, while they flaunt their power – as if favor with God or truth is found in these aspects.

Writing about Bernardo Santiago, one excommunicated from the Church of God for adultery Demiel R. Robles, a Newsbreak Contributing writer wrote.

….But in 1998, Santiago was not only stripped of that privilege; he was expelled by the organization that he thought would bring him salvation. His offense, according to the ADD: adultery. Humiliated, Santiago fought back. The ADD says he subsequently cast his fate with the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC), the powerful religious congregation founded by the late Felix Manalo and where most senior ADD preachers come from.

Robles compared the squabble between the ADD and the INC to that of a David-and-Goliath script in explaining why the INC is “so quiet to allegations.” To the camp of Soriano, however, the INCs have nothing to say in a call to debate to defend their false teachings, therefore are so quiet. As events show, however, they answer with court cases.

Demiel Robles ends his piece with a taunt:

Brother Eli realizes that as a religious leader, his mission is necessarily spiritual. But he should know that God has no business in litigation and the media…. Will he invoke the Bible to save himself from worldly court cases? His disciples and critics await the coming days with curiosity and anxiety.

Church history

Time and again, Bro. Soriano would say that the Church of God or ADD was never a part of the Iglesia ni Cristo.

The history of the MCGI or Ang Dating Dating records Nicholas Perez as the first minister. This is where the parents of Bro. Eli were affiliated. Documents show that it was in 1931 when Nicholas Perez with Avelino Santiago started their own group called Iglesia ng Diyos kay Kristo Hesus, Haligi at Suhay ng Katotohanan (Church of God in Christ Jesus, Pillar and Support of The Truth) after some doctrinal differences with the Iglesia ni Cristo.

On December 10, 1936, Nicholas Perez officially registered the Iglesia ng Diyos kay Cristo Hesus Haligi at Suhay ng Katotohanan with the Bureau of Commerce and Industry. After a lapse of 41 years, on March 30, 1977, two years after the death of Perez, Eliseo Soriano and followers registered his own group and called it the Iglesia ng Dios kay Kristo Hesus, Haligi at Saligan ng Katotohanan (Church of God in Christ Jesus, The Pillar and Ground of the Truth). Soriano has then become the Presiding Minister.

As events would have it, the church doctrines would get corrected as revealed to the faithful Soriano so much so that there had been gargantuan overhaul from the teachings of Perez. Soriano, publicly known as bible scholar, did much corrections over time. Moreover, he was revealing mystery after mystery in every church gathering.

Fast forward to January 14, 2004, after 27 years Soriano registered and used the name, Members Church of God International because locals were founded in the United States. By the end of 2005, Bro. Soriano would be thrust to the West on account of persecutions. As membership grew to include the yellow, white and black race, the contents of his preachings reached high levels to spiritual dimensions. Meanwhile, his enemies continued to give him a difficult time with court cases.

Claiming then that the ADD or MCGI is a breakaway group from the Iglesia ni Cristo is like claiming that one is a split from Adam.

Silence speaks

If some people hate Bro. Eli and loathe what he says, it is not a secret that there are those who want him dead and would hound him to the ends of this earth to stop him from talking. While he talks and others talk, the loudest and the most ubiquitous messages may take the upper-hand. Take the case of the Interpol notice of Wanted Persons that his enemies posted and re-posted all over the Internet.

While all of these obtain, on November 25, 2007, GMANews.TV would banner, “UNTV, Razon, Soriano sites top 10th Philippine Web Awards.” The following are excerpts –

Three websites associated with religious leader Eliseo Soriano dominated the 10th Philippine Web Awards (PWA) Friday night – http://www.angdatingdaan.com, the official site of Soriano’s The Church of God International; http://www.danielrazon.com, the official site of broadcaster Daniel Razon, Soriano’s nephew; and http://www.untvweb.com, the official site of UNTV 37, where Soriano’s Ang Dating Daan is among the top programs.

The Church of God official site won, through SMS voting, as the Most Popular Website, on top of being named the People’s Choice in the Organizations category.

Razon’s site won in the Celebrities and Personalities category, getting the People’s Choice award as well. The site edged out the Alaska Aces website and the Blaze of Glory site of GMANews.TV.

In the News and Media category, the UNTV site also edged out GMANews.TV, last year’s winner. It also grabbed the People’s Choice award for the category.

As posted by GMANews.TV, the People’s Choice award in each category is determined by Short Message Service (SMS) voting. The main award for each category is picked by judges, both foreign and local, composed of veteran web artists, content writers, and designers, have evaluated all the 69 Web site finalists.

This is not a just happenstance as in the 11th Philippine Web Awards held last February 2009, the same winners scored. This time, instead of the Church of God official site as over-all winner, the newly-constructed truth blog of Bro. Eliseo Soriano, (www.esoriano.wordpress.com) won as the most popular website, besting all others in all categories.

Bro. Eli’s blogsite also stood as the People’s choice in the blog category. At the same time that his blogsite won, all his organizational affiliates won: the Ang Dating Daan – Bible Exposition Online (organization category), Kaanib.net – Christian Web Newsmagazine (magazines and ezines category), UNTV – Your Public Service Channel (News and Media category).

What these wards may imply is that Bro. Eliseo Soriano after all is not entirely what his enemies portray him. Some like to listen to what he is saying – to truth. Some like to know about God and how to be saved. Bro. Soriano does not take people by surprise when he criticizes them. Criticism is part of the package of his jeremiad role.

Apalit

Flash back to Apalit, Pampanga in April 2009 where the Central Office is, it is again International Thanksgiving time and the screen as usual is there. It is primarily used to flash the biblical verses being studied.

On the screen, Bro. Eli is shown successfully holding worldwide bible expositions in the West. The converts are expressing gratitude for having heard truth that were never preached to them before by other pastors. And yet it took a simple man from a poor country to bring them good news. The scene is repeated in other continents but in different versions of propagation.

Meanwhile, his enemies keep bugging the public to produce Eliseo Soriano, his location, his address – either that of the telephone, fax, or email. They warn the writers of the Church congregation to “cooperate” with authorities and provide his whereabouts. But apparently with scales in their eyes, they could not trace the man.

While they do this, the preacher is hitting it big in the news. Early this year, his Truth blog gets the Most Popular Website award, and his organization and all affiliates all get web awards as in the last 5 to 6 years.

Since 2005 when he left the country to continue preaching in other lands, it slowly dawned on him that his commission was not just focused on Filipinos. The battle cry, “Wherever the Filipinos are” no longer applied. As he goes out farther and farther from his country, he is reaping converts from the six continents of Africa, Asia, North and South America, Europe and Australia.

The screen flushes and one sees those of the white race interested in what this Filipino preacher is saying; they hug the man as a long lost brother. Another screen flashes and you see those from the black race looking intently at him; they listen to his messages as though very thirsty of truth. Finally, they sing praises to God – in Tagalog, the preacher’s language. (As explained by Bro. Daniel Razon, one of those instrumental in these overseas missions, the Papuans were easily taught in Tagalog rather than in English. Accordingly, the same model would be applied to other races that are receptive more to Tagalog than English).

Reasons to thank for

There is nothing pleasant in people scrutinizing your private person and looking for faults while you are busy with work. There is nothing enjoyable in people misinterpreting your role in the work of salvation and with it the accusations that point to personal motives. These are the times that greatly trouble a person.

While people can drive you away to leave your place of abode, at the same time, they want you back – but in box. And while they cannot find you, they incessantly try to track you down in the most humiliating way. It is the very threats on Bro. Eli’s life, however, that necessarily made him move on to the West. Ironically, this has translated into so many coming to know the truth. The persecution of Bro. Eli clearly is something to thank God for.

It’s not like giving the other cheek when one is slapped; it’s just being thankful that instead of being the oppressor, one is the oppressed; instead of being the persecutor, one is persecuted.

The church congregation knows that the role of a prophet of God had already been planned out even before he was born. That includes the sufferings he has to undergo. If his enemies dislike what he is saying, so be it; nevertheless he backs up everything he says with biblical proofs, and that should be enough. However, as stated in the bible, there are those who cannot sleep unless they do evil.

His being in the wanted list of Interpol is still something to value. While the preacher obviously cannot get justice in his own country, there is yet a chance that that world body may be fair for all. Moreover, the attention of both friend and foe has been caught. The curiosity of the world on this man is all the more sharpened. They get to compare what two sides are saying and weigh them. Doing that, they may come to know about God in the process. Moreover, no matter how powerful an enemy is, nothing happens without God’s permission.

For the good of them that love God

Thorns that come people’s way may still be roses. These may only be opportunities for one to be more resourceful for a new recourse of action, be more patient with the situation, grow in faith, and understand what there is to understand. Bro. Soriano’s persecution led him into exile but the fruit turned out into something good for the Church.

The butterfly, for example, has to undergo some struggles before it comes out beautiful. If one tried to help it come out of its cocoon by tearing the silken sack that enveloped it, one will have forced his way upon its natural process of growth. Nature has ordained that it kick and kick itself out, in a very hard way. As it does, some oil comes out of its body that is needed for its development.

The same is true of Christians as they do their task. Problems may come along the way that appears as mere problems. As promised in the bible, however, everything that happens is all for the good of them that are called according to his purpose. In Romans 8:28 –

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (King James Bible)

No bitterness

Right from the very start, Bro. Soriano has taught his people not to attempt to make revenge to the enemies of the Church. When brothers were bludgeoned badly in a local restaurant in the town of Apalit by members of the Iglesia ni Cristo in 2005, he made this call. As April ended in 2008, when UNTV host Marcos Mataro was killed in broad daylight in which death implicated a deacon of the Iglesia ni Cristo, he again repeated the call. He warned his members not to be rendering thanksgiving to God with bitterness in the heart.

Whereof you can’t revenge, therefore what will you do? Just what is the logic of all these?

Leave it to God; let it be, Bro. Soriano says. In Romans 12:19 –

Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. (KJV)

Interpol’s “Wanted” is People’s Choice Awardee for his Truth Blog

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.

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:
http://www.journal.com.ph/index.php?issue=2008-08-17&sec=1&aid=70285

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.