Posted videos on Youtube recently (August 2014) showed Filipino Muslim leaders testifying to defend Bro. Eli Soriano from detractors and enemies who are posting photoshopped images of the televangelist host of Ang Dating Daan to insinuate that he attacks Muslims.
Muslim leaders, including former spokesperson of the Moro National Liberation Front (MILF), expressed disbelief that Bro. Eli maligned Muslims. They believe that Bro. Eli is a friend of Muslims, even donating parcels of land to Muslim communities in Apalit, Pampanga province.
Muslim Leaders Defend Bro. Eli
1) MILF Vice-Chairman for Political Affairs Ghazali Jaafar
In the video above, MILF’s Jaafar defends Bro. Eli against his detractors, pitting the MCGI Leader to a fight against Muslims.
Jaafar then said that Muslims believe in the value of peace and non-violence. He then said as Muslims, they are lovers of peace, with wide perspective and they stand for what is just and right. Jaafar also stressed that they respect the beliefs of other religious groups.
The Moro leader said that Muslims won’t let themselves to be used by other parties to hurt their fellowmen. As Muslims, he said, they don’t see any reason to render violence against other religious groups, including that of Bro. Eli Soriano’s. Jaafar believes that the Ang Dating Daan group has done nothing evil against Muslims. Instead, he said, Muslims are one with Bro. Eli for his good advocacies in maintaining goodwill, peace and justice.
2) Datu Amerol-Gulam Ambiong
Datu Ambiong said that he sees the Ang Dating Daan group of Bro. Eli Soriano will not slander or malign other religious groups because it is not the kind of attack that they wage.
As someone who is aware of the good relationship between the Muslim group and Ang Dating Daan, Ambiong dismissed issues that there is a gap between Muslims and ADD. There is none he said. Then he called on people and those in the know to know that Muslims and the Ang Dating Daan are friends.
3) Former MILF Spokesperson Atty. Eid Kabalu
The former MILF Spokesperson Eid Kabalu opened his testimony with a plea.
The lawyer who hails from Datu Piang, Maguindanao asked those who are behind the smear campaign that put Bro. Eli in a negative light to stop. Atty. Kabalu said that there is no reason for a war between Muslims and Ang Dating Daan.
According to Kabalu, peaceful due process should be promoted and not violence. Kabalu assures that Muslims would not be affected by such intrigues, as such will not bear positive outcome for both Muslim or a Christian and the whole Filipino race.
In this second clip, Kabalu gets the facts straight that if violence of any kind would erupt related to this issue, the Muslims would not be the source, especially the MILF. He added that it is against the teachings of their religion to participate in such fight.
He said he will pray for the forgiveness of those who are insinuating that it is the Muslims who are liable. He said it is a grave sin and not a teaching in their religion and the group of the MILF to commit violence against fellowmen.
Kabalu then corrected issues that there is a fight between the Muslims, MILF and the group of Bro. Eli. Kabalu said there is no truth in these issues, adding that until these days the MILF remains unshaken in its stance not to fight any group, including the group of Bro. Eli.
Moreover, there is no truth that there is a rift between the two groups he said or with any group. To prove his point, Kabalu said that they are even in talks with the government to find a peaceful solution to the peace problems of Mindanao.
Their stand , said Kabalu, is that MILF is not fighting anybody and its positive relationship with the group of Bro. Eli Soriano is solid.
Amidst this issue, Kabalu believes that Bro. Eli will remain a strong person because he is a man of principle and will do his best to advocate common good. As a person, he added, Bro. Eli is the kind of person who will not be easily affected by smear tactics by his detractors.
Kabalu assures Bro. Eli that Muslims will not be swayed by the negative issues being initiated by those opposed to him. He said that Muslims are strong and solid and do not believe such malicious intrigues.
In parting, Kabalu extends his support to anyone advocating in the side of truth. He said he will give his full support to anyone fighting for the sake of truth.
Using Muslims to Fight Their Own Wars
Of course attempts by Bro. Eli’s enemies to destroy his reputation is no secret. In multiple instances he got the chance of speaking about the issue, Bro. Eli would correct allegations that he is attacking Muslims. He would then say that while the Muslims use the Qur’an, he uses the Bible. Herence, there is nothing they can disagree about.
In the Philippine religious scene, one of Bro. Eli’s staunchest rivals is the Iglesia ni Cristo sect. And this group reportedly has for years tried couple times in using Muslims in the Philippines to fight Ang Dating Daan group and its leader for their sake.
Not once the INC did encourage that the Abu Sayyaf pursue Bro. Eli. Its ministers on their TV network even suggested to the Moro bandits the whereabouts of the MCGI Presiding Minister.
The INC is also responsible for the many court cases lodged against Bro. Eli, including libel charges that the preacher would eventually win. They use their influence in municipal and regional trial courts to make Bro. Eli pay for criticizing their beliefs such as officiating a Santa Sena (Holy Supper) in the morning and collecting of multiple donations from their poor members.
One video posted on Youtube showed how the INC malign Bro. Eli Soriano by adulterating broadcast materials such as videos.
Detractors Hurt by Truth and Bro. Eli’s Works
What is Bro. Eli’s crime according to his detractors? He relentlessly exposes the unbiblical beliefs and pronouncements of Church leaders, including the INC and its leaders. At least that is how it appears as enemies go ballistically alert to destroying the preacher’s reputation using whatever means possible, including Facebook and Youtube.
Unfortunately they could not do what Bro. Eli can do best: open himself up for questioning during his live question-and-answer format through Bible Expositions.
His candid style and manner of preaching has gained him followers locally and abroad. In the Philippines, his Ang Dating Daan show is an established force with transformative powers. He and his program are collecting leadership award here and there and annual Most Informative Religious Show awards from different award-giving groups.
Offshore, his Worldwide Bible Expositions have South American natives flocking to attend eagerly waiting for the Filipino preacher to answer their questions. Bro. Eli also has opened television programs in Spanish and Portuguese languages. More recently, is Spanish broadcast are being aired live on Youtube.
History of Persecution
And even before going mainstream on radio in 1980 and television three years after, many of his enemies have already tried to get Bro. Eli Soriano maimed or killed. Some of his enemies would influence media networks – where the Ang Dating Daan program was airing – pressuring management to remove the blocktimer program.
Preachers teaching of truth would inevitably draw people to pay attention, study carefully his teachings and join his group and become faithful believers. In the eyes of his detractors, however, it seems the Filipino preacher is a serious threat to their works.
Since Bro. Eli has started preaching in the Philippines, many people left their former religions after learning of the deception and confusion sowed by their pastors.
To settle their differences, the work must focus on the beliefs and teachings using the Bible. If the challenger believes his side of truth, participating in debates and argumentations is a healthy way of doing so and not resorting to violence or character assasination. But going down to the pit level by resorting to squid tactics and maligning someone must never be entertained by anyone.
Truth is Power
Truth in our times is a currency. Not everyone and not every preacher is given this truth. The truth, like a key, is a powerful weapon preachers can use to unlock mysteries and open more doors to more truths. And to win religious debates one must really be the bearer of such truth to dispel lies and expose the fakes. Others, who can only dream of getting even a fraction of this truth, can simply resort to the subpar level of battle: character assasination.