In Debate Featuring Bro. Eli, Triumph of Truth Electrifies the Internet

A few hours before last Monday midnight’s debate reeled, some people anticipating the mano a mano featuring the international evangelist Bro. Eli Soriano and his opponent Carlos Montemayor, a pastor of Iglesia Luz do Mundo, took to Twitter their sentiments about who will and should win.

#DebateBroEli Live Stream
The debate between Bro. Eli Soriano and Pastor Carlos Montemayor is streamed live via the official Youtube Channel of O Caminho Antigo. (Screengrabbed image by @abelrsuing

In the debate challenge to Bro. Eli, Pastor Montemayor has the task to: 1) prove that in this time there is an existing apostleship; 2) prove the use of the material veil in woman is a commandment of God in the New Testament; and 3) defend tithing is aso for our time. The debate was streamed live over the Portuguese counterpart of the Ang Dating Daan radio-television’s Youtube Channel — Youtube.com/OCaminhoAntigoHD — for those watching from the different corners of the world.

Offline or even from his hometown, the Philippines, locals already expected victory for Bro. Eli, whose many constituents believe remains to be the Philippines’ finest when it comes to debates. Netizens root for Bro. Eli to win, not simply because of ‘Pinoy pride’ or the glory brought by representing the Philippines in the international scene.

As soon as Bro. Eli’s and Montemayor’s camp get seated, the viewer counter of O Caminho Antigo Youtube channel busily rise up to reveal more than a thousand watchers, where majority of viewers came from the Philippines, followed by those from North and South America and Middle East.

While Portuguese was the main language used in the debate, such became less of a problem as soon as fellow netizens offered to help by pouring their translation of the discussion into the Youtube Channel’s chatboard.

Of Tweets, Emojis and Emoticons

Simultaneous with the raves and wild applause from the audiene in the venue, netizens expressed their amazement on social media. The Web then serves as an extension of the venue, giving a bigger spotlight to winnings yet magnifying the humiliation of the losing party.

Hence, everytime Bro Eli would stand to speak, cross examine Montemayor and defend his side, the crowd’s reaction reverberated not only within the confines of the venue’s four corners. The crowd emotion and raves extend far onto the boundary-defying world wide web.

As in every moment when Montemayor unreluctantly showed his rude behavior, took his unfair swipes against Bro. Eli and untoward attitude before the audience, netizens are quick to take note and poured in their sentiments into the Youtube chatboard.

Witty chat messages on Youtube, tweets and posts on Facebook streamed through the social media timelines and walls, often punctuated with emojis and emoticons and accentuated by screengrabbed images from the Youtube channel. What these whole thing showed was what netizens discovered as a unique mode of online expression.

On Twitter, the situation was 180-degree different. Sharp and sometimes humor-laced banters, candid observations and screenshots of captured moments were quite succint and easily digestible because Twitter limits posts to 140 characters per tweet.

In Celebrity-Worship Era, Twitterverse Has A New Tribe

In a celebrity-worship age that dominate Twitter, it has of late becoming rare to see real conversations and real humans using Twitter for more meaningful, significant and intellectual discussions among netizens. But participants of the #DebateBroEli social media conversation could hardly be discounted as mere bots because sentiments expressed through tweets were filled with careful reasonings, sound logic, that come with thoughtfulness and sincerity in the manner of communication.

Moreover, what #DebateBroEli showed however, was the vibrant and dynamic interaction that blossomed among netizens. As some shared their sometimes poignant, clean humor and overwhelmed expression about their experience in watching the debate, some even offered assistance in the form of translation.

Thus, the collective fervor of netizens that leaned in favor of Members Church of God International’s Bro. Eli winning the debate has electrified Twitter on early Morning morning. It was not a long shot, according to netizens who believe the televangelist’s mastery of the Bible has always been his huge edge over the Peruvian pastor.

Filipinos used to watching the radio-television host beat all his debate opponents from the Philippines and abroad knew already what the outcome will be. And the moment everyone’s waiting – after more than three hours of debate – Bro. Eli was declared the winner of the debate.

With ego bruised, Montemayor, walked out of the venue with his men even before the debate was over. Observers noted the pastor’s walking out was a tactic to leave the impression that he was not given due process, but the reality spoke of the contrary. During the debate, the Peruvian pastor was also said to be unruly and arrogant, setting a bad example as the supposed leader of their sect.

Yet Bro. Eli has shown the opposite of Montemayor’s uncalled for behavior. The Filipino evangelist was well-composed, coolly-relaxed, and humble as always.

To this win, Bro. Eli tweeted:

And as soon as Twitter noticed the euphoric tweets of netizens, it eventually opened its trends list gate and allowed the hashtag #DebateBroEli to debut at No. 2 in Philippines trends. For more than 10 hours trending, it rested for more than five hours in the No. 1 spot.

For the nth time, the debate triumph solidified Bro. Eli’s position as the most sensible televangelist and best Filipino debater in religion. Some netizens tweeted there is one lesson that those challenging the televangelist to a debate must learn right away: to ask around who Bro. Eliseo F. Soriano is, the one and only Truthcaster.

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Netizens Call Sofitel Manila on Boycott Statement as “Arrogant and Illogical”, Demand Public Apology

After more than 24 hours that the hashtags #NoToSofitel and #BoycottSofitelPH enjoyed Twitter primetime slots under Philippine Trends, Sofitel Manila finally issued a statement around 3PM (Philippine time) amidst public clamor for the posh hotel to explain itself for delisting local Philippine Public Service Channel UNTV in its hotel channel listing.

For two days, the No to Sofitel campaign raised awareness about the posh hotel’s discrimination of UNTV station and poor people in favor of foreign guests.

But netizens quickly pointed out the illogical and airy arrogance of the official statement that the Manila office of Sofitel Plaza Hotel posted on Twitter.

Update: UNTV seems bent on pursuing its campaign for the rest of the week as it issued, #NoToSofitelDay3 and #BoycottSofitelPHDay3 as of 10:30PM Tuesday (7/15/2014). At 11:42PM, the hashtag #NoToSofitelDay3 debuted at No. 5 of Philippine Trends.

Official Sofitel Manila Statement over Boycott Campaign

Greeting its Twitter followers with “Bonjour!”, the @SofitelManila account continued with: In line with the ongoing campaign to boycott Sofitel Manila, we would like to share with you all the official statement of the management.”

It continued:

“We do not discriminate against any local or international broadcasting television channel. While we supply several television channels for our guests, the channels we air in the hotel are system-limited, and regularly changed based on several factors, including guest feedback and demand.”

“We are happy to hear the public’s concerns, and will consider to re-instate the UNTV Channel if this is a request from our hotel guests.”

To summarize Sofitel’s Statement, it impliedly revealed that it did removed UNTV based on guest requests and feedbacks.

“Illogical Excuse”, Netizens Demand Apology

As soon as Sofitel posted their statement, netizens bombarded them with tweets and comments. Some chastised the posh hotel for posting comment that was demeaningly insulting of Filipinos.

Bro. Eli Soriano of Ang Dating Daan radio-television program posted a series of tweets on his Twitter account @BroEliSoriano, expressing his sentiments over the controversial delisting of UNTV by Sofitel.

The International Evangelist pointed out that it is only Sofitel’s illogical excuse to think of hotel guests to be demanding the delisting of UNTV.

In another @BroEliSoriano tweet, the preacher noted that Sofitel must be wrong in thinking that Filipinos are stupid, saying there are sensible Filipinos who think. Unless guests belong to a religion bearing “three colors”, no guests will demand to delete channels.

Online boycotters flooded Twitter streams, decrying the suspicious removal of UNTV in its channel listing:

Fan support for #NoToSofitel campaign
Fan signs from supporters of #NoToSofitel #BoycottSofitelPH cause.

Netizens believe an influential group, the staunchest detractor of Bro. Eli and Ang Dating Daan whose programs are widely carried by UNTV, was behind Sofitel’s move to delist UNTV.

The Iglesia ni Cristo group who will celebrate its 100 years has already trumpeted the arrival of its members from abroad and whom the online citizens gathered would be staying at Sofitel.

From Where #BoycottSofitelPH started

UNTV’s Daniel Razon tells audience of his morning show Good Morning Kuya why the station waged a campaign to boycott Sofitel Manila.

Early Monday morning (7/14/2014) during the morning magazine show Good Morning Kuya, UNTV-BMPI CEO and Chairman Daniel Razon called on his viewers to boycott the Manila branch of the French luxury hotel for removing UNTV in its lineup of channels it served hotel guests.

Immediately, hashtags boycotting the hotel started snowballing with users demanding Sofitel Manila to issue a statement.

Around 2PM (PHT), the #NoToSofitel jumped up the No. 1 spot of Philippines Trends of Twitter, accompanied by #BoycottSofitelPH.

Both hashtags sustained its power until the following day, July 15, as online citizens unceasingly tweet and retweet, asking and demanding Sofitel to explain its reasons and clarify reports about the alleged involvement of the Iglesia ni Cristo for singling out UNTV as the channel to remove.

#NoToSofitel and #BoycottSofitelPH made landmark trending list for two consecutive days.
#NoToSofitel and #BoycottSofitelPH made landmark impact for trending under Philippine topics for more than 24 hours, from July 14 to July 15.

UNTV Supporters from abroad  joined the call to boycott the controversial removal by Sofitel Manila of UNTV. UNTV has presence virtually all over the world, with programming that reaches the whole of Asia, Europe, Africa, South and Central Americas, North America and Canada, and Australia through satellite and live video streaming.

What Twitter Trending #ProudSkwater Means?

I don’t know what to make of the trending hashtag #Proudskwater when I first learned that this is hitting the ceiling of my Twitter box this morning.

For the uninformed, the hashtag is a combination of the English word, ‘proud’ and a Tagalized word, ‘squatter’ that became ‘skwater’. In other words, this hashtag means ‘proud to be a slum dweller.’

A Twitter search for the same revealed that tweeps were non-stop in comparing or contrasting what it means to be rich or poor as a kid.

Here’s a roundup of examples:

To find out what all these brouhaha means, I head over to Google; but what I found out confounded and confused me even more.

There are those who tweeted that this hashtag came from the One Direction fan base from the Philippines. Until that, there’s not a lot who volunteered a hefty explanation whatsoever why #ProudSkwater suddenly catched the attention of the Twitterverse from the Philippines.

For one, it revealed a lot of things about social media behavior of users, and of Filipinos in particular.

First, it tells us that even news without value or truths attached can spread just as quickly like a wildfire when it is posted online (And please don’t try Twitter when you experiment on your hoax).

Second, when there’s already thousands upon thousands of tweets about a mundane topic or subject, akin to creating a trending topic like #Proudskwater, unexpected turn of events tend to occur. And since just about anybody can join such Twitter party, discipline or direction cannot be expected.

To be specific, Filipinos can easily relate to the hashtag #ProudSkwater, than say, any other races who are now joining the bandwagon.

There are some who appreciated the Filipinos’ sense of humor and jovial spirit. Others decried and ranted of stereotyping, discrimination and hate about what it means growing up rich or poor. Raw and undisciplined conversations develop unruly debates, chaos and disorder. Worst, some feelings were hurt and offended in the process.

But whatever this means for everyone right now, the lessons learned are obvious: technology can be a powerful communication channel that can be converted based on the intention of purpose of a person using it.

Twitter, like other social networking platforms, can be helpful when sharing good news and positive advocacies because messages can be delivered real-time. But social media can also turn bad when used to spread or sow the seeds of evil. The Bible has already warned that “evil communications corrupt” and this is very true in social networking.

When tweeting, use it wisely with your heart.

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