Eliseo Soriano or simply Bro. Eli, Presiding Minister of the religious group Members Church of God International known in the vernacular through its international television program, “Ang Dating Daan” (The Old Path), was found guilty of libel by a Quezon City court and was ordered to pay a total amount of P112,000 for maligning the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) spiritual sect.
Judge Eleuterio Bathan of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 92 said in his 19-page decision that Brother Eli should pay a penalty of P6,000 each for two counts of libel and P100,000 for moral damages to INC for his libelous remarks and a*****s on INC on national TV ten years ago.
During his live television ministry “Ang Dating Daan” aired April 25, 2003 between 8 PM and 1 AM, Bro. Eli Soriano allegedly assailed the INC religious sect and said: Iglesiang Pumapatay ng kapwa tao, manloloko, terrorist, manunuklaw, tiktik, may armory, arsenal, gunmen and mamamatay-tao” (a church that k***s people, crook, terrorist, biter, spy, maintains an armory, arsenal, gunmen and killers).
A replay of Bro. Eli’s TV ministry was aired on April 27, 2003 on the same timeslot.
Judge Bathan said elements of libel were established after Bro. Eli verbally attacked the INC. The judge noted there were no doubt Eli Soriano’s broadcasts were publicly aired and imputed to INC that brought dishonor to Soriano’s rival religious sect.
The man responsible for airing Ang Dating Daan program, Emilio Magdaraog, asserted that Bro. Eli’s pronouncements against the INC were uttered as retaliation to INC’s earlier attack against Soriano.
The INC branded Bro. Eli as “mangongotong, manghuhuthot, mandarambong, hidhid, ganid, and mangungulimbat” (extortionist, parasite, plunderer, selfish, greedy and looter).
The INC’s verbal a*****s on their Presiding Minister which started on June 11, 2001 prompted Bro. Eli to retaliate, Magdaraog said.
However, Judge Bathan said Bro. Eli Soriano should have just filed a case against his detractors instead of retaliating through his televised ministry.