Now, here I am. You are saying that this one here is of the demon, come now and fetch me from here! If you are really shepherds – Shepherds of God. I give you up to the end of the month. If you do not fight….
By Cesar Adamos, Xman
I went home from work and it was already 11 0’clock. When I opened the TV, there was not much signal. And what I saw in RJTV29 baffled me. What they were showing was Bro. Eli. They were calling him tarantado (foolish), walang hiya (shameless), and then the gun shots. The TV was sounding with gun shots. I don’t know who that was, but they were firing at the face of Bro. Eli.
“Who was that?” I asked
“That’s Soriano. He really is like that. He cusses.”
“Is that so? If he is foolish, then he is foolish.” I went back to sleep. The following night, when I went home and opened the TV, it was Bro. Eli I saw.
“Isn’t this the guy I saw yesterday night cussing? Why is he now reading the Bible? He sounds like he knows what he is saying. There is not even five minutes and he calls for another verse. I will have to check on this.” My mind was quite disturbed.
The following night, I tried to open the TV again but I found no channel reception. RJTV29 did not anymore appear. At that time, both the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) program and Bro. Eli’s Ang Dating Daan were being aired there.
I imagined that a bamboo would provide me for antennae and so I climbed for the thinnest part. But nothing came out, no matter what I did. Come on, please appear just even once! After many tries, nothing came out. I was wondering why. The bamboo antennae did not work, so I went home to Peṅafrancia. Of course, I knew the channel there. When I opened it, there he was!
At that time, I was already wavering in my faith with the Iglesia ni Cristo – but I had not surfaced yet. I asked my mistress if she knew where Strata Building was, because I wanted to check about this Eli Soriano. We went there December 18, 2000. Once inside, I told her to stay at a distance as we might be seen by people. If you check the attendance sheet, you can see my name there – together with that of my mistress. She, too, was an engineer and she knew the places we went to.
The first time I went to Bro. Eli’s Bible Exposition, I was able to get a Bible – autographed by Bro. Eli, but I was not able to ask questions. Only 15 were called and then it was closing time. He said to watch for DZRH but upon going home, I found there was nothing there. My mistress said, “That’s all planted – everything about Soriano is scripted. It is like this, blah, blah, blah.”
“Let’s see. They do those things to me, and we will see.” That was January 30, 2001; I remember that. It was the birthday of my real wife. I went home to her. I asked her to go with me to a Bible Exposition but she refused. She became a Born-Again and so she despised Bro. Eli as cussing. I went alone.
This time I was Number 8 in the line-up of those to ask questions. I was not again called. I was thinking that my wife was telling the truth – that there’s no discipline with them. I tried again the telephone; I could not contact them. There were three numbers. I determined to find out if this group was true or not. I focused on only one number. As soon as a question was answered, I dialed. If I cannot enter, then this is really foolishness, I swore to myself. But there, I was able to contact them.
I asked Bro. Eli about holy kiss because I had researched on that. Every Bible verse on holy kiss, I looked for it. I was able to contact, I think, three times. I remembered that one of the prominent questions I had asked was about the holy kiss, because Bro. Eli was not answering that. If possible, I will answer that; can I? Bro. Eli said, go ahead answer it off the air; I will answer you on the air. Then he said, Bro. Cesar, it is not like that. Not entirely like that.
Then I called Maximo Bularan of the Iglesia ni Cristo as I was able to get his number. I called on a Saturday. I told him I am researching. I did this a lot of times, giving a new name each time. “Why don’t you have a program? This guy has a program. Put up a program and answer Soriano! You are at a loss. Look at that! He is attacking you but you have no means of answering him!”
The program of Bularan was merely giving texto. They had no Ang Tamang Daan yet. So it was like that. Every Saturday, January. February. March, April, I did that. I was challenging them.
Meanwhile, there was a Bible Exposition of Bro. Eli in Rodriguez but I found out Bro. Eli was not there – only Bro. Jocel Mallari. Next, I went to SBN21 to ask for tapes on debates because the INC were saying Bro. Eli did not appear on a debate agreed upon. Bro. Mel Magdaraog said they were having a running debate with Ka Ramos for a year already. Who of them will I believe now? The Iglesia ni Cristo? Bro. Eli? There is no tape, no evidence. This cannot be!
I had to know which of them is true: my faith – the Iglesia ni Cristo – or that of Bro. Eli. The ministers said, “Our word against their word.”
“No! I have to know. That is why I was saying every Saturday, you should have a program”
Saturday came and I talked with one INC minister. I said, “So we will be having a program to answer Soriano!”
“The truth is, after his program, then us also,” he said.
“That’s good then,” I replied.
“Because many are calling,” he said.
He didn’t know I was that “many” calling. The truth is, I was the one who fired it all up. That Ang Taman Daan.
When Saturday came, I was calling again with different names. I was referred again. The system was to pass through the operator. I introduced myself to her. She spoke in English. When she learned I was an engineer, she had given me some respect.
The ministers said it cannot be. They wanted me to go to the chapel. But I said no. I will be by the TV. They gave me time, but I did not go. When Saturday came, I called again and they passed me over to a minister.
“So how is your program now? They say there’s a program now to answer Soriano.”
“What program is that?” the minister asked.
“There was someone I talked to last Saturday. He said, there will be a program, Ang Tamang Daan, that will answer Soriano.”
“No, there’s none such!” he said.
“Oh, you are that foolish! Are you all liars there? The one I talked to said there is. Now, you say, there is none? Do not be staying there if you do not know anything! Do not answer phones! You are shameless!” Then I banged the phone.
After a time, my wife came home from church and said there is now a program of the Iglesia ni Cristo. “Which? Ang Tamang Daan?”
There was a circular released. I did not know that because I did not go to church. Ang Tamang Daan – the program that would answer Soriano - will open.
“How did you know?” She asked me.
“Because last week yet, there was someone answering me.” I was happy. So now, this is for real. I was looking forward to that.
It was my biological birthday – in May. I was happy, but by then I was fully convinced about Bro. Eli. I already had three notebooks full of his discussions. That was everyday I was listening to him. My wife left me to myself in the room at night.
Then came June. Here, they will begin answering back. Came July; it was one month already. But why were they not exchanging discourse? They were not fighting! No attacks came from Bro. Eli! August, my back was already tired from viewing.
I needed to go there, I said. This is my ultimatum. I will call from Bro. Eli’s studio. I will reach out to the INC. Now, if they do not call me yet, this is really foolishness.
I went there, August 10, 2001- to SBN 21 at one o’clock high noon. The guard asked me who I was looking for. I told him I wanted to ask questions and to please give me the list.
“So, I am Number 1. I do not want any change there, okay? You are the witness. I will come back as I am going to see a movie. I am sure I will be Number 1.”
I went to Megamall to watch two shows. It was night time already when I came out. By the time I came back to SBN21, there were many people. The receptionist asked me where I was going.
“No, just show me the list.” I was exasperated already and my plan was that I was going to snatch the microphone if not given my chance. If this is not true, I am going to cause trouble. Why would you fool people? This was my third time already to come and in the earlier two times, I was not called.
I had placed on the list that I am ex-INC because by then I did not like my faith anymore. I noticed that the people there were not quite receptive to me. I was at the center when Bro. Eli entered. The Questioning Portion came and Bro. Eli said, “I was told that the Number 1 had registered as early as 1 0’clock.” That was me! I was happy.
But really, I was ready for trouble. This is a live program. I had intended to snatch the microphone and say, this is not true; you are just fooling people. But now, there was nothing seen from me that was untoward. The one I challenged was the Iglesia ni Cristo. I addressed them.
What was taught by the Old Man was never to run away from debates. (We called Felix Manalo as Old Man – an endearing term). That was what was planted in my mind. I remembered this – never to run away from debates. It is said that the one chosen by God is innocent. Not foolish. The innocent, the simple, is chosen to confound the wise.
Felix Manalo only reached Grade 2. I believed in him. I became strong without teachings. No one could win over him in debates. Now, here, you ministers have gone to school; this Soriano had no schooling like you had. His schooling is nothing compared to yours. So now, why don’t you like to fight in debates?
It might be that this is the one true. This is the one mentioned in the Bible… it is the one I believe in. Now, if you are really Shepherds of God, of the lambs – it is also being taught there – that if one sheep is lost, leave the 99. Now, here I am. You are saying that this one here is of the demon. Come now and fetch me from here! If you are really shepherds – Shepherds of God. I give you up to the end of the month. If you do not fight….
“Are you going to get baptized now?” asked Bro. Eli. His voice came through the microphone.
I did not know that the impact of what I did was so strong. Many people were calling me. My friends, my relatives who were Catholics and of the Born-Again were asking, “Dude, you were on TV, right?”
“Where?” I asked.
I did not know that, that episode was being replayed noontime and in the afternoon. I was surprised why even in Makati, people were simply asking me directions, and then asked if I belonged to the group of Bro. Eli.
“Why?” I asked.
So I learned that, that episode was being played every day. The INC were afraid to confront me – only Sis Judy. But she and I were fighting.
I returned end of the month to SBN21- because that was my deadline for the INC ministers. I arrived 4 o’clock in the afternoon. I might not be called as I was considering Bro. Eli is so patient in answering – question for question.
So the end of the month came. I had a sense of what would happen to me. I asked Bro. Eli before I left, “Bro. Eli, in my situation that I am not yet affiliated – I am still researching – if I come out from this studio and I will be shot or I will be killed, I will be run over or someone runs over me, do I have hope in being saved?”
“You know, Brother Cesar, it is God who knows the intentions of the heart. He is the one to judge you. But if your intention is clean and good, you have hope.”
That was the answer I was waiting for. I was in high school yet and I had that question in my mind – if I would be saved. Will Jose Rizal be saved? With us in the Iglesia ni Cristo, all Catholic priests are of the devil. Rizal was a heretic and a Filibuster; will he be saved? Because, you see, if you fight the Catholic priests and they are of the devil, God is pleased. It could not be that there are other demons. There is only one – and all of them are of the devil.
The minister of the INC answered me, “If Rizal were alive now, he would be an Iglesia ni Cristo.” That’s all. I did not ask anymore after that.
But Bro. Eli was able to answer my question. That is justice. In truth, the more I got courage from what I heard from him. I got double courage.
The moment I got out of the studio, there it is! A car without a plate number! It followed me up to the Marcos Highway. He was alone. I noticed that when I went out; he followed me. When I slowed down, he overtook me, and then slowed down. So, that’s how I knew he was after me.
When we approached Marcos Highway, there appeared two vehicles: one FX and an AUV as its support. When I turned, the car turned left – as if turning by Dela Paz. The AUV positioned left while the FX positioned itself on the right. They are now three and I was alone. When I advanced, the AUV bumped my car. I did not come out because I know what they will do to me. They will snatch me, for sure, and let me talk. I know their style.
I looked long at the plate number and then the face, then I scooted off. I did not care to go down even with my car bumped. My brake was set on Number 1 though I was looking at the guy. I was trying to sense if anyone of the two got out of their vehicles. I knew that one had stopped, and if that happened, he would take advantage.
In my mind, I was ready with whatever they did to me. I scooted off and then I stopped at Sta. Lucia at the right, then by the Supermarket for 30 minutes. I let them go ahead. After that was Sumulong Highway where the 3 separated: one was at the left; another was at the right; and the other one was direct. But one was burned. Only the FX and the other one were my remaining foes.
When I tried to advance, I was asking myself where to go. I went direct since by the left, there was a pit where they threw the dead. My house was also towards that way. If one passed by the gasoline station, at the left is my house. That is where I would go. When I arrived by the gasoline station, I saw the car – hiding inside Shell. I did not turn left but went direct by the Cemetery at Heaven’s Gate. I hid my car there. Since it was colored red, it was not very visible at night.
I was thinking that one of the two would arrive. But it was my car that had the advantage. It was at the center. It did not take long that the FX came along and it was beeping loud. When it came rolling down, I went out and then direct to Shell. I saw the first car still there. Coming from Shell, there was a church there that had no door, I turned left and hid my car. I came out and stood by a post. I had in my mind that the FX would return. It did and it was beeping loud! So there, you have to turn three times! You will have trouble turning there!
When I looked at my time, it was 1 o’clock past midnight! I left Ortigas at 11 0’clock. That means I was there for 2 hours! I got incensed. These fools are really too much. I went out. I was thinking: I have my car; you are a fool; let us fight if fight it is!
By the time I went out, the car already left but was at the other side of the highway. It was inside the gasoline station earlier. Now, it is waiting. I went to face it. Then with my cellphone, I was pointing to him, cursing him. He could see me but I could not see him because his windows were tinted. I could not even see a shadow!
I pretended to be talking to someone. Later on, I set my engine to sound – Iiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnngggggg, Iiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnngggggg. Then on our street, when he advanced, I lunged forward so he could not move right away. My plan was that if he followed, I would abruptly brake. My mind was set on that. I would go ahead of them. I would not allow them to take advantage of me.
They did not know I have had experience on these things. So now is the time. There was a Trailer parked there. I turned and went behind the Trailer; they did not see me. Then now came the iiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnngggggg and it was very fast. Adios! Adios! I went home and it was 1:30 already!
Imagine, that was August 10, 2001. I was only challenging the INC to prove that if they are the true church, they should answer Soriano’s allegations of their doctrinal flaws, but there was none. I asked them to fetch me if I was a lost sheep in the fold of the Church of God, but there was none. I was simply hunted like a criminal.
I got baptized on September 14, 2001 with the Church of God – after knowing the truth. With those who were involved in mauling the MCGI brothers near a restaurant in 2003, one of the cars following me before was there. But that’s a different story.