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DOJ charges evangelist Ely Soriano with rape

May 3, 2006 6:03pm
The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Wednesday filed two counts of rape against Ang Dating Daan (ADD) leader Eliseo “Ely" Soriano before the Pampanga regional trial court (RTC) for allegedly sodomizing a male ex-member of the Christian evangelical group.

The charges against Soriano stemmed from the complaint filed by Daniel Veridiano, former assistant general secretary of the ADD Church.

In his counter-affidavit, Soriano described Veridiano’s accusations as “fabricated, baseless and malicious."

Soriano said that contrary to Veridiano’s claims, the latter did not become an assistant secretary general of the ADD.

Pampanga acting Provincial Prosecutor Jaime Umpa recommended a total of P400,000 (or P200,000 for each count) bail for the temporary liberty of Soriano.

Veridiano said that as ADD’s assistant general secretary, he was entrusted with various tasks that included filing important ADD documents and Soriano’s personal facsimiles.

Veridiano claimed that Soriano asked him to join ADD in 1998 in Apalit, Pampanga where he stayed at the ADD convention center.

The complainant said that at about 1:30 p.m. on May 17, 2000, Soriano summoned him to his room where the alleged rape took place.

On June 8, 2001, Soriano again summoned Veridiano to his room where he was again ordered to do what he did on May 17, 2000.

Veridiano also accused Soriano of doing the same lascivious acts to the other workers of ADD.

Veridiano said he obeyed everything that Soriano ordered him to do because he believed that Soriano is God’s messenger and therefore all his orders must be obeyed.

He believed that the lascivious acts that Soriano asked him and the other ADD members to do were manifestations of their love for him.

Prosecutor Umpa said that Veridiano mustered the courage to expose the sexual abuses committed against him by the respondent because he is already free from his clout and is no longer under his influence.

RETALIATORY AND DEPERATE ACT

In his counter affidavit, Soriano claimed that he did not check on Veridiano’s dealings and transactions because he trusted him as a member of their organization.

Veridiano was then the head of the ADD’s Communication Information Technology department.

Soriano claimed Veridiano betrayed his trust when he found out that Veridiano committed widespread misappropriation of funds of the ADD.

Soriano also countered by accusing Veridiano of having committed multiple counts of rape against other members of the ADD.

He (Soriano) said that the filing of rape case against him by Veridiano was a retaliatory and desperate act because he was expelled from the ADD in August 2005.

Soriano said that on May 17, 2000, he was at the Biological Health Center in Malate, Manila undergoing chelation therapy from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

He said he also underwent similar procedure on June 2 and June 6, 2000 in the same clinic.

The alleged rape which took place at 3 p.m. on June 8, 2001, according to Soriano, was another blatant lie, adding that on that date and time, he and a
certain Rico Fernandez were at the Sushimoto Japanese restaurant near Mc Donald’s Quezon Avenue corner EDSA to meet with a certain Aida Briones in connection with the loan they were applying for.

To support of his allegations, Soriano attached the affidavits of Rico Fernandez and Aida Briones.

Soriano also submitted the affidavits of Alvin Aurellano and Leonilo Villanueva corroborating his June 8, 2000 counter claim.

Soriano accused a rival religious organization as being behind the latest “desperate attempt to harass, intimidate and blemish his reputation."

Charges of perjury under Art. 183 of the Revised Penal Code was also filed by Soriano against Veridiano.

Soriano claimed that Veridiano executed an “untruthful" affidavit with the cooperation of a rival sect.

PROBABLE CAUSE EXISTS

“After a careful evaluation of the evidence submitted by the two parties, the undersigned finds that probable cause exists to hold respondent for two counts of rape. The defense of respondent which consists of alibi and denial cannot overcome the positive assertions of the complainant" Umpa said.

Umpa cited that jurisprudence consistently holds that alibi is generally considered a weak defense because of the facility with which it can be fabricated.

Umpa said that all the elements of rape under the second paragraph of Art. 226-A of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act 8353 are present in the two incidents as alleged by the complainant.

“While it does not appear that respondent employed force, threat or intimidation, he exercised moral ascendancy over the complainant. Moral ascendancy or influence exercised by the accused over the victim substitutes for the element of physical force or intimidation in cases of rape, and it may be added, acts of lasciviousness. The crime is aggravated by the fact that the victim, herein complainant, is a religious engaged in legitimate religious vocation or calling and is personally known to be such by the offender, respondent herein, at the time of the commission of the crime" Umpa said.

“Wherefore, in view of the foregoing, let an information for rape (2 counts) under second paragraph of Art. 266-A of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by RA 8353, be filed in court against respondent Eliseo Soriano" Umpa said.-GMANews.TV
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