Ely Soriano charged with falsification of public document

Phillippine Daily Inquirer/August 29, 2008

Manilla, Philippines - The head of Ang Dating Daan evangelist group Eliseo "Ely" Soriano and two others were charged with falsification of public document at the Manila City Prosecutor's Office for allegedly faking the certificate of detention in order to post bail for his rape charges.

The Church of God International supreme head, who was indicted for the rape of his male follower at the regional trial court of Macabebe, Pampanga, was sued for violation of Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code, along with a Pandacan police officer and a bondswoman.

Investigation showed that Soriano never surrendered nor was he arrested or detained at the Pandacan station on June 21, but a certificate of detention was still issued on his behalf by Pandacan Police Officer 3 June Gumaru, said Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-Manila chief Superintendent Joaquin Alva.

Alva said Gumaru and bondswoman Belen Talentado conspired to falsify the certificate of detention-a document required in Soriano's posting of P240,000 bail.

Gumaru, who told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a previous interview that Soriano had "surrendered" to him to avoid being apprehended, later admitted in a sworn affidavit that he had never seen the church group leader.

In the same statement, the policeman also confessed that he went to the sala of Judge Silvino Pampilo Jr. of RTC Branch 26 to get the release order for Soriano.

"Gumaru even received the release order of Soriano to make it appear that Soriano was indeed in his custody ... Clearly, Soriano was not arrested nor placed in the custody of Gumaru and thus not entitled to post bail," said Alva in his report, stressing that an accused cannot post bail without surrendering or being arrested by law enforcers.

He added that Gumaru was no longer authorized to sign a certificate of detention since he was no longer the jailer and was already assigned to a different Pandacan station.

Administrative charges have already been filed against the policeman in connection with the case, Alva said.

Talentado, meanwhile, claimed in a sworn statement that she was approached by a supposed secretary of Ang Dating who asked for assistance in the filing of cash bond for Soriano. She said she brought the documents to the Manila RTC and facilitated the posting of Soriano's bail with the secretary's help.

Though the church group head did not appear to be directly involved, Alva said Soriano was included in the complaint because he was the "beneficiary" of such a procedure.

"There should have been no problem because the case is bailable, but Soriano probably did not want to go through the process," he said.

Alva said they will study the possibility of asking the court to cancel Soriano's bail since it was not done correctly.

Court records showed that on May 17, 2000, Soriano allegedly "took advantage of his moral ascendancy and/or influence" to direct his former assistant secretary general to come into his room, massage him and have anal intercourse.

It added that the sexual acts were done "against the will and consent, and to the damage and prejudice" of the complainant.

In November 2006, a warrant for Soriano's arrest was issued by Judge Lucina Dayaon of the Macabebe RTC Branch 54.

Soriano's whereabouts are still unknown, said Alva.

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.