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Luchi Cruz Valdez Special Assignment Contact

Writing as John Joseph Villareal, First published on Newsvine in 2007

Manila, Philippines – “Media has been getting a lot of negative publicity lately,” says Luchi Cruz-Valdez, during the press conference for the launching of Bandila sometime last year. On June 23, 2006, as Ayn Veronica de Jesus of The Manila Times reported, Cruz-Valdez added that many viewers had begun to turn away from watching the news because most items focus on political bickering, economic slump and national degradation. “We were feeding on that depression. We felt the time was right to do something,” she said.

Luchi Cruz-Valdez has been around in journalism for a couple of decades. She was known to be a part of GMA’s Probe Team before, but she left in 2001 for ABS-CBN after being offered a higher position in the company’s current affairs.

There’s not much information in cyberspace about this journalist, Luchi Cruz-Valdez. Once you Google her name, almost all results that appear are links to her segment in the defunct Special Assignment when she interviewed the Ang Dating Daan (The Old Path) sect leader, Eliseo Soriano. This is the preacher Luchi Cruz-Valdez tried to destroy.

Special Assignment was a news feature show in ABS-CBN, hosted by Luchi Cruz-Valdez. It didn’t stay around long as the show suffered from poor rating. From the very title of the show, there’s an implication that featured news in there were assigned by some veiled taskmaster(s). The title is suggestive of a sinister ploy or order, the reason why it has to be called an assignment.

Cruz-Valdez is skilled in manipulating information to make herself appear favorable to those she is protecting or siding with. She has the skills in distorting data or doing some fractional approach. This means she simply picks up some parts of the whole thing and delivers it to the public viewers in a much skewed package.

The proof of these claims, she delivered personally when she was interviewed by an ABS-CBN correspondent Tessa Mauricio last September 20, 2007 posted in ABS-CBN Interactive. Cruz-Valdez personally claimed that they (ABS-CBN) were terribly affected when the rival station GMA came up with “Walang kinikilingan, walang pinuprotekatahan…” (Siding no one, protecting no one…) in their news flagship.

Obviously, she is aware that the company she’s working with has major business links with the Lopez’s clan like Meralco, Manila North Tollways Corporation, and other major companies. With the rival GMA’s news slogan, she said it is an attack to them as an implication that ABS-CBN news’ delivery is prone to biases for protecting the company’s interest.

Could this mean that ABS-CBN and Cruz-Valdez have stumbled upon a win/win strategy, by working together, as the lady journalist can do hack writing to protect the company’s affiliates?

She was working at the company for four years then before she hinted with admittance that they may be guilty of such, and that is why she had to call for staff and system overhaul. Obviously she was one of the main consenters, if not promoters, of disinformation in the company she is working with, for being the head of its current affairs team.

In the same interview with Mauricio, Luchi stated that “We wanted to be number 1… we want to keep the lead.” She had expressed that “we intend to grow the business outside the Philippines; we want to be a major regional source of news and information.”

Perhaps this could be one of the reasons that plummeted ABS-CBN’s true news credibility down to questionable proportions, when they compete at all costs for the sake of rank. There is suggestion that regardless of the nature of information they have gathered, when they do deliver, they make it intriguing enough for the viewers, resorting even to lies. The more they do this, the more viewers they attract, and the more they secure profits for the company.

In considering fair journalism, truth shall always be the commodity, not sensationalizing a certain issue. However, there’s a risk in the rating for being too honest to the public viewer – that there is nothing sensational in the news they are about to watch. Intrigue is juicier than the honest taste of truth. That appears so in the philosophy of Cruz-Valdez.

Intrigue is an all time enticer of interest to the public viewer, especially in this depressing period of the country’s economy. If intrigue will arouse the interest of the viewers; ratings will surely soar, regardless of whether the material to view in public is factual or simply fabricated lies to mar a certain personality.

Now, declaring that media has been getting a lot of negative publicity lately, could the answer be in some media personality like Luchi Cruz-Valdez herself who is working not because of truth but because of the interest of the company’s ranking status?

Luchi Cruz-Valdez is a 20-year journalist who happens to believe in pornographic comics about the Ang Dating Daan sect leader, Eliseo Soriano. This comics was being discreetly scattered in public by Soriano’s spineless enemies especially the Iglesia ni Cristo, the church group that this preacher had exposed for many false beliefs including their belief of discrediting Jesus Christ as God but only a human. The obscene reading materials were obviously a ploy to destroy Soriano, popularly known as Bro. Eli.

These pornographic comics that contained lies of the supposed private life of Soriano, has no reported publishing house responsible for the printing or even just an author’s name in it. Using her defunct news program Special Assignment, Luchi Cruz-Valdez promoted the pornographic materials in the public viewer, rather than Soriano as he is.

“We intend to grow the business…” Luchi stated. Obviously, it’s all about business. Put a known public figure before the viewer, spice it up with the sensationalized issue that’s not even factual, make him felonious or controversial, and you will surely get a high-soaring rating. “The ratings are major, major factor,” Luchi added. Of course, the rating is a major factor for the show to run successfully. This is how this industry works.

Soriano is one of the known public figures who are very interesting to discuss as this can generate income for media industry. His popularity had reached international proportions. Naturally, fame-hungry mediocre personalities may ride along such popularity.

When you google this journalist’s name, the results that arise are not to her honest efforts in media work. They are the ones she did with her diabolical segment for the Ang Dating Daan leader. This is where her manipulative journalism became so evident to the public viewers. Luchi Cruz-Valdez didn’t know she was dealing with a very large group of consumers capable of bringing her company down. Just with one announcement, ABS-CBN could go down the drain if the Ang Dating Daan leader says “cut.” However, righteous that the man is, Bro. Eli plays it fair and square. He didn’t influence the consumer decisions of his members.

This might also be the segment where Luchi gathered public knowledge about her threatening presence in journalism. Scathing Soriano in national TV might be her biggest break for a wider audience from the long period of hibernating in the industry without making it big.

ABS-CBN might look at her as a respected public figure for the few awards she had gathered. This may also be a reason why the company trusted her that much. If that is the case, the thing is that this TV journalist mistakenly pounded on a public figure whose awards of merit in public service and ennoblement certainly towers over many times her diminutive awards. And yet, all she did was work on fabricated comics’ lies.

If awards and recognition are to indicate credibility, Soriano is obviously much credible than she is. Soriano’s commodity is truth and his interest is salvation. The most recent award he just received was credited to his international religious program, Ang Dating Daan, from Gawad Amerika Awards. He has a long list of awards as listed in the encyclopedia since he started broadcasting more than two decades ago.

Next time Luchi Cruz-Valdez will approach anyone of you, will you let her do her “Special Assignment” about you?#

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

Since 1980, there have been conflicts between Philippine-based Christian religious organizations Iglesia ni Cristo ("Church of Christ", INC) and the Members Church of God International (MCGI), when MCGI Presiding Minister Eliseo Soriano started his radio program Ang Dating Daan (ADD). Through his program, he discussed biblical issues and "exposed" what he believes to be wrong doctrines of other religious groups, including those of INC. In 2001, after 21 years of reticence, the INC launched its own program, Ang Tamang Daan, as a direct response for the first time to Ang Dating Daan, featuring video footages and recordings of ADD hosts as issues were tackled. Over time, the animosity between the two groups has intensified and the relationship has been severely strained.

Background[edit]

Beginning with the broadcast of Ang Tamang Daan on June 11, 2001, INC (through SBN 21, and later Net 25, INC TV, and INC Cable TV) and MCGI (through SBN 21 and later UNTV Channel 37) aired their accusations and responses to each other's statements. Their television programs contributed largely to the aggravation of their relations.

On August 16, 2004, the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) preventively suspended the showing of the Ang Dating Daan program for 20 days due to slander and use of offensive and obscene language by its televangelist-host Eliseo Soriano, as a means of disciplinary action.[1]

On September 27, 2004, the MTRCB extended the suspension to three months. Soriano challenged the action in court, arguing that the suspension imposed by the MTRCB constituted prior restraint on the media and that his language during the show's August 10, 2004 broadcast was not obscene and offensive. The court dismissed his case in favor of MTRCB.[2]

In June 2005, Soriano filed a motion by recommendation of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), saying the MTRCB violated the "right to information, communication and religion" of every Filipino.[3] On April 29, 2009, The Supreme Court upheld the suspension imposed by the MTRCB, ruling that Soriano’s statements can be treated as obscene and cannot be considered as protected speech.[4]

Soriano filed a motion seeking the reversal of its April 2009 decision. The Supreme Court denied Soriano's motion and affirmed the decision with finality in 2010 by an 11-4 vote, noting that “it is a sanction that the MTRCB may validly impose under its charter without running afoul of the free speech clause." The high court reminded Soriano that his program, being aired on television, is accessible to children of all ages and therefore not appropriate for a program with a “G” or for general audience rating due to his use of vulgar language and invectives.[5][6] However, the Commission on Human Rights continued its administrative case against the Ombudsman, stating that the MTRCB had illegally extended the suspension and thus, created a "double suspension" effect.[7]

The case stemmed from a complaint filed by members of the Iglesia ni Cristo, including its minister Michael Sandoval, due to statements of Soriano aired on August 10 referring to the minister:

Lehitimong anak ng demonyo! Sinungaling! [Legitimate son of demon! Liar!]
Gago ka talaga, Michael! Masahol ka pa sa putang babae, o di ba? Yung putang babae, ang gumagana lang doon yung ibaba. Dito kay Michael, ang gumagana ang itaas, o di ba? O, masahol pa sa putang babae ‘yan. Sobra ang kasinungalingan ng mga demonyong ito. [You’re really stupid, Michael! You’re worse than a whore! ... These demons are lying too much.][8][9]

Debates[edit]

In attempts to end the conflict between the two groups, a number of debate arrangements had been in talks on different occasions. But while there were previous agreements made, no proper debate had actually materialized between the groups due to varying reasons.

In 2004, Manny Antonio, a worker (presbyter) of MCGI, and Abraham Cruz, an INC minister, had a signed agreement to meet for a debate conference on April 26 in the city hall of Capas, Tarlac. Present on the agreed setting was the mayor of Capas, Rey Catacutan, the representing ministers of INC, Abraham Cruz, Jose Ventilacion, Ramil Parba, Michael Sandoval, and the barangay captain of Pao, San Jose, Tarlac, who stood as the witness of the agreement signing. However, no representative from MCGI, including Antonio, turned up on the event and instead communicated through a phone call. The debate did not push through.[10]

On March 27, 2005, Soriano challenged Eraño G. Manalo, the Executive Minister of Iglesia ni Cristo, to a one-on-one debate on TV and internet. The Ang Tamang Daan hosts responded that Soriano should have a debate first with the "Pope in Rome using Latin," owing to a previous claim by Soriano that he would debate with the Pope, even in Latin.[11] Soriano views this response as an excuse, while the INC sees his challenge as a bluff. Jose Ventilacion, an INC minister and trained debater student to Manalo, subsequently called Soriano's challenge to a one-on-one debate. Soriano did not want to debate with Ventilacion.[12]

One of the hosts of Ang Tamang Daan, Ramil Parba, challenged Willy Santiago and Josel Mallari, both hosts of Ang Dating Daan, to a debate, in response to a challenge allegedly made by Santiago.[13]

Lawsuits[edit]

In August 2003, the Iglesia ni Cristo sued Soriano for libel after Soriano accused them of publishing explicit comic books depicting Soriano having homosexual sex.[14] In 2007, Soriano filed multiple petitions to stop the lawsuit to no avail.[15]

Soriano had since been indicted on rape charges at the regional trial court of Macabebe, Pampanga, following a complaint filed by former MCGI productions (ADDCIT) staff Daniel Veridiano that he was sexually assaulted in Apalit, Pampanga on two occasions, along with other members of MCGI. The initial provincial prosecutor of Pampanga dismissed the case due to lack of evidence, but Raul Gonzales who was then the secretary of the Philippines' Department of Justice, had the prosecutor removed from position and reinstated the case.[16][17] The new provincial prosecutor of Pampanga rejected Soriano's defense that the accusations against him were “fabricated, baseless and malicious.” He claims that the new prosecutor was backed by the Iglesia ni Cristo.[18]

Eliseo "Eli" 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. 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. Soriano 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.[19]

Conflict with Muslims[edit]

On April 3, 2005, Muslim leaders in Manila filed a 1-billion peso libel suit against Soriano for allegedly disparaging Islam and the Muslims in general, citing videos of him released to members of MCGI. The video was characterized as malicious, showing Soriano making irresponsible remarks and imputations of crimes against Muslims, exposing the Islamic religion "to public contempt and ridicule".[20][21] Soriano claims the conflict has been caused by the videos aired in Ang Tamang Daan, saying the videos were not his.

Incident in Apalit[edit]

2005 Apalit Brawl
Part of Conflicts between Iglesia ni Cristo and Members Church of God International
Date18 April 2005
LocationApalit, Pampanga, Philippines
Caused byBoth parties were trying to draft out terms/initiate a religious debate
GoalsProving which sect was "true"
Resulted inGroup of Church of God members badly injured
Parties to the civil conflict
Lead figures

an alleged relative of Marcos Mataro

Marcos Mataro

Number

unknown

approximately 20-30

Casualties
Death(s)0
Injuries20-40
A video purpotedly uploaded by an MCGI member claims that it was the INC members who started beating up the MCGI members.

On April 18, 2005, MCGI members headed by former INC member Marcos Mataro scuffled after a scheduled religious debate with members of INC in a Jollibee outlet in Apalit, Pampanga, Philippines. Apalit Mayor Tirso Lacanilao said "scores were injured", but that there were no serious injuries. The MCGI radio program Ang Dating Daan (ADD) and Iglesia Ni Cristo had been trading accusations in their respective television programs. This had even led to an exchange of lawsuits. It was reported that the clash began when an ADD follower identified only as "Mataro" provoked INC followers.[22]

Local police, on orders of the town mayor had gone to the restaurant and tried to stop the debate for lack of a mayor's permit. The police had been instructed to transfer the venue of the debate either at the ADD convention center or at the INC chapel in an effort to prevent any trouble. Mataro insisted on pushing through with the debate, however, assuring no trouble. Leaders of the MCGI group said they do not trust the local policemen. Mataro shouted, which reportedly provoked the INC members to a confrontation, and led to a free-for-all.[23][24]

On April 27, 2008, Mataro was shot dead by two unknown assailants in San Simon, Pampanga.[25] Murder charges were filed against Nickson Icao and Felizardo Lumagham, both of Macabebe, Pampanga and alleged members of INC, before the San Fernando prosecutor's office.[26] Mataro's killing could also be linked to his pending attempted homicide case before the Apalit Municipal Trial Court and Quezon City Regional Trial Court.[27]

Current relations[edit]

After the suspension of Ang Dating Daan and following multiple court cases, MCGI programs eased in criticizing the INC and slowly started focusing on general preaching. Soriano went into exile arising from charges of sexual assault[28] and now teaches abroad devoting his time to blogging, live podcasting, chatting with his webcast audience, and answering questions raised during his Bible expositions.[29] The Ang Tamang Daan in turn changed its format and has since introduced new hosts, currently focusing on Catholic tradition that are not based in the Bible.

Soriano and Leila de Lima[edit]

Main article: 2015 Iglesia ni Cristo protests

Further information: 2015 Iglesia ni Cristo leadership controversy

In August 2015, Soriano expressed his support for Former Justice Secretary and now Senator Leila De Lima on his Twitter account, during the protest held by the INC urging De Lima to resign due to alleged VIP treatment to former INC Minister Isaias Samson during the controversy in the church brought about by Eraño's widow Cristina and son Angel Manalo who were then expelled from the INC.[30] In October 2015, Daniel Razon did an interview with Atty. Trixie Cruz-Angeles about the case filed by Lowell Menorca II.[31]

References[edit]

  1. ^SC upholds suspension of ‘Ang Dating Daan’ Inquirer.net, March 16, 2010
  2. ^SC upholds “Ang Dating Daan” suspension Manila Bulletin, March 16, 2010
  3. ^CHR pasok kay Bro. Eli Pilipino Star Ngayon, May 27, 2005
  4. ^SC upholds suspension on ‘Ang Dating Daan’ Inquirer.net, April 30, 2009
  5. ^High court upholds MTRCB's suspension of 'Ang Dating Daan' GMA News, April 30, 2009
  6. ^SC upholds suspension of ‘Ang Dating Daan’ Inquirer.net, March 16, 2010
  7. ^CHR pasok kay Bro. Eli Pilipino Star Ngayon, May 27, 2005
  8. ^SC Upholds MTRCB Suspension of Ang Dating DaanArchived 2009-05-07 at the Wayback Machine. Supreme Court of the Philippines, April 30, 2009
  9. ^SC upholds suspension on ‘Ang Dating Daan’ Inquirer.net, April 30, 2009
  10. ^Eli Soriano: Debate sa Tarlac, di SINIPOT ng Ang Dating Daan Clips from ADD and ATD, YouTube
  11. ^Bro. Eli Soriano vs Eraño Manalo Clips from ADD and ATD, YouTube
  12. ^Eli Soriano: Ang pangba-BLUFF ni ELI SORIANO sa DEBATE Clips from ADD and ATD, YouTube
  13. ^Eli Soriano: Ang pangba-BLUFF ni ELI SORIANO sa DEBATE Clips from ADD and ATD, YouTube
  14. ^Scandal: Eli Soriano SCANDAL - Komiks Clips from Imbestigador (Mike Enriquez) and Special Assignment (Luchi Cruz Valdez), YouTube
  15. ^CA junks evangelist's plea to stop libel case The Manila Times, October 6, 2007 (archived from the original)
  16. ^Dating Daan’s Ely Soriano posts bail Inquirer.net, June 21, 2008
  17. ^Ely Soriano charged with falsification of public document Inquirer.net, August 29, 2008
  18. ^‘Dating Daan’ leader charged with sodomy Manila Standard Today, May 4, 2006 (archived from the original)
  19. ^[1] Philippine Daily Inquirer, August 29, 2008)
  20. ^P1bn libel charges against a religious leader Gulf Times, April 4, 2005 (archived from the original on 2005-04-06)
  21. ^ELISEO SORIANO ATTACK ON MUSLIMS Clips of Eliseo Soriano, Veoh (archived from the original on 2012-10-03)
  22. ^Religious confrontation gets physical in Apalit Manila Standard, April 23, 2005 (archived from the original on 2009-01-08)
  23. ^Followers of Dating Daan and INC clash in Pampanga; cops accused of partiality Manila Bulletin, April 22, 2005 (archived from the original)
  24. ^Sect hit for 'not cooperating' in probe of brawl Sun Star Pampanga, April 23, 2005
  25. ^P1M reward offered for information on TV host's killers GMA News, April 29, 2008
  26. ^Murder charges filed against suspects in ADD member's slayArchived 2008-12-02 at the Wayback Machine. Malaya, May 29, 2008
  27. ^NUJP condemns murder of TV host ABS-CBN News, April 28, 2008
  28. ^Concepcion, Pocholo; Maitem, Jeoffrey (May 19, 2010). "12,000 watch concert for Maguindanao dead". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved June 9, 2015. 
  29. ^12,000 watch concert for Maguindanao dead Inquirer.net, May 19, 2010
  30. ^https://twitter.com/BroEliSoriano/status/638556093388582912[dead link]
  31. ^Lowell Menorca II to file attempted murder raps against his captors

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