Rappler is drawing flak for tagging Christian preacher Brother Eli Soriano as a “controversial” figure who “fled the Philippines” while he was facing criminal charges in an article on his death.
Rappler’s obituary on the religious leader, which was posted on Friday (February 12), was titled, “Controversial Christian preacher Eli Soriano dies.”
The article claimed Soriano, the leader of the Christian group Members Church of God International, “faced backlash from other religious groups” for his style of preaching, which reached a wide audience through the program, “Ang Dating Daan.”
Rappler’s story also dedicated a subhead to Soriano’s departure from the Philippines in 2004. An excerpt read: “Soriano fled the Philippines in the mid-2000s at around the same time he was facing a string of controversies, including cases of rape and libel.”
The article’s characterization of Soriano as a “controversial” fugitive didn’t sit well with netizens.
“Rappler deserves a best in trashy news award. Why spread fake rumours about Bro Eli Soriano tapos hindi ilabas mga mabubuting nagawa ng iglesia maging sa mga taga labas. Sobrang misleading ng headline. Nakakagalit,” @mrtnzchrstne tweeted.
“Maliban sa maraming fake news ang rappler, lalong hindi maganda yung words na ginamit nila regarding Bro. Eli’s death. Naku, Kaawaan nawa. Sana mag-shutdown nalang lahat ng nagkakalat ng misleading news,” said @Yuiichiko.
“rappler’s content about Bro. Eli is worst! namamahinga na ‘yung tao! don’t use your ‘freedom of speech’ keme in a wrong way! WALA PO KAYONG ALAM,” tweeted @kinazerol.
“IMHO. May GALIT yung Rappler reporter Kay bro. Eli. I could be wrong though. You surely will earn the ire of the millions mourning with this choice of highlight… “fled the Phillipines as he faced a string of cases”. Yun talaga ang highlight ni reporter?” @LEVEL47 asked.
“basura talaga rappler. io-honor ba ng mga tao at palasyo si bro Eli kung fugitive siya? he left PH in 2005 after a series of attacks from his enemies, sinugod siya sa pampanga. yung rape accusation nangyari in 2006, nakaalis na siya pero na-dismiss na iyon for lack of evidence,” tweeted @jenndcg.