MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) - The Court of Appeals (CA) has junked televangelist Eliseo Fernando "Bro. Eli" Soriano's bid for the dismissal of rape charges against him pending before a Pampanga trial court.
In a 3-page resolution penned by Associate Justice Angelita Gacutan, the appellate court's former 12th Division junked Soriano's motion for reconsideration (MR) on its ruling dated May 31 that dismissed his petition against Macabebe Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Lucina Dayaon.
The appellate court pointed out that Soriano was unable to present new arguments in his MR to warrant a reversal of the earlier ruling.
“A perusal of the [MR] shows that it is a mere rehash of his previous arguments which we have sufficiently discussed and passed upon in our decision…,” the resolution read.
Soriano, head of the Ang Dating Daan and presiding minister of the Philippines-based Christian organization Members Church of God International, was indicted on rape charges in 2006 filed by Daniel Veridiano, a member of his staff.
Veridiano alleged that Soriano sexually assaulted him on 2 separate occasions in Apalit, Pampanga.
Judge Dayaon issued a warrant for Soriano's arrest; Soriano subsequently posted bail.
Soriano elevated his case before the appellate court.
In its latest ruling, the appellate court also held that it could not pass upon Soriano's "new allegations" against Veridiano.
“He attacks complainant Veridiano’s character by claiming that [Veridiano] was involved in misappropriation of funds and molestation of minors... However, we cannot pass upon these belated accusations as this court is not a trier of facts. Such duty belongs to the trial courts where the said charges may be pending," the resolution read.
Associate Justices Magdangal De Leon and Francisco Acosta concurred in the ruling.
Sought for comment, Ang Dating Daan referred ABS-CBN to the UNTV legal department.
Atty. Alfredito Forteza, who said he represents Soriano, said the CA decision was based on a technicality and not on the merits of the case.
He said Soriano will appeal the CA ruling before the Supreme Court.