Thursday, September 6, 2012

Oops! ..I Did It Again - Sen. Tito Sotto Spears

Last 13 August 2012, the Phil. Senate Majority Floor Leader Vicente "Tito" Sotto III delivered a speech against the Reproductive Health Bill, blaming a brand of oral contraceptive (Diane) that eventually killed their 5-month old son in 1975. But according to the drug manufacturer Bayer, they introduced the Diane pill in the market on 1978, and only in 1985 was it released in Asia. So did Sen. Tito Sotto used his son's death for political mileage?

Two days later, his speech was criticized for plagiarism, for copying and pasting parts of his speech from 5 sources. The most notable plagiarized part came from Sarah Pope's "The Healthy Home Economist", which he denied at first, but his chief of staff Hector Villacorta later admitted on copying-pasting parts of the blogger's post. 

The blogger Sarah Pope may not have reacted violently to the issue, had the senator apologized and did not twisted the message of her blog to "suit his own purposes". Below are some parts of the issue, lifted from ABS-CBN news and blogger's site:

Atty. Hector Villacorta, in a message posted on the Facebook page of Sarah Pope, said it was the senator's staff who lifted the content of the blogger's work without attributing it to her.

"I understand you felt slighted that your blog was not attributed to you which became part of the speech of the senator. Let me say that after asking my staff, indeed, your blog was used but only in quoting also from the same book of Dr. Campbell-Mcbride," he said.

Villacorta confirmed to ABS-CBN News and ANC that he indeed sent the message to Pope.

"We are both indebted to the book's author but if you wish that you also be credited with the contents of the book, let this be your affirmation. I can do it and by this message, I am doing it. Hope it satisfies you. But if it does not, what would you want us to do?" he said.

"What have we done to deserve your incriminating words. The senator did not lift it himself, we did. Did you want us to tell him to admit what he did not do? Who would you like to crucify for this oversight?" he asked after Pope lashed out at Sotto and directly accused him of plagiarizing her work.

"Forgive us our single trespass. We had no malice, we thought you would be happy about it. There was no injury. Hope this makes you feel better," Villacorta said.

"That is the issue and it was indeed plagiarism. If his staff did it, he condoned it.  He is responsible for your actions.  My blog was quoted, not Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. I put her work in my own words and you copied my words."

"A woman needs to know that the Pill can indeed harm her but this is NO REASON to take away this choice from her in the first place."

"I do not agree with Senator Sotto's position on this issue and he twisted the message of my blog to suit his own purposes against the women of the Philippines."

"Your lame comment does not make me feel any better."

"A thief is a thief, Mr. Senator. Denying it won't get you off the hook.; it just makes you a lying thief..."

As a result of the senator's speech and his lame excuse to defend his actions, a journalist and a professor now dare him for a debate on RH bill.

Yesterday, the local news and Twitter was flooded again with criticisms to Sen. Tito Sotto, for another act of plagiarism, this time in English to Filipino translation style. His recent speech was obviously lifted from US Sen. Robert F. Kennedy's speech in the 1960s. Read the texts on below photo to judge for yourself.

I initially ignored the first plagiarism offense of Sen. Sotto, since it could be just an honest mistake on his part, for failure to check his speech's sources like what happened to MVP's commencement speech in Ateneo. Besides, he already received a lot of criticisms from the netizens and social media for that oversight.

But doing the same "mistake" twice, and not apologizing to the public and concerned sources, is plain stupidity or deliberate arrogance. How can this supposedly "esteemed" public figure disregard ethical standards in using someone's work without citation? Does he think that governance is just like a "Iskul Bukol" sitcom, where he can make "lusot" or get away with his "Escalera" methods learned from Wanbol University? 

He just strengthens the prejudice that actors are not fit to run or hold government positions. Sen. Lito Lapid is much more competent than him, when it comes to moral ascendancy. Sen. Lapid who was not educated in exclusive schools, honestly admits his shortcomings in English fluency, but he got the admiration of the public when he voted with his conscience on the impeachment trial of the former CJ Corona.

Yet Sen. Sotto who came from a wealthy family, assumed to have "good breeding", having served as Vice Mayor in QC, surprisingly committed plagiarism more than once. What makes it more disgusting is that he denies any wrongdoing, hiding on the premise that there is no local law against plagiarism. 

To twist his source's opinions and make a "telenovela" on his son's death from a non-existing Diane pill, makes me think that those are crocodile tears on the above photo when he delivered his first speech.

Update as of Nov. 2012:
Below is the letter of Robery Kennedy's daughter (Ms. Kerry Kennedy) to TitoSen, urging him to apologize for for his unethical acts. I lifted this from Raissa Robles' site.

The first photo was taken from Vera Files' blog article on Yahoo. All other photos were taken from Facebook posts and internet articles, that its hard to trace the original sources of the photos and screenshots.

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1 comment:

  1. It's been a big issue about the RH Bill and Plagiarism that Tito Sotto encountered in his life. There are many people who are against with what he is doing in public.