By Raïssa Robles
Yesterday, I wrote that Senator Vicente Sotto had copied from FIVE bloggers.
Last night, I was sent information that he copied as well from a briefing paper. The information came once more from Vincent D. Bautista. Thank you, Vincent.
UPDATE as of 8:23 AM, August 17, 2012:
In 2002, Senator Vicente Sotto vowed to push for tougher measures against film and music piracy. He even delivered a privilege speech condemning the matter. Is what he just did a form of piracy too?
Senator Sotto and his staff’s predilection for lifting verbatim without attribution has elicited much comment and reaction on the Web.
One commenter named Kiko wrote the following reaction:
Yikes, what an embarrassment for the Philippine Senate as an institution. How can you stand up in front of your peers and read off a paper whose sources you haven’t reviewed personally?
Kiko also sent what he called Sotto the plagiarist meme:
On the social networking site Facebook, someone passed on this poster to me –
This was before I learned that Sotto’s copy-and-paste approach to scholarship extended to briefing papers. Hindi lang pala bloggers.
This morning, someone posted this as well on Facebook:
Sotto copied from 5 bloggers plus a briefing paper
Sotto’s speech delivered August 16 Wednesday contained the following passage. Again, I have highlighted in red what was copied:
2.United Nations agencies are using UN resources to advocate their agenda on a local level in order to bypass cultural and religious resistance. Gamal Serour, president of the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), reported that UNFPA has a program in 25 countries to lobby religious leaders into dropping objections to the agenda. These programs are aimed at “re-educating” religious leaders and convincing them to accept their population control programs.
He had lifted this verbatim from a briefing paper entitled ” Six More Problems with Women Deliver: Why Attempts to Redefine Maternal Health as Reproductive Health Threaten the World’s Women”:
Problem #4: UN staff and NGOs target religious leaders and youth to undermine traditional culture and values.
UN agencies are using UN resources to advocate their agenda on a local level in order to bypass cultural and religious resistance. Gamal Serour, president of the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), reported that UNFPA has a program in 25 countries to lobby religious leaders into dropping objections to the agenda. These programs are aimed at “re-educating” religious leaders and convincing them that family planning does not go against their religious values, especially when taken from a medical point of view.
The paper can be downloaded here.
So far, one blogger named Sarah has reacted to Senator Sotto’s copying from her blog, thehealthyhomeeconomist.com in a post entitled On Plagiarism, the Pill and Presumptuousness. This time, Sarah has taken the trouble to protect her post. You can no longer simply copy and paste it. You have to screencap it like this:
Sarah called Sotto “esteemed”, but the picture that accompanied the post said what she really meant –
Senator’s chief-of-staff Hector Villacorta took the trouble to contact Sarah. Jojo Malig of ABS-CBNNews quoted Villacorta as telling Sarah –
“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?”
All I can say is – WOW. Villacorta’s grudging tone says it all. It’s as if he’s saying it’s Sarah who should be grateful for the honor of having been quoted by a senator because she is a mere blogger.
To hear what Sen. Sotto himself said on the issue, click on this link –
Some commenters have asked me why I’m making such a big deal over this. Perhaps because as a writer I have tried to take the trouble to attribute sources and craft my words. When someone merely copies and pastes other people’s thoughts and passes them off as his, he is taking all the credit for doing all that hard work.