Manila (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - Philippine senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, a long-time academic in the field of law, doesn't buy Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III's defense that speaking in Filipino gets him off the hook from charges he plagiarized English passages from a speech by the late US Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.
"I don't accept that because as I've said in the academe, whether you translate or not, whether you interpret or not, it makes no difference. You have to attribute," Santiago said in a news conference following a speaking engagement on Saturday.
"In this event, the Sotto event, he can be allowed a certain freedom, although I wish that he would adopt the general attitude that it's always best to attribute whether it's specific or general," she said.
Sotto once again received criticism last week for plagiarism after his turno en contra against the reproductive health (RH) bill contained a Filipino translation of passages from a speech the late Kennedy delivered in 1966. The alleged plagiarism was posted on Twitter shortly after Sotto's speech.
On the RH bill-the subject of Sotto's supposedly plagiarized speeches, Santiago challenged her colleagues to just put the measure to a vote.
"Stop all dilatory tactics. Stop the filibuster," Santiago said.
"Let us come to a vote. I challenge my colleagues in the Senate and even in the House: Let us come to a formal vote on the RH bill itself," said Santiago, one of the authors of the RH bill.
Santiago said the lawmakers had been debating the issue for too long, even in previous Congresses.
Santiago said that if the pro-RH lawmakers like herself lose the vote, then they will just have to accept it based on the rules.
"The same goes for the anti-RH advocates if the bill manages to muster enough votes," she said.
"But you cannot tell the Filipino public that this is an infinite debate, that this should again be tackled in the next Congress," Santiago said.