A strike for Sotto; Senator accused of plagiarism anew

·Kim Arveen Patria

Senator Vicente "Tito" Sotto III already dodged two claims that he lifted parts of his speeches from other work without attribution.

Yet after being "cyberbullied" and drawing flak for his "copied" speeches, here comes another plagiarism accusation.

A second U.S.-based blogger claimed that Sotto copied and "twisted" parts of her 2010 post in the same speech which allegedly contained parts lifted from blogger Sarah Pope.

"According to the Filipino reporters who alerted me to this, Sen. Vicente 'Tito' Sotto III lifted entire passages from a post I wrote for Feminists For Choice and twisted them into an anti-choice argument against an important reproductive rights bill in the country," Janice Formichella said in a post in Ms. Magazine's blog.

The piece she had written was about the Indian nationalist leader Mohandas Gandhi's "little known sexism," the blogger added.

Not only did Sotto use the same quote from Gandhi in her post, Formichella said, the senator lifted "entire segments... albeit put into an anti-choice context."

She added: "Given the content of my post and my very pro-contraception position, I could hardly understand how my words could be used to argue against reproductive rights."

"[T]hough he misconstrues my argument it's ironic that he chose this particular piece, as it aptly reflects his own hypocrisy as a political leader," Formichella said.

The blogger sought an apology from Sotto, not only to her but also Sarah Pope, from whose post the senator's staff admits to have copied.

She noted, however, the hubbub over Sotto's alleged plagiarism "might actually serve to increase the exposure of the Reproductive Health Bill."

What follows is a comparison of Sotto's speech and Formichella's blog post.



Sotto's speech:
"Kasi po, the two activists met in December of 1936--iyan po ang litrato nila--when Sanger traveled to India to speak with Gandhi about birth control, population and the plight of women in India."

Formichella's blog:

"The two activists met in 1936 when Sanger traveled to India to speak with Gandhi about birth control."

Sotto's speech:

"At that time, Sanger staunchly advocated the global use of artificial contraceptives and, in order to make the acceptance of such contraceptives easier to the Indian populace, sought to make Gandhi an ally."

Formichella's blog:
"By that time Sanger was advocating internationally for artificial contraceptives and sought to make Gandhi an ally."

Sotto's speech:
"Despite the fact that the movement was gaining popularity in a society with a serious poverty crisis--ganoon noong araw sa India--Gandhi was an outspoken critic of artificial birth control. His general attitude was that:

Persons who use contraceptives will never learn the value of self-restraint. They will not need it. Self-indulgence with contraceptives may prevent the coming of children but will sap the vitality of both men and women, perhaps more of men than of women. It is unmanly to refuse battle with the devil."

Formichella's blog:
"Despite the fact that the movement was gaining popularity in a society with a serious poverty crisis, Gandhi was an outspoken critic of artificial birth control. His general attitude was that

'Persons who use contraceptives will never learn the value of self-restraint. They will not need it. Self-indulgence with contraceptives may prevent the coming of children but will sap the vitality of both men and women, perhaps more of men than of women. It is unmanly to refuse battle with the devil.'"

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