Editorial cartoon by JB URIETA, VERA Files
IT'S the biggest joke in the country today but no one is laughing. Former comedian and now Senator Vicente Sotto III has been caught plagiarizing parts of his speeches from various sources during the deliberations on the reproductive health bill now pending before the Senate.
In his first speech, delivered Aug. 13 to show his opposition to the reproductive health bill, Sotto lifted from two American bloggers, one of whom accused him of twisting her words to suit his anti-RH bill arguments. In his second speech on Sept. 5, Sotto translated a speech delivered by the American senator Robert F. Kennedy, again to further the anti-RH cause.
How he and his writers thought they could get away with it is what stuns, shocks and saddens Filipinos. In this day and age of high speed Internet, it is so easy to paste a paragraph on the Google search bar to check for plagiarism and get back confirmation within seconds.
Yet Sotto and his writers did it, not once but twice, to borrow the words of actress Susan Roces. Sotto took a beating from social media the first time, and yet repeated the misdeed a second time, which only shows how he and his staff saw nothing wrong with stealing other people's words and claiming them as his own.
Plagiarism is intellectual dishonesty, students are repeatedly told, yet Sotto and his writers apparently never learned the lesson or were absent from class when it was being taught.
In the end, though, it is Sotto who is teaching Filipino voters a lesson: Choose leaders with proven integrity and honesty. And because Filipinos failed to choose wisely in Sotto's case, the joke is now on the Filipino people.—Luz Rimban
(VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. VERA is Latin for "true.")