Did Sotto really copy a blogger's article for his speech?

After a business executive and a Supreme Court justice, a senator is now being accused of claiming someone else's work as his own.

A group said Senator Vicente "Tito" Sotto III's privilege speech on Wednesday opposing the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill "copied entirely and almost word-for-word from an article" of a US-based blogger.

In a post on its website, the Filipino Freethinkers, one of the groups pushing for the passage of the RH bill, compared Sotto's speech to a February 2011 article by a blogger called "Sarah, the healthy economist."

In his speech, Sotto used phrases from the blog but without attribution, except for the expert opinion that Sarah also used as source.

Sotto denied plagiarizing the blogger's work.

"Bakit ko naman iku-quote ‘yung blogger, ang kinu-quote ko si Natasha McBride (Why would I quote the blogger? I was quoting Natasha McBride)," Sotto said in a interview with ABS-CBN.

The allegation against Sotto comes after two controversial cases of plagiarism both in 2010.

One involved Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo who allegedly lifted without citation from legal experts abroad in his decision on World War II comfort women. Businessman Manny Pangilinan in 2010 also admitted that parts of his speech before Ateneo De Manila Univerisity graduates have been copied from celebrities' speeches.

On top of hitting the senator for plagiarism, the Filipino Freethinkers said "Sotto’s reckless method of legislation is inexcusable."

"Senator Tito Sotto suffered a personal loss with the death of his son. We understand his grief. What we cannot understand is why he chose to rely on an unknown blogger to explain his son's death," the group said.

It added that Sotto preferred the blogger's "wild claims" against contraception over studies by the Health department and the World Health Organization which noted that artificial family planning is safe.

Sotto even ignored the blogger's disclaimer, which said information in posts are "not intended to substitute for the advice provided by your doctor or other health care professional," the group said.

Below is a comparison of Sotto's speech and Sarah's blog:

Sotto's speech:
"According, to Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD, the use of the pill also causes severe gut dysbiosis. What is worse, drug induced gut imbalance is especially intractable and resistant to treatment either with probiotics or diet change."

Sarah's blog:
"According, to Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD, use of other drugs such as the Pill also cause severe gut dybiosis. What's worse, drug induced gut imbalance is especially intractable and resistant to treatment either with probiotics or diet change."

Sotto's speech:
"Gut imbalance brought on through use of the pill negatively impacts the ability to digest food and absorb nutrients. As a result, even if a woman eats spectacularly well during pregnancy, if she has been taking oral contraceptives for a period of time beforehand, it is highly likely that she and her baby are not reaping the full benefits of all this healthy food as the lack of beneficial flora in her gut preclude this from occurring."

Sarah's blog:
"...gut imbalance brought on through use of The Pill negatively impacts the ability to digest food and absorb nutrients. As a result, even if a women eats spectacularly well during pregnancy, if she has been taking oral contraceptives for a period of time beforehand, it is highly likely that she and her baby are not reaping the full benefits of all this healthy food as the lack of beneficial flora in her gut preclude this from occurring."

Sotto's speech:
"Pathogenic, opportunistic flora that take hold in the gut when the pill is used constantly produce toxic substances which are the by-products of their metabolism. These toxins leak into the woman’s bloodstream and they have the potential to cross the placenta. Therefore, gut dysbiosis exposes the fetus to toxin."

Sarah's blog:
"Pathogenic, opportunistic flora that take hold in the gut when The Pill is used constantly produce toxic substances which are the by-products of their metabolism. These toxins leak into the woman’s bloodstream and guess what, they have the potential to cross the placenta! Therefore, gut dysbiosis exposes the fetus to toxins."

Sotto's speech:
"Not well known is also the fact that use of the pill depletes zinc in the body. Zinc is called 'the intelligence mineral' as it is intimately involved in mental development."

Sarah's blog:
"Not well known is the fact that use of The Pill depletes zinc in the body. Zinc is called 'the intelligence mineral' as it is intimately involved in mental development.

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