Kennedy daughter confirms plagiarism complaint vs Sotto

The office of Kerry Kennedy, daughter of the late US senator Robert F. Kennedy (RFK),

has confirmed the authenticity of a strongly worded statement against Senator Vicente "Tito" Sotto III that began to circulate widely on the Internet over the weekend. The statement chastises Sotto for "his unethical, unsanctioned theft of Robert Kennedy's intellectual property and the intellectual property of all those whose work he has plagiarized." The statement, dated November 9, is signed by Ms. Kennedy under the letterhead of the

RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights based in New York, of which she is both founder and president. However, Sotto told reporters on Monday, November 12, that he is still waiting for an official copy of the document to be sent to his office before commenting on the matter. "Bakit ako magrereact, wala ako natatanggap? So no comment... ako [kasi] magiging talking head ng story. Kayo ba may natanggap ba kayo? Bakit pinapatulan ninyo?" he said. GMA News Online received a scanned copy of the statement last Friday, and sought a verification of the document from Meaghan Baron, senior communications strategist at the RFK Center, who replied on Monday morning.

"I passed along your email to Kerry (Kennedy). And yes, I can confirm (Kerry's) letter on Senator Sotto is legitimate," Baron said in response to GMA News Online's inquiry via email.

Comparison of Kennedy's and Sotto's speeches

The "Day of Affirmation" speech was delivered by RFK in South Africa, on June 6, 1966. With its inspirational message of hope to a nation then under apartheid, the speech has since become one of the most famous and most quoted speeches in American politics.

On September 5, 2012, Sotto delivered before the Philippine Senate a speech in Filipino which, observers noted, bore striking similarities to RFK's address. Below is a direct line-by-line comparison of excerpts from Kennedy's speech (in underlined letters) and Sotto's speech (in italic letters):

Few will have the greatness to bend history;

Iilan ang magiging dakila sa pagbali ng kasaysayan,

but each of us can work to change a small portion of the events, subalit bawat isa sa atin ay maaaring kumilos, gaano man kaliit, para ibahin ang takbo ng mga pangyayari.

Thousands of Peace Corps volunteers are making a difference in the isolated villages and the city slums of dozens of countries. (no equivalent)

Thousands of unknown men and women in Europe resisted the occupation of the Nazis and many died, but all added to the ultimate strength and freedom of their countries. (no equivalent)

It is from numberless diverse acts of courage such as these Ang mga hindi-mabilang na iba’t ibang galaw ng katapangan at paninindigan

that the belief that human history is thus shaped. ang humuhubog sa kasaysayan ng sangkatauhan.

Each time a man stands up for an ideal, Tuwing naninindigan tayo para sa isang paniniwala,

or acts to improve the lot of others, tuwing kumikilos tayo para mapabuti ang buhay ng iba,

or strikes out against injustice, tuwing nilalabanan natin ang kawalan ng katarungan,

he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, nakalilikha tayo ng maliliit na galaw.

and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples Kapag nagkasama-sama ang mumunting galaw na mga ito,

build a current which can sweep down bubuo ito ng isang malakas na puwersang kayang magpabagsak

the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance. maging ng pinakamatatag na dingding ng opresyon.

Kennedy: Sotto 'distorted' father's speech

In her statement, Kennedy said: "I am particularly offended to see a speech my father gave in support of global human rights distorted by Senator Sotto as an argument against the right to contraception."

"The Day of Affirmation speech is an internationally well-known and frequently referenced piece of American rhetoric. The 'ripple of hope' line in particular is one of Robert Kennedy's best known quotes and it is absurd to suggest that Senator Sotto came up with identical remarks himself," she added.

"This is an argument that has no ethical merit. This is a clear case of plagiarism, and it is my understanding that Senator Sotto has committed similar acts of plagiarism against a series of American writers and speakers," she concluded.

Kennedy was also offended that Sotto had used her father's speech to attack pro-contraceptive legislation.

"Expanding and protecting access to contraception is a global priority I have promoted for years, and limiting that freedom was in no way the topic of the 1966 Day of Affirmation speech," she said.

Sotto: No comment for now

In an interview with reporters on Monday, Sotto said that he will not issue any comment until he receives an official communication from the Kennedy camp.

"Hangga't walang official [communication], don't say a word kasi ano rereact-an mo, baka imbento lang yan ng mga afficionado, mga manipulator sa Internet," he said.

When asked if he would consider issuing a public apology as Kennedy had demanded, Sotto said: "For what? That's [plagiarism accusation] not true."

US bloggers' complaint, Enrile's assertion

Last week, three US bloggers expressed their intent to file a complaint against Sotto before the Senate Committee on Ethics led by Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano.

Dr. Lisandro "Leloy" Claudio of Ateneo de Manila University told GMA News that he, together with other academics, will incorporate the bloggers' collective statement into a formal complaint to be filed before the Senate Ethics Committee on Tuesday, Nov. 13.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, however, said senators cannot be questioned by anybody outside the Senate.

"You cannot be questioned when you say anything here. Constitutional law yun. I said that before not because of any arrogance of power," he said.

"That's the immunity granted by the people." "If you really respect the Constitution, then enforce that rule. If you don't want it, change the system of government or amend the Constitution," he added.

Enrile was referring to

Article 6, Section 11 of the Constitution, which reads in part: "No member shall be questioned nor be held liable in any other place for any speech or debate in Congress or in any committee thereof."

— With reports from Kimberly Tan and TJ Dimacali, GMA News

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Lupita Nyong'o's $150,000 Oscars dress stolen from hotel
    Lupita Nyong'o's $150,000 Oscars dress stolen from hotel

    The $150,000 pearl-studded, custom-made Calvin Klein dress worn by Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o at this year's Academy Awards has been stolen, police said on Thursday. The gown, embellished with 6,000 natural white pearls, was stolen from Nyong'o's room at the London Hotel in West Hollywood, during the day on Wednesday, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in West Hollywood said. "Ms Nyong'o was not in the room at the time of the theft," Deputy John Mitchell …

  • South Korea decriminalises adultery, condom shares soar
    South Korea decriminalises adultery, condom shares soar

    South Korea's Constitutional Court on Thursday struck down a controversial adultery law which for more than 60 years had criminalised extra-marital sex and jailed violators for up to two years. The decision saw shares in the South Korean firm Unidus Corp., one of the world's largest condom manufacturers, soar by the daily limit of 15 percent on the local stock exchange. "Even if adultery should be condemned as immoral, state power should not intervene in individuals' private lives," said …

  • US-led strikes on IS after group seizes 220 Christians
    US-led strikes on IS after group seizes 220 Christians

    The US-led coalition has carried out air strikes against the Islamic State group in northeastern Syria, where the jihadists have launched a new offensive and kidnapped 220 Assyrian Christians. The raids on Thursday struck areas around the town of Tal Tamr in Hasakeh province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, without giving information on possible casualties. The town remains under the control of Kurdish forces, but at least 10 surrounding villages have been seized by IS, along …

  • U.S. flies most advanced surveillance plane from Philippines

    By Manuel Mogato MANILA (Reuters) - The United States has begun flying its most advanced surveillance aircraft, the P-8A Poseidon, out of the Philippines for patrols over the South China Sea, the U.S. Navy said on Thursday, acknowledging the flights for the first time. The United States, the Philippines' oldest and closest ally, has promised to share "real time" information on what is happening in Philippine waters as China steps up its activities in the South China Sea. China claims most of …

  • Militants abduct more Christians, smash ancient artifacts
    Militants abduct more Christians, smash ancient artifacts

    BEIRUT (AP) — Islamic State militants seized more Christians from their homes in northeastern Syria in the past three days, bringing the total number abducted by the extremist group to over 220, activists said Thursday. …

  • Purisima denies endorsing successor
    Purisima denies endorsing successor

    Resigned Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Alan Purisima denied reports that he has been urging President Aquino to appoint his protegé as the new police chief. “Contrary to news reports, PDG Alan La Madrid Purisima is not in any position to recommend and has not in fact recommended anyone to the President for appointment as next chief of the PNP,” his lawyer Kristoffer James Purisima said yesterday. Sources said that Purisima may have resigned but he reportedly remains …

  • IS executioner 'Jihadi John' named as London graduate
    IS executioner 'Jihadi John' named as London graduate

    "Jihadi John", the masked Islamic State group militant believed responsible for beheading of at least five Western hostages, has been named as Kuwaiti-born computing graduate Mohammed Emwazi from London. "Jihadi John", nicknamed after Beatle John Lennon due to his British accent, is believed to be responsible for the murders of US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning and American aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig. …

  • ‘Noy angered by previous SAF failures to get Marwan’
    ‘Noy angered by previous SAF failures to get Marwan’

    Supt. Raymund Train, who led the SAF team that killed Marwan in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on Jan. 25, recounted in a sworn statement the meeting he and senior SAF officers had with Aquino in Malacañang on Nov. 30. Train said among the senior officers who attended the meeting were then PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima, SAF chief Director Getulio Napeñas, SAF deputy commander Chief Supt. Noli Taliño and intelligence group chief Senior Supt. Fernando Mendez. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options