MANILA, Philippines – "They said that I plagiarized [an inspirational quote from Senator Robert F. Kennedy]? Of course not. It was an inspirational message coming from a pastor that was used by the Americans, and if we use it and translate it into Tagalog, there's nothing wrong with that. It's not plagiarism, because if you think that's plagiarism, then you must think that 'Bayang Magiliw' is plagiarized because it was originally in Spanish, and somebody changed it into English, and somebody translated it into Tagalog unofficially. So is that plagiarism?"
The inspirational quote in question refers to a long-standing controversy involving Sotto from 2012. Sotto had then delivered a privilege speech against the reproductive health bill, in which he made a statement in Filipino that social media users identified as a near-verbatim translation of a speech Kennedy gave in 1966. Even then, Sotto had also defended himself by insisting that translations do not equate to plagiarism.
Many Filipinos expressed their disagreement with Sotto's latest defense on social media. However, this was not the only part of Sotto's statement that sent them into an uproar.
They also pointed out that Sotto referred to the Philippine national anthem as "Bayang Magiliw," instead of its actual title, "Lupang Hinirang." "Bayang magiliw" is the anthem's first line, and while mistaking it for the song's title is not uncommon, netizens expected more from their new Senate president.
Here is a sampling of social media reactions to Sotto's flubs:
It's Lupang Hinirang! - Curated tweets by rapplerdotcom
Below is a clip of the statement in question:
Marguerite Alcazaren de Leon heads Rappler’s Opinion section, and is (happily) wrangled into voice over and hosting work. She has been with Rappler since 2013, and also served as its social media producer for 6 years. She is also a fictionist.