Sotto, Enrile laugh off plagiarism complaints

MANILA, Philippines – Senate Majority Leader Tito Sotto says there is no need to apologize for using the Filipino translation of a Robert Kennedy quote without attribution.

Ayee Macaraig reports.

JUAN PONCE ENRILE

SENATE PRESIDENT

Mabuti nga Tinagalog mo si Kennedy. Tatagalugin ko rin si Socrates.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Senate Majority Leader Tito Sotto laugh off renewed plagiarism complaints against the Majority Leader.

Academics plan to file an ethics complaint against Sotto Tuesday for 9 instances of plagiarism in his speeches against the Reproductive Health bill.

A letter from the daughter of former US Senator Robert F Kennedy released over the weekend forms part of the complaint.

Kerry Kennedy says Sotto’s translation of her father’s speech is a clear case of plagiarism.

She demands an apology but the senator says he got no official word about the complaint. 

VICENTE ‘TITO’ SOTTO III

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER

Anong rereactan mo, baka imbento lang iyan ng mga aficionado na professional manipulator sa Internet.

Q: Will you issue a public apology? Huh, for what?

Professors from Ateneo, La Salle and UP want the Senate to acknowledge that Sotto made a mistake in plagiarizing online works.

But Sotto dismisses the case by invoking parliamentary immunity.

His ally, Enrile, backs him up.

VICENTE ‘TITO’ SOTTO III

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER

Wala iyan eh. Ano iyan eh, rehash. Pinag-usapan na natin ng September iyan eh. 

JUAN PONCE ENRILE

SENATE PRESIDENT

How can they question you when you say anything here. Constitutional law iyon eh. I said that before not because of any arrogance of power. Those people who do not understand it, they’re ignorant of Constitutional law.

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano says his Ethics Committee will still have to finalize rules for handling complaints by next week.

SEN ALAN PETER CAYETANO

CHAIRMAN, ETHICS COMMITTEE

In any collegial body, that’s the balance, the balance that you’re not above the law and you cannot be arrogant with power but the balance also that you need a certain degree of statesmanship.

Committee member Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago is open to looking into the case.

But for Sotto, it’s just the continuation of personal attacks against him. 

Will the Senate clear Sotto or not?

Ultimately, it’s a numbers game.

But even some of his colleagues admit accountability is at stake and that is no laughing matter.

Ayee Macaraig, Rappler. – Rappler.com