Sen. Sotto busted for serial plagiarism

Seems like the lachrymose senator Sotto plagiarized material for his anti-RH Bill speech from five bloggers and not just one as earlier reported. (Read Raissa Robles, “Did Sen. Sotto copy from 5 bloggers?” HERE)

Recall that Sen. Sotto denied he plagiarized.

    In an interview on Headstart on ANC, the ABS-CBN News Channel, Sotto said he did not plagiarize in his “turno en contra” speech against the Reproductive Health (RH) bill. Sotto guested on the show on Thursday, August 16.

    “Itong blogger na sinasabi nila, eh pareho kami ng pinagkunan eh. Ang pinagkunan namin si Natasha Campbell-McBride. And in my speeches, even in my first speech and my second speech, I’ve always said, every now and then sinisingit ko, hindi po ako nagdudunong-dunungan ha. Hindi po galing sa akin ito.” (This blogger they’re mentioning, we got it from the same source. Our source is Natasha Campbell-McBride. And I’ve always said, I’m not pretending to be wise. This does not come from me.)

    “Bakit ko naman iko-quote ang blogger? Blogger lang iyon. Ang kino-quote ko si Natasha Campbell-McBride.” (Why should I quote a blogger? She’s just a blogger. I’m quoting Natasha Campbell-McBride.)

But Sen. Sotto’s chief of staff admitted that portions of Sotto’s speech was plagiarized.

There’s an interesting exchange summarized in Rappler between Sen Sotto’s chief of staff, Atty Hector A. Villacorta, and one of the bloggers whose work was plagiarized.

Below is the actual exchange referred to in the Rappler articler.

The blogger, Sarah Pope, wrote:

    It seems one of your esteemed Senators, Tito Sotto, plagiarized a blog post I wrote on February 23, 2011 entitled How The Pill Can Harm Your Future Child’s Health, lifting entire sections of the article basically word for word that were delivered in a speech to the Senate Floor regarding the possible passage of the highly controversial Reproductive Health Bill.

    What’s worse, Senator Sotto is denying the charge of plagiarism, saying in an interview with ABS-CBN:

    “Why would I quote the blogger? I was quoting Natasha McBride.”

    Nice touch Senator. You almost had me convinced you were a nice guy with the tears and all. Many of your citizenry have emailed me assuring me that was a put on, and I’m starting to think they are right.

    A thief is a thief, Mr. Senator. Denying it doesn’t get you off the hook; it just makes you a lying thief.

    On the bright side, I am thrilled that your lapse of moral judgment has brought much needed attention to the fact that the birth control pill can have devastating consequences to a woman’s long term health and possibly those of her children and even grandchildren. Gut dysbiosis is a serious condition that has multi-generational consequences that women need to be educated about and completely aware of before making the very personal decision to use them.

    It was indeed brave of you to take this controversial position. Kudos to you for that.

    By the way, I am truly sorry for the loss of your son. As the mother of two sons myself, I can only imagine the pain and devastation you have felt from such an experience.

    While this has been a highly charged and hopefully enlightening experience for all involved, it’s time now to set the drama aside and get back to fighting the good fight by continuing to educate people about how their food and pharma choices affect not only themselves, but also those they dearly love.

    And although my attorney will likely try to persuade me otherwise, for now I’m moving on as I’ve got work to do.

    Women of the Philippines: I am terribly sorry my blog was used and twisted against you. You deserve the choice to use The Pill if you want or need to based on your particular circumstances. While I want you to know that this choice has health consequences, I in no way would ever condone taking this choice away from you! Mabuhay!

    Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Sen. Sotto’s chief of staff posted the following comment, using the account name Lezel:

    August 16, 2012 at 8:18 am

    i am atty hector a. villacorta. i am the chief of staff of senator tito sotto. i understand you felt slighted that your blog was not attributed to you which became part of the speech of the senator. let me say that after asking my staff, indeed, your blog was used but only in quoting also from the same book of dr. campbell- mcbride. we are both indebted to the book’s author but if you wish that you also be credited with the contents of the book, let this be your affirmation. i can do it and by this message, i am doing it. hope it satisfies you. but if it does not, what would you want us to do? what have we done to deserve your incriminating words. the senator did not lift it himself, we did. did you want us to tell him to admit what he did not do? who would you like to crucify for this oversight? all the unborn wants very much the right to be born and they need everybody’s help, including yours. remember, rizal was the seventh child of 11 children of teodora alonso and francisco mercado. be on our side. please, and don’t deflect the debate to this matter of plagiarism. it is so out of sync in this great debate. join us in the side of life and truth. forgive us our single trespass. we had no malice, we thought you would be happy about it. there was no injury. hope this makes you feel better. warm regards.

    Atty. Hector A. Villacorta

    Chief of Staff
Office of Senator Sotto

Sarah replied 29 minutes later:

    Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist
    August 16, 2012 at 8:38 am

    I don’t like the fact that my blog was used without my permission against the education of the women of the Philippines and their reproductive rights. That is the issue and it was indeed plagiarism. If his staff did it, he condoned it. He is responsible for your actions. My BLOG was quoted, not Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. I put her work in my own words and you copied my words.

    A woman needs to know that the Pill can indeed harm her but this is NO REASON to take away this choice from her in the first place.

    I do not agree with Senator Sotto’s position on this issue and he twisted the message of my blog to suit his own purposes against the women of the Philippines.

    No, your lame comment does not make me “feel” any better.

And Lezel replied, an hour later, this time without Atty. Villacorta’s name at the bottom:

    August 16, 2012 at 9:47 am

    dear sarah;
    a blog is meant to be shared and we shared it.

By the way Sen. Sotto finally explained what he meant when he said The RH Bill violates Philippine sovereignty. (READ HERE)

    Last Monday, I mentioned that I will show how the RH Bill violates Philippine sovereignty. My point in stating that is we should not be pushed over by any state or international organizations in determining what is best for our country. Hindi po porque ginagawa na nila sa kanilang bansa, ay dapat gawin din natin. Tandaan natin na may iba’t iba tayong kultura, kasaysayan at tradisyon, at higit sa lahat, pangangailangan. Sino sila para magdikta sa atin? Hindi tayo gaya nila na iba ang pagpapahalaga sa pagkakabuklod-buklod ng pamilyang Pilipino at pagpapahalaga sa buhay ng tao.

Okay. There are “outside” forces who advocate artificial contraception. And there are “outside” forces who advocate against it. However, the point, Mr Senator, is neither of those forces can compel us to do what they want. Whatever we decide to do will be our choice. So there is no violation of sovereignty at all. Maybe you don’t understand what the word sovereignty means. Or maybe that was your voice but you were not doing the talking.

Manuel Buencamino

Buencamino was a weekly columnist for Today and Business Mirror. He has also written articles in other publications like Malaya, Newsbreak, "Yellow Pad" in Business World, and "Talk of the Town" in the Inquirer. He is currently with Interaksyon, the news site of TV5. MB blogged for Filipino Voices, blogs for ProPinoy and maintains a blog, Game-changers for him, as far as music goes, are Monk, Miles, Jimi, and Santana.

  • Jan_Yu

    There are so many comments when plagiarism is the issue.When it comes to RH Bill, they would still talk about plagiarism.tsk tsk. It is so easy to attack the senator than answering his exposé. No to RH Bill!

    • UPnnGrd

      What expose are you talking about? Is this the admission that Senator Sotto and his wife for many months or many years have agreed on the wisdom of using birth control pills? There is no denying this truth — that Mrs Sotto,( with consent of Senator Sotto and their doctors), has been using birth control pills.
      Senator Sotto says a health event has hit Mrs Sotto. His lawyer / chief-of-staff says FAULT is on the birth control pill, but lthey will not sue the birth control pill manufacturer. Bakit?

  • mia esteve

    Great job in highlighting, pointing out
    and researching on the lobbyist .It’s a very strong presentation of argument,
    which is really hurting. Kaya nga all they can say is the plagiarism issue. But
    the facts cannot be twisted at all. For education of all, please make a
    research on Rockefeller Group, American Cancer Foundation and Gates Foundation,
    The Pro-RH Group even boast the tweet of Ms Melinda Gates, little did they know
    that most women in Africa is disgusted by her, Let me also share
    and I hope one of the staff of Senator Sotto is reading this
    post. We also know women with stories of failed contraception and the harm is
    cause with their life and family and yes it caused death. They are all willing
    to come forward and share their sad stories, this is not just for mothers but
    also with single women whose soul has been broken due to use of contraception.

  • maria tiu

    Too obvious! Ms. Pope is riding on for media mileage. Isn’t an apology not enough from the senator’s office? Plagiarism is still plagiarism. However, it’s such a pity that much reaction was created because of this.
    Let’s just focus on the real Issues that Sen. Sotto is presenting. Our nation’s future is at stake here. Let’s be critical in understanding the Bill and not Ms. Pope.

    • manuelbuencamino


      We cannot tackle the real issue that Sen. Sotto presented because he was mimicking the words of other people and one does not debate with a parrot.

  • MarianoRenatoPacifico

    Who is more stupid, Tito the serial plagiarizer? Or, the lawyer that thoughting that Tito Puente was plagiarizing legally because “they are just bloggers”? Is this the Tito that will judge the impeachment of Supreme Court Justice that plagiarize Wiki ?

  • Antiplagiarist

    Dear Sarah; A blog is meant to be shared but I am not meant to give credit to my source such as mentioning a blogger’s name or her blog in my speech. You interpreted Dr. Natasha Mc Bride’s work using your own words and I copied all of it, word for word (LOL!) only because I cannot paraphrase being a senator from WANBOL university. My apologies. — Hahahaha! 😛

  • Antiplagiarist

    Lezel: Dear Sarah; A blog is meant to be shared but I am not meant to give CREDIT to the SOURCE such as mentioning her name/blog in my speech since I used her own words as I cannot paraphrase being a senator from WANBOL university. loloolololol!

  • I had to look up “lachrymose”. It means tearful, sorrowful. Nothing more pitiful than a lachrymose plagiarist who blames the critics for his woes.

  • david lim

    Senator Sotto remains to be among the few lawmakers who believes in the sanctity and value of life. Hindi naman siya ang issue dito eh! ang real issue that we should and must focus on is the RH BILL!

    • UPnnGrd

      Senator Sotto is an issue because, like Senator Cayetano or Senator BongBong Marfcos, Senator Sotto has a vote that counts. Senator Sotto is an issue because he is not just voting — he, like the Vatican or the World Bank, he is trying to sway the votes to go his way. Therefore, what Senator Sotto says has tgo be vetted. His words have to be judged for truthiness or not, how he obtains the words that he uses to sway the votes have to be weighed.

  • GabbyD

    yes, the issue is about what does this law mean for the rational/safe use of these drugs.

    i dont know if there has been enough said about this issue. its been about plagiarism. i’ve heard moral arguments.

    proponents tend to downplay negative effects of these drugs. I would love an explanation about how these drugs tend to be prescribed and used, and a discussion about how these best practices would be preserved with the RH bill.

    right now, WALA pang lumalabas na ganyang diskusyon.

  • Ashamed PINAY

    What a shame! Citing an author from any source is very simple and a senator or his staff can’t do this? *faceslap*

  • Not to mention that after complaining about “foreign influence” in trends in contraception, he goes out and copies an AMERICAN blogger. I guess he doesn’t mind falling under the influence of foreigners if it suits his purpose. There is a name for someone who does this. I shan’t use it because the poor Senator is feeling a little blue right now, beat up by all the misguided malcontents who expect a senator to be ethical.

    • baycas

      “Titosotto” is now synonymous to that word.

    • mario taporco

      Joe America!
      One must understand the nature of his/her stature. If one dwells into someone else thinking, therefore, that individual character is not up to par.

  • Cayetano Drafts ‘Responsible Plagiarism / Replication Habit Bill’. Sotto Opposes. #RHBill #Satire

  • GabbyD

    After doing some research let me restate my question:

    The pill has side-effects. Most minor, but some can be dangerous, depending on patient history. Now, if the govt will subsidize these pills, will the government also subsidize the other tests, patent history diagnosis (work by a doctor and nurse)? or will these pills be available to those who ask?

    I dont think this is clear from the bill. in a perfect world, doctors should be the ones prescribing these drugs after a checkup, or some investigations esp. for a risky candidate.

    But in the philippines, will this actually happen?

    Put another way: will these pills become “de facto” over the counter?

    Note: defacto means in reality. antibiotics may be prescription, but in practice, people can get these rather easily, or abuse their prescriptions.

    • manuelbuencamino


      All medicines must be approved by the local FDA before they can be sold in the market. However, as you stated, some medicines and some individuals just do not get along. That’s why there are prescription and over the counter medicines. There is a presumption that over the counter medicines are generally safe for everyone. Still that does not mean they are safe for everybody. You know that too.

      The RH Bill does not remove pills from the list of prescription drugs. They will not become over the counter medicines, they will not be handed out like candy. They will be FDA approved. They will be prescribed.

      “But in the philippines, will this actually happen?”

      There are bad doctors and bad drug stores all over the world. But in general, including in the Philippines, doctors and drug stores are responsible. So in answer to your question my reply is the cliché – “let’s not the quest for perfection get in the way of doing what’s right.”

  • GabbyD

    in this case, i wanna set aside the issue of plagiarism for now, and focus on the substantive issue:

    are contraceptive pills dangerous to women and their? if YES, why support govt funding to allow the poor to access them?

    this is the first time i’ve heard these arguments. i don’t know if these findings are true, but if they are, this gives me pause.

    if anything, i want the national debate to confront these valid concerns head on.

    • GabbyD

      i mean, the issue is: “are contraceptive pills dangerous to women and their kids?”

      if YES, why should govt subsidize this?

      • UPnnGrd

        Sotto is making it sound like this “….contraceptive pills dangerous to women and their kids” is an assertion that has been accepted. Contraceptive pills may be new to Sotto but how long again has contraceptive pills been used in the United Kingdom? In China? In USA? In Australia? In Russia? In Italy?

  • baycas

    Sotto needed a Pope to order him to offer women a choice.

    May Sotto obey…

    Pass the RH Bill.

    • manuelbuencamino

      To paraphrase what former Gloria Arroyo’s spokesman, Mike Defensor, said about Gloria’s voice in the Garci tapes : “That was Sotto’s voice but he was not doing the talking. ” That’s plagiarism.