Lay off Senator Sotto!

“If common sense, intelligence, caution, all the straightarrow stuff ever fails, there is always bullshit to fall back on.” – Ernest Stickley Jr.

I’m disappointed with the daughter of Robert F. Kennedy.  She doesn’t even know Senator Vicente Sotto III and yet she called him a thief and a distorter of words. 

    “This is a clear case of plagiarism…I urge that he apologize for his unethical, unsanctioned theft of Robert Kennedy’s intellectual property,” she said. “In addition, 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.” 

Ms. Kennedy, Senator Vicente Sotto III is not like that. He will never intentionally steal or distort anyone’s words.  Go ask Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile if you don’t want to take my word for it. Senator Enrile is an unimpeachable character witness. Ask any Filipino who has not read his authorized biography.
I assume you received a copy of Senator Sotto’s privilege speech. You must pay close attention to his version of the truth as he calls it.

    “I did not even know whose it was except that it came from the True Love Waits Foundation who espouses chastity and teaches all over the country.  He’s an American. When he gave me that line, I translated and delivered the message in Filipino because we found it a fitting cap to what I was fighting for so Mr President I did not steal it or claim that it was mine. The worst thing you can say is I copied it from the text of a friend. I didn’t know who it came from but it was a nice inspirational line…But Mr President copying or imitation is the highest form of flattery but if it upsets the Kennedy family then I’m sorry but that is not the intention that we have when we used it.”

On second thought, maybe getting too close  to Senator Sotto’ s syntax is not such a good idea. It could be contagious.

At any rate, the good senator believes you should have been highly flattered not highly upset by his copying, because copying is the highest form of flattery and it should be appreciated even if the copycat confesses he did not know he was copying. That’s the essence of Sotto’s heart-felt apology to you.

As to Sotto’s distortion, isn’t it obvious that he never read your father’s Day of Affirmation speech? Why else would he not see the irony of turning your father’s call for “the enlargement of liberty for individual human beings” into a rallying cry to curtail the liberty of female human beings?

You see it’s not uncommon and it’s certainly no indiction of ill intent when ignorant people unwittingly take someone else’s words out of context. It happens too often to too many people, specially to politicians with a penchant for including in their speeches inspirational text messages from preachers who espouse chastity.

Just the other day a friend quoted a biblical verse to a homosexual he was trying to convert to heterosexuality. He told the homosexual, “Leviticus 20:13 says ‘If a man practices homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman, both men have committed a detestable act. They must both be put to death, for they are guilty of a capital offense’”. He thought the gay man clearly understood what Leviticus said but a few days later he received a Facebook message from his would-be convert. It was a picture of two naked men in bed happily smoking a marijuana cigarette. The picture was captioned – “If a man practices homosexuality, he should be stoned – Leviticus 20:13.” See what I mean? 

So Ms. Kennedy please lay-off Senator Sotto. He knows not whereof he speaks. Neither does he know where he belongs. 

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.

  • Do you know much about Miguel Syjuco who got Kennedy’s involvement? I’ve got his book “Illustrado” on my bookshelf, itching for another read. And I think he is into film-making. I find it interesting that he is willing to engage directly in Philippine politics and values. Fairly passionately, it would seem.

    I’m impressed with his tenacity on this.

    • manuelbuencamino


      Don’t know him but I read him a couple of times in Rappler. Heard his book got rave reviews.

  • baycas

    “He had just about enough intelligence to open his mouth when he wanted to eat, but certainly no more.”
    ― P.G. Wodehouse

    • manuelbuencamino


    • Thanks, I sottoed it for my blog, but I gave attributions to keep Kennedy off my back.

      • baycas

        His ass or mind?

        Two decades of sitting as Senator, we fully know which of the two was broadened.

        (Statement above was inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s “Writing and travel broaden your ass if not your mind and I like to write standing up.” quote.)