06 September 2012

"SOTTOing" Just Keeps on Evolving

Senator TiTo Sotto
When it rains, it pours and Senator Vicente "Tito" Sotto III doesn’t want the rain to stop falling on him.

After being accused by US-based blogger Sarah Pope of copying and lifting her words without by any permission and using it in his speech last 15 August 2012, Sotto was again suspected of plagiarizing a speech from a former American President and translated it in Tagalog.

An avid opponent of the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill, Sotto ended his turno en contra speech with words that mimic exactly and word-for-word what former US President Robert F. Kennedy delivered at the University of Capetown in South Africa in 6 June 1966.

What's worse is that the comedian-turn-Senator even had the gall to claim that he did not use a disclaimer except for material wherein he clearly cited the authors. "Except dun sa mga binanggit ko, galing sa akin ito," Sotto said.

The same arrogance he displayed a few days ago seems to have reappeared again. It will be recalled that after his 15 August speech, Sotto denied on TV plagiarizing from bloggers and later on defaced and mocked bloggers by saying, "Bakit ko naman iko-quote ang blogger? Blogger lang iyon." He later changed his demeanour to a more combative stance when his staff admitted to the copying by stating that there was no such thing as "plagiarism" in the Philippines.

This time though, when sought for comment, Sotto laughed off allegations he merely translated Kennedy's speech to Filipino without attribution. He said he wasn't aware the passage came from Kennedy. He said a friend texted him the passage, and finding it beautiful, he had it translated and included it in his speech.

Hmmm ... so what happened to the concept of researching your material and double-checking your sources? I guess these things are not common in the office of the good Senator. Or maybe the researcher though that using Google Translate is something new and they are the only ones who had the monopoly of using it.

In any case, here is a comparison of what Kennedy delivered and what Sotto allegedly 'copied and translated':

Kennedy's speech:
"Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation."

Sotto's speech:
"Iilan ang magiging dakila sa pagbali ng kasaysayan, subalit bawat isa sa atin ay maaaring kumilos, gaano man kaliit, para ibahin ang takbo ng mga pangyayari. Kapag pinagsama-sama ang ating munting pagkilos, makalilikha tayo ng totalidad na magmamarka sa kabuuan ng kasaysayan ng henerasyong ito."

Now tell me if I'm not seeing double here.