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2nd US blogger accuses Sotto of copying; senator says they came from book

September 6, 2012 8:32pm
Weeks after Sarah Pope, a US-based food and health blogger, denounced Sen. Tito Sotto for lifting entire passages from her blog without credit or permission, another American blogger has come forward Tuesday to condemn the senator for allegedly copying and "twisting" her words.

New York-based Janice Formichella wrote the purportedly copied essay on Feminists for Choice.

“According to the Filipino reporters who alerted me to this, Sen. Vicente “Tito” Sotto III lifted entire passages from a post I wrote for Feminists For Choice and twisted them into an anti-choice argument against an important reproductive rights bill in the country,” Formichella wrote in an article in the online magazine Ms. on September 4.

She said Sotto lifted several passages from a two-year-old blog post of hers about Gandhi's refusal to change his anti-birth control stance despite the attempts of birth control advocate Margaret Sanger to change his mind.

The passages were included in the second part of Sotto’s Turno en Contra against the RH bill.

Sotto: 'He or she is pathetic'

But in a phone interview with GMA News Online on Thursday evening, Sotto said he got the information about Sanger and Gandhi from a book, not the blogger.

"Kinuha namin yung information sa libro kaya imposibleng sinasabi niya. I have the book with pics," he said.

Sotto said he did not copy passages from the book but just sourced information from it.

The senator could not immediately give the title of the book, which he said is in his office, but said that he can show it to anyone who is interested.

Sotto questioned the timing of the blogger's accusation, saying the second part of his Turno En Contra was delivered on August 15 but the blogger only spoke out this week.

"He or she is pathetic. Sumasakay lang yun, gusto lang niyan sumikat," he said. He added that RH advocates should answer the issues he raised in his speech instead.

Knowing misinformation

In her Ms. entry, Formichella expressed her disbelief over Sotto’s "misinformation and plagiarism."

She said her original essay was meant to praise Sanger’s audacity, and to remind “activists to seek allies even in unlikely places.”

“Given the content of my post and my very pro-contraception position, I could hardly understand how my words could be used to argue against reproductive rights,” Formichella said.

“What’s more, he has oddly used the words of several other bloggers, writers and case studies in his speeches,” she added.

Formicella also expressed hope that Sotto will apologize to the bloggers he has plagiarized.

Sen. Tito Sotto’s speech: (Aug 15, 2012)

The two activists met in December of 1936 when Sanger traveled to India to speak with Gandhi about birth control, population and the plight of women in India. At that time, Sanger staunchly advocated the global use of artificial contraceptives and, in order to make the acceptance of such contraceptives easier to the Indian populace, sought to make Gandhi an ally…

Despite the fact that the movement was gaining popularity in a society with a serious poverty crisis, Gandhi was an outspoken critic of artificial birth control. His general attitude was that
"Persons who use contraceptives will never learn the value of self-restraint. They will not need it. Self-indulgence with contraceptives may prevent the coming of children but will sap the vitality of both men and women, perhaps more of men than of women. It is unmanly to refuse battle with the devil."
 
From Formichella's essay on the blog Feminists for Choice: (Feb 2010)

The two activists met in 1936 when Sanger traveled to India to speak with Gandhi about birth control. By that time Sanger was advocating internationally for artificial contraceptives and sought to make Gandhi an ally.
 
Despite the fact that the movement was gaining popularity in a society with a serious poverty crisis, Gandhi was an outspoken critic of artificial birth control. His general attitude was that
“Persons who use contraceptives will never learn the value of self-restraint. They will not need it. Self-indulgence with contraceptives may prevent the coming of children but will sap the vitality of both men and women, perhaps more of men than of women. It is unmanly to refuse battle with the devil.”

— with reporting by Kimberly Jane Tan/BM/YA, GMA News
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