GMA News Online

Academics to join bloggers in Sotto plagiarism complaint in Senate

November 12, 2012 5:32am
Academics from the University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University, and De La Salle University have joined forces with U.S. bloggers in a formal complaint in the Senate against Senator Vicente Sotto III for alleged plagiarism in his speeches.

An advisory sent to media over the weekend said the educators and bloggers will file a complaint on Tuesday with the Senate Committee on Ethics and Privileges against Sotto for violating the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines.

Contacted separately, one of the complainants named in the advisory, Dr. Lisandro Claudio of the Ateneo, and their legal counsel, Atty. Ibarra Gutierrez, both confirmed the plan to file a complaint.

Informed last week of the intent to file a complaint by US-based bloggers, Sen. Sotto said he had yet to be officially informed, but was eager for the chance to clear his name. 
"It's a welcome development because that will give me a chance to prove there was no such thing (plagiarism)," the senator said.

Sotto, in his speeches and during interpellations of the Reproductive Health Bill, did not “provide citation information or indicate in any way that this material was written by others,” according to a collective statement penned by bloggers Sarah Pope, Janice Formichella, and Peter Engelman, all of whom have said in previous individual statements that they were plagiarized by Sotto.

Sen. Sotto has questioned the authenticity of the bloggers' statement. However, all three bloggers have separately verified in emails to GMA News Online that they wrote and signed the statement, and they intended to file a complaint against Sotto.

Set to file the complaint at the Senate on Tuesday are Dr. Sylvia Estrada Claudio, Director, UP Center for Women's Studies; Dr. Antonio P. Contreras, former Dean of College of Liberal Arts, De La Salle University; and Dr. Lisandro Claudio, Department of Political Science, Ateneo De Manila University. All have also been critical of Sotto's alleged plagiarism as well as his stand on Reproductive Health. Other professors are reportedly intending to add their names to the complaint. 

In a separate development, the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights in the United States has verified as authentic a letter signed by Kennedy's daughter Kerry Kennedy about the plagiarism issue that has been circulating on the Internet since the weekend. GMA News Online is seeking Sotto's comment on the letter. — DVM, GMA News
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