Who’s NOT Laughing at Senator Tito Sotto’s Comedy of Errors?

by Dine Racoma (originally posted at the Philippine Online Chronicles/Blog Watch

AVictimof Cyberbullying

The Senator has cried FOUL! and called himself a victim of cyber bullying.

This video courtesy of rappler.com shows Sotto saying, “Ako na po yata ang kauna-unahang opisyal na naging biktima ng cyberbullying (I think I’m the first public official to be a victim of cyber bullying).”

Sotto is the bully!

Oooooops! If this is what he meant by cyberbullying, then his allegation that he was the first official to be victim is not true. CJ Corona was the first for the year. If Sotto wants to be the second, he can follow CJ Corona’s lead and be shown the way out of public office. In truth, the good senator is a bully and he has shown this with his actions and conduct after being lambasted regarding allegations about his plagiarism issue. For all along, no matter if he has researchers, staff, and a lawyer for an aide, it was the Senator in session who uttered the words copied verbatim from a blog.

This must have been Tito Sotto the comedian speaking. This must have been the Tito Sotto from Iskul Bukuls Wambol University speaking.

cyber_bully_1Beware, all you Netizens! According to Sotto both houses of Congress have approved the Cybercrime Bill, which is awaiting the President’s approval. Will blogging now be criminalized?

Sotto has shown that he is a bully with the way he has acted since the first cries of plagiarism rang out. When he defended himself by saying “Bakit ko naman iku-quote ang blogger? Blogger lang yon” he meant that Sarah Pope was not a medical expert. He also didn’t know that he did quote Ms. Pope when his staff copied and pasted portions of her blog into his speech. Atty. Hector Villacorta, Sotto’s chief of staff explained that they were not able to get a copy of the original work and instead used Pope’s blog, thinking that the ideas were the same. It is possible that the ideas may have been the same, but the words were not. It may have been hard to paraphrase those words, because of the medical terminologies but there was no attempt to do so. Needless to say, the staff forgot to tell their boss that he was not quoting Campbell-McBride but Pope.

Sotto says it’s ok to plagiarize

The gist of the matter is that Sotto gave a Senate speech and did not cite sources. He gave a blanket acknowledgment that some parts of his speech were not his. This is a lazy man’s way of saying, “whatever.” Any blogger, or writer for that matter, who stands by his work would say, “cite your sources.” It is uncivilized not to cite sources. It is his duty to acknowledge the words he builds on. If it is true that there is no such thing as original thought, then the least anyone can do is to cite, acknowledge, or attribute as a way of saying, “Thank you, because without your prior work, I could not write this blogpost.”

bloggingBlogging started out as an intellectual activity. For a large part, bloggers blog for free with the pride that their intellectual imprint is on the Internet, giving their opinion, angst, rant, praise or just a random thought crafted as elegantly as possible in a written work.

Sotto showed utter arrogance. Even the head of his staff, Villacorta, is as guilty of arrogance as his boss. They were guilty of copying and pasting words and passing them off as theirs, and they have the temerity to be angry for getting caught. This is lack of intellectual integrity and being arrogant about it.

Blogger lang yon!

Bakit ko naman iku-quote ‘yung blogger?Sotto said. Blogger lang ‘yon. HIDEOUS! He did not care that the blogger did her homework, read the study and expressed an opinion. Sotto did not care that his staff did not do their homework, did not read the Campbell-McBride study and then twisted the opinion of the source. He did not care that there are hundreds of thousands of bloggers in Philippines, let alone in the hundreds of millions the world over. I wonder when Sotto would say, “driver lang iyan” or “empleyado lang iyan” or “katulong lang yan” or “chief of staff ko lang iyan.”

Sarah Pope, the blogger, of course reacted to the callous manner this was handled, and the non-apologetic apology, in a way every blogger can understand. She got mad, she railed and she ranted. A journalist or an editor would not rant, but a blogger can and does rant on a regular basis – on real time. An old time journalist, or an editor of a newspaper might not understand that once something gets printed on the Internet, it is there forever. Even Senate President Enrile admitted his ignorance on the ways of the Internet. Not even if you delete a picture on Facebook, does it really get deleted. Sotto does not yet understand that the memes posted on Facebook, blogs, Twitter and everywhere else will hound him for as long as the Internet is there. As myepinoy mentioned in his tweet, Y2070: When all d best works of brilliant minds have perished from the face of the earth, all that r left r Tito Sotto’s archived spitses.”

No Remorse

sorrySotto could just have apologized and ended all the discussions that went viral, but in his privilege speech of Wednesday, August 29 he has dug himself a very deep pit. He just doesn’t know it yet; he just doesn’t. Implying that there is no such thing as original thought, and at the same time saying that plagiarism is not a crime in the Philippines, Sotto has opened a big can of worms. Pushing it to its extreme interpretation would mean that the Optical Media Board does not have any legal basis to stand on. It also means that anyone in the Philippines can copy a written work and pass it off as theirs, without any recrimination whatsoever. The academe for that matter will be in big trouble, as it cannot be so strict with students when it comes to writing reports and other academic papers.

And then he ends his speech with a big big BANG. Now the good Senator can safely say that it – the portions of the speech lifted verbatim from the blog – did not happen. In his own words, ending his privilege speech on August 29, 2012:

“”This ends my privilege speech. Mr. President, with the permission of this body, I move that the paragraph containing reference with the study of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride which can be found in Journal No. 8 page 162 dated August 13, 2012 be stricken off the record in order to lay this matter to rest.”

I would really love to know who seconded the motion.

I would imagine that the speech is now a very good read, or a very good one to watch and listen to in YouTube, even if at times incomprehensible because of all the blacked out portions. The turno en contra speech he delivered no longer makes sense. He will continue his turno en contra speech on Tuesday, September 4. After all the vitriol in the way he lashed out at his critics and bloggers in general, the next speech will most probably not diverge much from his prior speeches – it will most probably still contain lifted passages from articles and blogs, and these will have a blanket citation saying in essence, “…parts of my speech are from other works, and I will not be troubled to give you a bibliography because my staff did not care to cite sources.”

“Thank you Senator Sotto, for showing your sense of entitlement. You’re the best that Wanbol University ever had! Promise, no joke intended.” – Dine Racoma


Photo by senate.gov.ph. Some rights reserved.

Photo: “World War Web Advisory #5: CyberWar: First SOPA/PIPA/PCIPA/S2105, Now HR2096/HR3523/HR3674/S1152/S2111” by , c/o Flickr. Some Rights Reserved

Photo: “50 Golden Blogging Tips For Business” by Kris Olin, c/o Flickr. Some Rights Reserved

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