Now, Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III feels sorry.
In a privilege speech on Tuesday, the senate majority leader finally issued a public apology not for reportedly committing plagiarism but for having the issue upset the Kennedy family.
“If it upsets the Kennedy Family, then I am sorry,” Sotto said in an impromptu speech.
Sotto admitted copying a moving quote he received in a text message from a Christian leader without knowing it used to be part of the late US Senator Robert Kennedy’s speech.
Thinking it could inspire the public, Sotto delivered the text in Filipino as part of his speech during the height of deliberations on Reproductive Health (RH) bill.
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“If the Kennedy family thinks I copied it, that’s okay because I really copied it from a text message. Mr. President, copying or imitation is the highest form of flattery,” Sotto said.
“But that was not the intentions we have when we used it in the speech,” he clarified.
Addressing 37 individuals who filed a ethics complaint against him for plagiarizing works from bloggers on Tuesday morning, Sotto argued he never claimed parts of his speech as his own.
The actor-turned-politician accused members of the academe who lodged ethics complaint against him of turning “a simple case of probable misinformation” into “a case of persecution.”
“In my three turno en contra (speeches), I repeated several times, the Senate journal will bear me out, that I never said that they were mine. It’s clear that I disclosed everything there where I got it,” Sotto explained.
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“Plagiarism is to steal and pass off the idea of one another as one’s own without crediting the source. Mr. President, I never claimed it as mine,” he noted.
“I did not pass off anything as my own. How will I apologize for plagiarism when I never plagiarised? They want me to plead guilty for murder when the case is physical injury,” he added.
Sotto gave the speech after the late US senator’s daughter Kerry Kennedy denounced his action as “unethical, unsanctioned theft of Robert Kennedy's intellectual property” in a letter.
The letter, which circulated on various websites over the weekend, came months after Sotto was accused of copying parts of blogger Sarah Pope’s post in his speech during plenary debates on the RH Bill.
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