MANILA, Philippines – Megastar Sharon Cuneta came to the defense of her uncle, Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, who has been accused of plagiarism.
|Actress Sharon Cuneta and Senator Vicente Sotto III
In an interview with the Philippine Entertainment Portal, Cuneta said Sotto was “coming from a very personal place” when he delivered his turno en contra speech on the Reproductive Health bill.
"Ang sabi niya, nagandahan siya sa mga salita at Tinagalog niya. Kung ako ang tatanungin, it all came from a place of good intentions. Siguro mayroon lang kasing strict sa rules ng plagiarism na hindi mo rin naman sila masisi,” she said.
Cuneta said she would rather focus on the message of Sotto’s speech rather than the thought that he just “borrowed” its content.
“Sa akin kasi, those words were meant for the whole world to refer to kahit wala na 'yung orihinal na nagsabi... si RFK [Robert F. Kennedy], di ba?” she said.
Cuneta also urged the public to do the same. "Focus na lang on the message, no matter who said it. He just said it again, 'yun lang ang akin."
According to Cuneta, she understands how painful it was for Sotto and her aunt, actress Helen Gamboa, to lose a son.
“Basta, I understand where they were coming from kasi nakita ko yung pinsan ko nung namatay as a baby. Si Vincent [Sotto's son] namatay kasi premature. I know masakit na masakit 'yun kay Daddy," she explained.
In Sotto’s speech against the RH bill before the Senate last September 5, Sotto was accused of only translating parts of a speech originally delivered by the late US Senator Robert F. Kennedy.
Sotto, however, just laughed off allegations he merely translated Kennedy's speech to Filipino without attribution.
Sotto 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.
Before this, Sotto was also widely criticized for allegedly plagiarising the work of an American blogger.
Sotto initially denied it, but his staff later admitted that the senator's speech writers indeed used portions from a blog entry without properly attributing them to the author.