SC justice denies plagiarism claim

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 19 2010 10:26 PM | Updated as of Jul 20 2010 07:27 AM

MANILA, Philippines - A Supreme Court associate justice has denied allegations of plagiarism as reported by Newsbreak. (Click here for Newsbreak exclusive.)

Supreme Court spokesman Midas Marquez said Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo spoke with Chief Justice Renato Corona on Monday morning and vowed he would look into the allegations.

Del Castillo, however, immediately denied there were plagiarized passages in the Supreme Court's April 28 ruling which he penned.

He said he properly attributed all sources and quotes in his ponencia.

Since this was brought to the attention of the Supreme Court, Del Castillo said he will check the relevant papers and the decision.

In a report uploaded on Monday, Newsbreak alleged that Del Castillo committed plagiarism in a decision on a diplomatically and politically sensitive case.

Newsbreak’s review of the decision penned by Del Castillo on "World War II comfort women showed that numerous parts were copied from three materials written by legal experts abroad, without properly attributing these to the authors."

"In April 28, the Supreme Court, through Del Castillo’s ponencia in the Vinuya v. Romulo case (G.R. No 162230), junked the petition of 70 Filipino comfort women to compel the Philippine government to get a public apology from Tokyo and to provide reparation to victims of sexual abuse during World War II," Newsbreak said.
 
Del Castillo allegedly "lifted quotes and footnotes from:
 
•    'A Fiduciary Theory of Jus Cogens' by Ivan Criddle and Evan Fox-Descent, published last year in the Yale Journal of International Law.
•    'Breaking the Silence on Rape as an International Crime' by Mark Ellis, published 2006 in the Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law.
•    'Enforcing Erga Omnes Obligations in International Law' by Christian Tams, published in 2005."

On Monday, the Filipino comfort women's group asked the Supreme Court to reconsider its decision turning down their petition that would compel the Philippine government to push for official reparations from the Japanese government. (Click here for related story.)

This was a decision on a case the group called Malaya Lolas filed in 2004 "to declare the existing [Philippine] government policy of refusing to espouse the victims' claim for reparation as tantamount to grave abuse of discretion," which was dismissed by the Supreme Court.

Commenting on the motion for reconsideration filed on Monday, Marquez said he does not think the comfort women are the right complainants since they are not the authors of the quotes in question.

"They are not the aggrieved party," he said.

Marquez also does not discount the possibility that the report about the alleged plagiarism was done to pressure the Supreme Court into reversing its decision. He claimed that losing lawyers will resort to things like that if only to reverse a ruling.

Marquez said the allegation of plagiarism will not affect the Supreme Court's original unanimous ruling, which was based on laws and a thorough deliberation by the high court. -- With reports from Newsbreak, and Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News