MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - Youth groups under President Benigno Aquino's Liberal Party lashed out at Senator Vicente "Tito" Sotto III on Wednesday amid allegations that the comedian-turned-politician plagiarized the work of other people in his speeches against the reproductive health (RH) bill.
In a press statement, the Filipino Liberal Youth (FLY) and the National Alliance of Liberal Student Formations (NASLF) said Sotto "must be held accountable for plagiarism."
"Plagiarism must not be condoned in our government as it has serious implication on the moral ascendancy of our leaders. When it is the government and its officials who break proper rules of conduct, it loses its moral capital to promote positive values in our society. How can a public official who committed plagiarism can enforce intellectual property laws?" the groups said in a press statement.
"Sen. Tito Sotto III is no different from a student who passed off the work of his colleague as his own. The latter would have been expelled by any reputable academic institution. It is high time we expect the same high standards from our leaders.
The 2 groups, which are under the LP Youth Network, said Sotto should answer the challenge made by teacher Leloy Claudio and writer Miguel Syjuco to engage in a "tag-team" debate on the Reproductive Health bill.
"We believe that through this debate, issues and facts will come to be crystallized."
Sotto found himself in a plagiarism maelstrom yet again Wednesday after he was accused of using parts of a speech delivered by late Senator Robert Kennedy without proper attribution.
He is a member of the Nationalist People's Coalition led by Aquino's uncle, Danding Cojuangco.