CenterLaw claims another possible plagiarism by SC justice

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 26 2010 05:02 PM | Updated as of Oct 27 2010 09:33 AM

MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) - The lawyers that earlier raised plagiarism allegations against Supreme Court Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo is citing another possible incident by the magistrate.

In a press release, the CenterLaw, headed by lawyer Harry Roque, Jr., said “in the earlier case of ‘Ang Ladlad,’ Justice Del Castillo appeared to have committed plagiarism as well. Our study is only preliminary but the exigencies of the situation have compelled us to make this public.”

In a text message, however, Supreme Court spokesman Jose Midas Marquez said: “This second allegation is only a ‘preliminary’ study. It is suggested that before serious allegations like these are hurled, especially at this time, they be results of deliberate and thorough consideration, as they add nothing but further confusion to the present situation.”

“As it is, it appears that the alleged plagiarized phrase has been used in a thousand other writings without citation, and has become a generally accepted principle of law. Be that as it may, the further issuance of a statement on the matter shall be stayed, until this issue is formally brought before the Court,” he added.

In a decision penned by the magistrate in April, the high court allowed the party-list representing gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders to seek representation in Congress.

CenterLaw cited a passage similar to the Handyside v. United Kingdom case before the European Court of Human Rights on December 7, 1976.

The Del Castillo decision reads:

“Freedom of expression constitutes one of the essential foundations of a democratic society, and this freedom applies not only to those that are favorably received but also to those that offend, shock, or disturb. Any restriction imposed in this sphere must be proportionate to the legitimate aim pursued. Absent any compelling state interest, it is not for the COMELEC or this Court to impose its views on the populace. Otherwise stated, the COMELEC is certainly not free to interfere with speech for no better reason than promoting an approved message or discouraging a disfavored one.

The foreign court decision purportedly reads:

“Freedom of expression constitutes one of the essential foundations of [a democratic] society, one of the basic conditions for its progress and for the development of every man … it is applicable not only to ‘information’ or ‘ideas’ that are favourably received or regarded as inoffensive or as a matter of indifference, but also to those that offend, shock or disturb the State or any sector of the population. Such are the demands of pluralism, tolerance and broadmindedness without which there is no ‘democratic society.’”

The other comparisons can be seen here: http://harryroque.com/2010/10/26/more-plagiarism-in-the-del-castillos-ponencia-in-ang-ladlad/

CenterLaw said: “We wonder if this is also the fault of MS Word?”

The high court earlier cleared the magistrate of accusations that he supposedly plagiarized the works of several American legal experts in his ponencia regarding the case of comfort women.

In a 25-page decision, the high court adopted the findings of an ethics committee, saying del Castillo is not guilty of misconduct and gross inexcusable negligence.

It said del Castillo did not try to pass off the works of the legal experts as his own. It described the issue “a case of bad footnoting.”

SC Administrator and spokesperson Jose Midas Marquez said Tuesday that he has been informed about the new allegation.

"I have received numerous calls and text messages. Admittedly, this second allegation is only a 'preliminary' study. It is suggested that before serious allegations like these are hurled, especially at this time, they be results of deliberate and thorough consideration, as they add nothing but further confusion to the present situation,” he said in a statement. 

“As it is, it appears that the alleged plagiarized phrase has been used in a thousand other writings wthout citation, and hasbecome a generally-accepted principle of law. Be that as it may, the further issuance of a statement on the matter shall be stayed, until this issue is formally brought before the Court,” he added.