'Defend Sotto in ethics hearing' - bloggers et al

By Jojo Malig, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Nov 14 2012 10:41 PM | Updated as of Nov 15 2012 06:41 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Supporters of Senator Vicente "Tito" Sotto III should attend the Senate ethics committee hearing and defend the embattled lawmakers who is accused of plagiarism, blogger and academics who filed the complaint said Wednesday.

"Sotto's innocence should be decided in the Senate," said Red Tani, president of the Filipino Freethinkers organization.

"We have damning evidence against Sotto. If they believe that Sotto didn't do anything wrong, then they should join their principal at the Committee hearings to prove that," the complainants said in a press statement.

Lawyer Romeo Macalintal and a group calling itself Cyber RISE or Responsible Internet Users for Social Empowerment have written to Senate Ethics Committee Chairman Allan Peter Cayetano not to entertain the complaint against Sotto.

They called the ethics complaint against Sotto as a "waste of time" http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/11/14/12/sotto-supporters-plagiarism-rap-waste-time

This drew a rebuke from those who filed the complaint.

"It's very disappointing that a group that claims to be for responsible internet use does not understand that there is something wrong when you steal other people's ideas and pass them off as your own. They lose their credibility for their failure to recognize that using the internet for idea theft is as bad as using the internet for identity theft or child pornography," Tani said.

University of the Philippines professor Sylvia Estrada- Claudio, director of the Center for Women's Studies, said Macalintal should serve as a Sotto's lawyer in the ethics case.

She said Macalintal is wrong to argue that Sotto did not plagiarize a speech by Senator Robert F. Kennedy because Sotto said at the start of his speech that the ideas in his talk are not his own. http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/blogs/insights/11/10/12/robert-kennedys-daughter-offended-sottos-theft-her-dads-speech-wants-apology

She said proper attribution requires full identification of a source.

"The Intellectual Property Code which we cite in our complaint, clearly states that the author must be named. Furthermore, that his or her words must not be twisted to support an argument that the author had not intended," Estrada-Claudio said.

She added that ethics in governance is as important as issues on poverty, hunger, environment and health.

"Sotto lied to the Filipino people about the Reproductive Health Bill, and he twisted the words of other people to do so. That makes him accountable to the Filipino people and to all the bloggers and the family and memory of Robert F. Kennedy," Claudio said.

Dr. Nicole Curato of the UP Sociology Department said copying is theft.

"Even as children, we were taught that it is wrong to take something that is not ours without the permission of the owner. It's called stealing. Integrity and ethics are at stake here," she said.

"Lalo na sa case na itong nagreklamo ang mga may-ari ng mga comments na binanggit ni Sotto sa plenary, ang pangongopya ay pagnanakaw," Curato added.