MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) - Prominent businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan may have been delivering speeches with plagiarized passages since 2007 without him even realizing it.
Blogger Katrina Stuart Santiago, in a public Facebook note, first noted everal similarities between speeches of Pangilinan and other well-known figures such as Barack Obama, Theodore Roosevelt and Martin Luther King Jr.
Columnist and book author Jessica Zafra (in her blog jessicarulestheuniverse.com) and other bloggers, such as thenashman.blogspot.com and saintbarry.wordpress.com, followed suit, citing examples of Pangilinan's speech writers' apparent plagiarism of other people's speeches.
"MVP needs to seriously fire his speechwriters. Or make them write 'I will quote my sources responsibly' 100 times in a chalkboard. Or better, he should start writing his own speeches -- a man of his caliber should be able to do so in a jiffy," the user, called Saint Barry, said in the blog.
Here are some of them:
Pangilinan's keynote remarks during the inauguration of Ateneo's new Rizal Library, January 2010 (see full speech here):
Libraries are as old as civilization. From the 30,000 clay tablets found in the library of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh, to the computers of a modern library -- stretch more than five thousand years of man's insatiable desire to establish written immortality, insure the continuity of culture and civilization, to share his wisdom, his dreams, his memory, and his story with the rest of mankind, and with future generations.
Dr. Vartan Gregorian of Carnegie Corp.'s keynote remarks during the White House Conference on School Libraries (see full speech here):
Libraries are as old as civilization-- the object of pride, envy and sometimes senseless destruction. From the clay tablets of Babylon to the computers of a modern library stretch more than five thousand years of man's and woman's insatiable desire to establish written immortality and to insure the continuity of culture and civilization, to share their memory, their wisdom, their strivings, their fantasies, their longings and their experiences with mankind and future generations.
Pangilinan's keynote remarks at the 8th Asian forum on Corporate Social Responsibility (after typhoons "Ondoy" and "Pepeng"), November 2009 (see full speech here):
From the streets of Marikina to the flooded plains of Pangasinan , Filipinos should write the next chapter in their stories. Together, we should ensure that the legacy of a terrible storm is a country that is safer and better prepared for the tragedies that may come.
Obama's remarks at the 4th anniversary of hurricane "Katrina," August 2009 (see full speech here):
From the streets of New Orleans to the Mississippi coast, folks are beginning the next chapter in their American stories. And together, we can ensure that the legacy of a terrible storm is a country that is safer and more prepared for the challenges that may come.
Pangilinan's commencement address at Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan, March 2007 (see news article on the speech here):
As for myself, I have always believed in the strenuous life, in the life of labor and effort. The highest form of success comes not to the man who desires easy peace or inherits instant wealth, but to the man who does not shrink from risks, from hardship, or from bitter toil.
Roosevelt's speech at the Hamilton Club, April 1899 (see full speech here):
I wish to preach, not the doctrine of ignoble ease, but the doctrine of the strenuous life, the life of toil and effort, of labor and strife; to preach that the highest form of success which comes, not to the man who desires mere easy peace, but to the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil, and who out of these wins the splendid ultimate triumph.
Where it all started
Pangilinan first got into hot water after several posts from blogs and social networking site Facebook compared a speech that he delivered during Ateneo's commencement exercises last month to speeches of celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and J. K. Rowling. (Read Pangilinan's speech here).
They found out that parts of his speech were lifted from passages of other graduation remarks, something that Pangilinan immediately apologized for.
"I had taken a look at the side-by-side comparison at Facebook, and must admit to this mistake. For this, I wish to express my sincerest apology to you, the University and to the 2010 graduating class," Pangilinan said in a letter to Ateneo President Fr. Bienvenido Nebres, S.J.
"I have had some help in the drafting of my remarks, but I take full and sole responsibility for them," he added.
Pangilinan, currently the chairman of the Ateneo's board of trustees, has offered to "retire from his official duties" as a result of the incident.
The Board, however, rejected his resignation. Nebres said what took place was not intentional on the part of Pangilinan since it was a speech writer who drafted the address in question.
"The Board accepts Mr. Pangilinan's apology as the appropriate response to this unfortunate incident," Nebres said in a statement.
The Ateneo board's decision to reject Pangilinan's resignation, however, did not sit well with some people.
One of them was Andrew Crane, a business ethics professor at York University in Canada, who said that Ateneo has "not demonstrated that it is willing to reclaim the moral high ground."
"Ateneo should be taking this opportunity to reinforce its commitment to academic integrity, and making a stand about the importance of tackling plagiarism, not spending its efforts convincing the disgraced businessman to reconsider his decision to resign," Crane wrote to abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak via email.
Others, like the Ateneo board, were satisfied with Pangilinan's apology and offer to resign from his post. United Kingdom-based corporate social responsibility strategic advisor Mallen Baker, for one, said what he did is "a genuine act of leadership."
"Pangilinan is mindful of how such controversies can mushroom, and the academia connection sends a message beyond the gravity of the offense. So it wasn't disproportionate to offer to resign," Baker said.
(Eds. note: Our apologies to Ms Stuart Santiago for failing to mention she was the original source of the post.)