After being harshly criticized for allegedly plagiarizing a number of blogs in his turno en contra speech against the Reproductive Health bill delivered on August 14, Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III has bemoaned that he has become a victim of cyberbullying.
"Ako na po yata ang kauna-unahang opisyal na naging biktima ng cyberbullying. Buti na lang mayroon na tayong batas na tinatalakay 'diyan (I might be the first ever official to become a victim of cyberbullying. Thank goodness we have laws discussing that)," the senator was quoted as saying in an article by ABS-CBNNews.com.
Sotto said that he cannot be sued successfully because plagiarism is not considered a crime in the Philippines. “Kahit na hanapin niyo sa Revised Penal Code, Intellectual Property Code o sa Special Penal Laws, wala kayong makikitang krimen na plagiarism,” he said. “Pinakamalapit na maaaring pag-isipan siguro ay copyright infringement na hindi naman tatayo, ayon sa mga abugado, dahil wala naman paglabag sa mga copyright o economic rights na nakasaad sa section 177 ng Intellectual Property Code (Even if you look in the Revised Penal Code, Intellectual Property Code, or in the Special Penal Laws, you won’t find anything that states plagiarism is a crime. The closest we have is probably copyright infringement which won’t stand, according to lawyers, because there was no infringement of copyright or economic rights as stated in section 117 of the Intellectual Property Code.).”
According to the article, the senator has also allowed to remove the parts of his speech mentioning the research done by Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride, which, in the speech, were lifted from The Healthy Home Economist, a US-based blog run by a woman named Sarah Pope.
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, who, along with Sotto, is a staunch opponent of the RH bill, then proposed the creation of a law that will review the rights of bloggers. “Magpanukala tayo ng batas at ilagay natin doon kung ano ang mga karapatan ng mga may blogs para sa ganoon ay maliwanag (Let us create a law that will explain the rights of those with blogs to clarify matters),” he was quoted as saying in an article by Rappler.com.
(Photo courtesy of PEP.ph)