Despite speaking in Filipino for his final turno en contra statement against the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill, Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III is still being hounded by critics, who said that he had reportedly plagiarized again—this time from a famous speech delivered by the late U.S. Senator Robert Kennedy. According to an article on Inquirer.net, the conclusion of Sotto’s oration was a direct Filipino translation of a portion of Kennedy’s Day of Affirmation speech, which was delivered in 1966.

However, Sotto once again sought to affirm his innocence. He said that the idea was given to him through text, and since he found it interesting, he decided to have his staff incorporate it in his speech.

Ah, marunong mag-Tagalog si Kennedy? Kaya nga tinagalog ko para tigilan na nila, naghanap pa rin sila. Sagutin 'yung mga figures, sagutin nila 'yung population issue, sagutin nila perang bilyon bilyon, wag 'yung Tagalog ko o kung may tina-translate ako (Oh, did Kennedy speak Tagalog? This is the reason why I gave my speech in Tagalog, so that critics would stop bothering me on trivial issues. They should instead answer the population issue… not my way of speaking),” he was quoted as saying in an article on Philstar.com.

The RH Bill, which was sponsored on the Senate floor a year and three months ago, is still undergoing committee amendments. Malacañang spokesman Edwin Lacierda has stated that while the palace would want to have the bill passed by December, they would first have to get details of the technical working group (TWG) that would aim to mediate between the conflicting views on the bill.

“We are hopeful that an acceptable RH Bill will be approved, and we hope this will be acceptable to everybody,” Lacierda said. “(We want) an RH Bill that is acceptable to a great segment of the population because we understand their passion is really there—those who are pro-RH and those who are anti-RH—and that’s the reason why this will be a good time during the period of amendments for reasonable men to come together and discuss what the amendments could be.”

(Photo courtesy of PEP.ph)

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