Two kinds of reactions-A A +A
Saturday, August 18, 2012
THE bigger mistake was in the way Sen. Vicente Sotto III handled the situation after he was caught plagiarizing the work of an American blogger.
To Sarah Pope, owner of the blog The Healthy Home Economist at www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com, an apology from Sotto would have ended the controversy. But the comments of Sotto’s chief of staff, lawyer Hector Villacorta, on her blog could hardly be called an apology. Pope said the sarcasm and Sotto’s refusal to admit to the error make it difficult for her to put an end to the issue.
There are two ways to react to getting caught plagiarizing another person’s work. One way is to immediately admit to the mistake, apologize and take the blame for it, even if a speechwriter did the unauthorized copying. Another approach is to deny the accusation to the hilt and let someone, like a lowly staffer, take the fall. The second option was what Sotto took, causing him more damage than the flak he initially received for stealing Pope’s words.
Online criticism focused on Sotto after Pope said he took from her blog in his privilege speech against the Reproductive Health bill early last week. Pope said Sotto’s speech copied “basically word for word” a blog post she wrote in 2011.
Sotto denied the plagiarism but his staffer Villacorta admitted to it. Villacorta wrote in a post on Pope’s blog, “Let me say that after asking my staff, indeed, your blog was used but only in quoting also from the same book of Dr. (Natasha) Campbell-McBride. We are both indebted to the book’s author but if you wish that you also be credited with the contents of the book, let this be your affirmation. I can do it and, by this message, I am doing it. Hope it satisfies you.” Far from sounding like an apology.
Following this controversy, a box now appears on Pope’s blog page after every few minutes saying: “The page at www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com says: This material is copyrighted by Austus Foods LLC.” It is obviously a way to discourage unauthorized copying of her writing.
The Sun.Star website at www.sunstar.com.ph has been streaming live since Friday activities of the Kadayawan 2012, described by organizers as the biggest festival in Davao and the whole of Mindanao.
Streamed last Friday morning were interviews with festival organizers Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio and Duaw Dabaw Festival Foundation chair Gene Bangayan. In the evening, shown live was the Hiyas sa Kadayawan or search for the festival gem.
The live airing over the Internet continued with the street parade whole day of yesterday, Saturday, and will go on for the float parade set for today, Sunday. Go to the Sun.Star website and click on the Kadayawan banner or go direct to davao.sunstar.com.ph. The website’s partners are Sun.Star Davao, Duaw Dabaw and Smart Communications Inc. for the Internet connection using its latest fourth-generation technology, the LTE or long-term evolution.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 19, 2012.