MANILA, Philippines — A complaint against Senate Majority Floor Leader Vicente Sotto III was filed Tuesday by bloggers and a group of professors before the Senate ethics committee regarding the alleged plagiarism he committed.
Sotto had allegedly used parts of a blog post of US blogger Sarah Pope without attribution in his speech during the controversial Reproductive Health Bill debates.
He had also been accused of using a quote from the late US Senator Robert Kennedy which he translated into Tagalog in another speech.
Kerry Kennedy, daughter of Senator Kennedy, demanded that Sotto make a public apology.
Sotto, when asked by reporters Monday about the demand, said “what for?”
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said in a separate interview that “[Senators] cannot be questioned anywhere for what we say inside this chamber. Not because we are a special breed but because that is the immunity given by the sovereign people so that we can speak on any subject under the sun,” Enrile told reporters.
Professors from the University of the Philippines, Ateneo De Manila University, and the De La Salle University, joined forces in the filing of the complaint.
Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, chairman of the ethics committee, said in another interview Monday that he was already in the process of finalizing the rules to ensure a fair hearing.
“It … is the prerogative of the citizens to file a complaint against a senator. As long as it falls within the rules of the ethics committee then we will hear it,” Cayetano said.
“Now, whether or not a particular act constitutes a violation or unethical behavior will have to fall under the definitions according to the rules and the consensus of the members. But I can assure everyone of a fair hearing with all of these issues at hand,” he said.