Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano is not one to pass judgement on his big sister, thus he will inhibit himself from hearings the ethics committee he heads will hold on a plagiarism complaint filed against Sen. Pia Cayetano.
Pia is accused of lifting “paragraphs” from a presentation made by Health Secretary Mario Villaverde to the 7th National Health Sector Meeting on mothers, newborns and children in 2008, and passing them off as her own in a privilege speech she delivered in the Senate in February 2011.
Complainant Alberto Loquez Ong Jr. also alleged that Pia’s World Environment Day privilege speech on June 6, 2012, “copied statements from the United Nations Environment Program without attributing to it.”
In a six-page complaint, Ong also said that Pia’s response in e-mailed transcripts to reporters on Aug. 22: “So, sinasabi nila na bawat (they’re saying that every) sentence during my speech dapat i-acknowledge ko (should have been acknowledged by me)? Mahirap naman gawin yun (That would have been hard to do) during the speech” showed “arrogance” and “improper conduct.”
Pia cited a “technical glitch” for the noninclusion of footnotes showing attribution of the reports on her website, when she was asked about it in a television interview on Wednesday.
Alan said he would assume “good faith” on the part of the complainant, and added that this would be one time he would rather not pass judgment on Pia.
“She has always been the more perfect one and I’ve always looked for a chance to judge her,” joked Cayetano, 42, about his sister who is 46.
“But since (the complaint) falls into this (ethics) committee and I am the chair, it’s logical that when the time comes, I do not participate and I would assume good faith on the people who filed the case,” he said in an impromptu news conference yesterday.
Cayetano said he did not even oblige his sister’s staff who asked for a copy of the plagiarism complaint.
“Until we pass the rules of the committee, we cannot be the source of a copy of the complaint (hindi puwedeng sa amin manggaling),” he said.
Cayetano and Sen. Gregorio Honasan earlier conducted a brief committee meeting to discuss the rules for the panel hearings on the six complaints lodged against various senators.
The most controversial complaint is the one filed against Senate Majority Leader Tito Sotto for plagiarism for allegedly failing to attribute passages in a series of speeches he delivered against the reproductive health (RH) bill.
Cayetano said it was agreed upon that all members of the ethics committee, not just its chair, would decide whether or not there is probable cause to investigate a senator charged before the panel.
Under the old rules, only the committee chair wrote a report and this was presented to the plenary for decision on whether or not to discipline a colleague facing an ethics complaint.