Sarah: "Tito Sotto plagiarized a blog post I wrote"

Sarah Pope, “the healthy home economist,” the US-based blogger who owns the site where Senator Tito Sotto lifted parts of his anti-RH Bill speech, said the “esteemed” senator plagiarized her article.

In her blog post published Thursday, August 16, Sarah started with a greeting to welcome “many new Filipino readers” who discovered her blog “in the past 24 hours.”

“It is great to have you here, although the circumstances of our meeting are, to say the least, unusual,” wrote Sarah.

She stated further, “It seems one of your esteemed Senators, Tito Sotto, plagiarized a blog post I wrote on February 23, 2011 entitled How The Pill Can Harm Your Future Child’s Health, lifting entire sections of the article basically word for word...”

sarah vs sotto

In an interview with Karen Davila on ANC’s “Headstart” earlier, Sotto insisted that he quoted Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride and denied that he copied Sarah’s blog post.

The senator even said his team does not look at blogs. It seems, though, that Sotto will be eating his own words.

A certain “Atty. Hector A. Villacorta,” who claims that he is the “Chief of Staff” of the “Office of Senator Sotto” admitted that Sarah’s blog “was used but only in quoting also from the same book of dr. campbell- mcbride.”

The following is Villacorta’s comment posted by one “lezel” on August 16, 2012 at 8:18 am (US time):

“i am atty hector a. villacorta. i am the chief of staff of senator tito sotto. i understand you felt slighted that your blog was not attributed to you which became part of the speech of the senator. let me say that after asking my staff, indeed, your blog was used but only in quoting also from the same book of dr. 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. but if it does not, what would you want us to do? what have we done to deserve your incriminating words. the senator did not lift it himself, we did. did you want us to tell him to admit what he did not do? who would you like to crucify for this oversight? all the unborn wants very much the right to be born and they need everybody’s help, including yours. remember, rizal was the seventh child of 11 children of teodora alonso and francisco mercado. be on our side. please, and don’t deflect the debate to this matter of plagiarism. it is so out of sync in this great debate. join us in the side of life and truth. forgive us our single trespass. we had no malice, we thought you would be happy about it. there was no injury. hope this makes you feel better. warm regards.

Atty. Hector A. Villacorta
Chief of Staff
Office of Senator Sotto”

Sarah replied (emphasis supplied):

“I don’t like the fact that my blog was used without my permission against the education of the women of the Philippines and their reproductive rights. That is the issue and it was indeed plagiarism. If his staff did it, he condoned it. He is responsible for your actions. My BLOG was quoted, not Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. I put her work in my own words and you copied my words.

A woman needs to know that the Pill can indeed harm her but this is NO REASON to take away this choice from her in the first place.

I do not agree with Senator Sotto’s position on this issue and he twisted the message of my blog to suit his own purposes against the women of the Philippines.

No, your lame comment does not make me ‘feel’ any better.”

sotto vs sarah plagiarism

According to Wikipedia, plagiarism is defined in dictionaries as the “wrongful appropriation,” “close imitation,” or “purloining and publication” of another author’s “language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions,” and the representation of them as one’s own original work.