Dear Tito Sen,
I am an Filipino-American blogger writing to you on behalf of all the bloggers around the world, most especially American bloggers. I admit that I used to respect you growing up as a child in the Philippines, watching your comedy duo with Vic Sotto and Joey de Leon. I thought you guys, along with my favorite comedian, King Dolphy, ruled back then and that you have become strong, positive role models to the people then, most especially to those who strive to make it in the business becoming high profile names such as yourselves. It was a sad moment when my family and I had to leave the country to settle a new life in the United States just a year shy of the first Philippine Revolution.
At that time, you already entered politics and I thought that you even become a stronger role model for everyone. I will be honest with you but because I practically grew up most of my life being an American, I don’t know anything about Philippine politics, let alone your practices, your conduct, and the way you run the country. I don’t know the political branches that make up the Philippine government. I also don’t know the real score with the old country, except for the fact that I still see the usual corruption cases and other not-so-significant issues being reported from what I’ve seen by watching delayed broadcast of ABS-CBN’s TV Patrol. I don’t know what type of senator you are towards the eyes of Filipinos over there because for sure my parents and myself and even my relatives here in the States don’t know who you are as a politician altogether.
But I do know a whole big deal about plagiarism. Be it from a teenage girl’s diary to a newspaper article, originally written material published out in the public, regardless if it was free press or paid press, is still considered a source. The content may be well-researched prose or a writer’s personal opinion, they are still considered published material and can be used as sources for other people’s research for public content. A writer is a writer regardless of his or her profession compared to other professions who do not write regularly, whether if it was a public speech or simply a progress report.
Sarah Pope, the American blogger who owns The Healthy Home Economist site, deserved more than just a written or verbal sorry coming from you and your staff. You don’t know the real deal with us American bloggers, and to say that Mrs. Pope is just a simple blogger of no political influence only proves your ignorance towards the power and influence of bloggers worldwide, not necessarily just American bloggers. We may know a whole lot more about plenty of professions more than individuals of profession such as yourself. She may not know anything about Philippine politics like myself, but she does know a great big deal of plagiarism, as well as the entire issue of women and contraceptives in general in regards to the Philippines’ highly-debated Reproductive Health (RH) Bill.
The content of what Mrs. Pope have written in her blog isn’t going to be elaborated here, however it still is originally written content and you, or rather your staff, have blatantly copied and presented it to the public without attributing to it to Mrs. Pope. I’m pretty sure the Philippine school system have taught all of their students the issue of plagiarism and copyrights, correct? It makes me wonder if you actually learned something about plagiarism and copyrights when you started writing your first research paper on any subject, especially in high school and college. Just because you are a high-profile politician in the Philippine federal government, doesn’t give you and your staff the right to rip off original content from an average blogger and simply get away by crediting yourself (and your staff) for that particular content you cited.
Your example has given me yet another reason why I couldn’t call myself a proud Filipino. So much of the Philippine social trends and culture have been blatantly copied detailed by detail from other types of trend and culture, rather than getting influenced and then innovate these types of cultures and mindsets. There has always been the issue of music, TV shows, and even published stories being plagiarized by others who want to have a quick buck and a quick fame instantly, but a supposed high-profile politician plagiarism original material from a blogger?
It makes me wonder now whether your or your staff even cited American federal law regarding copyrights and plagiarism. Believe me, American federal law is strictly followed and placed throughout our country, and you can’t just simply get away form plagiarism. Once you get caught and get sued, the punitive damages can be very heavy. Especially that you are a senator of one of Asia’s beloved countries, you will have to pay dearly. And I seriously mean dearly. If I were a Filipino blogger living in the Philippines who just happened to get ripped off by high profile individuals such as yourself, politician or celebrity, and ending up catching you for discrediting me, I’ll make sure that you’ll pay dearly and I won’t back out and lose to you just because you’re such at a high and mighty position while I’m somewhere down below just bringing my voice out to the public as a mere blogger.
So, what’s it gonna be now, Sen. Sotto? It’s a good thing that American bloggers in general are open-minded and gracious enough to spread their concerns and words towards the people who live in another country. Mrs. Pope acknowledged the women of the Philippines and showed her frustration on the way you used her material in your public rhetoric. Don’t forget that she is a woman and she can relate a lot to this issue. The way you denied your fraudulent crime against Mrs. Pope is simply just horrendous. Things in America doesn’t work the same way as in the Philippines, Mr. Senator. No one gets away from fraud and plagiarism as easily as you think. Not especially here in the States. A huge fine and jail time is what equates to those who committed plagiarism crimes here. Please keep that in mind.
Also, keep in mind the thing called responsibility. Your staff may be the real culprits for citing Mrs. Pope’s work and then incorporate them in your speech, but the fact that they are your staff, it also makes you the responsible party for their actions. Playing the blame game just doesn’t work here.
I don’t know what will happen to you and to Mrs. Pope and this entire plagiarism case from this point on. I will just have to say good luck and God Bless to the both of you. I do hope you don’t take Mrs. Pope’s response to your words lightly because a blogger’s words are never taken lightly regardless of that blogger’s social background and status. We’re all human and we’re all equal in this world. A public voice such as a blogger can bring a huge influence on the people’s everyday mindset. We bloggers are a lot more powerful in terms of free press than you think.
Although, I have to admit one thing. Thanks to your and your malicious actions, Mrs. Pope has gotten an interest in the Philippines and she acknowledged the Filipino people for being patient and open-minded regarding this case. You should give yourself and your staff a pat on the back for that. Even if that was the case, it was a dirty way for you to present the Philippines to foreign eyes. That’s just beyond shameful, Mr. Senator. Seriously.
So, I conclude my message to you from this point. All I can say is that this case should teach you (or re-teach you?) a lesson regarding messing with an average blogger by stealing his or her original content. May God truly bless you and your staff for you do not know what you are doing.