(Not-so) Dear Tito Sen,
As you know, this is a follow-up from my previous open letter to you regarding your grave and unforgivable crime you and your staff committed against the worldwide blogging community by citing a citizen blogger’s words without providing proper credit to the original source as part of your stance against the proposed RH Bill. After weeks of being silent regarding the entire international issue, we now learn yet another pompous response coming from your own words.
Accusing you of blatant plagiarism by a citizen blogger is now considered cyber-bullying? Good Lord, do you even know or have you done any research on the issue of cyber-bullying in the first place? A blogger suing you for plagiarism is considered cyber-bullying? What is this, are you making a mockery out of the blogging community? Grave mistake there, Sir. You’ve already insulted us bloggers with your plagiarism and once again, you’ve given us another insult by accusing a high-profile politician by a mere commoner for that crime as cyber-bullying? And we’re not just talking about cyber-bullying here, but the fact that rather you provide a direct apology towards Mrs. Pope for your plagiarism crimes, you and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile decided to create another pointless bill that regulates blogging? I personally don’t know the general laws of the Philippines seeing that I’m an American citizen, but regulating blogging pretty much equals to regulating free speech and free press altogether.
It’s very clear that you, Senate President Enrile, and pretty much majority of the higher-ups within the Philippine government are still living in the old ages and are falling behind the latest internet and social media trends, but goodness gracious, I’m sure your staff are as aware of the open and free rights that we the people of the world have in the internet and should at least have the common sense enough to know that the internet is free for all people. As a blogger for over ten years now, I personally forgive you for not knowing about the nuts and bolts of the world wide web, but this. THIS. THIS seriously takes the cake!
I ask you, Sir, if you consider yourself a man of honor, let alone a man altogether. I mean, to turn things around in this situation by creating a pointless bill that would obviously violate the constitutional rights of the Filipino people in the entire country just to save your face from all your shameful acts and words towards a common citizen who residents in a country in which plagiarism and copyright infringement is against the law. Have you even got some decency to contemplate, not just politically but also spiritually and morally, that plagiarism is a form of stealing and burglary? Your pompous words of “plagiarism is not a crime here in the Philippines” may apply to the people of the Philippines, but those words does NOT apply to Mrs. Pope and her blog. After all, plagiarism does equate to copyright infringement laws, which is, by common sense, an international law. Your country’s laws does not dominate over international laws, Sir. The Philippines does NOT own the world for you to say such words.
Has your staff (knowing you simply don’t have the time to deal with this issue yourself) even made thorough research regarding the internet, social media, the blogging phenomena, and the general international rules applying to the internet and the press? Obviously you value your ego and your stature as a powerful government official than the opinions and concerns of the common people because if you truly say that you “helped” the people from your past stint at “Eat Bulaga,” why can’t you apply those good deeds of yours being a figure of power in the government? Seriously, who on earth are you trying to fool? This is the 21st Century, Sir, where every single common man, woman, and child have a more advanced awareness and common sense enough to know what is right and wrong without referring to the written set of laws or even read the Bible to see if it’s a moral and ethical sin or simply just another mistake that God would simply forgive. If you have forgotten, it’s the Eighth Commandment of The Ten Commandments that we’re speaking of in this case: “Thou shalt not steal.” (Exodus 20:15, Deuteronomy 5:19). If you consider yourself a wise man, stealing doesn’t just mean as in stealing directly, but all the other methods that can lead to stealing, such as fraud, blackmail, and yes, plagiarism, also apply to this great commandment.
I may probably sound as if I’m committing a crime of libel and slander, however your actions, right from the beginning of this entire mess, to your current reactions on dealing with an honored blogger such as Mrs. Pope, simply just gave the Philippines yet another bad name to the faces of the rest of the world. I don’t have to repeat these reasons since I already mentioned that in my previous open letter, however, your actions as a public figure in the government are good examples of why up to now, the Philippines is still considered one of the “third world” countries with the usual poverty, unemployment, and high wave of crimes that the common people see everyday from what they see on TV news to the corner of their neighborhood streets.
There has to be a deep reason why you are still in office, Tito Sen. The people believed in you, that’s for sure. They had high hopes and beliefs that you would at least contribute your good deeds, influence your fellow politicians who prioritize themselves more than the being and stability of the country and its people. Never mind your stance being against the RH Bill (which I may admit is disappointing considering we are speaking of women’s rights here), however you or anyone else in your camp may put it, plagiarism is still plagiarism. Not only that you made a fool of yourself in public, but you also corrupted the pride, originality, and the dignity of the Filipino through your humiliating, insulting actions. Not only that you’re out to propose a “blogging regulation” bill just for your own benefit, but you also showed us your shallow outlook towards the common people. Keep in mind that these bloggers may even become future prolific writers, journalists, and commentators who are ready and willing to exercise their rights of free speech and free press to speak the truth about everything out in the public today, which includes public figures such as yourself.
We bloggers are not out there to libel or slander individual figures we hate. We are out there to write, seek, and speak the truth, whether if they may lean to the positive or the negative. We are not out there to continue harassing you or putting you in a bad light or, in your terms, “cyber-bullying.” We just want to restore our dignity and credibility as bloggers altogether by having you issue a public apology to Mrs. Pope for your actions. A simple, gracious act such as admitting your mistakes and feeling regrets for making them to one blogger could mean a lot to the rest of the blogging community. It doesn’t have to be in public, but please, give assurance to Mrs. Pope that an incident such as plagiarism will never happen again.
You may be in a position of power, but never underestimate the mentality of the common people, let alone the blogging community. We may be part of the “little people,” but don’t you ever forget who brought you in to that position in the first place. The “little people” had high hopes for you to make a difference and turn the country around from its poverty and oppression of the unfortunate within our society. You may think that “copying without giving proper credit” may be a small matter to you, but to the rest of the world, what you did is a form of copyright infringement. It is also a form of fraud. Most of all, it is a form of thievery and burglary. To sum it up, you just violated the international copyright infringement laws and even Commandment Number Eight of the Ten Commandments.
Sure, you may think this entire follow-up and my open letter to you before this may mean nothing to you and your party of cronies. You may think that our words and concerns mean absolutely peanuts to you. But never underestimate the power of the people. You must have forgotten who ousted the late President Marcos in 1986 (and my family and I happened to be in that protest march also before we left the country for the U.S.) and former President Estrada back in 2001 (and our relatives happened to be in that protest march as well while we watched the live footage on delayed TV Patrol broadcasts). Even with just a simple sin such as plagiarism, you can be sure small but immoral acts such as that can bring the people’s outrage sky high and it may happen to you. This isn’t a threat, Tito Sen, but this is more of a reminder of the country’s turbulent pasts between the government and its people. In short, the common people may have a lot more power than you may think.
Well then, I’m afraid I must end this here. I would probably be end up repeating myself, but even if that was the case, what’s the point of you actually taking note of our voices and our opinions regarding the government’s actions against the common people? We put you in the seat of power through our votes and verbal and written support. We also have the power of removing you off of that seat through votes or even something a lot worse.
Oh, and also, please pass on this short message to Senate President Enrile. Please, do the rest of us in sync with today’s social media trends and do your research regarding blogging in general before you propose something as pompous and unnecessary such as a blogging regulation bill. You of all people are already dealing with the controversial RH Bill and now you waste your time proposing a blogging regulation bill? Have you gone senile or simply out of your mind, Sir? Don’t forget that the relationship between government and people is also based on checks and balances. The common people may look up to the government to act upon what needs to be acted on for the betterment of the people and society, but at the same time the common people are also on the lookout for all your booboos and your misconduct that may or may not affect the people’s reliability on government officials such as yourselves. As stated before, the common people have brought you to the seat of power. These same common people can also remove you from that same seat by any means. It has been done before and it may happen again.
God bless you and your camp. God bless the worldwide blogging community.
(a Filipino-American blogger of 10+ years from California, U.S.A.)
P.S. I suggest you start opening your own blog, Tito Sen, in order for you to understand the medium of blogging. Blogs do not equate to Facebook wall posts, mind you. As stated i global internet laws, the internet is now a form of publishing medium such as print, TV, and radio. Anything that is published on public via the internet is automatically considered copyrighted material. Even my open letter to you and this follow-up response is already copyrighted material. Be sure to request permission first before you start copying and pasting snippets without crediting now. That was sarcasm, of course.