Technical Glitch says Pia Cayetano

Remember that plagiarism issue raised by Pinoy Templars? Well, Pia Cayetano’s answer has finally hit mainstream media, and it’s a lousy reply.

“I myself am a writer and a blogger. I believe that everyone is due the proper accreditation and the acknowledgment… nakalagay naman po yun sa ating Intellectual Property Code that from the moment of creation…your literary work is protected,” she said in an interview with reporters.

But she said that it’s difficult to cite all of the sources while the speech is being delivered so she just mentions the major source at the beginning and makes sure to insert footnotes where the speeches are uploaded.
“So sinasabi nila na bawat sentence during my speech dapat i-acknowledge ko? Mahirap naman gawin yun during the speech,” she said.

She has a point, of course. But hang on. Wasn’t she part of the chorus that crucified Tito Sotto? Granted that Sotto’s PR people were stupid enough not to have thought of this defense, still, it’s poor form for Pia to adopt such a crudely obvious dodge. Not to mention the fact that, apparently, the official published versions of at least one of her speeches didn’t seem to have any attribution footnotes at all for the allegedly plagiarized passages.

“My staff has told me in some cases dun sa lumang WordPress file hindi po napapasok ang footnotes. It’s a technical glitch and they have made the appropriate corrections,” she said.
“[So due to the] technical glitch hindi nalagay yung footnotes but I have always acknowledged that proper footnoting should be there,” she added.

Damn! Apparently the MS Word glitch that prevented Supreme Court Justice Castillo’s attribution footnotes from showing up has infected Pia’s “WordPress file.” Double damn! I didn’t even know that WordPress did footnotes. Seriously tho,’ this is probably the lamest excuse ever. Worse for being nothing but an updated version of an old alibi that didn’t even fly the first time.

And while we’re on the subject, what’s up with namedropping WordPress? Was it an error? Did she mean MS Word? Or was she counting on the obscurity – to the general public at least – of the publishing platform as a means of glossing over her error? Did she maybe expect people to go, “ah, wordpress naman pala kasi. okay.”

She likewise clarified that her speech on “The Status of the Philippines in Achieving the Millennium Development Goals” was never delivered on the Senate floor and was just uploaded on her website.
“Unfortunately yung media officer ko akala yung na-deliver kong speech naupload yun again technical glitch hindi nalagay yung footnotes but I have always acknowledged that proper footnoting should be there,” she said.
“Sana naman po may konting nag-abala yung nag-blog…that speech was never delivered on the Senate floor…you would see that in the Senate journal,” she said.

Well now, she’s just gone and torpedoed her first excuse out of the water, hasn’t she? In the first place, she says citing sources while delivering a speech was difficult. But if her speech wasn’t delivered, then – by her own logic – there’d be no problem with attributions, right? So, she waves the magic “technical glitch” wand and puts the smoking wand in her hapless – and conveniently anonymous – media officer’s hand. Real classy. Especially since people have been bitching about ‘command responsibility’ and all that.

In concluding her defense, Pia Cayetano whines that the issue had been blown out of proportion. Maybe so. But when she cheered while shit was being splattered all over your colleague over the exact same issue, perhaps she shouldn’t be so quick to complain when she gets some of that same shit splattered all over her.

Karma, truly is digital.



Now it’s Pia Cayetano that’s being accused of plagiarism.

Funny how people sometimes tend to burn themselves and their allies in their overweening desire to push every advantage to the limit. Funnier too how people who’ve been lambasting Sotto for plagiarism have suddenly tacked differently in the last few hours. Gone are most of the vicious tweets, to be replaced with affirmations of the pretty Senator.

It’s sad really, that Cayetano is now being challenged to prove that she isn’t cut from the same cloth as Sotto, but if it is true that she joined the chorus against the man, then I guess she has no choice except to face the music herself. For the record, I think that in both cases, the plagiarism angle seriously distracts from the more important aspects of their respective positions. She, health and so on; he, the fact that the Pill has harmful effects which cannot be lightly brushed aside by adherents of a bill which, if passed into law, would essentially promote its use. For crying out loud, meds have been taken off the market for less evidence of harmful side effects than the evidence available for the Pill’s known dangers.

I suggest we get over it. If the plagiarism of these two Senators rankles too much, then just don’t vote for them the next time. For now, though, opponents of the RH bill should just focus their efforts on attempting to water down the bill with amendments, and proponents should just keep calm and carry on.

Oops. Those last five words weren’t mine. Just in case anyone’s checking. LOL

By the way.

So THAT’S why you’ve been promoting that  restaurant on Bonifacio High Street so tirelessly, you snarky devil, you. LOL

More popish than Pope

I’m for the RH bill. Let’s get that straight. And no, I’m not Sotto’s whore either. But this whole business about plagiarism is just being capitalized on so shamelessly by some quarters that it’s gotten too ridiculous for comfort.

Obviously, plagiarism is a serious issue, and Sotto should be taken to task for that. But did he really take Pope out of context? This interview belies that notion, despite the interviewer’s determined attempts to get Pope to express support for the RH bill.

The people pushing this interview have, so far as I know, not released a transcript. So, I did a little transcribing of my own.

Noemi Dado – The purpose of writing your article was the harmful effect of chemicals on the gut, but not to discourage the use of the pill, am I right?

Sarah Pope – Well, yes, it’s to discoura- let me, let me clarify. I’ve never used the pill myself, nor will I ever use it. I try to avoid drugs as much as possible. But the effects of the pill are very similar to the effect of antibiotics on the gut. They’re very similar. So, but we’re not go throw away antibiotics are we?

Noemi Dado – No…

Sarah Pope: Are we gonna get rid of antibiotics because there are side effects? No. They’re useful in certain instances, the same with the pill. I want women to understand that there’s health problems with regard to the pill and to be aware of that before they take– don’t take them lightly, do you know what I mean? Don’t just take them because it’s convenient, because it’s easy. You need to really think about it. And think about you’re situation before you take the pill. But if it wor– if it makes sense for you, any downside is outweighed by the benefit to you taking it, then yeah, of course, go ahead and take it.

Dado opened with a leading question and was promptly corrected. Of course, you could see Pope’s hesitation to say that she was discouraging the pill so she quickly launched into a clarification which gave the same net result: she doesn’t believe in the pill, but hell, if you do, then go right ahead.

Does this square with Sotto’s position? I don’t exactly know, but it sounds remarkably similar. As far as I know, Sotto hasn’t been agitating to outlaw the pill, only that he’s against a proposed measure that would promote policies that are “detrimental to the health of a pregnant mother and puts the life of the unborn on the line.

To say that Sotto took Pope out of context would mean that Pope was FOR the pill, but that Sotto had used her words to say otherwise. This was Dado’s hoped for answer with that leading question of hers. Pope, however, was very clear. She too was against the use of the pill, but would not stand in anyone’s way if they wanted to use it. Kinda like not pushing for a ban, but opposing a move to promote the pill? She’s more Sotto-ish than she might want to admit.

But Dado doesn’t accept that. So she asks:

Noemi Dado – How do you feel that your blog entry was taken out of context and used against the reproductive health rights of women?

Sarah Pope: Well, you know, I think it was very presumptuous of Senator Sotto’s staff to take, you know, material and to twist it for their own personal agenda. That’s probably why they didn’t ask permission – it’s probably one of the reasons they didn’t ask for permission because they probably wouldn’t have gotten it. I don’t want my information to be used for political gain. I want it to go out to the women, to have them use it for their own personal benefit, but not in a political way, that’s not the intention of my blog. It’s not a political blog. It’s a health blog!

Pope quickly pivots to the issue of unattributed and unauthorized use of her material, neatly dodging the “context” issue which she had already responded to. Correctly, in my opinion, she underscores the essentially neutral nature of her material – that it should be used for personal decision making, not political maneuvering.

At this point, I wondered if she wasn’t cringing internally since she – not her material – was precisely being politicized at this point.

Noemi Dado – What do you feel now about the reproductive health stand of our women here?

Sarah Pope – Well, you know I’m not well-versed with what the, you know, situation is over there, I’m not a Filipino. So I’m not really- you know, what my opinion is of the bill, and women’s rights, and what’s going on in the Philippines — I don’t live there, I’ve never even visited the Philippines, so I’m not sure my opinion would be of any value whatsoever.

Of course, Dado refuses to take that as an indication that Pope is trying to stay out of the fray – except of course for the plagiarism issue – so she hits the blogger with a blurb she had given earlier:

“Women of the Philippines: I am terribly sorry my blog was used and twisted against you. You deserve the choice to use The Pill if you want or need to based on your particular circumstances.”

And snuck in this comment: “It went against the speech of Senator Sotto,” which Pope again conveniently ignored. However, by this point in the interview, Pope was ready to wale on Sotto for being a plagiarist; against which I have absolutely no objections.

So what was the point of the interview?

From Dado’s point of view, it’s pretty clear that she wanted Pope to endorse the RH Bill. Of course, considering Pope’s works, she would have been unlikely to come out in defense of the pill. I wonder why Dado missed that.

From Pope’s point of view on the other hand, the woman clearly was more concerned with the theft of her work, especially since she took great pains to stick to motherhood sentiments about how women should be given a choice to use the pill or not.

Like I said at the top, I am for the RH Bill. But in my support of that measure, I’m not quite so desperate as to try so determinedly to make it appear that this foreign woman is on our side. That is unfair to her and just poor form for us. What Sotto did was terrible, and he should be made to pay for it electorally. Don’t ever vote for him if he runs again, even if only for Quezon City councilor. But be that as it may, I think the quote did establish a solid foundation for his arguments such as they were.

In fact, I have not heard RH bill advocates go into any great detail about the detrimental effects of using the pill, except only to say that the pill should be used only upon proper consultation with a physician. If Sotto was pointing out that that strategy is misleading, well, that’s his opinion. Advocates of the Bill, however, must acknowledge that his opinion is not his alone and that the cause would be greatly benefited by addressing his points directly, rather than dwelling on collateral issues and, ultimately, being more popish than Pope.