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Political Dynasties—One Reason Why the Philippines Has Fallen So Far Behind

Accusations of plagiarism have been hounding Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III for several weeks now.Senator Sotto delivering a speech on the senate floor And the good senator appears to have spent most of his time hee-hawing around an apology instead of actually making one. On November 13th Sotto took to the Senate floor and offered more excuses—saying it was actually a SMS text message sent to him by a friend that he translated into Pilipino. He didn’t know they were the words of the late Robert F. Kennedy. Sotto then went on to say that though he may have unknowingly translated parts of RFK’s speech, “copying or imitation is the highest form of flattery.” The senator then goes down the path of pointing fingers and accusing his detractors of unfairness. He appears almost incredulous that anyone would have a contrarian view to his. And like many arrogant Pinoy politicians before him, Sotto refuses to simply step up to the plate and say “I’m sorry, I screwed up, it was my mistake.” Instead these misguided politicos spew a litany of shallow excuses that the public at that point no longer wants to hear.

Sotto isn’t going to convince anyone that he is not guilty of plagiarism. His protestations to the contrary only make him the butt of jokes around office water coolers and Manila’s coffee shops. The latest one making the rounds goes something like this: a news journalist asks the Senator if he is worried about all the accusations of plagiarism leveled against him? The good senator replies “no, why should I worry.” And then adds “I have nothing to fear but fear itself.”

Pinoy politicians need to learn a bit of humility. When you’re caught red-handed, the one thing you should do is own up to your mistake. If you don’t, people begin to think less of you than they already do. Published 11/20/2012


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