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Sotto to use privilege speech to fight Sarah Pope, critics

Senator Tito Sotto (Photo from

MANILA, Philippines (Aug 19, 2012) - Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III will again take the floor on Wednesday to deliver a privilege speech, which would take the place of the last part of his turno en contra (rebuttal) speech.

“It’s their fault. I am ready to close my turno but now I will postpone this for my privilege speech,” Sotto said yesterday, referring to American blogger Sarah Pope, who had accused him of plagiarism over his speech against the Reproductive Health bill, and several pro-RH bill groups and individuals.

He said he is fighting back and has threatened to take Pope and the proponents of the RH bill head-on in his scheduled privilege speech.

After two days of hearing the exchanges between Pope, the people attacking him in social media and his Senate staff over an entry the American made in her blog about the pill, Sotto admitted that certain lines in his turno en contra speech against the RH bill were lifted from Pope’s blog.

However, he has repeatedly denied that he committed plagiarism, as alleged by Pope, because he said he made it clear in his speeches that the contents, including the references to ideas, thoughts or medical and scientific findings were not his own.

“She was not the author of the book. If I did not mention her name then she should know that I also did not mention several other people’s names (in my speech),” he said in an interview.

Sotto’s chief of staff, lawyer Hector Villacorta, admitted that they lifted parts of Pope’s blog to present some information contained in a book written by Dr. Natasha McBride.

Pope has since gone on a campaign to make Sotto accountable for what she felt was the stealing of her intellectual property and quickly drew the support of her fellow bloggers here and abroad.

She even went as far as calling Sotto a “lying thief,” which drew the ire of the senator.

He said he was convinced the pro-RH groups are behind the latest attacks against him and that they are the ones orchestrating the smear campaign using Pope as its centerpiece.

“This is clearly a wrecking job. The pro-RH people are the same ones making a big issue out of this. If the blogger and I are on the same side in the RH debate, then I don’t need enemies” Sotto said.

“Plagiarism, whether you give attribution or not, applies only if you contend that the contents (used) are yours. (From