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The plagiarism accusation charged to Sen. Vicente Sotto III is very alarming. Because of that, I have four pieces of advice for him:

1. Make sure you did research first before giving out information to the public.

Media is a powerful tool in transmitting information. Every personality, especially those who are often seen on TV should always be aware of their actions and words. When a statement or a speech has already been delivered, it cannot be taken back. Otherwise, the credibility of the person who delivered the statement or the speech will be put to risk.

According to a tweet (see Picture 1) posted by Karen Davila, a renowned broadcaster from ABS-CBN, Sotto revealed that his wife took pills named “Diane” which later resulted to the death of their son in 1975. Furthermore, Davila said that Bayer, the company which introduced the said pills, claimed that it was made available in the market in 1978. Therefore, “Diane” was not yet existing or available in the market during the time they lost their son (The Philippine Star, 2012).

There is an inconsistency in Sotto’s statement with the fact about the launching of the pill he was talking about. Because of that, the reliability of his statement and his credibility is at risk. A single mistake can destroy a person’s credibility. Just like a broken glass or mug, it cannot be returned to its original appearance no matter how hard you try to bring it back. If this is the case, it would be hard for him to influence or persuade people to believe him because his credibility has already been damaged.

 2. Cite sources properly

This is one of the important things he should bear in mind. As a politician, delivering speech is one of the things he will accomplish during his term. It’s okay to lift ideas from others as long as the person who borrows the ideas will acknowledge his sources. In one of Sotto’s interviews, I got hurt when he said, “Bakit ko naman iko-quote ang blogger? Blogger lang yon.” (Why would I quote a blogger? She’s just a blogger.) (ABS-CBN, 2012). Yes, Sarah Pope is “just a blogger” but then again, she still deserves to be acknowledged considering that her idea , “How ‘The Pill’ Can Harm Your Future Child’s Health” (Pope, 2011), was directly lifted. Writers did not only borrow or steal Pope’s idea, but they copied it word-for-word as well (Rappler, 2012). Just because the article of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride is a reliable source (because it is published and she is a doctor) while the article of Sarah Pope is only a blog entry, doesn’t necessarily mean that Sotto and his staff will refrain from acknowledging Pope. In the first place, if they are ashamed of quoting a blog entry, they should have directly lifted the former’s article which is, no doubt, a reliable source rather than the latter’s.

 3. If you are not sure about the idea or issue you are talking about, just don’t talk.

Less talk, less mistake remember. Don’t add fuel to the fire because it will just worsen your situation.

 4. Stop using fallacies. That’s ridiculous. If you do, make sure it’s not obvious.

During his speech against RH Bill, Sotto used Appeal to Pity or Argumentum ad Misericordiam when he talked about his son who died in 1975 because of pills. It won’t help him influence or persuade people. It’s better if he establishes valid and sound arguments rather than crying and telling sad stories of his past. Yes, he may get sympathies from people but later on, when they analyze and found out that some of his statements or arguments are implausible and inconsistent, they will have realizations which could affect their trust in him.

*I’m pro-RH Bill. I didn’t write this for the reason that Sotto and I have opposite principles, rather, I’m just expressing my opinion. If he’s reading this, I hope he will keep these pieces of advice in mind. Peace! :)

References:

ABS-CBN (2012). Sotto Denies Plagiarizing Blogger. Retrieved August 18, 2012, from www.abscbnnews.com <http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/video/anc/08/16/12/sotto-denies-plagiarizing-blogger >

Pope, S. (2011). How “The Pill” Can Harm Your Future Child’s Health. Retrieved August 18,2012, from www.thehealthyeconomist.com < <http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/how-the-pill-can-harm-your-future-childs-health/ >

Rappler.Com (2012). Sotto: Why Should I Quote A Blogger?. Retrieved August 18, 2012, fromwww.rappler.com < http://www.rappler.com/nation/10606-sotto-why-should-i-quote-a-blogger >

The Philippine Star (2012). Sotto Erred in Birth Control Pills Claim?. Retrieved August 18, 2012, from www.philstar.com. <http://www.philstar.com/nation/article.aspx?publicationsubcategoryid=200&articleid=839048>

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