Home > Kahindik-hindik, manny pangilinan, speechgate > fr. nebres gives manny pangilinan an excuse slip for delivering a plagiarized speech at ateneo graduation rites

fr. nebres gives manny pangilinan an excuse slip for delivering a plagiarized speech at ateneo graduation rites

we applaud manny pangilinan for doing the right thing – admitting his error and resigning from the ateneo.

he should however fire his speech writer. we don’t understand how this speech writer can even consider plagiarizing other people’s commencement exercise speeches, most specially celebrities. copying it from others by itself we think is really dumb but plagiarizing the speeches of celebrities is simply stupid.

this speech writer did not think of the humiliation he/she is putting his/her boss in delivering a plagiarized speech. this is the ateneo, it is easy to expect the students are very much well read that at least one of them have read obama’s, oprah’s or rowling’s speeches.

manny pangilinan did the right thing but we do not understand how fr. ben can not do the right thing here.

in fr. ben’s letter to pangilinan, fr. ben was too forgiving and even went out of his way to provide pangilinan an excuse for his error.  fr. ben puts the blame on pangilinan’s unnamed speech writer and exonerates pangilinan from the error as  he may have not been “fully aware”.

we have a simple question for fr. ben to answer –  based on ateneo policy and principles, what does the ateneo do to an ateneo student if they find out the student plagiarized?

the ateneo way is the principled way. it teaches it’s students and prides itself in being very principled. it protects and upholds principles, what is right and honorable regardless of consequences, even unpopular ones.

ateneo as a school also holds the highest and completely unflinching standards of excellence on it’s students.  grade school students as early as grade 3 are  taught that should they use a quote from someone or from the internet, the students should identify it’s source be it the author or the web link in homework or projects they submit to their teachers.

this is said in all grade school documents for homework and projects. all the students follow this and it is always checked. not doing this will get the student a lower if not a failing mark for the assignment or project.

we wonder why all of a sudden fr. nebres is not following these same standards and principle with manny pangilinan.

pangilinan is not a student, we understand that but he did perform a very important role at the school during the commencement exercise. his role is supposed to provide inspiration to the new graduates and when you do that it is expected that you do it at the highest standards that is why only men or women of substance or only those who are deserving are invited to make speeches like that.

fr. nebres in his letter to pangilinan sounded very willing to bend or even ignore the very same principles that it teaches its students to follow and abide by.

pangilinan knew what he did was wrong and he knew it’s gravity and how the plagiarism has hurt the school. he knew it so well that in his letter  he said  “wala talaga akong mukhang ihaharap pagkatapos.”

but fr. nebres disagreed with pangilinan’s statement of contrition. pangilinan is an ordinary citizen, fr.  nebres is a priest and yet pangilinan knew the sin he committed and the  moral shame he has caused the school and himself  while  fr. nebres  a priest and president of the university can so easily can ignore it. this is really very hard to understand.

plagiarism is dishonesty. and plagiarism committed in a university destroys the very foundation of what a school of learning is. it is from universities where many  great things in our world begin. copying it from someone else is no great achievement nor does it contribute anything. it is a shame.

the situation seems like everything is turned the opposite way or upside down. the sinner owns up to his sin that he knows to be a sin while the priest ignores it is a sin and lets it pass, reluctant to accept the act of contrition. the sinner already admitted the sin, can the priest not accept it?

we do not belittle who manny pangilinan is. he has done so much for ateneo and we admire him for it and are very thankful for his efforts.

but like pangilinan, we will call a spade a spade. he screwed up and what he did was shameful. we know he had not intended it but as he has said so  himself, the damage has been done. and it was a very meaningful damage.

for his mistake, we think it is right for him to resign his position at the ateneo. if he still wants to serve and help the school, he should continue to do so but not having the same title and function he used to have. if he continues to serve and help the school, we will continue to admire him and be thankful for his efforts.

his letter to fr. ben and his resignation from his position in the school is his mea culpa and meant to bring back honor to the school. he should be allowed to do so. why is fr. ben stopping pangilinan from doing so? and why is fr. ben so freely accepting of  the sin done on the school’s gradutaion rites?

graduation rites at its core is about achievement and excellence. glossing over a plagiarism committed at these rites we think destroys a lot of the meaning and celebration the event deserves very much. henceforth, graduation rites 201o will be known in the school’s history for the next 150 years and beyond  as the one that had dishonesty in it. and fr. ben did not censure it.

we think manny pangilinan has done the right thing  in owning up to his error, apologizing and  taking the right action of resigning from the school, fr. nebres has not. we applaud pangilinan but we can’t say the same thing for fr. nebres.

what is The Ateneo Way?

Letter of Pangilinan to Fr. Bienvenido Nebres, president of AdMU

Dear Father Ben

Easter greetings!

I have been told last night that portions of my graduation remarks – in particular my address to the Schools of Humanities and Social  Sciences – had been borrowed from certain other graduation speeches.

I had taken a look at the side-by-side comparison @ Facebook, and must admit to this mistake.

For this, I wish to express my sincerest apology to you, the University and to the 2010 graduating class.

I have had some help in the drafting of my remarks, but I take full and sole responsibility for them.

In mitigation perhaps, the body and substance of my speech represented my own story and my thoughts.  And I have labored long hours to get those speeches done.  It is my hope that their impact has not been lost on the graduates. That said, this post  fact event I am certain has devalued the words I have uttered at graduation – whether original or copied.

I am told further that comments posted on Facebook have started to spill beyond graduation, and are now alluding to my misconduct with respect to Meralco, with former President Erap, and so forth.  Under the circumstances, it is best for the Ateneo and myself to shorten the life of this controversy and prevent it from spinning out of control.

Fr Ben, this has been a source of deep personal embarrassment for me.

I am truly regretful for it.  I already have too many battles to fight, and some of them I wish not to have to fight.  In this instance, I do not want to, and would seek only the honorable  and principled way out.  The matter at hand may rest after this public apology, but it gives me a lot of  personal discomfort to continue to be closely involved with Ateneo affairs after this incident.  I am afraid the damage has been done – wala talaga akong mukhang ihaharap pagkatapos.

With much regret, Fr Ben, I would wish to retire from my official duties at the Ateneo.

With all good wishes to you and to our graduates.

M. V. P.

Letter of Nebres to Pangilinan

Dear Manny,

I received your apology just a few minutes ago and feel how deeply embarrassed and pained you are by this event. We realize that this was a mistake and we respect and appreciate your taking responsibility and your immediate apology.

At the same time, we know that this happened without your full awareness, though you take full and sole responsibility.  Thus this does not diminish our admiration and respect for your person and for your care and accomplishments for our country and for the Ateneo. In fact, your acceptance of responsibility and apology command our utmost respect.

In reading again through your speeches, we also see that indeed the main part of your speeches were your story and your thoughts. We thank you for taking so much time to craft them and to share them with us and our graduates. We are deeply touched by this sharing of yourself.

Again I realize how profoundly embarrassed you are by this event and that you believe that resigning from official duties at the Ateneo is the principled thing for you to do. However, reflecting on the events and circumstances, I cannot quite agree, and I believe with many others that what is appropriate is the apology you have given.  Neither can I agree with you that “wala talaga akong mukhang ihaharap pagkatapos.”  I would thus like to take up your retiring from official duties at the Ateneo with our officials and Board of Trustees and discuss it further with you.

It is Easter Vigil and may the Risen Christ be Light to you.

Fr. Ben, S.J.

also read:

  1. Gabriel Allon
    April 6, 2010 at 12:08 am

    It is all about money

    An apology from MVP and an unusually quick reply and forgiveness from Fr Nebres. Obviously, being the president of the Ateneo, he cannot afford to lose MVP and his donations.

  2. James
    April 6, 2010 at 1:27 am

    Yes. It is all about the money, if Fr.Nebres does stick to his letter. However,The Ateneo should think about whether they would let go of a short-term big bucks opportunity from Mr.Pangilinan or they would let go of the opportunity of maintaining the Academic Integrity of The Ateneo.

  3. nic
    April 6, 2010 at 12:54 pm


  4. nic
    April 6, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    money …lots of it. society bends over backward for money and all its ilk

  5. nic
    April 6, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    even priests leave their principles at the door when they enter the golden doors of wordly excess

  6. Mary Acosta
    April 6, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    Maybe next time, ateneo students can try to plagiarize their thesis and see if they can get away with it. They can give the excuse that they did not know that the typist added & removed some words after the hand written draft was given to them for typing!

    If they get an F then they can always argue citing this recent ruling!

  7. Jenny Henson
    April 6, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    this is like the book that i am currently reading – pillars of the earth where priests are giving absolution to sins depending on the price hat you are willing to pay!

  8. Dr. Maria Elena Tan - Llanos
    April 10, 2010 at 12:29 am

    Not only were parts of his speech lifted from famous people, perhaps some were taken from ordinary people who have brilliant ideas to share their thoughts and experiences similar to his. Take this one I discovered which sounded so familiar with me having read it somewhere in the net.



    Those are my parting words as today’s door closes softly between us. There will be other partings and other last words in our lives, so if today’s lingering at the threshold didn’t quite speak the unspeakable, maybe the next one will.



    As today’s door closes softly between us, those are my parting words. But there will be other partings and other last words in your lives.

  1. April 4, 2010 at 1:18 pm
  2. April 4, 2010 at 1:19 pm
  3. April 4, 2010 at 1:20 pm
  4. April 5, 2010 at 8:56 am
  5. April 5, 2010 at 10:06 am

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