Home > Kahindik-hindik > the supreme court gives a loophole to plagiarism and manny pangilinan’s speechgate

the supreme court gives a loophole to plagiarism and manny pangilinan’s speechgate

Justice Mariano del Castillo, an associate justice of the  of the Philippine Supreme Court wrote a decision on a case filed in the supreme court that plagiarized portions from other sources, without properly identifying or attributing the quotes from its sources.

lawyers who filed the suit at the supreme court charged del castillo of plagiarism. in an en banc decision, the supreme court cleared del castillo of plagiarism.


Last July, Roque and Bagares filed a complaint against Del Castillo, who wrote the decision denying the women’s appeal, accusing the justice of plagiarizing parts of the works of three eminent international legal minds in writing his decision.

The authors and their works that were allegedly plagiarized were: “A Fiduciary Theory of Jus Cogens” by Evan J. Criddle and Evan Fox-Descent; “Breaking the Silence: Rape as an International Crime” by Mark Ellis; and “Enforcing Erga Omnes Obligations” by Christian J. Tams.

(read news article here: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/nation/view/20101016-297971/Footnotes-SC-drops-case-of-plagiarism-against-justice)

in it’s decision, the supreme court seem to be saying, there is no plagiarism when:

  • there is no intent to plagiarize
  • when you use Microsoft Word which does not tell the writer if something is plagiarized and the software makes it difficult to put footnotes
  • when the typist or the staff who actually typed the document cries and apologizes for the mistake that she made in deleting the footnotes that attributes the quotes to the original authors

the last point reminds us of manny pangilinan’s speechgate during the graduation ceremony at the ateneo where manny pagnilinan delivered a commencement speech that contained plagiarized parts from other commencement speches delivered by oprah. obama and conan o’brian. (read here:  https://wawam.wordpress.com/?s=manny+pangilinan)

in manny panigilinan’s speechgate, he admitted later on that indeed portions of the speech he delivered were plagiarized from other speeches. and just like the supreme court justice, pangilinan said the speech he delivered was originally written by his staff who foolishly plagiarized parts of the speech without telling pangilinan about them.

we did not hear of pangilinan’s staff crying and apologizing for his error like the staff of associate justice del castillo did but pangilinan to his credit did the honorable thing by resigning his post from the ateneo as a direct result of the speechgate.

pangilinan resigned his ateneo post despite the board of trustees of the ateneo pre-empted pangilinan’s action by absolving pangilinan of his “sin” of plagiarism. the board of trustees of the ateneo chose to ignore the plagiarism committed by pangilinan and forgave him for his sin even before pangilinan made a final decision on his resignation from the ateneo board of trustees.

in both cases, a staff was involved in the committing the act of plagiarism but there was a difference in action  – manny pangilinan resigned his post at the ateneo, a most honrable action while associate justice del castillo stayed in his post.

the meaning of the word “honor” seem to have been lost to del castillo, the supreme court and the ateneo board of trustees. only many pangilinan understood what it means.




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