Friday, August 17, 2012

Sotto dares bloggers: Sue me


“Come on, sue me!”

This was the challenge made yesterday by Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III in countering the latest attacks on him by advocates of the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) bill, said to be largely bloggers, who have claimed that the senator allegedly committed plagiarism in his privilege speech delivered last Monday.

“I made a blanket disclosure. I mentioned beforehand my attributions, that I had many sources (of information in my speech) so I have admitted that. I have made a disclosure, so what’s their problem with that? They probably thought I’m trying to pass myself off as knowledgeable (on the subject) when in fact I’m not, supposedly,” he said in a phone-patched interview with Senate reporters.
The attacks on Sotto came mostly from the bloggers, who charged that he had plagiarized a blogger, apart from their bristling over Sotto calling them just “mere” bloggers from whom he wouldn’t get as his source.

Sotto emphasized that in his speeches, two out of the four-part speeches delivered so far this week, he made mention of his attributions on certain editorials, newpaper column pieces, books and other reference materials or literature of experts in the field of science and law.
“Where is the plagiarism there? They think that’s plagiarism. So come on, sue me,” he said.

The Senate leader was reacting to news reports that noted one lengthy passage of his speech as supposedly having been lifted or copied from someone else’s blog.
This pertains to the portion where he discussed the alleged ill-effects of birth control pills on unborn children which was supposedly lifted word for word from the blog of a US-based blogger and exposed by Alfredo Melgar on the blogspot Filipino freethinkers.

Sotto said the issue being referred to was a portion where he cited in his speech an information from the book of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD, that contraceptives are not just detrimental to women and the unborn but are also scientifically proven to have damaging effects to children born from mothers who were using contraceptives prior to their pregnancy too.

The said passage read as follows: “The use of the pill also causes severe gut dysbiosis. What is worse, drug induced gut imbalance is especially intractable and resistant to treatment either with probiotics or diet change. Gut imbalance brought on through use of the pill negatively impacts the ability to digest food and absorb nutrients.

“As a result, even if a woman eats spectacularly well during pregnancy, if she has been taking oral contraceptives for a period of time beforehand, it is highly likely that she and her baby are not reaping the full benefits of all this healthy food as the lack of beneficial flora in her gut preclude this from occurring.

“Pathogenic, opportunistic flora that take hold in the gut when the pill is used constantly produce toxic substances which are the by-products of their metabolism.
“These toxins leak into the woman’s bloodstream and they have the potential to cross the placenta. Therefore, gut dysbiosis exposes the fetus to toxins. Not well known is also the fact that use of the pill depletes zinc in the body. Zinc is called “the intelligence mineral” as it is intimately involved in mental development.”
Clearly, Sotto said, this is just but another attempt to divert the core issues surrounding the bill “by shooting the messenger.”

“They are trying to destroy me. They just want to destroy me because I brought out the point that they cannot answer, so I became their target. Even that congressman who said I am just misinforming the public, I’m telling that congressman, answer that alleged misinformation in my statements. Why tell ne that I am misinforming people, that my statements are wrong, or that I am like this, that I am a bad person, that I am a plagiarist or that I am ignorant.
“Instead, just answer the statements I made in my speech. They can’t because what I say is correct and those I quote from are correct,” he said.

He added that he was amused by that blogger who said I had plagiarized, saying that the writer did not listen to his speech but merely read the copy when the information came from the same source who is Natasha Campbell-McBride. Whether the words are similar is not the point, he said. He stressed that he cited his source.
Sotto said he will not be affected by such attacks from his critics and will continue arguing his position until he has managed to convince his colleagues to delete in the period of amendments the issues his raised in his speeches.
One of the sponsors of the bill, Sen. Pia Cayetano, on the other hand belittled Sotto’s “revelations” saying that there’s nothing new as it was a mere repetition of what the majority leader had said in debating with her on the floor the measure in the past.

“Those concerns he raised regarding contraceptives being abortifacients, that has been responded to. Medical experts have already clarified and we have overwhelming evidence that shows that the contraceptives available in the Philippines do not work as abortifacients.

“And regarding the citations from the authorities, that was a long time ago.It is like raising a dead issue. But I can’t do anything about those who who believe in the population control in the 1950s – the foreigners. But to say that the Filipino people are being dictated upon, this is false. Because we have surveys and actual experience showing that women need and want reproductive health, and that even our medical experts attest to the fact that these are safe for our Filipino families; that these can be used with proper guidance. And that’s precisely why under the Reproductive Health (RH) bill there are options, different kinds (of family planning methods): You can use a condom; you can have natural family planning; or the IUD; you can have ligation.

“All of these should be done with the guidance of a health professional to get the best family planning method that works for your family,” she explained.
“For me it’s a repetition. But out of courtesy, it is the right of Senator Sotto to come up with his turno en contra. But it’s nothing new. It’s nothing that has not been discussed before and nothing that I have not responded to in the period of interpellation,” Cayetano said.

Likewise, the chairman of the Senate committee on health and demography said Sotto’s charges that some of the lobby groups are not duly registered before the Securities and Exchane Commission (SEC), is irrelevant.


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