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Last updated at 11:32 BST, Wednesday, 05 September 2012

Philippine senator’s plagiarism

Summary

4 September 2012

A Philippine senator has found himself at the centre of a storm of criticism, over accusations that he lifted parts of a controversial speech straight from an American woman's blog. Senate Majority Leader Vincente Sotto has insisted he did nothing wrong, but some Philippine citizens have questioned the validity of the senator's arguments, given the alleged unusual source material.

Reporter:

Kate McGeown

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Senator Vincente Sotto's speech initially made headlines for very different reasons. He was speaking out against a bill promoting free birth control - a divisive subject in this strictly Catholic country. Shedding tears, he said he believed that his baby son had died three decades ago because his wife had been pregnant while taking the contraceptive pill.

Pictures of his emotional address made the front pages of most newspapers. But soon after Mr Sotto gave his speech, a pro-birth control researcher discovered that a large chunk of it - the part where the senator gave evidence to back up his claim - came from a blog called the Healthy Home Economist.

The blogger, an American woman called Sarah Pope, who has no medical training, says she doesn't agree with Senator Sotto's position and claims that he twisted her words. The senator has responded to the growing online attacks against him by saying he's a victim of cyber-bullying.

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Vocabulary

speaking out against

criticising

birth control

contraception

divisive subject

something which people have different opinions about

address

speech

chunk

part

blog

website which features a writer's own opnions and thoughts

twisted her words

changed the meaning of what she said

cyber-bullying

using the internet to hurt or intimidate others

reckless

thoughtless, careless

vacuum

emptiness

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