Solis stole photos for 7 contests, UP probers reveal
MANILA - He submitted stolen photos to at least seven competitions.
This was the finding of a special committee created by the University of the Philippines (UP) to look into the issue involving public administration graduate student Mark Joseph Solis.
“He submitted pictures that were not his despite the rules of the contests that the person should be submitting original work,” UP National College of Public Administration (NCPAG) dean Fe Mendoza said yesterday.
The fact-finding committee said Solis also submitted his entry to the Smiles for the World competition to the Mulat Maninipat Photojournalism contest of the Union of Journalists of the Philippines-UP and the photo contest organized by the Eastern Regional Organization for Public Administration. He did not win in the two contests.
The report said Solis likewise submitted plagiarized photos and won in the competitions organized by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and the Papworth Trust in 2011.
Solis was also found to have submitted stolen photos in the VinylPlus Sustainable Thinking Platform photo contest (2010-2011) and the Water and Life photo contest of the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (2013).
UP created the fact-finding committee after Solis was stripped of his winnings in the Calidad Humana Smiles for the World contest organized by the embassy of Chile.
Solis admitted that he stole the photo, which turned out to be owned by Gregory John Smith, the founder of the Children At Risk Foundation.
The photo, of a smiling boy with seaweeds on his face, was taken in Brazil in 2006, and not in Zamboanga as claimed by Solis.
In her letter to UP Diliman Chancellor Caesar Saloma, Mendoza said the report “enumerates resolution of some issues related to student conduct and discipline which at this point, the college may not be in the best position to resolve alone.”
“It is in this light that I am elevating the matter to your level for your more competent resolution. The college will still help; just let us know how,” she said.
The report said the NCPAG could elevate the case to higher university authorities for appropriate action.
The committee said the NCPAG would also have to decide on the status of Solis as a graduate student.
Mendoza said it would be up to Saloma to decide the next step.
She said the chancellor could forward the case to the student disciplinary tribunal, which would hear the case and impose a penalty if Solis is found guilty of violating university rules.
The report cited two provisions in the current university code that could be used as a basis for disciplinary measures on Solis.
The provisions state that students “shall at all times observe the laws of the land and the rules and regulations of the university” and that “any other form of misconduct” is prohibited in the university.
Mendoza said Solis, who sought advice from her, was remorseful and looked thinner when she met him last week.
She said she advised Solis to face the consequences of his actions, and assured him that he would be given the opportunity to defend himself if a case is filed with the student disciplinary tribunal.
UP president Alfredo Pascual earlier assured the public that the UP administration is treating the matter “very seriously.”
“I share the outrage felt by everyone,” he said.
Meanwhile, Smith accepted the apology of Solis’ mother and appealed to the public to move on.
“Good people, let’s move on now, because justice has already been done. We don’t want a tragedy worse than what we already have,” he said.
“That young man needs to move on too, change his attitudes and redirect himself on the right pathway to success, which we all know, is only possible through honest and hard labor, something Mark Solis will obviously have to learn along the way, because there is no other way,” he added.
The Chilean embassy said it would not press charges against Solis. The OPAPP on the other hand, is investigating the incident involving its own photo competition.