MANILA, Philippines - Some senators downplayed the recent plagiarism accusation against Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, saying the Senate must not concern itself with the issue.
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Sotto's fellow reproductive health (RH) bill critic, said, "Hindi ko na papatulan 'yon."
Even Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., a pro-RH bill senator, thinks the issue has been exaggerated.
He believes it's just part of the entire RH debate, with "either side trying to put pressure on the other side." Sotto is a staunch critic of the bill.
"I think it's a storm in a teacup," Marcos told reporters on Thursday. "I don't really think it's an issue that should concern the Senate too much."
Marcos also doubts if Sotto indeed committed plagiarism when he used and translated to Filipino parts of a 1966 speech of the late US Sen. Robert Kennedy in his own speech against the RH bill.
"Some phrases that have been coined by some speakers have entered the general lexicon of the English language. They no longer need to be attributed because they belong to the English language and not to one person alone," he said.
The senator added that in Sotto's earlier anti-RH bill speeches where he was also accused of plagiarism, he had in fact made a blanket attribution by saying the facts did not come from him.
Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada, meanwhile, said it's up to Sotto to investigate the matter.
"It's internal on their part," he said, referring to Sotto's office. "I have no business meddling in the affairs of other senators."