Senator Pia S. Cayetano today threw her support solidly behind the 37 professors of the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Law who have been threatened with sanctions by the Supreme Court (SC) after they called for the resignation of a member of the high court over charges of plagiarism.
“In the seventies and eighties, it was the voice of activist professors who denounced the excesses of Martial Law that helped keep people’s hopes alive for change and reforms, especially among the youth. It saddens me to see how academic dissent is being suppressed now, at a time when our rights and freedoms have supposedly been restored,” said Cayetano, a lawyer and alumna of the UP College of Law.
“As the last bastion of justice, the SC is expected to set the highest standards of integrity, credibility and professionalism. Unfortunately, the high court failed in this respect when it allowed a clear case of plagiarism within its ranks to go unpunished,” she stressed.
Cayetano is referring to the SC’s controversial decision in Vinuya vs. Executive Secretary, where several passages from eminent international legal scholars were lifted without proper attribution and used inappropriately in junking the petition of a group of war-time comfort women for the Philippine government to compel Japan to make a public apology and provide compensation.
“Plagiarism is a form of dishonesty that is taboo and frowned upon in any self-respecting institution. All our teachers, from grade school to college, have instilled in us the value that lifting works from others without properly acknowledging their source is improper, unethical, and merits grave punishment. Our teachers taught us to be honest, original and creative in our work. But I wonder what values will our young students learn from the questionable actions of the Supreme Court?” she concluded.