The Jack Ryan Defense

So a bunch of citizens, including members of Filipino Freethinkers (an org I’m affiliated with) have filed ethics violation complaints against Senate Majority Floor Leader Vicente Sotto III for instances of plagiarism in his speeches. I say it’s about time. It’s ridiculous that we can’t hold a senator to at least the same ethical standards as, say, a second grader.

This morning, while I was riding a cab home from Makati, the radio was tuned to a news channel. I don’t know what station or program it was, but the hosts were discussing the ethics violation complaints. One of them suggested that the citizens who filed the complaint were lying when they denied that filing the complaint had nothing to do with the Reproductive Health Bill, of which Sen. Sotto has been a staunch, tireless critic.

Now, of course, technically, plagiarism is plagiarism, whether or not your speech has to do with the RH Bill. However, it may be better to take the Jack Ryan defense when accused of filing ethics complaints against Sotto.

What’s the Jack Ryan defense? Well, in the movie Clear and Present Danger, a man tied to drug operations is killed along with his family. It happens that the man is linked to the president of the United States, and the POTUS’s staff were trying to figure out how to keep him from getting bad publicity from all this. Ryan suggests that instead of denying he had any affiliation with the drug guy, he should do the opposite, and then some. If the press asks the POTUS if he knew the man, the POTUS should say, “No, I was his friend.” If the press asks the POTUS if he was friends with the man, the POTUS should say, “No, we were lifelong friends.” It would make the POTUS look like he wasn’t trying to hide anything because he wasn’t guilty of anything.

So, yes. If people ask if the obviously pro-RH Bill citizens who filed ethics complaints against Sotto if they did it because of the RH Bill, the pro-RH peeps should just say yes. These ethics violations were committed during the RH Bill debates, after all. RH advocates aren’t in the habit of checking the speeches of everyone in government to see who’s committing plagiarism — they have too much work to do. RH advocates were present when those plagiarism-riddled speeches were made, hence the filing of ethics violation charges. I know some of those people who filed complaints — Red, Kenneth and Doc Guy. I’m pretty sure that if they could file complaints about Sotto being a misogynist prick, they would have, but sadly, there’s nothing in the law against it.

By Tania Arpa

Thinker, writer, skeptic, spy. Geek. I do my own stunts. Follow me on Twitter at @TaniaArpa.

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