Law Maker Plagiarizes, then Makes Law to Allow it

What do you do when you're a Justice and you're caught plagiarizing? You create a law allowing it, then threaten your accuser with contempt. Then you blame your word processor for not having a feature to detect plagiarism.

The Philippine Supreme Court recently junked a plagiarism complaint filed against one of its members, Associate Justice Mariano C. Del Castillo. Despite Del Castillo quoting foreign sources without attribution, the charges filed against him were found lacking in merit. The court asserted that the justice did not exhibit “malicious intent” in the act, and accepted his argument that “his computer was not equipped with a software program that would warn him that he was plagiarizing.”

As reported by Rodel Roqis, a Filipino-American attorney writing about the development, Del Castillo included entire paragraphs from the sources into the majority opinion in the case of Vinuya et al vs. Executive Secretary. The justice also blamed his legal researcher’s failure to include two attributions in the footnotes and the aforementioned software deficiency.

The sources in question are A Fiduciary of Theory of Jus Cogens by Evan Criddle and Evan Fox-Descent, Breaking the Silence on Rape as an International Crime by Mark Ellis, and Enforcing Erga Omnes Obligations in International Law by Christian Tams. Del Castillo’s opinion eventually came to conclusions contrary to the legal points laid out by the sources, over the question of Jus Cogens (higher law).

At least two justices, Associate Justice Lourdes Sereno and Justice Chonchita Carpio-Morales dissented, stressing that the majority decision would leave Philippine IP law “meaningless.” The faculty of the University of Philippines College of Law complained that the court’s ruling was “a complete perversion and falsification of the ends of justice”—and were met with a threat of a contempt citation from the Philippine Supreme Court.

Source (Image by The Daily Tribune)

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  • joe nate
    My car was not equipped with a safety mechanism to tell me I was speeding/driving too fast for conditions/recklessly.

    My Knife was not equipped with a safety mechanism that would warn me that if I used it as a weapon to steal money from someone, that it was illegal.

    My crowbar was not equipped with a safety mechanism that would warn me that breaking into someone's house is illegal on multiple accounts.

    My hammer was not equipped with a safety mechanism that would warn me that bludgeoning someone to death is a crime.

    Clearly, your brain was not equipped with intellect, nor is your government equipped with competence.
  • cp8427
    Ultimate denial.
  • zachary k
    its not my fault, my gun is not equipped to not fire at another person.
  • Other Comments
  • cp8427
    Ultimate denial.
  • liveonc
    When God forbids the worship of foreign deities, make one up & say they're related. Abuse of Law isn't new.
  • elel
    Wow - that's sad