Monday, November 15, 2010

Second charge of plagiarism leveled against Supreme Court Justice

ABS-CBN reports that Harry Roque, Jr.-led Centerlaw has accused Justice Castillo of plagiarism in “Ang Ladlad” decision.

Of interest to LBE was the use of the word intercalated:

Roque’s group said “in the earlier case of Ang Ladlad, entire paragraphs were lifted without attribution, sentences, words or phrases were intercalated, and discursive footnotes were represented as if the discussion in the footnotes were the ponente’s words, when in fact, these were lifted from unacknowledged sources.”

Also of interest was the mention of Microsoft's "tracking changes," which has been problematic for lawyers for other reasons:

The high court should also check the “Microsoft Defense” used in clearing del Castillo, it said. The magistrate inadvertently omitted some phrases.

“In fairness to Microsoft Word (MS Word), it is not correct to say that MS Word does not have a signal to warn the user of deletions or changes made in the electronic draft. It does have. It is called the “track changes” function which has been available as early as the 1997 version of Mr. Bill Gates’ product,” it added.

Of blaming the law clerk for the plagiarism:

The group claimed both cases have “unfortunately dragged the entire high court” to the controversy.

While magistrates are not barred from utilizing the services of law clerks for research purposes, “it does not and should not mean the surrender by a Justice of the Supreme Court of control and supervision of the writing of the Judgment of the Court to a law clerk.”

Copying from wikipedia is asserted in the new charges:

n at least 2 instances, the ponencia supposedly used, without attribution, a passage from Wikipedia, said the group.
Centerlaw noted the Office of the Solicitor General earlier lost a case before the Court of Appeals by using an argument culled from Wikipedia.

“At least, in the case of the Solicitor General, it was honest enough to properly reference the Web-based encyclopedia whose reliability as an academic project is still under question. In this case, it appears that the ponencia appropriated a reference from Wikipedia word for word, without the due courtesy of citing it as a source of the direct quotation,” it added.

Alison Routman copied fragments of three sentences from wikipedia, and was forced to "walk the plank" by the University of Virginia. If that punishment were translated to the Philippines, what result?

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