MANILA, Philippines–Congress security personnel on Tuesday detained a man who allegedly has been masquerading as Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III for at least two years, even joining floor deliberations and voting on legislation.
The lookalike impostor, whose name was withheld prior to notification of his next of kin, was arrested after he appeared in the Senate and delivered a self-pitying privilege speech, firing back at Reproductive Health bill supporters who accused him of plagiarism.
Attorney H. Villacorta, chief of staff of the real Sen. Sotto, was livid at the brazen fraudulence committed by the suspect.
The suspect dragged Sen. Sotto’s name into a major controversy a few weeks ago when, posing as the senator, he argued against the Reproductive Health bill by directly lifting a passage from the web page of an American blogger.
Villacorta said he became suspicious when the fake Sen. Sotto read the part that was clumsily plagiarized from blogger Sarah Pope, who and calls herself “the healthy home economist” and also blogs recipes.:
“Gut imbalance brought on through use of the pill negatively impacts the ability to digest food and absorb nutrients. As a result, when the sperm reaches the eggs, beat the whites until fluffy and stiff peaks form; place the meringue mixture in a baking dish; preheat oven to 400 degrees then shove the dish in. Takes only 2 minutes to finish.”
“Preheat oven?! The genuine Senator Sotto would never include foreplay in describing the process of conception, and being a real man he certainly takes more than two minutes to finish,” Villacorta fumed.
He expressed relief that the impostor has been exposed and detained. “The public will now get to know the true character of the real Senator Sotto,” he said.
“Unlike this slimy impostor,” Villacorta said, “Senator Sotto would have the common decency to admit his error if caught red-handed. He would apologize publicly instead of repeatedly trying wriggle out of the criticism.”
The real Sen. Sotto, meanwhile, could not be reached for comment.
Villacorta did not know his whereabouts but speculated the senator was probably busy doing research using primary sources, “so he can argue against contraception with highly original and piercing insight. He spends a lot of time to get his footnotes down right, you know.”
Caught in the act
The impersonator was discovered in the middle of his privilege speech, when he said, “I am probably the first senator of the Philippines to become a victim of cyber bullying.”
Whereupon Villacorta exclaimed: “Arrest that man! He’s a poseur! The real Senator Sotto was thinking of saying exactly the same thing in his privilege speech—that man is only copying my boss!”
Whereupon a thoroughly confused Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile declared, “There ought to be a law to copyright what someone was thinking.”
However, Villacorta disagreed. “With all due respect, Senator Enrile, the real Senator Sotto wouldn’t see the need to legislate what should be common courtesy to credit the cogitation of others.”
But then the Senate was suddenly engulfed in total confusion when a certain Atty. Hector Villacorta barged into the chamber, shouting, “I’m the real Villacorta, the real chief of staff of the real Senator Sotto. Arrest that Villacorta. He’s also an impostor!
Hector Villacorta accused the alleged other faker H. Villacorta of trying to discredit the real Sen. Sotto among some of his allies in the Senate by portraying him as a decent and honest lawmaker.
He added: “I would’ve never said anything as sensible as that Villacorta’s defense of my boss. Instead, I would’ve glibly argued with something like,‘There’s no law against plagiarism in the Philippines.’ Or ‘What’s the big deal? Plagiarism is common practice in the Senate. We’re all plagiarists. We even plagiarized God’s image.’”
When told that it was God who made us into His image, the real Villacorta retorted, “What, and accuse God of plagiarizing himself? I’d be scolded for heresy by our anti-RH allies in the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines. No way.”
Whereupon Bishop Leandro Medroso assured the real Villacorta, “Don’t worry, we’ll be quiet about that. That is, unless you also teach at Ateneo. You may be a heretic, but you’re our heretic.”