Ergo, MVP’s A Plagiarist
In any esteemed university, under-graduate or post-graduate students could face the sanction of dismissal or any disciplinary action for a mere act of plagiarism. Top universities abroad now use technology in order to detect plagiarism. There are now various kinds of software that can be used to check whether a college term paper, post-grad thesis or any important school work is free from ‘borrowed’ entries or plagiarized quotations or lines.
However, in the case of a high-ranking school official, the penalty could be more painful or harder to take, because what is at stake is the person’s reputation not only in the academic community, but also in the intellectual or business circle. This is exactly the case of well-known businessman Manuel “Manny” V. Pangilinan who offered to quit his post as chairman of the board of the Ateneo De Manila University after an online revelation that portions of the speech he delivered during the school’s graduation rites last week were borrowed, taken, plagiarized (or call it what you will) from speeches made by popular media personalities like Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling and America’s most popular talk show host Oprah Winfrey.
Pangilinan’s plagiarism has become one of the hottest issues in the blogosphere. As a matter of fact, it topped the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s most read section today. The news has also become the hottest link on Facebook. Try to type in the words “Manny V. Pangilinan” on the Facebook search engine and you’d see lots of search results about his un-academic, unprofessional conduct.
Pangilinan, who’s also known as MVP, is now the center of media and bloggers’ attention because of his reputation in the country’s business community. Currently he is the chairman of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, the Philippines’s largest telecommunications company. Not so long time ago he was involved in the expose of a business tycoon, Alfonso Yuchengco, who claimed he was forced by ousted President Joseph Estrada to sell his stake in a company that has shares in the PLDT chaired by Pangilinan. The businessman allegedly received “money”, “reward or call it what you will from the convicted plunderer.
But it’s the act of plagiarism that made MVP quit his post at the Ateneo.
“With much regret, Fr. Ben (Bienvenido Nebres), I would wish to retire from my official duties at the Ateneo,'” he told the press after being informed that his graduation remarks delivered last March 26 and 27 had been lifted from certain other graduation speeches.
“I had taken a look at the side-by-side comparison on Facebook, and must admit to this mistake. For this, I wish to express my sincerest apology to you, the University and to the 2010 graduating class,” he said. “I have had some help in the drafting of my remarks, but I take full and sole responsibility for them.”
But the damage has been done. A plagiarized speech remains a plagiarized speech. Now here are portions of Mr. Pangilinan’s “borrowed” speech:
Portions of Pangilinan’s reported plagiarized commencement remarks were taken from Rowling’s speech, “The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination.” Rowling delivered the speech at the Annual Meeting of the Harvard Alumni Association in 2008.
Rowling: I had no idea then how far the tunnel extended, and for a long time, any light at the end of it was a hope rather than a reality.
MVP: I had no idea how far the tunnel of failure extended. And any light at the end of it seemed more hope than reality.
Rowling: The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive
MVP: The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you can be secure in your ability to survive.
Rowling: So today, I wish you nothing better than similar friendships. And tomorrow, I hope that even if you remember not a single word of mine, you remember those of Seneca, another of those old Romans I met when I fled down the Classics corridor, in retreat from career ladders, in search of ancient wisdom: As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters.
MVP: So today, I wish you nothing better than similar friendships. And tomorrow, I hope that even if you remember not a single word of mine, you will recall those of Seneca, one of the old Romans I met in search of ancient wisdom: ―as is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters.
Pangilinan also borrowed some words of wisdom from talk show host Oprah Winfrey. Winfrey delivered her speech during the Stanford University commencement in 2008.
Winfrey: Let me tell you, money’s pretty nice. I’m not going to stand up here and tell you that it’s not about money, ‘cause money is very nice. I like money. It’s good for buying things. But having a lot of money does not automatically make you a successful person. What you want is money and meaning. You want your work to be meaningful. Because meaning is what brings the real richness to your life. What you really want is to be surrounded by people you trust and treasure and by people who cherish you. That’s when you’re really rich.
MVP: Let me tell you, money‘s pretty cool. I‘m not going to stand here and tell you that‘s it‘s not about money, because money is sweet. I like money. It‘s good for buying companies and things – and for putting up a few buildings here and there for Ateneo. But having a lot of money does not totally make you a successful person. What you want is both money and meaning. You want your life and your career to be meaningful. Because meaning is what brings real richness to your life, to be surrounded by people you can truly work with – because you trust and treasure them, and they cherish you in return. That‘s when you‘re really rich, that‘s when you really succeed.
He also drew some inspiration from Conan O’Brien who delivered his speech at Class Day in Harvard University in 2000.
O’Brien: 15 years ago I sat where you sit now. And I thought exactly what you are now thinking. What’s going to happen to me? Will I find my place in the world? Am I really graduating a virgin?
MVP: 44 years ago I sat where you now sit, I also thought what you now think – what is going to happen to me? Where can I find a job? Am I really graduating a virgin?
O’Brien: I’ve had a lot of success and I’ve had a lot of failure. I’ve looked good and I’ve looked bad. I’ve been praised and I’ve been criticized. But my mistakes have been necessary.
MVP: I‘ve had a lot of success. But I‘ve had a lot of failures. I‘ve looked good. I‘ve looked bad. I‘ve been praised and criticized. And it hurt like hell. But my mistakes have been necessary.
But in fairness to Mr. Pangilinan he admitted in his speech that he cheated during his 4th year high school in San Beda College.
“I will now let you in on a well-kept secret. I was in 4th year high school in San Beda College, and was in contention to be valedictorian that year. It was an open secret that majority of my classmates were cheating – changing answers from true to false, ironically, in our religion exams. I felt I had to do the same to protect my grades. Several of us were caught – pero ako ang pinag-initan. I knew I was wrong, and deserved to be punished. Indeed, San Beda stripped me of all my honors. Finally, with the suspicion about rampant cheating, I was asked by the principal to name names. I refused. I disappointed my parents deeply. It took many years for the pain and bitterness to heal. Several years ago, I thought it was time to free myself from the rancor and memory of that experience. What better proof of reconciliation with San Beda than the 3 NCAA championships for the Red Lions?”