Friday, July 30, 2010

Vinuya and the Redemption of the Supreme Court

The Philippine Supreme Court, which is presently examining the charges of plagiarism in the case of Vinuya v. Executive Secretary, cannot resolve the issue without demanding the resignation of its ponente, Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo. With the international legal community looking on the Court cannot sweep this issue aside and say there was no plagiarism--there clearly was--and that the US sources used in the decision were incorrectly applied--because they were. The authors have protested the misuse of their scholarship to further ends that they do not support: the absence of recourse to international law remedies for victims of sexual abuse during the Second World War.

If the Court sanctions these shortcomings, it informs the world that the victims of Japanese occupation during World War II have no legal recourse according to plagiarized and misinterpreted sources. Nothing could be so appalling and dishonorable.

Justice del Castillo's resignation is necessary to save the Court's reputation. It will show that the Philippine Judiciary does not tolerate intellectual dishonesty and the misuse of sources in writing decisions. More importantly, the misuse of these sources has evidently produced a work of great injustice in the continuing plight of comfort women in the country. A serious reexamination of Vinuya is clearly in order.

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