Sotto-copy Again?

So recently, a UP student plagiarized a prize-winning photo. You can read the story here.

Anyway, the plagiarizer, a certain Mark Joseph Solis, did the prudent thing and apologized for his misdeed. But then apparently, this wasn’t the first time he committed such an infraction. Apparently, this is the fifth time.

In his letter of apology which was posted here, he said that this recent incident of plagiarism was merely a “lapse of judgment” because of his “youth”.

I say, this recent incident is no mere “lapse of judgment”. You did it once or twice, a “lapse of judgment” excuse is acceptable. But doing it a third time or oftener that can be likened to habitual delinquency. That already shows a designed criminal intent on his part. It’s a manifestation of a criminal tendency, which if left unchecked by a proportionate punitive action, might only get the best of him. He’s a serial plagiarizer! So I guess it is just but proper that this guy be prosecuted for violating the Intellectual Property Law.

This news had become viral and it’s really sensational because of the fact, and this cannot escape us, that he is a UP student and a master’s degree student at that. This guy is really smart. He’s a debater, he went on to compete in various local and international competitions. He’s a bright dude – and that’s the scary part because really, it appears that he is using his intelligence the wrong way.

What’s even more outrageous is the fact that he is currently taking up a Master’s Degree in Public Administration. This is the same degree being sought by various politicians to “enhance” their administration skills (remember Manny Pacquiao took this too and I think even Nancy Binay and her staff?). So this outraged a lot of netizens because Solis, by his stature, is supposed to be part of the solution and not part of the problem!

So, sayang!

I do hope that everyone learned his or her lesson here. This culture of plagiarism should stop. Unlike Senators, not everyone can invoke immunity when charged with these offenses so think first before appropriating someone else’s work as yours. Besides, at this age, do you really think you can get away with such offenses?


Apparently, Solis wants to keep the winnings he got from the photo contest. He backtracked from his earlier statement. He’s now saying that he did the offense because of poverty.

Meh. I’m sure the event organizer will not let him profit from his crime. So whether he likes it or not, Solis will have to return what was unduly awarded to him. The second placer deserves the award!

Anyway, his defense of poverty is suspect. He says he did that because of his need of money. C’mon, now. That’s hardly believable. As early as Yano’s day, the social status of UP students are already being questioned. Remember Yano’s song “Iskolar ng Bayan” about the fact that there are so many UP students with cars, that was a song circa 1993? Anyway, my point is, poverty is not a defense. Even abject poverty at best is merely a mitigating circumstance.

Solis will not go scot-free with that type of defense. Nor will he gain the sympathy of the people. He’s just earning more rebuke. In fact, people are even questioning his life-of-poverty claim (Ms. Valte).

His claim of poverty is just incredible and I think just an afterthought. I hope the media will do some lifestyle check on him – not really to invade his privacy but to prove his claim.

About the author

Howard Chan (The Student)

Howard considers himself as an armchair activist. Though his street rally days are in a slumber he still advocates changes via social media. He is a strong believer that awareness of various social issues is a good starting point in order to break out from the stranglehold of an oppressive system which only benefits the few. He is also a full time student and a part time blogger, part time web designer, part time web manager/designer for various clients. (Note: Howard Chan passed the 2014 Bar Exams and was admitted to the Philippine Bar on April 29, 2015. That being, all posts after April 29, 2015 authored by him are now under the name Howard Chan for the purpose of distinguishing posts he made as a non-lawyer from posts he made after admission to the bar).