The Supreme Court Decision Vinuya v. Romulo is believed by many both here and abroad to be polluted with plagiarism, whether intentional or not. Indeed the very authors involved have even communicated to the Supreme Court their criticism of the inappropriate utilization of their work -- both in FORM and in SUBSTANCE. Not only were requisite attributions and references to them missing, but the allegedly purloined ideas and formulations were also used to come to an entirely opposite conclusion about the matter at hand--war time rape whose victims have cried to the Court for help. Just today, Yale University's constitutional authority, Prof. Bruce Ackerman has weighed in on the matter and warned the Court that it could lose a lot of face with the international community over their recent actions.
Unfortunately the Mass Media and many commentators seem to have ignored the question asked in this post: Who owns the alleged plagiarism? Even the UP LAW faculty statement accuses the PONENTE or penman assigned by the Chief Justice to write up the Court's opinion: Associate Justice Mariano C. Del Castillo.
Yet the simple and obvious fact is that under the Constitution there is nothing that empowers a single Justice to issue a Decision as his own work. The Supreme Court under 1987 Article VIII only ever issues Decisions and Resolutions as a collegial body, in Divisions with a minimum of three justices or sitting En Banc.
The assailed Decision, Vinuya v. Romulo, was an En Banc Decision. It is in form and substance entirely an ACT of the Supreme Court of the Republic of the Philippines (SCoRP), and with all its flaws and pollutions, it is presumed to be part of the Law of the Land. The En Banc itself is responsible for this ACT, not Del Castillo, not his unnamed Court Researcher, and most certainly not the programmers of a well known word processing program.
Had the UP Law Faculty made this identification explicitly, instead of focusing only on Del Castillo, the present Show Cause Order why they ought not to be disciplined with disbarment, suspension or worse, would be more obviously a self-serving and unethical judging of their own cause by the Supreme Court Justices with concurred unqualifiedly with the ponencia.