04 November 2013
We, members of the Film Desk of the Young Critics Circle (YCC), denounce in the strongest possible terms the acts of plagiarism committed by film blogger Jojo Devera (also known as Vincent Joel Llamas Devera) in his blog Sari-Saring Sineng Pinoy.
Although Devera rendered his blog publicly inaccessible at about 10:00 PM last 3 November 2013 (Sunday) and has subsequently deleted it, we have been able to gather evidence showing that Devera copied passages of varying lengths, from single sentences to entire paragraphs, from texts written by YCC members without permission or acknowledgement and presented such as his own work. Where he did not simply substitute his name for that of the author—as in the case of the post on Nunal sa Tubig (1976), which is wholly drawn from an essay by Eulalio R. Guieb III—he went a reprehensible leap further by producing reviews on films that combined excerpts from materials contemplating or assessing completely different issues—as in the case of the post on I Love You Mama, I Love You Papa (1986), which patches together parts from essays by J. Pilapil Jacobo, Nonoy L. Lauzon, and Patrick D. Flores, none of which discuss the Maryo J. De Los Reyes picture. Other members whose essays were plagiarized include Eloisa May P. Hernandez and Jaime Oscar M. Salazar.
While we have thus far managed to identify only six posts containing material lifted from both print and digital sources put out by our group, we are convinced that such constitute the merest tip of the proverbial iceberg: Devera began his blog in 2006, and before he took it down, it had nearly 400 entries—all of which, by the way, he had the gall to assert copyright over, if a line that ran along the bottom of his now defunct blog is any indication: “Karapatang Magpalathala 2006-2013. SARI-SARING SINENG PINOY Lahat Ng Karapatan Ay Nakalaan. Disenyo Jojo Devera”. Moreover, the way that Devera put together the plagiarized posts, which are in places inevitably marked by schizophrenia of tone and thought, suggests not the creativity of the parodist or the inventiveness of the pasticheur—we are not unaware of the lively and meritorious debates surrounding the concepts of authorship and originality—but something that is, to our collective misfortune, becoming more and more banal at present: the calculation of one who seeks to establish and burnish a reputation as a commentator in as expedient a manner as possible, without putting in the necessary time and effort to organize one’s thoughts and to deliberate over one’s words, or to give credit to those who have done so.
Considering the sheer amount of data that is available in the world today, online or otherwise, and the concomitant difficulty of guarding against plagiarism, it is perhaps not astonishing, but certainly unfortunate, that Devera has been as successful as he has in building a degree of credibility within the film community by carving out a niche for himself as a kind of specialist in Philippine films from the 1970s and the 1980s. We trust that he realizes, at the very least, that he has done this community a signal disservice. Lover though Devera might be of Filipino films, a claim he announces in his online properties, he might be exceeding his zeal if it spurs him to abduct the texts of others rather than to arduously work through the experience of cinema with his own body and mind in conversation with others.
In view of the foregoing, we demand that Devera immediately issue a formal public apology for his detestable acts of plagiarism, not only to us but also to every other individual and organization from which he may have lifted material without proper attribution. Furthermore, we caution all parties who have published or are considering publishing anything that Devera professes to have written to examine whatever he has done according to the strictest editorial protocols, and to withdraw or reject his work as necessary. Finally, in light of the situation at hand, we call on all film enthusiasts, bloggers, reviewers, and critics, as well as on all members of the general public, to contribute toward cultivating an environment that encourages, if not expects, judiciousness and responsibility in the production, circulation, reception, and use of information. We must always strive to uphold intellectual honesty as we pursue, develop, and disseminate knowledge.