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Palace: Aide's snide tweets won't affect RP-Vietnam relations

October 30, 2010 1:22pm
Controversial tweets made by an aide to President Benigno Aquino III during the latter's state visit to Vietnam is not likely to affect Philippine relations with the country, Malacañang insisted Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Twitter account of the aide in question, assistant secretary Mai Mislang, appears to have been taken down amidst mounting criticism in cyberspace.

“The sentiments of Mislang were her own and not the sentiment of the Philippines or of the president in general," deputy presidential spokeswoman Abigail Valte said on government-run dzRB radio.

Mislang is part of the Philippine delegation accompanying Aquino to Vietnam. She reportedly sent out a personal tweet criticizing the wine being served at an official function. "(The) wine sucks," she reportedly tweeted while Aquino was being received by Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet at the Banquet Hall of the Government Guesthouse late Tuesday.

She also reportedly posted other snide remarks: "Sorry pero walang pogi dito #vietnam. (Sorry, but there are no handsome men in Vietnam)" and "Crossing the speedy motorcycle laden streets of Hanoi is one of the easiest ways to die."

Valte said that Communications Secretary Ramon Carandang already "addressed" the issue and talked to Mislang about it.

Valte added that Mislang has apologized for her actions and stressed there was “no offense meant" in her tweet.

Nag-apologize na si Asec. Mislang sa sinabi niya. Inulit niya walang offense meant and kung may na-offend humihingi siya ng paumanhin (Mislang had apologized for her tweet. She insisted that she meant no offense and she seeks forgiveness from those she may have offended)," Valte said.

Valte added that Malacañang is treating the case as a “closed book" since Carandang advised Mislang “to be circumspect and be more aware of her statements in public."

Mislang is “one of the very hardworking staff" of Aquino even when he was still in the Senate, she added.

Valte also admitted that she is not aware if Aquino personally talked to Mislang about the incident. She only said that Aquino was informed of the incident and had been “assured" by Carandang that the latter had already talked to Mislang.

On the other hand, Valte indicated that Mislang should not have been unaware of the protocols, since the Department of Foreign Affairs and office of the presidential protocol give briefings to delegation members on such matters.

As of Saturday morning, Mislang’s Twitter account appeared offline. However, a search of “mai mislang" on Twitter’s home page leads to critical comments by other Twitter users concerning her original tweet.

"Thanks to Mai Mislang, nadagdagan na ang galit sa mga Pilipinos, pati mga Vietnamese. Is dis the aim of PNoy govt, promote anger on Pinoys (Thanks to Mislang, more people will get angry at Filipinos, now including the Vietnamese. Is this Aquino's aim, to promote anger against Filipinos)?" said @malougm10.

"I hope PNoy takes a really damn good look at his presidential communications group. Take note Mai Mislang..." added @30blossom.

Meanwhile, Mislang posted an apology for her actions on her Facebook wall, according to Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III.

"I apologize for my comments. If I offended anybody, please know that was never the intention. I feel extremely blessed to be in a beautiful country blessed with warm hospitable people," Mislang was quoted as saying on her Facebook page.

From the beginning of his term, Aquino recognized the value of social media like Twitter and Facebook in helping the government interact with the public. However, the task of managing the government's official accounts has proven to be difficult due to the semi-personal nature of social media.

Although a growing number of employers have begun to recruit via Twitter, there is a growing number of cases where people have lost their jobs because of careless tweeting. -TJD/HS, GMANews.TV
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