Journalist twits President's speechwriter for rude tweets


Posted at Nov 01 2010 05:19 PM | Updated as of Nov 02 2010 01:23 AM

MANILA, Philippines - A veteran journalist on Monday chastised President Aquino's speechwriter, Carmen "Mai" Mislang, for posting indecorous comments in her Twitter account during the President's state visit to Vietnam.

In her blog, journalist Ellen Tordesillas said Mislang graduated cum laude with a degree in BS Tourism from the University of the Philippines. She said Mislang is also a member of the rock band Blue Rats.  

She, however, noted that Mislang's credentials "don’t mean anything if you have not learned good manners and right conduct."

A picture of the speechwriter was also posted in Tordesillas's blog.

Tordesillas said Mislang's rude comments "betray her ignorance about many things and snooty attitude towards other people."

"That is evident in her lack of appreciation of Vietnam’s courageous history and remarkable rise from the ashes of war. Vietnam is the only 'small country' in Asia that can hold its head high against colonial powers. The Vietnamese defeated and drove away the French in 1954 and the Americans in 1975. Today, Vietnam is performing better than the Philippines in terms of attracting foreign investment," she said.

Mislang, who is part of Aquino's contingent to Vietnam, has come under fire for posting rude comments in her Twitter account.

While there, she posted in her Twitter account “The wine sucks” after the state banquet hosted by Vietnam President Nguyen Minh Triet in honor of Aquino.

She also tweeted: “Sorry pero walang pogi dito #vietnam.” (Sorry, there are no handsome men here.)

She also posted: “Crossing the speedy motorcycle laden streets of Hanoi is one of the easiest ways to die.”

Communications Secretary Ricky Carandang said Mislang has been reprimanded and has voluntarily deleted her Twitter account. He said he will provide guidelines to Palace officials on how to handle social media.

Even President Aquino came to the defense of Mislang.

“Ipinaliwanag niya sa isang sulat at pinaalala ko lang sa kanya, well, bata si Mai baka yung akala niyang gawain na simple ay hindi niya na-realize ang implications. I'm  more or less convinced that she realizes what was done. Of course it was also blown out of proportion and I'm hoping that–she has closed her Twitter account among other things. Upon realization, she had tried to correct what she did wrong," Aquino said.

The President said Vietnamese officials did not mention the incident. He said the incident seems to have been blown out of proportion.

"Ang pagkareport sa akin ng mga nakakita, hindi raw yata tinukoy ang  Vietnamese government doon. Tayo ang nagpapalaki ng issue na sayang naman ang ganda ng relation na na-establish natin doon. Sana tayo wag na tayong magpalaki," Aquino said.

Facebook apology

Another Malacañang official, Manolo Quezon, said Mislang has issued a public apology on her Facebook account.

"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 said, according to Quezon.

Tordesillas, however, said Mislang's apology "smacks of hypocrisy." She said that during the election campaign, Mislang allegedly described then Armed Forces chief of staff Delfin Bangit as "pangit" (ugly) while he was guesting on ANC's Strictly Politics.

"It was an early manifestation of immaturity and conceit, that became even more bloated in Malacañang environment," Tordesillas wrote.

She said one reporter friend even came across Mislang's tweets about the President "calling her up to edit his speech while she was on the treadmill or buying make up."

"She must be overwhelmed by the power that comes with being a part of the president’s 'think thank' she forgot that as a ghost writer, she was supposed to be a 'ghost' and not to be known as being responsible, even partly, for what Aquino is saying in public," Tordesillas said.

The veteran journalist said Mislang should be given copies of the National Public Radio and Los Angeles Times guidelines on social media.

She said one NPR guideline relevant for the speechwriter says: “Recognize that everything you write or receive on a social media site is public. Anyone with access to the web can get access to your activity on social media sites. And regardless of how careful you are in trying to keep them separate, in your online activity, your professional life and your personal life overlap.”

She also quoted a guideline from LA Times that said: "Assume that your professional life and your personal life will merge online regardless of your care in separating them."  With a report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News