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Philippine official ‘sorry’ for Vietnam insults on Twitter

MANILA, October 30, 2010 (AFP) – A Philippine official visiting Vietnam with President Benigno Aquino has apologized after posting a disparaging comment on Twitter about the wine served by their hosts, an Aquino aide said Saturday.

Maria Carmen Mislang, Aquino’s speechwriter who holds the rank of assistant secretary, became an instant Internet celebrity in her own country after her controversial posts – since deleted – on the microblogging site.

“The wine sucks @rickycarandang,” Mislang was said to have tweeted on Thursday, in response to an apparent query from her immediate boss, Aquino spokesman Ricky Carandang.

The three are attending an Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Vietnam.

Local press reports Saturday also quoted her as having posted that there were no handsome local men in the host country, and likening crossing a busy Hanoi street to assisted suicide.

Filipinos greeted the comments with anger online, with general agreement on Twitter and social networking site Facebook that she had disrespected her hosts.

Presidential spokeswoman Abigail Valte said in Manila that Mislang has since posted an apology over the comments.

“She repeated that there was no offence meant and if she had offended or hurt anyone over those comments, she is seeking forgiveness,” Valte said on government radio.

“We wouldn’t go on to say that it will affect the relationship between the country and Vietnam,” Valte said.

“First of all, the sentiments of Assistant Secretary Mislang were her own and, of course, were not the sentiments of the Philippine delegation or of the President in general.”

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