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President's son calls for tighter regulation over Facebook content

(CMFR/IFEX) - A Philippine legislator, one of the sons of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, has called for a tighter regulation over the content of the social networking site Facebook.

Pampanga 2nd district Representative Juan Miguel "Mikey" Arroyo told "The Daily Tribune" that Facebook and other similar sites should be regulated to avoid "abuse by scrupulous (sic) people."

"Facebook is easily susceptible to abuse as people can easily hide their identities. They're worse than hearsay," Arroyo was quoted as saying in the 30 September report.

Arroyo was reacting to a Facebook user's post from 27 September 2009: a photo allegedly showing Arroyo looking at an array of liquor in a supermarket in Quezon City a day after devastating floods brought by a tropical storm had hit Metro Manila.

The Facebook account holder, as quoted by the "Philippine Daily Inquirer" in its 30 September edition, said in the post: "Was buying food for keeps . . . then we saw Mikey Arroyo in Rustan's (a supermarket) liquor section asking the salesman for a brand of hard alcoholic drink. Effin' crazy! Just a few kilometers away from Katipunan, people (needed) help for search and rescue, and there he was buying bottles of alcohol. See for yourself and tell me what you think."

Arroyo claimed the photo and comment was a "malicious attack" against him. He said it would have been impossible for him to go to the supermarket as the road where Rustan's is located, Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City, was "impassable" at the height of the storm. Several bloggers and netizens have re-posted the photo, saying that Arroyo had been seen at the "height" of typhoon Ondoy (International code name Ketsana). But the photo, the original post said, was taken on 27 September, a day after Ondoy hit the Philippine capital.

Tropical Storm "Ondoy" left approximately 246 dead and thousands homeless in Metro Manila and nearby provinces, including Pampanga, the Arroyos' home province.

Arroyo also said he was in Malacañang on 26 September helping in the rescue and relief operations.

"I still have so many things to do to help our poor countrymen who were severely affected by Typhoon Ondoy. This is not the time to deal with people who are peddling half-truths and half-lies to be famous," he told the Philippine press. The Facebook user has removed the photo from their account.

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