MANILA--The Philippine law enforcement turned to social networking site Facebook to track down and eventually arrest a suspected serial killer in Angeles City, North of Manila.
A report from news agency AFP this week said police arrested suspect Mark Dizon, 28, a computer technician who is accused of murdering nine people, three of whom were foreigners.
Angeles City law enforcement said witnesses initially identified Dizon as the murderer through his Facebook account, where they said the daughter of one of the victims was the suspect's former girlfriend.
Police added that Dizon's father, fearful that his son would be killed in a gun battle, worked with authorities and arranged to meet him.
"[Dizon] had an account on Facebook and two witnesses positively identified him," Senior Superintendent Danilo Bautista, who is police chief of Angeles city where the murders took place, said in the AFP report.
Bautista said Dizon apparently closed his Facebook account after sensing police were on his heels, but two witnesses had already positively identified him through his profile picture.
Dizon is suspected of killing American Albert Mitchell, 70, Briton James Porter, 51, and Canadian Geoffrey Bennun, 60, as well as their three Filipina partners and three Filipino domestic helpers in separate attacks in Angeles City this month.
All the men were retirees and lived in separate gated communities popular among foreigners in Angeles City, which lies outside a former U.S. airbase, Bautista said.
According to stats from ComScore, the Philippines had the highest penetration of social networking usage in the Asia-Pacific region in February 2010. Ninety percent of the country's online population visited a social network site during that month, spending an average 5.5 hours per visit--also the highest in the region. Facebook was the most popular social networking site in the Philippines, the ComScore study revealed.
Joel D. Pinaroc is a freelance IT writer based in the Philippines.