President Duterte became a trending topic on social media anew after withdrawing from his debate with Retired Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio on the West Philippine Issue.
The hashtag #DuterteDuwag (Duterte is a coward) trended on Twitter on Friday afternoon immediately after Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque announced that the Chief Executive will no longer engage in a debate with Carpio on issues related to the disputed waters.
#DuterteDuwag got 27.8 thousand tweets as of 6 p.m. on May 7 while Carpio got 23.5 thousand tweets.
The tweets that contained the hashtag #DuterteDuwag poked fun at the President with most tweets pointing out that he was the one who initiated the debate challenge with the retired magistrate.
Malacañang Events and Catering Services, a satirical Facebook page, was among the first to make fun of the President, calling him a “chicken” for backing out from the debate and assigning Roque to face Carpio in his stead.
Inggit na naman mga dilawan kay TatayPosted by Malacañang Events and Catering Services on Thursday, 6 May 2021
Duterte on Wednesday challenged Carpio to a debate on the West Philippine Sea, particularly on the 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague that favored the Philippines over China.
Carpio immediately accepted the challenge of the President and said he will face Duterte at any convenient time for the latter.
The Philippine Bar Association likewise offered to host the highly-anticipated debate between Duterte and Carpio.
However, on Friday, Roque said over PTV-4 that the President will no longer engage in a debate with Carpio upon the advice of his Cabinet and Senators Vicente Sotto III and Aquilino Pimentel III.
The Palace official said Duterte withdrew from his debate challenge because it will not do the country any good and the debate might affect existing policies on the West Philippine Sea.
Roque, however, said the debate may still continue but he will be the one to face the retired Supreme Court justice.
He added that he was prepared to debate with Carpio on the issues particularly on who was to blame for the loss of the Panatag Shoal to China years ago.
Duterte previously asked why the country “lost” the West Philippine Sea if Carpio and former Foreign Affairs Albert del Rosario were supposedly bright.
The President blamed the past administration for pulling out Philippine ships from Panatag Shoal during a standoff with China in 2012. When local ships moved out supposedly upon the intervention of the United States, China did not budge and effectively took possession of the territory.
Carpio, however, lost interest when Roque was appointed as Duterte’s substitute in the debate, saying debating with the Presidential Spokesman would be a “useless exercise” since there were no factual disputes in the topics Roque wants to talk about.