Manila—The hashtag #DuterteDuwag (DuterteCoward) trended on the Philippines’ Twitterverse in mid-March after President Rodrigo Duterte declared to withdraw the Philippines from the International Criminal Court, or ICC, where he would be facing a formal investigation that will look if his drug war would amount to crimes against humanity.
Critics were not surprised that Duterte wanted to withdraw the Philippines from ICC, as his blood-soaked campaign against drugs has left more than 13,000 mostly poor Filipinos dead, yet not a single person responsible for the deaths has been held to account. The death toll was based on human rights groups’ estimate.
“Cowardice to the highest degree,” and “Flight is a sign of guilt,” read two of the tweets and social media comments accusing Duterte of attempting to shield himself and 11 of his officials from ICC prosecution for mass murder and crimes against humanity. The hashtag further went viral after Sen. Leila de Lima shouted out "Coward Duterte!” as she was filmed by media while being escorted by policemen. De Lima is Duterte's staunchest critic whom he jailed on allegations of corruption through drug trading.