The struggles of Dubredo Army • Duterte-Robredo on Leni Robredo’s side

People usually think Dubredo Army • Duterte-Robredo is just a typical support group of President Duterte and VP Leni Robredo but this core group is more than just a group of people who supports two same people. After all that we’ve been through, this core group is now like a family that you can’t just brainwash or wreck apart.

We started from zero, no connections to President Duterte or VP Leni Robredo but we decided to work on reaching out to VP Leni first. Most of the people today think it was so easy for us to reach VP Leni but God knows how much we struggled as we paved our way to her. We came across her millennial supporters who didn’t welcome us warmly because we support President Duterte.

Specifically, we came face to face with the Mar-Leni supporters, the Leni-only supporters who criticized our core group, told us we wouldn’t last long and we would part ways after 2016 because Duterte and Leni’s tandem isn’t just possible at all. Most of them told us that VP Leni wouldn’t like our group at all because she doesn’t like Duterte and that time, I didn’t know who Leni Robredo was in depth so I had nothing to hold on to than my own mind telling me that I should keep paving our way to her so that I can determine with my own eyes and ears if Leni Robredo would actually support this Duterte-Robredo support group. I didn’t buy any of their comments and discouraging words, the only thing I believed in is that Leni Robredo is a good person and one day, if she meets this group, she’ll appreciate Dubredo Army.

Being the founder and leader of this group who’s very new to the world of politics and governance, I felt so degraded and hopeless being surrounded by people who discouraged us to push through. I never talked to Leni, I wasn’t aware of her person in depth and it wasn’t easy to make myself hold on to the fact that she will ever notice us, I mean, as we made our way to her, we met so many people supporting her and working for her and about 90% of them doesn’t like the man (Duterte) we support pero hindi ako sumuko, pinilit kong isipin na ‘no, her people doesn’t define her. Just because ayaw ng karamihan ng mga taong nakapaligid sakanya kay Duterte eh ibig sabihin non ayaw rin niya kay Duterte. She has her own mind, she is her own person.’

But man, that was the only thing I was holding on to during those times.

Scheduling a meeting VP Leni isn’t as easy as most of the people think. We had to talk to several people to walk us into her office for a courtesy call or meet/greet with supporters and for the record, those people we had to talk to are the ones who had their social media accounts filled with criticisms against Duterte. We had to stay professional and casual with them despite that, just imagine that.

We joined this ‘social media group’ of someone who once worked at her office (not dropping names) together with the other millennial Leni supporters who made us their utusan. This person asked us to make graphic artworks, directed us to post things on our social media accounts, asked us to repost things about Leni, some of the Dubredos felt like we’re working on making their work easier. Of course, we thought he/she is our only way to Leni so we did what he/she wanted us to do. We spent time to edit graphic artworks but instead of being appreciated, we only heard criticisms and judgments from him/her and the other members of the group.

Hindi maganda yung pagkaka-edit nung graphics.

Ang liit ng text.

We spent hours editing but our works were never posted, our edits were never used, sometimes they would just ignore the graphics we edited for hours — they just wasted our time, didn’t even thank us for trying.

As a part of the social media group, we also expressed our suggestions and ideas to help promoting VP Leni’s works and advocacies but then these people never listened because Dubredo kami eh. There are times that we just happily share new articles about President Duterte and VP Leni just because we are pleased to see them all fine but all we get from these people are scolds.

Bawal ang Dubredo dito.

Luh. Please don’t mention Duterte.

About Leni lang ang pwede dito.

From the very start, they already assumed that VP Leni Robredo would never appreciate us so they never valued us as her supporters. Sabit lang kami sa other Leni supporters noon.

But then, sino nga ba ang Dubredo Army • Duterte-Robredo supporters para i-please or pakinggan nila ‘di ba? Syempre kung gusto nila magpalakas kay VP Leni doon sila didikit sa mga Leni supporters kase uncertain rin naman nga sila kung magugustuhan ba talaga ni Leni yung Dubredo Army. Baka mamaya kapag lumapit lapit sila saaming Duterte-Robredo, imbis na lumakas sila kay Leni, humina pa sila.

So we, Duterte-Robredo supporters had to get along with it. Nobody liked us, nobody believed in us, nobody appreciated our mission. We also had doubts if Leni would appreciate us but during our early days, we just wanted her to know that there are people who supports her and the president, yun lang, masaya na kami.

Hindi namin hinangad na maging bida sa office ni Leni, we never asked to be treated special. We didn’t want to meet Leni Robredo to earn some bragging rights or to just earn a connection. We just wanted to empower the idea that it is better to support the president and the vice president instead of pitting them against each other. But since we’re so new to this political supporting world, the people who had much knowledge played us and then used us. I’m not taking it back, I’m not holding my words back, pinagtripan kami and then ginawang utusan para mas mapadali ang trabaho nila.

I told some of our members before that it’s okay, let’s be understanding, during that time some of the Dubredo Army members started complaining because they felt like a slave on that group — most of us are professionals pero anong ginawa nitong mga millennial intern saamin? Ginawang taga-edit, taga-post and then made us a laughingstock because sumusunod lang kami. I told the DuBredos that one day they’ll appreciate us especially if we meet VP Leni already. Tiis tiis lang.

We stayed on that social media group for months but it has come to an end when they worked together dragging one of the Dubredo Army member because she shared a photo of the rice field art with Duterte and Robredo as the subject in Nueva Ecija.

I know this DuBredo member so well, I knew her purpose of sharing it is because she appreciates the Dubredo art and the concept of this rice field art so much and it irked me to read the responses of the members of that social media group against her even if she already apologized and explained that she was just happy to see the art.

Edited naman yan. Bawal ang DuBredo dito. Leni lang pls.

— Anong edited pinagsasabi niyo? Search niyo yung Nueva Ecija rice fields, they really do rice field arts and that time DuBredo ang subject nila. Palibhasa mga walang alam sa Pilipinas. *roll eyes*

Nakakainis lang kasi bakit may mga nagsheshare ng ganyan.

— Anong masama magshare ng Filipino rice field art ng pangulo at bise pangulo ng Pilipinas?

Ilang beses ba kailangan sabihin na Leni lang ang pwede dito?

— Hindi ba si Leni yang katabi ni Duterte sa rice field art sa Nueva Ecija?

Kung magsheshare ka rin pala ng ganyan, eh di magsheshare na rin kami ng presidents namin dito. lol

— So ano ‘to competition? Labanan ng president? Dapat ba iblur namin yung pic ni Duterte bago namin i-share?

They spoke too harsh against that Dubredo Army member who shared that rice field art and it offended me. That Dubredo member is on her 30s, she’s mature enough but these other socmed members dragged her and dissed her like she’s on their same age bracket. I was like, kung hindi niyo kaya irespeto yung tao dahil member siya ng Dubredo Army, konting respeto naman kahit as an elder lang? But then I think I was asking for too much because DuBredo lang kami eh. Isa pa, sila nga nameet na ni Leni Robredo, kami hindi pa so sino ba naman kami?

But guess what? I can’t let things go that way. I am the leader of this group, I am the leader of the Dubredo Army and I can’t just watch our members be dragged like that. I spoke and defended our member. I don’t fucking care if they’ll hate me for being too straightforward but what they did was wrong. Ang tagal na namin silang iniintindi and it’s too much. They can fuck off.

The Dubredo Army all left to avoid further arguments but then these people just didn’t stop shading us on their tweets and social media accounts.

We’ll find another way to Leni. Me and my co-founder told them even if we completely have no idea how.

After a couple of months, we still didn’t find a way to VP Leni, I started to feel hopeless. Baka kase hindi talaga kaya, hanggang dito nalang siguro. I always tell myself but I make sure that the other members wouldn’t feel discouraged. Hintay lang, we’ll all meet her too, hindi na natin kailangan magpanggap na social media group lang or makisama sa mga Leni-only support group para makalapit kay VP Leni.

We’ll meet Leni Robredo as Dubredo Army. No more faking, no more pretending. We’ll face her just as we are then we’ll just wait if she’ll take it or leave it.

For over a year; we tried, 2016 has passed and still, we still didn’t have any chance to schedule a courtesy call with her. Some of our members just attended Leni’s events such as the book launching about Jesse Robredo and other mall events just to be able to see her. That’s all we can do that time eh, wala naman kaming power to demand for a courtesy call.

Up until 2017, wala pa ring progress so we stopped waiting na and we just put our hopes low about meeting Leni ever. We just agreed na sige, support support nalang tayo through social media. If we’ll ever be given a chance to meet Leni then great! If not, then ganon talaga. Mahirap talaga makalapit sa politiko, hindi naman yan artista na pwedeng meet and greet.

Basta I promised myself, bigyan niyo lang kami ng one chance to have a courtesy call with Leni and then ako na ang didiskarte for the whole group to keep the connection consistent. Isang chance lang, God. Isa lang please.

Then it has become a habit of Dubredo Army to respond to mainstream media hashtags:

Do you have a question for VP Leni Robredo?

What is it that you wanna tell VP Leni, use this hashtag #InsertRandomHashtagHere

Then one time I randomly replied to Mike Enriquez’ tweet about questions to Leni.

What can you say to the idea of being the de facto first lady of President Duterte?

I asked that because:

1. I don’t like Honeylet representing the first lady title on ASEAN lol

2. Honeylet isn’t Duterte’s wife because technically, Duterte is single.

3. Raffy Alunan recently posted how Leni Robredo should be the de facto first lady.

4. Leni Robredo has the poise and elegance that’s perfect for a first lady title/de facto first lady.

But having my question asked during VP Leni’s radio interview with Mike Enriquez isn’t the most thrilling part here. During that time, my Twitter handle username was Jam Gerona-Duterte and Mike Enriquez read it on air.

I was actually surprised that he actually read my question because when I tweeted it, I never really expected they would entertain my tweet.

Dubredo Army were laughing so hard as we watched the interview because Leni looked so lost when she heard the ‘Gerona-Duterte’. She even asked Mike Enriquez, “Gerona-Duterte? May ganon pala.”

Weeks after that radio interview, Dubredo Army admins finally had a schedule for a courtesy call with VP Leni, special thanks to JO (keeping her name in initials for privacy) for helping us schedule a CC with Leni. Only a few of us were able to attend because Dubredo Army core group consists of very random members that comes from different parts of the country and world so those who are free and doesn’t have work/classes lang yung nakapunta sa courtesy call but super memorable pa rin, I was even able to bring up and ask Leni if she knows who Jam Gerona-Duterte is, the staffs and Leni herself laughed when I brought it up. Man, I didn’t expect I would break the ice.

After then, Dubredo Army established our link to VP Leni and as I promised myself, I managed to keep the connection between Dubredo Army, VP Leni and her office consistent up until today.

Thank you VP Leni for appreciating us. Thank you for calling me your bunsong only child with Duterte. We promise that you always have our backs. You’re more than just someone we support now. Even if politics get so dirty around you, we’ll still be here for you and daddy Diggy.

God probably made us struggle at first to strengthen our group’s bond so that when we meet VP Leni, solid na talaga kami.

Those people who discouraged us once said that our group wouldn’t last after the last quarter of 2016, guess what? We’re still here.

They once said we would all break apart soon, guess what? Dubredo Army admins are solid as rock up until today. We all go out to bond when we’re free, we’re like a family now. When one gets dragged, we all come out to back them up.

Eh kayo? I heard all of you parted ways na ha? The old social media group na ginawa kaming utusan doesn’t exist anymore.

The other members of that group who once said they are “solid Leni” also went back to their busy celebrity fandoms na rin like they never supported Leni Robredo before.

I saw some of you joined volunteer groups under Leni’s office and continued bashing Dubredo Army on your social media accounts and now I heard you guys are getting turned off of volunteering because walang much pakain and treats yung OVP sainyo and wala kayong special courtesy calls and meet and greets with Leni. So nagvovolunteer ba kayo para magpa-impress kay Leni? #JustAsking

I heard nawawalan na kayo ng gana dahil nagiging vocal na rin si Leni sa pagiging supportive niya kay Duterte ha? Wow.

Akala ko ba staunch and solid Leni supporters kayo? Akala ko ba purely for Pilipinas kayo and you’re all volunteers for Leni Robredo? Sabi niyo nga noon yung Dubredo Army puro kilig kilig lang, puro kababawan, you never appreciated our efforts to keep our social media accounts active because we want to earn likes and following counts so that it would be easier for us to spread Duterte and Leni’s works, updates and advocacies.

Bakit may pag-demand ng food and rewards na nagaganap? Why are there disappointments with Leni being rationally supportive of the president? What do you guys want Leni to do? Hate Duterte and criticize him for life because you hate him?

Leni has her own mind, pals. She’s not the trapo you are all used to who’ll let her supporters define her actions and decisions.

I would never forget the time you guys discouraged Duterte/Robredo supporters. It’s funny to see you all apart now when in fact, kayo yung nagsabi na yung Dubredo Army ang hindi magtatagal. At least now, if we meet again and you tell that to us again, I can say, “Look who’s talking?”

To those who tried to step on Dubredo Army before and to those who will step on us in the future, YOU CAN ALL CHOKE.


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