Diary of Francis Burton Harrison

June 8, 1936

Slept until 11 a.m. The party went up to Cotobato and Quezon, Speth and I swam at the mouth of the river. Formerly, General Wood’s favourite army post in Mindanao, was near here but is now abandoned and fifty squatters are on the reservation. Quezon says he will put them off, as he wants to make this the principal Philippine army post–just half way between Zamboanga and Davao.

Argument over airplanes,–posts and travel. The President complains they are very expensive. Discussion of the relative merits of land and sea planes for use in the Philippines. (Asked Capt. Bradford in Davao–he rather favours land planes–says that amphibious planes are too heavy to carry pay loads.)

Talk at lunch over exercise of the pardon power. Quezon quoted Chief Justice Taft as ruling that this power extended to one even before the judgment of the court, which surprised me. He spoke of pardons for those sentenced for adultery, and told of a case of long ago decided by Judge Borja in Tayabas, in which he (Quezon) was wrongly accused of using influence for a pardon. The accused were the father of Don Miguel Unson and another man’s wife. Unson was then 70 years old, and the facts were clear. The woman pleaded guilty, and was sentenced, while Unson was tried and acquitted! Quezon stated his views of pardons (which are the same ideas as those which actuated me when I exercised this power)–crimes of cheating and stealing and meanness deserve no pardon, while crimes of violence, if unpremeditated, deserved sympathetic consideration.

Off for Davao. Bridge and early to bed.

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