Diary Notes of Manuel L. Quezon

Dec. 10, 1938

THE WOOD ADMINISTRATION

During my absence from Manila, General Wood was appointed Governor General of the Philippines. In view of the nature of the report of the Wood-Forbes Mission which I considered not only reactionary but contrary to facts, I felt that this appointment meant a reversion of the policies of Governor General Harrison in the internal
administration of the Philippines as well as an indefinite postponement of the granting of independence. Since the report was very critical of the steps taken by the Harrison Administration regarding the acquisition of the Railroad, the establishment of the Philippine National Bank and the erection of sugar centrals with the help of the bank, I feared that General Wood would try to sell to private interests all these government properties upon the theory of “government must not be in business “.

I arrived in Manila suffering from pneumonia and was taken on a stretcher from the ship to my house.

During my convalescence I learned that the Philippine Legislature had passed a joint resolution endorsing the
appointment of General Wood and offering him their cooperation. I considered this act on the part of the Legislature as illogical, insincere and cowardly. The joint resolution was verbatim a copy of the joint resolution passed by the  Legislature when Governor General Harrison assumed his office as Governor General. I could not understand how the Legislature should feel justified in endorsing the appointment of a man who has criticized the administration of Harrison and the policies approved by the Legislature. Nor could I explain to myself how the Legislature could place itself on record as pleased with the appointment of a man who advocated the postponement of Philippine independence when the Legislature has been consistently and
persistently demanding immediate independence. To get some light in the matter, I sent for Senator Pedro Sison from Pangasinan, one of the members of the Senate, very close to me and a very independent individual. I asked him why was that resolution approved in the Senate and how he could have voted for it. “Didn’t you realize” I said “that it was an act of inconsistency on your part to endorse the appointment of a man whose opinions are contrary to everything that we stand for“. Senator Sison answered that he voted for the resolution and so did his colleagues because they took for granted that it represented the consensus of opinion of leaders of the party including myself, since the Joint resolution was introduced by Senator Palma himself, the acting President of the Senate and had the approval of Speaker Osmeña who was at the time the leader
of the party.

Speaker Osmeña knew how displeased I was with the  action taken by the Philippine Legislature in this regard. One night he came to see me and stayed until after midnight in an effort to fix things with me with no avail. This
visit caused my relapse whereupon Dr. Sison ordered that I be taken to Baguio in order that no one may disturb me there.

Governor General Wood maintained the Council of State and I was therefore able to take part in the deliberations of the Cabinet and thus learn of what was going on in the government. I noticed that the head of the party, Speaker Osmeña, was determined to carry out the policy of cooperation with the administration which in former times, during the years of the Philippine Assembly, has given some tangible beneficial results. I felt, however, that such policy at this time would place the Filipino participation in the government in a position of cooperating with reactionary policies of General Wood, some of which were clearly detrimental to the best interest of the Filipino people. This difference of opinion between Speaker Osmeña and myself contributed to the final break between us which was originally caused by the resentment on the part of the members of the Senate of the Speaker of the House’ interference in matters of appointments.

At the closing of the session of the Legislature, a resolution was passed sending a mission to the United
States to reiterate the demand for independence and to answer the report of the Wood-Forbes Mission. The Nacionalista Party split in two camps, one led by me and the other by Speaker Osmeña, and our factions fought against each other in the following elections while Speaker Osmeña and I left the country to head the mission to the United States. Contrary to the expectation of the Nacionalistas who had the organization of the party well in hand, in the incoming elections the Colectivistas retained control of the Senate and they elected a plurality in the House of Representatives. The Democrata Party which to that time had never succeeded in electing any considerable number of representatives, much less senators, due to an understanding that it had with the Colectivistas of mutual help, for the first time succeeded in electing a substantial number in the House next to those elected by the Colectivista Party, the old Nacionalista occupying a third place. Prior to the elections, there was an understanding between the Democratas and the Colectivistas to the effect that after
the elections they would unite their forces and constitute one party, but the Democratas, encouraged by the results of the elections especially in the City of Manila, refused to carry out their understanding with the Colectivistas and their leaders gave out public statements to the effect that they would not join the Colectivistas but would maintain their own individuality as a party. We were still in the United States when reports of the declarations made by the leaders of the Democrata Party was received by us.

It was evident that it would have been impossible to organize the House unless there was a coalition either by
the Democratas and Colectivistas or by the Colectivistas and the Nacionalistas. The organization of the Senate
was beyond question for the control of the Colectivistas was absolute. At this time, former Speaker Osmeña had been elected a senator from Cebu with the idea of occupying the presidency of the Senate in case the Nacionalistas succeeded in controling it. He accepted the defeat like a man and was willing to play the role that the will of the people has chosen for him. When I learned of the unlikelihood that the understanding between the Colectivistas and the Democratas may be carried out in the Assembly, and in the face of the impossibility of organization of the House by the Colectivistas alone, we took the first steps towards reuniting the old Nacionalista and the Colectivista for the purpose of effecting the organization of both branches of the Legjslature.

Manila – Dec. 10, 1938