Diary of Basilio J. Valdes

February 20, 1942 – Friday

I was informed this morning that the Don Esteban cleared the mine zone at 2:30 a.m. The President informed me that we would leave the tunnel at 10:30 p.m. I was kept busy all day attending to important correspondence and matters that needed special attention. The President was in excellent spirits. I was depressed and sad. I did not want to leave; I do not want to go. I feel that it is my duty to stay with my troops and suffer the same suffering and the same end. But General MacArthur objected to my remaining either in Corregidor or in Bataan. He told the President in my presence that it is his opinion that my presence in Visayas or Mindanao was of greater importance.

At 7 p.m. General Sutherland came to see me to give the citations for General MacArthur, General Sutherland, General Marshall, Lieutenant Colonel Huff, and Colonel Hill for the Commonwealth Distinguished Service Star. I could bear it no longer. I told General Sutherland that they had been very unfair with me, by sending me far from my troops in the field. I was not able to control my feelings and I cried. I told him that I would refuse to leave unless I got a written order from the President. An hour later he brought me an order signed by the President. Being a soldier I have no other alternative but to obey.

General MacArthur with General Sutherland arrived at 10:25 p.m. As per schedule we left the tunnel in three cars at 10:30 p.m. Car N-1 carried the Vice-President, The Chief Justice and Colonel Huff. Car N-2 carried Baby and Nini Quezon and myself. Car N-3 carried General MacArthur, General Sutherland, the President, Mrs. Quezon and Nonong. We went to the dock and boarded a launch that took us to the Submarine Swordfish, one of the large ones the U.S Navy has. We left Mariveles at about 11:30 p.m. I read and talked until 1 a.m. when I went to sleep on top of the dining table.

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