Diary of Juan Labrador, O.P.

July 5, 1943

An unpleasant incident took place yesterday in Letran. Two officers and an interpreter came to the office which, as it was the first day of classes, was then filled with school children and their parents. They were asking a Filipino teacher of Nippongo why he wrote a letter in Japanese, on our instance, telling our Japanese neighbors that they had broken down one of our walled up windows and were hauling stones and rubbles from the burned portion of the building. Apparently not satisfied with the explanation of the teacher, they pounced on him with a chair and slapped him several times. I was then out of the office. The people were scared and left in a hurry. The interpreter wanted to deal another blow on the teacher but was stopped by one of the officers. They were also asking for Father Honorio Muñoz who handcarried the letter to their headquarters with the intention of punishing him also. They left, with the promise of returning in the afternoon to settle matters.

We proceeded to the Spanish consul and he took off, together with one of the Fathers, to the Military Administration where an order was issued to our guests not to molest us.

This morning, the Commander of these “gentlemen” called me to his office. I was worried that he would perform the second part of the tragedy, but he limited himself to a lecture on good neighborliness. He said that we must consider ourselves as members of the same family. As if we were the offenders! In parting he warned me that the next time I ask for help from higher authorities and not from him, he would throw us out into the streets. As I feared that my further explanations would only infuriate him more, I kept quiet. It was easy to militarize a civilian, but it was impossible to civilize some military men. They continued getting stones from the premises, claiming that everything was the property of the Imperial Japanese Army.