Diary of Juan Labrador, O.P.

September 9, 1943

Once the Philippines becomes independent—and many believe that it would be within this month—would she enjoy a complete and absolute sovereignty, a national and international sovereignty as defined by Jean Bodin and as described by political law?

The Constitution is silent on this matter. Rather, all indications pointed to an independence, not of the western style, but of the oriental manner, as Manchuria and Burma, and independence with protection. International jurists would say that this is a contradiction in terms. But Japan prefers to carry out the plan in the style of Alexander the Great. For the moment, the imperial Armed Forces will stay in the Philippines. After all, as a spokesman explained, Japan will grant the independence to the Filipinos, but she will not leave them alone to their fate but would bind herself to the duty of maintaining and defending’ this independence. The Philippines does not have a single ship—not even a merchant ship—nor an airplane nor an army of its own. If the Philippines were attacked, or if Japan were attacked in the Philippines, only Japan has the means of defending her.

But once independent—under Japan—would not the Philippines be under obligation to declare war against the enemies of Japan, specially if those enemies would wage a war against the Islands? This is the worry and problem of the people. The Filipino leaders are bitterly opposed to the Japanese suggestions of war and are frank about their fears that a declaration of war would be prejudicial both to the Philippines and to Japan. An army for the Philippines would rather fight against rather than for Japan. But Japan has set her mind on the matter.

It remains to be seen whether, with the emancipation of the Philippines, Japan will abandon the undertakings and commerce which she took possession of during the occupation. At the moment, it cannot be expected that she will give up what she confiscated from enemy aliens.

With regard to the Philippines, the Constitution carries transitory provisions that “all rights and privileges acquired by any person or entity from the beginning of the Great East Asia war shall be subject to final readjustments at the end of the war.” Until then, the Japanese cannot be deprived of their holdings. Besides, the appendix of the Constitution authorizes the President, contrary to the main provision of the same, to enter into contract with any foreign power for the exploitation of national resources and the operation of public utilities. Evidently, this provision was added to enable Japan to continue exploiting our mines and other industries.