Diary of Juan Labrador, O.P.

September 25, 1943

Japan is in a greater hurry to grant independence than the Filipinos are ready to receive and enjoy it. The truth is that the Filipinos are no more enthusiastic about it as they are about the independence of Turkey or the Congo. Either they believe that this emancipation was not genuine or they cherish the hope that the true liberty would be given by the old regime in the near future.

Five days ago, the representatives were elected, or better still, chosen and the Assembly convened today to elect the Speaker and the President of the Republic previously designated. The head of the Executive Commission two days ago had proclaimed Dr. Jose P. Laurel as the lone candidate for the Presidency. The session opened at 10:00 o’clock this morning. Mr. Aquino was nominated for the Speakership and immediately the nomination was closed, resulting in his unanimous election. The elected Speaker nominated Dr. Laurel for President, and without going into other nominations, Dr. Laurel was elected viva voce, without any dissenting vote.

Meanwhile, in front of the Legislative building, a crowd had gathered since early morning, composed of people who were required by his retinue of high officials and assemblymen, many of the people had already dispersed and returned to their homes. To the remaining crowd, the President addressed a short but energetic speech. The crowd shouted several “Mabuhays” which were taken as a popular ratification of the election.

It is only fair to admit that the election as the most expedient and that the person elected was the most appropriate and capable of discharging the function. Had the election been submitted to a popular votation, Dr. Laurel would undoubtedly have been the favorite. Everybody sees him as the best choice because of his energy, his intelligence, his prudence and his prestige in the eyes of the Filipinos and in the eyes of the Japanese. By the courage he has demonstrated and the respect that the Japanese have for him, it is believed that he alone is capable of not compromising the freedom of the new government with the demands and pressures of Tokyo, or at least of seeing to it that such demands and pressures are not unreasonably made. His position is delicate and ticklish, considering that the majority of Filipinos view the Republic with supine indifference; others refuse to be reconciled, even outwardly, with the situation imposed by force of arms.

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