Diary of Juan Labrador, O.P.

October 1, 1944

According to authoritative sources, President Laurel has declared a state of war (this phrase was always used instead of “declared war”) under pressure from Japan. Since last year, when he was invited to Tokyo before the establishment of the Republic, this pressure has become increasingly stronger, and when the bombings started, it reached an extent where the President dare not go against it for fear of reprisals from the army. President Laurel insisted that he did nothing more than declare a state of war started by the attackers. Whether or not these premises exempt him from all responsibility would be up to history to decide, assuming that future historians could agree on the present responsibilities. They would first have to tone down the passion of today, so that the critics could judge the actuations of the President and his government impartially.

Reliable sources also revealed that the bombing ten days ago had rattled the Japanese military authorities. They never expected such a plan of attack so well conceived, well executed and so nerve-shattering that it sowed panic among the high military officials. The military leaders are blaming one another for the failure of their defense and the great destruction they have suffered. The sudden turn of events has also aggravated the old enmities existing between the two arms of the Imperial Forces—the army and the navy—which traditionally pulled each other’s hair each claiming credit for the victories of war and throwing the blame for the failures. General Kuroda is the victim of this tug-of-war, and was sent back to Tokyo.

In the meantime, the Imperial Forces are continuously looking for new places to set up their anti-aircraft guns. They are placing them in residential zones, at the same time occupying private houses and mixing among the civilian populace. Of the 300 Spanish families in Manila, more than half have already been ejected from their homes.