Diary of Antonio de las Alas

May 30, 1945 Wednesday

We were given a ration of cigarettes.

As may be remembered, from the very beginning I was insisting on submitting our case to the President, His Excellency Sergio Osmeña. In fact I thought that we should submit our case to him even before Gen. MacArthur, or we could do it simultaneously. I am aware that Gen. MacArthur may be the one to decide our case. But we must first give due respect and obedience to our own leaders and officials. There can be no stable government if the citizens do not respect and obey such government and also respect duly constituted authority. Mr. Osmeña is our President and we must give him what he is entitled to—our respect as citizens of the country of which he is the head. The curse in the past has been our lack of confidence in and respect for our own officials. How many petitions were addressed directly to the American Governor General instead of the corresponding Filipino officials? How many times have our prominent citizens sought conference with the American Governor General to submit to him matters which should and could have been decided by a Filipino official? We cannot establish a good and stable government that way.

There are many lessons in democracy that we must learn if we wish to enjoy eternally the blessings of independence. One of them is to abide by the decision of the majority.

Notwithstanding the progress of democracy, there has not as yet been devised a form of government under which all the citizens can take active part in the administration. So far, respresentative democracy has been found to be the most practical and the only way of carrying out the principles of democracy. The people themselves, by means of elections, select the men, the officials who are to manage the government for them. Being selected by the people those officials are the servants of the people. The trouble in the past, and this has caused serious conflicts and even revolutions, was that there were persons who, after their election or selection, forget that they owe their position to the people and derive all their authority and power from the people. They place themselves above the law and even disregard or contradict the wishes of the people. We must guard against the ascension into power of such men. On the other hand, once elected, we must show him respect and extend to him our full support. Unless we respect and obey duly constituted authorities we will not be able to run a government.

I am pleased then that we have decided to address our petition to Pres. Osmeña. Whatever he decides will be respected. We know that he will do what should be done and will not be influenced or pressured by any person—that he will decide each case based on its merits. We will abide by his decision.

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