Diary of Antonio de las Alas

August 15, 1945, Wednesday

Three orders of Gen. MacArthur have been brought to our attention.

The first, as reported to us by a Colonel who inspected our prison, was that MacArthur gave the Military Police an order while we were in Quezon City to take us to Palawan within 48 hours. This explains why they were in such a hurry to take us to the boat. We were notified at 11:00 a.m. to get ready and at 1 p.m. we were loaded in an open truck with heavy guard. In that truck we were not allowed to go down until we embarked at a landing barge at about 4 o’clock. So that we were literally dried in the sun for three hours. There should have been no hurry to load us in the hold of a ship as anyhow the boat laid anchor and did not depart until the day after. The trip to Iwahig has already been described.

The second was under date of July 17, 1945. Therein we were prohibited from writing to our relatives about our case or from giving instructions concerning our political plans or financial interests. Correspondence was confined to subjects of personal interest and not subjects connected with our detention or to carrying on political and business activities. The explanation given is that the intention of detaining us is to separate us temporarily from the political and economic life of the Commonwealth. We noted this order on August 9, 1945.

Because of this prohibition, all that could be communicated to us and all that we could communicate was the state of our health and our personal activities. Our letters soon became repetitious and monotonous so that now we do not write as frequently as before.

The third order was contained in the Daily Journal, International Falls, Minnesota, Dec. 30, 1944.

Gen. MacArthur’s Headquarters, Philippines, Dec. 30 — AP. Gen. MacArthur today ordered military interment of Filipinos who ‘have given aid, comfort and sustenance to the enemy’.

A proclamation issued by his headquarters said that military necessity requires that such persons be removed from any opportunity to threaten the security of our military forces of success of our military operations.

As Commander of the Southwest Pacific Areas, MacArthur declared his intent to ‘remove such persons when apprehended from any position of political and economic influence in the Philippines and hold them in restraint for the duration of the war whereafter I shall release them to the Philippine government for its judgment.’

A spokesman emphasized that this was not punitive action, but merely military interment similar to action taken against the Japanese in the United States early in the war. He said the proclamation was directed particularly at persons in positions where their actions could be of military consequence.

MacArthur said ‘evidence is before me of such activity’. He gave no details.

There should be no quarrel about the order itself. I do not agree with MacArthur that we can endanger military security. But let us give him the benefit of the doubt.

What I cannot understand is why we were deprived of our liberty without due trial or investigation — without giving us an opportunity to be heard. The charge against us must have been that we gave aid, comfort and sustenance to the Japanese. Why did MacArthur convict us of this charge based on the evidence before him — evidence submitted ex-parte? We do not know what it consists of. Why were we not given an opportunity to examine such evidence and to give our side of the case? If we were found guilty after a trial, we would at least have had the satisfaction of having been submitted to due trial or investigation.

Why did MacArthur do such a thing? Many versions have been given as to the motive of MacArthur. One said that he is not as Pro-Filipino as he is alleged to be. Another said that it was personal ambition, He has his eye on the presidency of the United States and he thinks this will help him. Another said that it is just sheer stupidity on the part of MacArthur. Yulo even thinks that MacArthur is anti-Filipino and he does not care what happens to us. Personally, I believe that MacArthur is ill-advised.

I am afraid I will have to modify the opinion I expressed earlier when I wrote on MacArthur.

In this connection, many of us believe that the Philippines should not have been invaded at all. The Americans should have gone direct to Japan. With the superfortresses, the absolute predominance in the air, the absolute control of the sea, and the atomic bomb, there was not the least doubt that the mainland of Japan could have been invaded and Japan conquered in a very short time. But MacArthur had stated that he would return to the Philippines and he wanted to make his promise good. He suffered humiliation when he fled from Corregidor and he wanted to recover his prestige by returning to the Filipinos. He wanted to satisfy his personal pride because of his political ambition. This decision on the part of MacArthur has been very costly to us. We lost hundreds of millions in material wealth. But this is nothing compared with the appalling loss of life. I estimate that about half a million Filipinos died because of the American invasion. History will have something to say about this.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>