Diary of Lester Knox Little

February 3, 1950

Saw Bonnie Liu (Mrs. Sycip) in her I.R.O. office. To Custom House where I spent most of morning. Had long talk with Alfredo V. Jacinto, Commissioner of Customs. He makes a good impression. The Customs has recently discharged 180 employees, each of whom apparently has a political sponsor who is trying to save the job for him. Jacinto said that he is being subjected heavy pressure by Senators, representatives and other influential people who are interested in the Customs employees who have been discharged. That is the reason he stayed away from office yesterday afternoon; and the receiver was off his telephone this morning, to prevent incoming calls. The Customs is honeycombed with politics. Senor Jacinto complained bitterly about the recent reorganization of the Customs whereby, inter alia, his Deputy Commissioner becomes ex officio Collector of the Port of Manila. He said this plan was cooked up between a subordinate in the Budget (or Audit?) office and the Deputy Commissioner, Senor Melicia [Melecio] Fabros; and that it results in clipping the authority of the Commissioner. I gathered that there is bad blood between Jacinto and Fabros. Mr. David, arrestre Division [arrastre], took me around the Custom House and introduced me to the officers in charge of the various departments. The building is in shocking disrepair, and filthy.

At dinner, Wilson told of the evacuation of civilians from Honolulu after Pearl Harbor, and said that, among others, several very prosperous prostitutes were put on a ship for the mainland. An Army chaplain responsible for entertainment, got up a dance for the first night a Sunday — and, to start the ball, picked out one of the prostitutes as his partner. Wilson said: “I never thought to see a minister of the gospel dancing with a whore on a Sunday night.”