July 31, 1945 Tuesday

Yesterday, I received a long letter from my wife containing plenty of news.

Immediately after the occupation of Manila, Gen. Maeda, Chief of Staff of the Army of Occupation, sent a message to Vargas, then Mayor and a ranking Member of the Cabinet, giving instructions that a governmental organization be created to carry out the policy of the Japanese contained in a proclamation issued by Gen. Homma, Commander in Chief, par. 3 of which provides:

The authorities and the people of the Commonwealth should sever the relations with the United States of America and trust the just and fair administration of the Army, obeying faithfully all its commands, cooperating voluntarily with it in its stationing and activities here and supplying military supplies when asked.

In his inaugural address at the opening session of the First Congress of Philippines on June 9, 1945, Speaker Jose Zulueta quoted the declaration of prominent people (34) assembled at the house of Speaker Yulo in response to Gen. Maeda’s orders.

In response to the Message of Your Excellency as Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial Japanese Forces, on the 8th of January 1942, through Hon. Jorge B. Vargas, we have duly taken note of the contents thereof and respectfully express our gratitude for your Excellency’s words of solicitude over the welfare of our people.

We beg to inform Your Excellency that, in compliance with your advice, and having in mind the great ideals, the freedom and the happiness of our country, we are ready to obey to the best of our ability and within the means at our disposal the orders issued by the Imperial Japanese Forces for the maintenance of peace and order and the promotion of the well-being of our people under the Japanese military administration. Consequently, we have constituted ourselves into a provisional Philippine Council of State and we are immediately proceeding to draft our Articles of Organization in line with your Excellency’s advice.

I am not sure that the above is the exact text of the letter we signed. I took notes of all that happened and what were said in the meetings held in the house of Speaker Yulo, but unfortunately I lost them all when my house was burned.

I recollect very distinctly that we drafted and redrafted our answer many times. In the original draft instead of “advice” in the second paragraph it was “order”, we wanted to make the people know that we did not voluntarily offer our services, but that we were ordered to organize some form of administration. Our proposition was not accepted by the Japanese and we had to accept “advice” as a substitute. Instead of the “great ideals” and “freedom”, we used “independence” in the original. It will be remembered that from the very beginning we did not want to accept anything unless the independence of our country was assured. Without such assurance we were prepared to suffer whatever consequences our refusal may bring. The Japanese, on the other hand, did not want anything inserted referring to our independence. But in view of our insistence, they communicated with Tokyo for instructions. Tokyo apparently agreed to our demands; in fact, on the 21st of January, Premier Tojo delivered a speech before the Diet which, among other things, announced their policy of granting our independence upon compliance of certain conditions. The authorities, insisted in the use of “grand ideals” and “freedom”. Upon an inquiry, however, this was clarified to mean independence.

The inaugural speech of Speaker Zulueta was pronounced unanimously as an excellent speech. It showed that Mr. Zulueta has matured to statesman. His defense of the collaborators was superb. His statement of facts, however, was not exactly correct. We did not immediately constitute ourselves as Council of State. The meetings in the house of Speaker Yulo were informal. Those who attended were called by the Speaker to consider the order of the Japanese Military authorities. The statement in our answer about constituting ourselves into a provisional Council of State was the first mention of any Council of State, and as may be seen, it was only provisional and had yet to be approved by the Japanese military administration.

A newspaper has published that persons close to official circles have given the news that “small collaborationists” may be released when the Japanese pockets still in existence in the Philippines are wiped out, inasmuch as military security could no longer be endangered. “Big collaborationists” like members of the Cabinet of the last Republic, will be detained during the duration of the war, but they may be released upon the guarantee of the Philippine government.

To me, this is not good news. Why should there be any distinction between big and small? Insofar as military security is concerned, the small collaborationists are just as dangerous, if not more dangerous, than the big collaborationists.

The guarantee required of the Philippine government will place us in the vortex of politics. We will be placed into the hands of politicians. This is precisely what I have been fearing. I fear that our release or continuation under detention would depend upon whether it will favor or prejudice the political aspirations of the official concerned.

In connection with our letter mentioned previously, it should be added that we purposely used the word “obey” in order to indicate that we were being ordered, thereby attaining the purpose we had in wishing to use the word “order” in the first part of the second paragraph.

On July 25, 1945, there was a Reuter’s dispatch from Washington, substantially saying as follows: Senator Albert Chandler (Democrat, Kentucky) and a member of the Senate Military Affairs Committee told Reuter today, “I shall make use of the Senate Debate on the ratification of the San Francisco Charter to bring to the attention of my colleagues the question of the political future of India.

“I have studied with great care the reference in the Charter to dependent territories, and I would like to clarify the position that India would occupy in this new world organization.

“The Charter promises ultimate independence to all countries and I would like to know what steps can be taken by the new organization to bring about India’s complete freedom and independence.”

The Senate voted against the United States’ participation in Pres. Wilson’s League of Nations. This time the participation in the new league was approved and thus commits America to full-scale cooperation in the New World order. There are many causes of the failure of the former League of Nations. To me, one of them which I consider one of the main causes, is the failure to draw in the United States. Any world organization without the United States cannot endure. This is not only because of the greatness and importance of the United States among nations but also because she has assumed a virtual protectorate of the North and South American continents. This protectorate will extend to the Philippines.

I have already commented on the San Francisco World Charter insofar as its provisions referring to dependent peoples are concerned. I criticized this provision for not being clear and specific enough. There should not be the least doubt that the Charter will insure independence to small states and dependent peoples. Colonization must be eliminated for all time. This is necessary, not only to prevent wars between two or more nations, but also to avoid revolutions, rebellions, massacres, or just individual cases of killing, imprisonment or political persecution. If this policy had been implanted about the middle of the 17th century, there would not have occurred the American revolution; there would not have been recorded the many bloody revolutions of South American countries; we would not have suffered on account of our revolution against Spain. Rebellions of dependent peoples have caused death and untold suffering of a great number of people. Massacres, like that of Amritzar, India, have taken place because of the libertarian movements on the part of the people. How many lives have been lost for the cause of liberty! How many have languished in Britain for heading or championing separatist or liberal movements! How many have been deported, banished from the country that has given them life, and separated from their dear ones! All these horrors must be prevented at all costs.

* * * * *

            Autograph hunting continues. To Dr. Lanuza, I said: “Together we shall be up to the end of the journey.” What I mean is that having suffered together we shall be united in all efforts to win our vindication and to serve our country.

To Mr. Carmona: “I shall never forget the days when we together shared equally the joys and sorrows of life. This has cemented the friendship which binds me with you.”


July 25, 1945 Wednesday

Autograph hunting continues. This time from Mr. Prospero Baluyot. I wrote, “Acquaintance galvanized by suffering is always enduring. This is one of the benefits we have derived from our confinement here. Therefore, be assured, Mr. Baluyot, that our friendship will be everlasting.”

Ramos is circulating that Russia had given an ultimatum to Japan to surrender to the United Nations within 72 hours. It is said also rumored that Japan has surrendered unconditionally. The Colonel and the Lieutenant deny that these rumors are true.


July 23, 1945 Monday

The newspapers bring two pieces of news; one elated us, and the other alarmed us.

The first seems to indicate an early end of the war. United Press reports in New York that the United States government administration is taking steps to draft the United States unconditional surrender terms. New York Herald Tribune states that the possible terms as reported from reliable sources are the following: (1) Return of all territories seized by force; (2) Complete destruction of Japanese fleet and air force; (3) Dismantling of all shipbuilding facilities capable of turning out air crafts and munitions; (4) Japan will not be invaded, only a token “supervisory force” will be sent to Japan; (5) Japan is to retain her form of government, including the Emperor, and to manage her own political, economic and social affairs; and (6) Japan may be supplied with iron, coal, oil and other resources needed for civilian use.

Some parts of the above terms need clarification. For instance, what shall be done with Manchuria, Korea and Formosa?

If I were Japan, I would grab peace under the above terms. Japan is already beaten. With the hundreds of superfortresses, her annihilation or almost complete destruction is assured. Furthermore, due to her own fault, her dream of union among the countries of Greater East Asia has been blasted. Because of her record in these countries, it will take a century before her nationals will be welcomed in these countries. Not only did she disqualify herself to be the leader of any union to be organized here, but she will probably not even be admitted until she shows that she can treat other people as civilized people do. China may want to be the leader. If Manchuria and Formosa are returned to her, she will be the strongest nation in the world and may even dominate the world. The Chinese are not only good businessmen, but they have also shown themselves to be good soldiers. But they were also shown to be cruel at times. I believe that for the safety of the Orient, China be divided into at least three nations: North and South China, and Manchuria.

It is rumored that in Washington these terms for surrender were received with general approval.

The above news must be related to other news. It is reported that Russia is acting as intermediary and that Stalin took with him to Berlin the surrender terms, evidently to submit them to the Conference between him, Truman and Churchill. Another news item is that before the Russian delegation left for Berlin, the Japanese Ambassador Sato, had a conference with Foreign Commissar of Foreign Affairs Molotov and with the Vice-Commissar.

Something must be in the offing. All of us expect or at least hope that termination of the war will come.

Today, our stock prices have reached the highest level.

The alarming news is that the feud in Manila seems to be impossible to patch up. It is growing worse to the dismay and disappointment of the Filipino people.

Roxas is reported to have stated that the administration of Osmeña “smacks of dictatorship”. He reiterated his criticism of the elimination of judiciary officials, army men and civil service employees without following the processes provided by law for their separation. He also cites blunders being committed by the administration. “Take for instance eggs,” he said. “The price fixed is 3 centavos per egg, whereas the price at sources is 4 centavos. The hen will not even care to lay eggs.”

It should be remembered that the Committee on Appointments returned the appointment of the seven justices appointed by Osmeña. This is tantamount to disapproval. It was suggested that the Court of Appeals abolished by Osmeña be revived. Instead, Osmeña reappointed the seven justices in defiance of the apparent desire of the Committee.

The Senate of the United States Congress has approved the Bretton Woods monetary agreement, approved by representatives of 44 countries. The agreement provides for the establishment of an international bank with a capital of $9,100,000,000 to make or guarantee loans for rehabilitation and economic development. It also provides for a fund of $8,800,000,000 as monetary fund for stabilizing the currency exchange rate of participant countries. The participation of the United States will be $5,900,000,000 in the proposed $17,900,000,000, divided thus: $3,175,000,000 for bank’s capital and $2,750,000,000 for the exchange stabilization fund.

The approval of the agreement in the United States Congress seems certain.

This Agreement is of far-reaching effect. We must be a member of it. As one of the countries needing funds for rehabilitation, we should secure from the fund what we need for the purpose. The exchange question will also he vastly simplified. I suppose the bank will also act as a sort of clearing house.


July 21, 1945 Saturday

This is inspection day. We prepared our bed, baggage, everything. My family will be surprised at how well I can arrange my things. This is one of the many good things we have learned here. The bed cover is neatly folded, the mosquito net properly placed. Our mess kit and toilet articles, all very shiny, are meticulously arranged on our bed. It is a pleasure to see them.

After the inspection, Col. Gilfilan suddenly appeared in our quarters and engaged Minister Paredes in conversation. As usual, whenever he comes we get jitterly expecting that he was going to give us hell. After the appropriate preliminaries, they proceeded to discuss our case. Evidently, the Colonel had already submitted our letter to General MacArthur. He added that he had other papers about us but he had not seen our memorandum submitted to Mr. Stanford of the C.I.C. As reported by Mr. Paredes the conversation is substantially as follows:

The Colonel came prejudiced against us. Like others, he thought we had willingly collaborated with the Japanese, committed acts constituting treason to our country, and harbored anti-American feelings.

Paredes related how we happened to be in the service during the Japanese regime. He said that under the circumstances, we could not possibly do otherwise unless we wanted to endanger the lives of our people. We need not wait for guns to be pointed at us. The Japanese did not hesitate to arrest, punish and even kill. The people were unprotected. Furthermore, there was the danger of the administration falling into the hands of real pro-Japanese men like Ricarte, or of irresponsible rascals, like Benigno Ramos. These men had acted before and during the Japanese occupation as spies. They had not only baited the Japanese to commit atrocities but had no hesitation themselves to rob, abuse and even kill. This was the situation. We had to choose between inaction or action, hiding in the mountains or acceptance of the office which placed us in a position to protect or serve our people as best we could. We harbored no illusions about it but we preferred to take our chances to see what we could do for our people. We feel we did a satisfactory job. So many were killed; more than 500,000 people died because of Japanese brutality. But what would have happened if we did not accept? Knowing now what the Japanese are capable of, it will not be an exaggeration to say that at least one fourth of our population would have perished.

The Colonel nodded with approval. But evidently there were many doubts lingering in his mind. He asked why the Republic declared war against the United States. Paredes explained. He said that even before the inauguration of the Republic, Pres. Laurel was called to Tokyo where Premier Tojo himself expressed their desire for the Philippines to declare war against the United States and Great Britain. The Japanese Premier was very insistent. Laurel boldly refused. He spoke with frankness. He reasoned out that it would not be decent for us to declare war against the United States. The reasoning of Laurel was so sound that the Filipinos present, Aquino and Vargas, were astounded. No publication was ever made of the incident, but rumors about the incident rapidly spread and the people admired his courage. Tojo did not compel Laurel, but the Japanese never gave up on the idea. Every time there was a propitious occasion, the Commander-in-Chief and other generals spoke to the President about the declaration of war.

But the most serious request was when U.S. air attacks on Davao began. It should be remembered that there was a Pact of Alliance between the Philippines and Japan. The Japanese invoked the provisions of the Treaty.

A word about this treaty must be said. It was a treaty of Amity and Alliance. It was given wide publicity by the Japanese; they presented it as an outright alliance. The full document was never published. It was really a unilateral agreement. Whereas Japan had to fight for us, we were not under any obligation to help or fight with them. But of course, lest our true colors be discovered, we accepted that if the Philippines were attacked, we would defend our territory. In the case of Davao, Laurel did not consider it a threat to our territorial integrity, so he did not declare war. He promulgated, however, a proclamation declaring martial law. He thought this would satisfy the Japanese, but it did not — they kept requesting that formal declaration of war be made. American air bombardment of Manila took place on the 21st of September 1944. The Commanding General and the Ambassador saw the President and insisted on a declaration of war. We had special meetings of the Cabinet and secretly we planned what to do. It was evident that the members of the Cabinet were against it, and almost all the assemblymen. So were the members of the Council of State composed of Chief Justice Avanceña as Chairman, and Messrs. Miguel Unson, Pedro Aunario, Ramon Fernandez and Jose Paez. Even the President himself was not in favor. But above all, the people were decidedly against it.

But Roxas had a vision. He could see what could happen if something was not done. So he advised the President to issue some kind of a proclamation about the war. The Constitution provides that war can only be declared by the President with the concurrence of the National Assembly. The Japanese offered to facilitate plans to bring the assemblymen to Manila. But we made every effort to prevent a quorum in the Assembly. It was unanimously approved that no declaration of war be made; that a mere state of war be declared. There is of course a big difference between the two. The declaration of a state of war merely recognizes the state then existing which was the armed conflict prevailing in the Philippines. Every effort was made to eliminate as much as possible statements concerning America without the Japanese noticing it. As part of the plan, the President, a day or two before the declaration was issued, stated that there would be no conscription of the Filipino youth. Pres. Laurel somehow learned that the Japanese would order the conscription of the Filipino youth. The young people would be trained to fight Filipino and American forces. The proclamation contained no provision for conscription. In making the assurance, his intention was to be able to answer the Japanese in case they asked for such conscription, that his prestige would be adversely affected if he did not stand by his word. What good is a declaration of war without conscription? These are the facts. But of course the Japanese announced to the world that it was an outright declaration of war.

Colonel Gilfilan also asked about the labor conscription. It was also explained that this is one of those things that just could not be avoided. But let us examine the wording of the proclamation. It will be seen that it is a useless proclamation. It provides that labor conscription may be ordered by the Military Governor when deemed necessary.

The Colonel expressed surprise, “Did Laurel do all that?” He made Paredes to understand that he did not consider us guilty of any punishable act. He stated, though it is not known whether it was said jokingly, that a jury better be created and he be made a member of it.

He is confident that we will be detained only during the duration of the war. He said that his tour of duty is already over but he decided to stay until we were released. This is interpreted by us to mean that the war may end soon. As the Colonel started to leave, he stated that he would help us.

There is a lot of speculation as to why he came. Some believe that he knows something more definite about our early release, and so he wanted to have closer relations with us. Others say that he is authorized to investigate our case and was investigating our case. The rest believe that something involving us is going on in Manila and that the Colonel had been called for a conference. He is preparing himself.

Needless to say, our hopes are again quite high.


July 20, 1945 Friday

At about ten o’clock this morning, we were advised that Col. Gilfilan, the Superintendent, wanted to see Mr. Paredes, Gen. Francisco and me. We all became very excited. We thought that we will receive some good news relating to our release. But I doubted this. Why should others, like Yulo and Alunan, whose cases are also very meritorious, not be included? On the other hand, I feared that I would be investigated. A few days ago, an Army Chaplain came with letters from Manila. I got the idea that one of those letters was for me. They were handed by the Chaplain to the Colonel. As they were uncensored, I feared that the letter for me may have contained something that would require further inquiry. But it turned out later that I had no letter. Those who were not invited by Col. Gilfilan looked at us with envy. We walked to the office of the Colonel where we saw our dear friend who had shown deep sympathy towards us, Colonel Barros. We immediately concluded that Col. Barros wanted to visit us and, for some reason, we were allowed to talk him at the Superintendent’s Office. Colonel Gilfilan was extremely nice to us. He motioned to Col. Barros that he could talk to us in the farthest corner of the room. We were with Col. Barros for about 20 minutes. He brought us some gifts. He said that he had been wanting to see us to be able to personally express his sympathy. He said that we must not be ashamed because almost all our countrymen are convinced that we had done absolutely nothing against our country and people, nothing that was even censurable. We asked the Colonel whether there was news about us. He answered no, except he considered the speech of Gen. MacArthur favorable to us in the sense that he urges unity among the Filipinos. He said that his wife cried when she heard that we were here as prisoners. He said that the people at the beginning were somewhat prejudicial against us, but now they understand and they even admire us. He reiterated his ardent desire that we be freed so that our country may again count with our services.

When we were about to leave, Col. Gilfilan beckoned us to sit around his table. He said that he was doing all he could to make us more comfortable. We expressed our gratitude.

Upon our arrival at the stockade, we told our companions to prepare their letters as we were leaving the next day. No one swallowed it.

All the newspapers report heavy bombardment of Japan by air and sea. One thousand five hundred super-fortresses and fighters from aircraft carriers had attacked different places in Japan. Air attack is almost continuous. The biggest task force ever assembled with several dreadnaughts are bombarding Japan from places about a rifle’s shot from the shores. We who trembled with just a few small planes bombarding, have a pretty good idea of the effects of such bombardment. We are now confident that the war will end soon. Although America has always insisted on unconditional surrender, there were statements from responsible persons in America that Emperor Hirohito will be spared and that the Japanese people will not be enslaved. Somebody jokingly remarked that Hirohito will go to the shrine, commune with his God-ancestors, and afterwards, say that he was requested by them to surrender. Recto remarked that the ancestors will mark, “Estamos cayados”.

I had expressed the belief before that the collaborationist issue may divide our people and confuse the political situation. Already in Manila there is a serious division on this account. But the injustice committed against us and the indifference toward our situation shown by even our most intimate friends in Manila, will compel us to organize a party of our own. This will be composed of the supposed collaborationists and their sympathizers. We will organize everyone here and found a newspaper. We will put up candidates for representatives and senators. We ourselves will run. We shall seek not only our vindication, but the carrying out of policies and programs which shall make our country truly independent and prosperous. With the elements this proposed party can count on, it will be a formidable one. If Osmeña and Roxas do not reconcile, the new party may even put up a candidate for president.

McNutt, ex-American High Commissioner of the Philippines and the father of the re-examinationist movement under which the Philippines will have more or less permanent political connection with America, is coming. Avowedly he comes to investigate economic conditions, but if that is the purpose, he is not exactly qualified. I am more inclined to believe that he comes to ascertain the chances his theory may have, and begin laying the groundwork to push his ideas through. We must be on guard. In the movement, he will be supported by American capitalists who see in the Philippines a good field for investment or a strategic place for commercial operations in the Orient, and the imperialists who dream world domination by America. We must assure the free rights of every people. We must combat imperialism at all cost.

What are we? Nobody seems to know. We came as war prisoners, but such status is inconsistent with the theory of those who wish to detain us. If the Republic had never existed and the Commonwealth continued, then we cannot be enemies and we cannot be war prisoners. If the existence of the Republic is recognized, we will then be enemies. At the beginning, the Superintendent here always mentioned the Geneva Convention as the source of all their authority. Later, we were told that we were merely under protective custody. We should appreciate their good intention, but is there real danger for us? Still later, we were told that we were modified or assimilated war prisoners. None of us understand this. Finally, two days ago, the Superintendent objected to our calling ourselves prisoners. “You are not prisoners. You are internees,” he said. It soothes us not to be branded as prisoners, but what matters is not the name but the situation.

Once in a while we crave for real Filipino food. We cannot help but get tired of canned American food which we are not accustomed to eat. Minister Sison and I decided to stay at our quarters to be able to eat such food. It was one of the best meals we have ever enjoyed. We ate good fish, mechado, and rice, with mango and banana dessert. It was a perfect meal. It made us homesick, especially since the mechado was from my wife sent to me from Manila.

We were given a suit of khaki, a two-piece American soldier’s uniform. It is made of good cloth. The coat fits me, but the pants have to be remade by tailor Hernandez from Ibaan Batangas. He is a good tailor.


July 19, 1945 Thursday

The kind of food they give us varies. Yesterday, we had for the first time fresh fish for dinner. We certainly enjoyed it very much. Today we only had canned salmon. We hope we will have better food. Whatever the food is I always have an appetite. When I came here I only weighed 101 pounds; four weeks later, 108 lbs.; two months ago, 114; today, 118. I will soon regain my normal weight of about 125 pounds.

We are becoming pessimistic in view of the fact that Congress adjourned with considering the proposed resolution providing for action on our cause.


July 18, 1945 Wednesday

Life here is very monotonous. We see the same things and do the same things over and over again. We try to occupy our time, to entertain ourselves. We go to church every Sunday and pray the Rosary in a body in the evening. We have learned to do manual work such as sweeping and cleaning our premises. We have learned to sew, to wash clothes, to make our bed and to do other household odd jobs. We exercise regularly, and in my case, on Sundays when we are allowed to go to the town plaza for recreation, I play baseball. Every Monday, we are allowed to see moving picture shows, and in our quarters we hold programs to entertain ourselves composed of singing, boxing, poetry recitation, magic, etc.

Each of us has his special activity. Chief Yulo likes to meditate and brood over our situation. Speaker Paredes spends his time taking up matters with the prison officials as our spokesman, talking to the enlisted class, playing solitaire, reading, writing and entertaining himself with local girls who pity us so much that they try their best to console us. Recto has returned to his old love — writing poetry. He also reads extensively. He furnishes us with a lot of entertainment with his orations and amusing jokes. He also plays card games. Alunan takes it easy and spends his time reading and taking care of his health. Paez reads and plays “a holoy”. Zulueta has a carpentry shop and a kitchen. He spends a good portion of his time preparing a meal and eating it with gusto. Sabido enjoys making predictions which, unfortunately for us, never come true, ponders on economic problems, reads and plays a little card. Justice Bocobo reads and writes much and prays. Madrigal takes a lot of reducing exercises and is continually planning for the future development of our country. Sanvictores is the exercise booster and reads considerably. Luz entertains us with his jokes and interesting conversations. Gen. Francisco is suffering because of the injustice done to him and to forget, he reads constantly. Sebastian has the most diversified activities; he reads, writes, sings, exercises and plays cards. He has also been the most helpful to his companions. Abello reads much, and, as an experienced secretary and being the Benjamin, he is the jack-of-all-trades in the party, helping in everything. Sison keeps himself very busy by taking care of the beautification of our premises. He is also our spiritual head, conducting all our prayers. Bayan takes care of all engineering work and plays chess. His teeth are giving him a lot of worry. Lavides has no specific hobby; he likes to do whatever could be of help. Aquino watches over the games played by others, sometimes taking part himself and pondering on what this is all about. Urquico is pitied by all of us as he is always sick. The most interesting activity is that Paredes. Some young girls, in their eagerness to cheer us up, have been sending food and letters. Don Quintin takes pains answering their letters which are very entertaining, although devoid of all romantic expressions. We could see in them their deep sympathy for our unfortunate situation. They ask us to write in their autograph books. I wrote the following: “July 15, 1945. Unknown to you, but deep in his heart is engraved a sincere feeling of gratitude for the sympathy bestowed upon us who suffer terribly for having served our motherland.”

I recall those days during the luncheon meetings of the Ministers. Instead of discussing the specific tasks assigned by the Japanese, we would while away the time by sending notes to one another across the table. These notes expressed the nationalistic sentiments of each one of us. They were written in Spanish, Tagalog and English. I wish now that I had conserved these notes which could help very much in our defense. I liked the notes written by Claro M. Recto best. Recto would scribble a nationalistic poem in a matter of minutes, revealing what was in his heart and mind. I too scribbled a lot of notes and poems.

Inside the stockade there are now very few incidents. All are doing their best not to mar our reputation. There are some exceptions. Someone was placed in the isolation cell for one day for having stolen some clothes. Two men were placed in isolation for a week for having foolishly tried to escape. Another was almost similarly punished for defying an order to work. He was excused, however, as he showed that he really had hurt himself while working the previous day. He yelled at the Lieutenant, but one good trait of an American is that he does not hesitate to admit that he is wrong.


July 17, 1945 Tuesday

It was reported that there was a plan to launch a team composed of Osmeña for President and Romulo for Vice President. It is also said that Romulo had declined. It is too bad. We wish Romulo were a candidate so that the people can show that they do not consider Romulo the hero he seems to think he is.

I cannot complain now of not receiving letters. After more than two months, I began to receive letters and they are coming quite frequently. It seems that mail facilities are improving. How I suffered for not hearing from my family. Now I can be happy. I know that my family lives in the house of Paddy, my son-in-law; that Lily, Paddy and Monching are taking care of them; that they are in good health (although my wife had been sick with malaria, now she is well and fast improving in health); that many friends of ours are remembering us, giving my family money, food and clothing; that they are amply provided for with everything. I am especially pleased because my son, Tony, is fully aware of our situation and he has been acting as a good father does. He tried to find work so he could earn money with which to support his mother, brother and sisters, but failing in this, he engaged in business, devoting his whole time and energy and ability to it. He is meeting with quite a success, earning more than enough to support my family. My wife and Tony are so optimistic that they think that by the time I return, they will have some money saved.

The only discordant note is that I heard the very sad news that among the victims of the Japanese are my brother-in-law Jose Lualhati (husband of my sister Conchita), their youngest child, and Nicanor Castillo, my nephew. What a cruel world! I doubly hate the Japanese for murders committed upon my family. Is it not a paradox that I am being imprisoned for being a pro-Japanese?

The papers report an interview with Pres. Laurel on January 22, 1944 by a prominent person whose identity is not disclosed. According to that interview, Laurel stated that he had no illusions about the reality of the independence granted by the Japanese; that he stayed in the Philippines because Pres. Quezon decided at the last hour to leave him here, believing that in view of his relations with the Japanese, he would be in a better position to protect our people; that he did not want to be president and the position was thrust upon him; that he did not blindly follow the Japanese as he protested what he thought constituted a violation of our rights as a supposed independent nation; and that he was very frank and outspoken in his dealings with the Japanese. Once he told Gen. Kuroda, the then Commander-in-Chief, that all the Japanese in the NARIC (later BIBA) were crooks. He admitted that the independence granted was a sham as there were the Japanese Army, Navy and the Japanese Ambassador to block his policies and his every move.

The interview created a good impression and, in so far as we are concerned, it gives a good idea of the difficult and perilous situation we found ourselves in.


July 16, 1945 Monday

No effort is being spared to prevent a break between Osmeña and Roxas and to preserve unity. It is said that a great majority of the Senators and Representatives signed a petition which they presented to Osmeña and Roxas urging reconciliation and unity. In this campaign, they were backed by other influential people outside the government.

Speaker Zulueta declared that a fight between Osmeña and Roxas is a remote possibility. Both are Nacionalistas and Roxas has not resigned from the party. He said that a Party Convention should be held. Both must submit to the convention and abide by the result of the convention. In theory, this is very good. But I fear that this is not what will happen. If passions run high, no convention will be able to prevent a fight.

What has been the reaction? The people are decidedly behind the movement. Osmeña, to the surprise of everybody, expressed conformity, but at the same time announced his candidacy. I could hardly believe this. It shows thoughtful political strategy. I wonder who are advising him on political affairs. He gave up and did certain things, however, which might have paved the way to reconciliation.

For instance, instead of making an issue of his appointment of the three notorious Cabinet secretaries by raising the argument that the positions are more or less confidential and a matter of confidence, knowing that members of Congress were strongly against it, he withdrew the appointments, an action which had no precedent. There was no mental reservation that he would reappoint them after adjournment, as other executives have done in the past. No kind of effort at all was made toward face-saving. In the past, the appointments are confirmed and after a little while, some apparently good or plausible reasons are invented for the withdrawal from office of the appointee.

And what was the attitude of the appointees? To say the least, it was shameful. They were not man and courageous enough to face the truth. Do they think that there was even a handful of men who believed that they could do much in the Rehabilitation Committee? It is believed that they would spoil the whole effort in America. In the case of Kalaw, what a shame — from Cabinet member to book-collector, a ₱100.00 clerk work! And there was no sign of indignation on the part of these men. It also is not a credit to the appointing official. And all these are at the expense of prostrated Juan de la Cruz. Getting ₱1000 a month for “vacation work”. And these are the patriots who will give their lives for Juan de la Cruz? Poor Philippines!

Oh, I almost forgot the other good action of Osmeña. Showing a spirit of revenge, Confesor announced that while in the U.S. he would expose Roxas who he had been attacking violently. He especially ridiculed the claim that Roxas was the head of the underground resistance in the Philippines. Osmeña was forced to admonish Confesor publicly. He enjoined Confesor to devote his time to the work of the Committee. As to Roxas, a ray of hope arose when it was published that he had ordered the cessation of the campiagn for his candidacy. There was jubilation as it was interpreted to mean that an understanding had been reached. Almost immediately thereafter, however, the papers reported a speech made by Roxas before a guerrilla group attacking the administration of Osmeña. In substance, Roxas said that the administration has not done anything, has absolutely no idea of what should be done to rehabilitate the wrecked finances of the government and to solve the food shortage and other grave problems of the country. It was a bitter denunciation.

Such is the present situation. The fight is not a remote possibility as claimed by Speaker Zulueta, but it is now a reality. Only a miracle can save our country from what all consider a national cataclysm.

I forgot something else also in this connection. It was reported that Roxas told the Senators and Representatives that he would be for unity if the following conditions are accepted: (1) reinstatement of all officials elected in 1940; (2) reinstatement of all employees in the civil service; (3) reistatement of justices and all judicial officers; (4) reinstatement of officers in the Army; (5) more effective rehabilitation measures; and (6) redemption of all Philippine National Bank notes. At first Roxas denied the news; it seems, however, that the report is absolutely true. It is also reported that Osmeña is inclined to accept Roxas’ conditions. This is humiliating since it is an admission of the failure of his administration. But he had sacrificed his personal ambition more than once before, even what others would call dignity, for the sake of his country.

As a matter of fact, unity is not impossible to attain, but the root cause of disunity must be eliminated. To me, it all arises out of this foolish “collaboration issue”. If there were no such issue, there would been no reinstatement problem of employees, judicial officers, elective officials, and Army officers because all these people are being deprived of their respective offices due to this meaningless collaboration issue. As to rehabilitation, there could be no issue about it, and as to bank notes, there should not be much disagreement. Now that the Japanese have been driven away, all were agreed that 99-1/2 percent of the Filipinos were against them. There is practically no Filipino today who does not mourn the death of a near relative or who has not been the victim of Japanese cruelty and brutality. I would say even the most pro-Japanese changed. Everyone we talked to wanted a crack at the Japanese. My own son was insisting in joining the Army because he imagined hearing always the pitiful cries of his dear sister Neny. Some people in government have made it appear there were countless “pro-Japanese Filipinos”. We thought they could be counted with the fingers of our hands. But it turns out, to our surprise, that we were all wrong because they ran to several thousands. It is driving us to desperation. It is root cause of this destructive evil of disunity. A revelation was opened to us.

Even MacArthur was alarmed with what was happening, and he earnestly counseled unity for the sake of the independence of our country and welfare of our people. I know be loves our country and I have no doubt that his only purpose is to help our country. But I fear that for reasons on which many theories have been advanced, he is not aware of the fact that, more than anybody else, he is responsible for this situation. What a disappointment!

The Americans themselves are becoming aware of our anomalous situation. They do not seem to know what to call us. At first, they said that they merely took us under protective custody to protect us from infuriated people. If so, are all measures being taken necessary for the purpose? Was it necessary to leave us exposed to the sun for 2 days in a place (Pier 4 in North Harbor) where there were no persons, except soldiers and Army employees, that could harm us? Was it necessary to herd us like cattle in a dark and hot hold of a ship with a small exit door securely guarded? Was it necessary not to allow us on deck except for only an hour everyday? Do they mean to say that our lives were in danger while sailing in the deep China Sea with only American crewmen? Was it necessary to confine us in a small well-guarded place within a colony in a government reservation? They confined us with those who were real spies of the Japanese and who had been responsible for the death of Filipinos. These are the people whose lives are in danger and are in need of protection. Instead of getting justice and liberty, we landed in jail here in Iwahig wihout knowing what it was all about, there to be treated worse than the worst criminals — the convicted criminals could roam around the Colony, talk to the people, and eat what is good for them; whereas we are detained in a stockade of less than one hectare in size surrounded by barbed wires. Here we are held incommunicado, compelled to eat food that we detest, ordered to be neat but not allowed to send clothes outside to be laundered nor given facilities for laundering inside the stockade; humiliated by marching us like ordinary prisoners to the mess near the plaza with guards carrying sub-machines guns; prohibited to smoke on the way and to talk to each other; deprived of our liberty without the semblance of a trial which we thought is guaranteed to free people by the Constitution and the tradition of America.

We have not injured anybody; one the contrary; we did our best to save and protect the people. Even the guerrillas can have no motive for complaint. All we did was to advise them to lie low while the Americans were not yet here since we were absolutely defenseless. For each Japanese killed, houses were burned, hundreds of Filipinos killed, and we just could do nothing about it.

There seems to be a movement in Manila to postpone the election. Speaker Zulueta seems to be decidedly for postponement, giving his reason that peace and order throughout the Philippines is such that it is not yet possible to hold elections. Of course postponement of an election is really undemocratic, but if elections are not advisable under the circumstances, there should be no hesitation to postpone. Personally, I believe it should be postponed. It will facilitate the efforts for understanding and unity.

It is reported that there are two blocs in the Senate: one pro-Osmeña and the other pro-Roxas. The pro-Osmeña senators are reported to be Rodriguez, Rama, Garcia, Torres, Sa Ramain, Martinez and Bondoc. It is very regrettable to have such blocs in the Senate.

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The war in the Philippines has just been declared officially terminated. This, of course, does not mean that there will be no more fighting in the Philippines. Many Japanese soldiers have retreated to the mountains. I suppose the Filipino guerrillas will take care of cleaning them up. I believe over half a million Filipinos have died on account of the war. I am afraid Filipinos will continue dying. Mutual congratulations were passed around. Osmeña made the statement that now we can return to constitutional civil administration. Undoubtedly, this is an answer to the charge launched by Roxas that constitutional guarantees are being disregarded. It was thought that because of the termination of the war in the Philippines, we can now be released. Evidently though, “during the duration” is being interpreted to mean while the war in the whole Orient has not been declared terminated.

Many speculations have been made as to when the war will end. Some say that because of the reconquest of the Philippines it will terminate soon. My opinion is that it will all depend upon the circumstances. In case peace negotiations are started, war will end tomorrow. Japan knows that she is licked. It is all a question of time. If she persists, she knows that all her cities will be wiped out and millions of her people will die. She is only interested in face saving. Even if the words “unconditional surrender” are not used, she would be willing to give up all that she would lose under an “unconditional surrender”.

Continuation of the war will also mean, of course, the sacrifice of lives of Americans and the expenditure of huge amounts of money although these would be very small in comparison to what the Japanese stand to lose. Some Americans, like Sen. Capeheart, are inclined to favor a negotiated peace. They are willing to consider peace overtures which he assures have already been made. But it seems that Pres. Truman and other Allied high officials insist in an unconditional surrender. Nobody of course knows, but Japan may be able to hold out for some time yet. More than a year ago, they knew that the Americans and the British will be able to attack her by air, land and sea. She must have been preparing for it. Furthermore, Japan is very mountainous, the type of terrain appropriate for their way of fighting. The strategy of the United Nations seems to be to break the morale of the Japanese and to destroy the Japanese faith in the divinity of their Emperor. It will not be so easy to destroy a system which has been observed for many centuries. This may take some time and in the meanwhile, the Japanese may continue fighting. I hope Japan’s surrender will be very soon.

Pessimism again reigns in the stockade. Our feeling has never been as low as it is today. Our impression is that we are being forgotten. What must be happening? It looks like the war may drag on for some time and, in the meantime, we have to make the most of our confinement.