August 19, 1945, Sunday

We went to church and heard Mass. I went to confession and received communion for the second time here, the first time only a week and a half ago — the first time since I was married in 1914.

To express graphically our reactions on news pertaining to our release, our hopes, joys and disappointments, we continued to use stock exchange language. We take as par price an imaginary price of stock in London. From this comes the expression “A la par con Londres”, “at par with London.”

The night before it was 95% par. After Mass, undoubtedly sobered by intense meditation in Church, the excitement that had begun when the radiogram was first received, subsided. Instead a calm consideration of the import of the telegram was made. Somebody noticed that the words “Magic White” were used at the beginning of the radiogram. They also recalled that “Magic” is one of the favorite expressions of Moncado. The conclusion was that Moncado had invented or altered the radiogram. There was no way of finding out as he was not in the stockade.

The question arose as to whom the expression “war prisoners” refers. There could be four kinds of prisoners: (1) insular prisoners who were here when the war broke out and who continue to be here; (2) prisoners sentenced and imprisoned here during the Japanese regime; (3) Japanese prisoners whether military or civilian, and (4) us. There are still many here of those falling under the first category, the insular prisoners, but they cannot be considered war prisoners. As to the second, the interpretation could be stretched so as to consider them war prisoners, but it is not known if there are such prisoners here. The third class clearly are war prisoners, but our information is that there are no such prisoners here. As to the fourth — us — in a way we are war prisoners. Only future events will solve this quandary.

Earlier, radical change or movement in the prices of the stocks occurred only about once a week. Later, it became daily. Now it is hourly. The prices become bearish. Radical changes take place every hour. The extremes are quite far apart. The stockade is now a regular stock exchange with the usual huzzle and buzzle, the nervous demeanor of the traders, and the ticking of tickers. Men converge everywhere, asking one another of any new development. Whenever somebody new enters the stockade, he is immediately besieged with questions; even the American guards were submitted to thorough questioning.

Because of the fear that the radiogram might be a Moncado invention, the differences in interpretation and lack of confirmation, stock prices receded and continued going down every hour. Gloom was beginning to reign when suddenly big Cortez, a Chinese-Filipino who was one of those working in the kitchen, came running as if he was sprinting in a one hundred-yard dash. Everybody became excited and immediately surrounded him. After catching his breath, he told us that the Mess Sergeant had congratulated them because we would soon be released. The Sergeant said that in their barracks they discussed to whom the term “war prisoners” referred, and they concluded that it referred to us. The Sergeant said that the work of construction on the new camp had been ordered suspended by Manila. This happened at about 10:50 p.m. When Cortez came the price had reached already the low price of 50% below par. After the news of Cortez, it rose to 95% above par. Some even wished to offer 100% but desisted. A pandemonium was again about to break and much effort had to be employed to stop it. It was not an easy task to calm them down. We were all in high spirits. At 12:00 o’clock, we went to the Mess with much hunger but without any intention to eat as we were so happy in the thought that we will soon be able to join our families; we did not care to eat anymore.

I shall state that when the radiogram was brought to the stockade on the night of Saturday and when Big Cortez made his famous run, the scene was reminiscent of the scene in the New York Stock Exchange and the Manila Crystal Arcade Stock Exchange during the mining boom in the Philippines, Everybody was excited; everybody had their eyes wide open and ears cocked for any change in prices on the board or for any news; everybody was buying or selling to their financial limit.

In the mess hall (Sunday, August 19, 12:15 p.m.), it was noticed that many colonists were entering and leaving the recreation hall with their baggages. We were told that they were the prisoners who were released and were going to Manila on board the Mactan. The conclusion was that the word “prisoners” in the radiogram did not refer to us. Stock went down. Moncado was sought and he denied that he had falsified or altered the radiogram. He was of the opinion that the radiogram referred to us. Stock prices reacted. We found out that Nadres, the Acting Superintendent of the Colony, also received a radiogram similar in tenor as that received by Col. Gilfilan. Nadres has no jurisdiction over us; he only has the Insular prisoners under him, so that the word “prisoners” must refer to Insular prisoners only. It was explained that the Provost Marshall radioed Col. Gilfilan upon the request of Director of Prisons Misa, as the latter has no jurisdiction over Col. Gilfilan. Stock down. It was discovered that there was a difference between the two telegrams in that the one received by Col. Gilfilan referred to “war prisoners” and we are the only war prisoners here. Stock up.

While we were on our way to the mess hall for supper we met Dr. Reyes, the dentist, and he told us that he had been transferred to the General Headquarters in Manila. Since Dr. Reyes came with us and no substitute had been appointed for him, and since we could not possibly be left without a dentist, the conclusion was that we were going. Market became firm. In the mess at supper, Reyes, who brought the sensational radiogram, and Cortez, the sprinter, confirmed and insisted on the news. Upward trend observed.

Another point nobody could understand is the secrecy maintained by the Colonel and the Lieutenant. If there was such an order why should it be kept secret from us? It was suspected that these officers would not divulge the message to us until the time of our departure, otherwise the people would not work. Furthermore, such is the Army practice. I added that necessary precautions need to be taken — it will take time to notify Japanese subjects to surrender.

That afternoon and evening, the market was very variable— bearish. But all agreed that we will have more or less definite news next day. If work in the new stockade is continued there will be no hope; otherwise, our departure for Manila will be assured. Our night sleep was far from perfect.


August 18, 1945, Saturday

9:00 p.m. Since 8:00 p.m., a musical program has been going on to celebrate the birthday of Mr. F. C. de la Rama. In the midst of the intense celebration, Mr. Reyes, who with two other internees had been working in the radio office of the Army under Lt. Fernandez of the Signal Corps, suddenly broke into the crowd with a piece of paper in his hand. He beckoned aside Messrs. Paredes and De la Rama, and whispered to them that a radiogram had been decoded by them indicating that we would be released. He was looking for Chief Yulo who was not present at the party. When he went inside the quarters to look for Yulo, a few who were no longer interested in the program followed him. The radiogram as read by Chief Yulo went something like this: “Magic White. SS Mactan arriving tomorrow. Prepare war prisoners to be released.”

Great excitement! Everybody talking all at once! Pandemonium broke out, but everyone was prevailed upon to calm down as the news must be kept secret or confidential. Employees in the radio room are strictly prohibited from divulging contents of messages. The people could not contain themselves, however; they could not suppress their jubilation. But it was done as a part of the birthday celebration for Mr. de la Rama. The celebration became very boisterous and lively. The singers and poets became more inspired. De la Rama was requested to say a few words. He delivered a speech reminiscent of the Moriones meetings in Tondo. He was lavishly applauded. It was interpreted as a bid for election. It is known that he intends to present his candidacy for a district in Laguna. Some remarked that with his Tagalog oratory and his money he could be elected. He said something else which we appreciate very much. He counselled those in the B class to be united among themselves and with us, and to follow the leadership of the Filipino leaders with us. This seems to have impressed the crowd. The party ended with a grand rush for the cigarettes and cakes freely distributed by Mr. De la Rama.

After the program there were all kinds of comments. I stated that our release can be expected to come soon inasmuch as MacArthur clearly stated that we would be detained for the duration of the war as a measure of military security. Now that the war is ended, no further military security is involved.

It was also customary to recall past events to confirm, interpret or clarify the present event. It was recalled that while Col. Gilfilan was having an inspection this morning, he asked, “When do you want to leave?” This question was then taken as a joke. Now we believe that it was done in all seriousness as the Colonel already knew that we would soon be leaving.

We were so excited that very few of us were able to sleep that night. In the first class quarters, talk continued. I could have slept as I generally sleep well, but I purposely kept myself awake to hear a very important and interesting conversation — a conversation that may affect the future course of politics in the Philippines.

Yulo proposes that we be united, that we organize ourselves, and that we form a ticket for the next general election composed of Paredes for President and Alunan for Vice President. The others will run for the Senate or the House, preferably the latter. He said that he had already decided to retire from politics, but he was now determined to run because the leaders in Manila are hopelessly divided. If this ticket triumphs, our full vindication will have been realized. He thinks this ticket will be very strong. Osmeña and Roxas were both “pros” so that their forces would be divided. The people of Pres. Quezon are still intact and have not made their inclination known. They will rally behind the banner of this ticket. Doña Aurora de Quezon will be a very big factor in Philippine politics and she will undoubtedly support this ticket. Alunan and himself (Yulo) were rivals — if they got together there will be almost a unanimous vote in Negros. Paredes controls more votes in Ilocandia than Quirino who may be the vice presidential candidate in the Roxas ticket. A big percentage of the population is being accused of collaboration and this group will support the ticket. As to the platform, Paredes will draw in the radicals, whereas Alunan will attract the conservatives. Yulo and Alunan can count on the assistance of the Americans and other foreigners who also can wield powerful influence in the Philippines on account of their financial hold on Philippine economic life. Yulo reiterated that if this ticket is not launched and the leaders in Manila continue to be divided, he will retire from politics completely.

The reaction to Yulo’s plan was very favorable. Paredes and Alunan agreed that Yulo himself be the candidate. Alunan wanted to show that he is no less gallant than Yulo. Yulo, however, cut short all talk about his candidacy. Paredes was not displeased as he harbored ambition to be Chief Executive of the Philippines some day. Alunan also is not irrevocably opposed.

The entire group in the officer class, except two or three, is very enthusiastic. One of those who remains silent is Sen. Recto — he avoids the issue by just smiling. He continues to be a sphinx notwithstanding efforts to pump him. It may be that he also has political ambitions, although he insists that his intention is to quit politics and devote his time to his big law practice. Madrigal and Sabido not only are lukewarm, but have insinuated disconformity. This is probably due to the fact that they are too closely attached to Osmeña. They intimated that Paredes should be the vice president in Osmeña’s ticket.

Among the enlisted class, there is greater enthusiasm. Paredes has won their admiration with his virile attitude toward the Americans. They are proud of him because he has no inferiority complex towards the whites like many others, and he champions their rights and petitions even if his own privileges are endangered. There are some who show opposition, but they are very few. They are composed of professional non-conformists or “contrabidas” — always saying “yes” when everyone says “no”, and vice-versa, and those who for purely personal reasons hold a grudge against Paredes.

We got up early the next morning, all sleepy but full of hope.


August 16, 1945, Thursday

This morning, I modified my opinion as to when we will leave. I believe now that it will not be before the end of this month. It will be sometime in September or October. The reason for my change of view now is that I think Laurel, Aquino and Vargas, who are still in Japan, will be brought to the Philippines and I think their cases as well as the Ministers’ will be tried or investigated at the same time. Since the cases of those three or more serious, they may not be considered until after some time and, therefore, our cases will also be delayed.

It is reported by radio that Emperor Hirohito will fly to Manila, in a Japanese plane from Tokyo to Okinawa and in an American plane from Okinawa to Manila. MacArthur has been designated as Commander-in-Chief to receive the surrender of Japan. The representatives of the vanquished always come to the Headquarters of the Supreme Commander or to the place indicated by the latter. MacArthur’s headquarters is in Manila; therefore, the Japanese Representative should go there. But why Hirohito precisely. I can’t understand why it cannot be Premier Suzuki. I do not believe the United Nations will deal with the Premier, however; he will probably be one of those to be arrested and accused as a war criminal. But his cabinet can fall and a Pacifist Cabinet could be created under the Premiership of Konoye, Konoye can then sign the peace terms. But it seems it has to be Hirohito. What a humiliation! Before, he was a proud ruler, considered as god himself. His words were law and divine order at the same time. Now he is under the orders of MacArthur.

I suggested to Compadre Serging Osmeña that he write a letter to his father. I so suggested because it seems that they are already in good terms. I explained to him that his father is an experienced and shrewd politician. Serging ought to know that just now his father is at a disadvantage as regards the collaborationists inasmuch as Roxas has openly thrown himself on their side. I told Serging that he write his father that there is discontent here on account of his passive attitude. He should suggest to his father to do something; to make a “golpe” (sensational and radical act) which will boost his stock among the “collaborationists” and such “golpe” should be a general amnesty proclamation freeing everybody accused of collaboration. This may incline the collaborationists to his side or at least put him in a better position to approach them later. I found Serging rather reluctant for reasons which he explained. The reasons involved family relations among the father, mother-in-law and Serging.

* * * * *

Excerpts from a letter of Roy W. Howard, the principal owner of Scripps-Howard newspapers, dated at Manila, July 30, 1945 to Arsenio Luz:

My chief purpose in coming here, aside from a desire to confer with Gen. MacArthur and get a picture of the general situation, was to see if I could be of any help to you. I wish that it were possible for me to report success, but after pursuing every line that is open, and discussing your case with everyone I know who might be in a position to help, I am afraid that as far as your immediate release is concerned, my effort has been a failure.

It is my sincere belief, Arsenio, that in spite of any action that can be taken, including even legal action, the group held in Palawan now will be kept there until the conclusion of the war with Japan. I realize that this is going to be very tough, and I doubt whether were I in your place it would be possible for me to reconcile myself to the belief that remaining there is the best course. But in my efforts I have run into a few facts which, without in any sense justifying the action taken against you, throw a light on the situation which I want to pass along to you.

In my efforts I have talked to Gen. MacArthur, Gen. Thorpe, head of the C.I.C., Pres. Osmeña, Manuel Roxas, Phil Buencamino, Salvador Araneta, Manolo Elizalde, Chick Parsons, Paul McNutt, and others. They have all been very sympathetic and have helped me to the best of their ability. But we have all run into a stone wall in that Gen. MacArthur is embarked on a course which I am convinced he believes to be in the best interest of the Filipinos, and from which I do not believe it is going to be possible to dissuade him. As I see it, the situation boils down to about this:

MacArthur is fighting a war and doing a most magnificent job of it. However, the job is one calling for the most intense concentration, and despite what I am sure is his keen realization of a pot of political and purely domestic needs, he is having a straight line and giving no consideration to any proposition except killing Japs.

I have no doubt that he suspects there are men at Palawan who are entirely innocent, and many who have been guilty of nothing more serious than indiscretion or bad judgment. To attempt to sort those men out, however, would, if justice were to be done, be equivalent to bringing about trials at this time. I can see many reasons why this would be inadvisable, the chief one being that at the rate of which feeling is dying down, it is obvious that there will be much less emotionalism attaching to collaboration trials later on, than would be the case today.

If trials were to be held today, they would of necessity be trials before an American military tribunal. I suspect Gen. MacArthur feels that not only will Filipino courts be more competent to judge Filipino psychology, but that Filipinos, knowing the conditions existing in Manila and the pressure that put to bear on people like yourself, will be infinitely more lenient than would be the case with a hard-boiled, wholly impersonal military court. In any event, Arsenio, at the end of the week’s effort, in which I have thrown in everything I have without obtaining any redress in your case, I am forced to say that I think that is the way the thing stands, and while Gen. MacArthur has promised to have prepared for his own personal consideration a review of your case, I do not honestly advise you to count on much of anything happening in consequence.

The real purpose in writing this letter is this: I do not need to tell you, I am sure, that my own faith in your innocence of any action prejudicial to the United States has never waned. That will not be either news or a surprise to you. What is more important, however, to you… something which I am not sure you fully appreciate is that no one from Gen, MacArthur down has expressed to me the slightest belief that any action which you took under the stress of occupation conditions was in any sense an action aimed against the interests of the United States, and no one to whom I have talked has expressed the slightest doubt of your loyalty to the United States and to your American friends. That goes straight, Arsenio, and without any discount.

To give you a complete picture, however, I must add that some of your friends, even though they are understanding and tolerant, feel that you may have on occasion been a bit indiscreet and not used your head as effectively as might have been the case. Everyone realizes, however, that hindsight is sometimes better than foresight, and I haven’t the slightest doubt that aside from the discomfit and inconvenience of being held in custody for the very few months during which this war is going to continue, you will ultimately be restored to complete standing in this community and given a complete bill of health.

If your old sense of humor is still working, and I have no doubt that you still possess it even though it may have been scuffed up a bit, you may smile at a line of reasoning which I have given Carmen, and which I put forward in all seriousness. I realize the ridiculousness of a man on the outside arguing to the man who is detained, on the virtues of being in jail, and yet I think in your case there is some virtue in the situation.

Let me explain: If it were possible to exercise any influence to get you sprung at the present time, and I had an opportunity to do so, I would advise you to turn your back on such an opportunity. My reasoning is this: if you were to come out under such circumstances and without a trial, there would always be hovering over you a suspicion that may be you were at liberty not because of innocence, but because of some pull you were able to exercise. Such a situation would be a handicap to you and your family for the rest of your life. On the basis of what I have been told, and I am not going to attempt to state here which man or men most influenced my judgment (although I assure you they were among your best friends and American well wishers), I believe that the hearing which you will certainly get immediately upon the conclusion of the war and the turning of this whole problem over to the Philippines, will give you a clean bill of health and completely establish your innocence of any action that would prejudice your standing either with Filipinos or Americans. For whatever my judgment is worth, the value of this bill of health and official establishment of your innocence will over the long haul more than compensate for the few additonal weeks or months that you may be denied your liberty.

As I said, this argument, sound though I am convinced it is, may be one easier for me to make on the outside than for you to accept on the inside. I know, however, that you will not doubt my honesty, even though you should doubt my judgment, when I tell you my opinion of the tremendous value which I believe will attach to your exoneration, as distinct from the situation which might result if you were released in consequence of political pressure, even though there was the possibility of exerting political pressure, a possibility which I am sure does not exist.

I would of course have come to Palawan to see you, had it been possible to do so. I even made some efforts in that direction, but became convinced that not only could I have been of no value to you down there, but to have made the trip might have in some degree prejudiced your case.

Now for one more point, and then I’ll wind up this interminably long letter. In April, before his death on August 1st, I visited President Quezon at Miami, Florida. At that time he was on his death bed and I think fully realized that his number was up. He talked with extreme difficulty and only in a whisper, because the tuberculosis had reached his throat. I won’t attempt to quote all of his conversation, but merely that which has a bearing on your situation, and on his unshakeable faith in you and confidence in your loyalty and integrity. There had at that time come back to the United States varied stories of collaborative action being taken by Filipinos. Cases discussed with a number of these people, some of whom I knew and others whose names had slipped me, but whom he insisted I had met and who knew me. Finally, he turned to me and said:

Roy, I do not know about all of these people. I am worried about Jorge Vargas. The reports on what Jorge is doing are not good, though I find it very difficult to believe that any one so long associated with me would turn out to be disloyal to me, to the Filipino people, and to the United States. I must admit that I am having to reserve judgment. About some of your friends, however, I would advise you to have faith, just as I have. There are some of them to whom disloyalty would be impossible and I include in this list Alunan, Joe Yulo, Arsenio Luz, Phil Buencamino…’

In addition he named those several others — people whom probably I would recognize if I saw them, but whose names at the time did not mean much to me.

Quezon told me at that time the instructions that he had left with his friends, and added that he was now in touch with those men by clandestine short wave radio. He also told me that within a week he had received a call from one of his men, a Filipino doctor, who had returned to the States from Manila within the preceding forthnight.

At home I have a diary memorandum which I wrote that night, in which I have Quezon’s exact words. The foregoing quotation, however, is to all intents and purposes correct and accurate.

…I am no seventh son of a seventh son, but I venture the prophecy that this war will be over before the end of the year and that your complete restoration to your family and to the position which you have so well earned in this community, will have been effected before the New Year is many days old.

Mr. Howard is one of the two or three great newspapermen in the United States now living. The news above is the most authoritative we have received inasmuch as it is the result of his personal conferences with MacArthur in whose hands our destiny lies. Therein it is clear that we will not be released while the war lasts. He believes that even if we can go now we should not accept it as there will always be the suspicion that we got out as a result of influence. Whereas if we are acquitted after due trial, we will be given a clean bill of health, and, therefore, be restored to our old position in the community. Such was my opinion from the beginning. We do not positively know what we are charged of. But under the circumstances, we presume that it must be treason to our country and disloyalty to the United States. As to the latter, I have never been disloyal to the United States but if they insist, I would not mind it because after all deep in my heart I do not recognize loyalty to any country other than my own. But the charge of treason to my country is very serious. From all indications at the present time, only prejudiced Filipinos believe that we have been traitors and they constitute a very small portion of our population. But how about future generations who do not know the facts personally? If our declaration of innocence now is not recorded, they may get the idea that we have done something against our country. So it is preferable that we be submitted to a trial in order that our formal vindication may be decreed if we are found not guilty.


August 15, 1945, Wednesday

9:20 a.m. News came that Hirohito signed the surrender document. War is ended.

But it is not in so far as we are concerned. We are still in prison. I predict that we will be out before the end of the month. No military security needing our further detention. Surely MacArthur will immediately turn us over to the Commonwealth. Osmeña is an experienced, shrewd politician. He understands or should understand that just now Roxas is in an enviable position in so far as the “collaborationists” are concerned. Therefore, Osmeña should and I think will do something to bolster up his stock to the collaborationists. May God make Osmeña see our case in this light.


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.


August 14, 1945

FLASH!

WAR IS OVER!

Japan has accepted all the terms of surrender. Now the announcement is official.

Rejoicing all around. Everybody believes that we will soon be out. I was asking myself however, “What will be the next step with reference to us?” I asked myself this question since in recent years, especially during the last months, we have experienced so many disappointments that I always fear that another one is forthcoming.

When the news came, I was out of the quarters attending the Tagalog class of Alvero. He had been giving very interesting lectures on the wealth and potentiality of the Tagalog language. I regret that the lecturers will have to be discontinued. But we are more interested in our liberation than anything else.

When the Potsdam ultimatum was issued and Russia entered the war and the atom bomb was first dropped, I predicted that the war would end in a week. The prediction of Paredes was more specific. He said it will come on August the 13th. I was right and he was right for the 14th here corresponds to the 13th in Washington as we are about one day ahead. Paredes and I both predict we will be out of here before the end of the month. Jokes were traded in connection with this glad news. To the radio report, De la Rama and Paredes added that those connected with the Japanese propaganda corps and the spokesman of the Republic would have to be deported and detained in Guam for a year. The two Luz brothers come under this and they were worried for a while. Later they discovered that it was all a joke.


August 14, 1945, Tuesday

The Lieutenant came and told us that Admiral Nimitz is now conferring with the Japanese officials, probably on the terms of the Armistice. Some consider this a blow to MacArthur as he must have been expecting that he would be the one to sign the Armistice agreement and to receive the surrender of Japan.

The Lieutenant also told us that the Domei had been communicating in code with all radio stations controlled by the Japanese. We suspected that instructions concerning the war are being transmitted.

To Mr. Damaso Verga: “Friendship that has blossomed in martyrdom is more enduring. You can, therefore, rest assured of my everlasting friendship.”

To Prof. Aurelio Alvero: “It has not all been martyrdom in this prison. Within its confines, we learned many things which would be of great value to us in the future. We have fathomed the heart of the masses, now convinced that they beat in unison with ours, so far as love of country is concerned. Therein had been woven the friendship which shall be everlasting. And finally therein we have discovered the wealth and potentiality of the Tagalog language. To you, Mr. Alvero, my warmest congratulations and my fervent prayer that you enjoy a long life for the preservation and development of our national language.”

To Mr. Soberano: “Let this be a happy remembrance of our comradeship and friendship cemented by our common suffering in this prison.”


August 13, 1945, Monday

Monday the 13th is considered by some as a bad day. It was for Luis, one of our two orderlies. He was taken by ambulance to the Military Hospital to be operated on for appendicitis.

This day we received official news that Japan had offered to surrender with only one one reservation — Emperor Hirohito be allowed to continue. We could understand this. To the Japanese, the Emperor is not only a political head, he is also a God, the head of the Japanese religion. Furthermore, without the Emperor, there would be revolution, chaos in Japan.

We also learned officially that the United States, Great Britain, Russia and China accepted the offer of Japan with the clarification that Emperor Hirohito would have to govern under the orders of the United Nations’ Commander-in-Chief in Japan who will be an American.


August 12, 1945, Sunday

After Mass and breakfast, while I was inside our quarters, pandemonium broke out down below. Everybody was jumping and yelling, “War is over!”. We all went down to join the celebration. I noticed that everybody had tears in their eyes — probably because it meant the triumph of liberty, democracy and justice, but at the same time reminding us that we had suffered, were still suffering as a result of an injustice; probably because it meant our early liberation — we will soon be out to see our dear ones. How many nights have we spent crying, remembering the wife and children we left behind. The rejoicing continued for one hour. When all had calmed down, we inquired where the news came from. I turned out that somebody had telephoned the news to the guard and it was the latter who transmitted the news to us. This did not dampen the rejoicing, however. We were anxiously waiting for the Lieutenant because we thought that if the news were true, he would hurry to communicate the news to us since he had been showing undue interest in our welfare and liberation. When the whole day passed without the Lieutenant making an appearance, we began to doubt again. It was the first time that he did not come the whole day. But we never lost hope, we still believed it was true.