September 15, 1945, Saturday

All of us had been anxiously awaiting our turn to be released. About ten o’clock this morning, Recto announced that he was leaving that morning. I went to the Administration Office to ascertain whether I was being released also. Mr. Bunye, the Superintendent, read and reread the list of detainees turned over by the C.I.C. to the Philippine Commonwealth government, but I was not included. It was a surprise to me as I was expected to be released with Recto. I sat down in Mr. Bunye’s office and waited. Every time a list came, I inquired whether my name was on it and I always received a negative answer. At about 11:30 I became impatient and went up to the office of Director Misa. As usual, Mr. Misa was very kind and helpful. I asked him whether I had been turned over to the Commonwealth. He pulled from a drawer a long list. After reading it carefully, he told me I was not included. I asked him to read it again. He reviewed the list and he gave me the assurance that my name was not in the list. Secretary Abello came and I asked him to read the list. He also certified that I was not included. The reason why I did not read the list myself was I forgot to bring my new pair of reading glasses; I could hardly read with my old pair which I brought with me. I finally pulled it out of my pocket, put it on and began to read. I saw my name immediately. I was under the letter “D” for “De las Alas”, not under “A” for “Alas”. This is probably the reason why Messrs. Misa and Abello failed to see my name.

I became very excited. I could not keep still and did not know what to do. Director Misa was a mind reader and a real friend. He is always anxious to serve. He said that if the usual legal procedures were to be followed, I would not be able to leave that day, for he had to notify Mr. Tañada who had to approve my bail. I would be released upon the receipt of the release papers from Tañada. However, he adopted another procedure, rather unusual and illegal. He signed an order for my release and placed me under the custody of a Bilibid guard who accompanied me to Manila. The guard was not supposed to give me the release order and actually release me until Fiscal Tañada approved my bail. I had no transportation but Mr. Abello kindly offered his automobile. The guard and my cousin, Atty. Luis Atienza, accompanied me. They took me directly to the house where my family was staying — 176 Rodriguez Arias, in the San Miguel district, the old house of the Padilla family. My family was surprised. They were not expecting me. We cried as an expression of joy. Mrs. Padilla, Paddy’s mother, also showed great happiness. After many months I am reunited with my dear family.

The guard and Atienza went to the office of Mr. Tañada and got the approval of my bail. Later, they brought my release order to me. Thus ended my long imprisonment.

Now I will stop writing this sort of a diary. From now on I shall devote my time in preparing my case and in seeking my full vindication.


September 14, 1945, Friday

Visit of family. I saw Victor, my new grandson, son of Paddy and Lily, for the first time.

Since my arrival, I had been conferring with the detainees of Muntinglupa and getting impressions. All seem to be very disappointed. They do not understand how we could be traitors. Even old Don Miguel Unson was bitter. All agreed that we should get together to protect our rights and to vindicate ourselves.

We who came from Iwahig continued to meet and comment on the different events and news. We were somewhat depressed. We were beginning to have the impression that some of those assuring us of their support are not really working for us. We even suspect that for political or personal reasons they preferred and wished that we remain in jail for a longer time or that our cases be prolonged.

There were two events that disheartened us very much. One is the case of Representative Veloso. He was about to be released and he announced to us his intention to take his seat in the House immediately. We tried to persuade him not to do so. But he insisted. He said that he had already talked to the majority of the Representatives. Apparently, his friends had forsaken him. The house refused to seat him. They set the precedent that he must first be cleared by the C.I.C. What a shameful ruling! Each House is the sole judge of the right to seat of its member. Why should they make it depend upon the discretion of another entity, especially one which is non-Filipino? The House should not allow anybody to interfere in the exercise of its constitutional right. Veloso announced that he would publish the names of collaborators now sitting in Congress and that he would go to the United States to to fight his case. He will make things worse.

The other is the cablegram to Pres. Osmeña of Secretary Ickes of the U.S. Department of the Interior, in effect it warns that the rehabilitation aid would depend upon whether the “collaborators” would be vigorously prosecuted and convicted. Osmeña answered that his administration is taking proper action. He said that proper machinery to handle the matter is being organized. He added that he even disregarded the legal provision that nobody can be detained for over 6 hours. There is quite a speculation as to why Ickes sent such a cablegram. The concensus of opinion is that it was the result of the campaign of Confesor, Cabili, Kalaw and Romulo. Ickes cannot possibly take personal active interest in an affair which is small in so far as the American people are concerned. Ickes’ cablegram was followed by several editorials and publications in the United States against “collaborationists.” The suspicion about the activities of Confesor and others in this connection comes from the statement of Col. Peralta, the guerrilla hero who has just returned from the United States, to the effect that Confesor and others go from one newspaper office to another to give news against the “collaborationists”. These people are certainly doing a lot of harm to the Philippines. The truth is that there is practically no pro-Japanese element in the Philippines. The Japanese themselves found this out, although too late. And yet Confesor and others would make the American people believe that there are many Filipino pro-Japanese and among them are counted many of the outstanding Filipinos who in the past or during the American regime occupied the most responsible positions in the government. I believe Confesor and others at heart do not believe that we are traitors to our country and pro-Japanese or disloyal to America. Their only aim is to prejudice Roxas who is disputing the presidency with Osmeña. So that we are being made the football of politics. We are being the victim of political intrigue and machinations. This gives one an insight of the evil of politics. Because of it, the most rudimentary principles of justice and fairness are trampled upon.

The cablegram of Ickes was received with disappointment and disgust by free loving Filipinos. The “collaborationists” issue is a matter that should be left to the Philippine Government to handle without interference on the part of the United States government officials. This gives us an indication of what we may expect if we are not given complete and immediate independence. Furthermore, why should the rehabilitation aid to which our country became entitled because of loss of hundreds of thousands of lives and more than a billion worth of damages as our contribution to this war, be made to depend upon a handful of supposed “traitors”? Why should our country be punished for the guilt of a few, who some Americans consider as “renegades”?

The answer of Osmeña was equally disappointing. It was weak and subservient. He should have resented the uncalled for and untimely interference. He should defend the rights and prerogatives of his government as we did when we fought General Wood for undue interference in our powers. He should resent the insult to him when Ickes seemed to presume that his government would not do what is right. Some remarked that this is just as “puppet” a government as the Republic during the Japanese occupation. It was an opportunity for Osmeña to make a stand to show that he means to govern this country.

There is another event worth mentioning. Habeas corpus proceedings were started in the Supreme Court for the release of one of the detainees. The Court decided against the petition on the ground that the war is not yet over. There was a brilliant dissenting opinion by Justice Ozaeta. It was a great document. He was for the maintenance and preservation of man’s constitutional libertarian rights.

* * * * *

            Our release began the very day we arrived in Muntinglupa. Saturday, September 8th, Minister Alunan and Gen. Francisco were released after giving the required bail. The next day, Yulo followed. Two days afterwards, Sison and Sebastian were released. There were rumors that Recto and I were to be released next. We had been informed that our papers were ready in Solicitor General Tañada’s office. Everytime one leaves, those left behind felt very sad.

We, members of Congress, had various meetings, once with Roxas. There was a proposition to write a letter to the Senate stating that we would not assume our positions in the Senate until after proper investigation and requesting such an investigation. It was written upon the suggestion of Roxas. But we decided not to take our seats until after our complete exoneration. I think this is a wise decision. We cannot do anything anyhow as we will be tied up on account of our cases. Besides, it will be embarrassing for us when questions involving our case or our relationship with the United States or Japan come up.


August 2, 1945, Thursday

We began a Novena to San Judas Tadeo, my wife’s favorite saint. She used to go to the Cathedral to pray before the saint. Paredes is the leader. He also has been going to confession. We were wondering whether he had left the Masonry in which he was an ex-grand Master and one of the most prominent.

It was reported that Cummings, when he was Attorney General, rendered the opinion that collaborators would lose their citizenship. The best legal talents are here in this camp and they all said that they could not understand how Cummings could render such an opinion.

We received another version of the instructions of Pres. Quezon. It was in the form of a cablegram to Col. Nakar, Commander of the USAFFE forces in Northern Luzon, which reads as follows:

For Gov. Quirino and Gov. Visayas, Masaya, Isabela. In reply your telephone re instructions to you in case occupation your province by Japanese, you must remain in your post to maintain peace and order and protect civilian population until Japanese take over government authority. In case you asked by Japanese to continue performing functions you should use discretion considering best interests your people but should be sure no personal or official aid and comfort to enemy especially its military activities. Municipal police should continue maintaining peace and order until relieved by Japanese but Constabulary should immediately join nearest Philippine Army detachment. In case you withdraw to hills or mountains keep in touch with Voice of Freedom, or another station in occupied territory or K.G.E.I. San Francisco for possible further contact with Commonwealth Government. Quezon.

The telegram was dated Washington, April 18, 1942.

Above is substantially the same as other instructions given, which I have previously mentioned.

This day the Lieutenant came with an American who was looking for me. I became rather nervous. It turned out that he was Mr. L. C. Ashmore of the C.I.C. I thought he came to investigate me. He introduced himself and he seemed to be very nice. He said that the Manila office had sent him a letter to ask me certain questions on Imports and Exports during the Japanese occupation and also certain business practices of the Japanese. He gave me an outline of what he wanted. I immediately prepared a memorandum on the different matters contained in his memorandum and, on August 15th when he came back, I handed it to him. I kept copies of his memorandum and mine.

On account of the Luz’s illness, we have been recalling his many acts. Zulueta recounts that one afternoon, Luz called Alunan and himself, and with Luz’s forefinger on his lips to indicate that they should make no noise, he led them to a corner. Luz said he had very important news and Alunan and Zulueta became very anxious to know what they were. Suddenly he stood up and sang “Pregunta a Las Estrellas.”

Shortly after his arrival, he asked that we hold a special prayer for the soul of his mother as it was the anniversary of her death. He prepared a prayer which he said with full devotion. But his prayer was that Madrigal give his millions to our cause.

The next day he called us all to a meeting. He said he had very important news to transmit. Since we did not know him very well then, we were very eager to hear what he had to say. After a long preliminary which kept us more anxious, he broke down and began to cry. He announced that he was suffering from malaria and he hoped that we would not mind if he stayed with us. In chorus, we told him that we had no objection.


August 1, 1945 Wednesday

Today has been declared a legal holiday to commemorate the death anniversary of Pres. Quezon. This is a very fitting tribute, Pres. Quezon will pass in history as the greatest man we have ever produced. Correctly, he can be called the father of the Philippines. He it was who was able to insure the independence of our country. He was the one that did most to implant democracy in this country. His love for the masses, for the laboring class is proverbial. It is to be deeply regretted that he died precisely when we were at the threshold of our goal — the independence of our country.

The Iwahig people, upon the invitation of the teachers, is holding an appropriate program. They have selected Mr. Quintin Paredes as the main speaker. The Colonel-Superintendent approved. But it was disapproved in Manila. And yet we are not to be called “prisoners”. It smacks of intolerance.

At times I ponder on who suffered more — those who went to the mountains or those who stayed in the towns and cities. It is true that those in the mountains experienced untold sufferings. They had to move from place to place to avoid being hunted by the Japanese. Many times they had no food and this is the reason why they sometimes had to resort to forced commandeering of foodstuffs whenever the owners are unwilling to give. Many of them became sick, some very seriously, and died for lack of doctor or medicine. But so did those who stayed in the cities and towns. Their lives too were in danger at all times. They had to watch their conduct, their day-to-day acts for fear that they might displease the Japanese or Japanese sympathizers. The mere sound of heavy boots made them tremble with fear. Their pulse beats faster when somebody knocks at their door at night. Their fears were not without proof; the fact is that thousands in the cities and towns met their death at the hands of the Japanese or their agents, or suffered the most cruel torture at Fort Santiago and other prisons. The victims were both private citizens and officials and employees of the government. Those in the cities and towns perhaps had even less food than those in the mountains because there was very little food — food being transported to the cities and towns were confiscated by the Japanese or by crooks or false agents of the law, or could only be bought at prohibitive prices. As to medicine, the stock was very limited and mostly in the hands of soulless profiteers.

I state all the above not to minimize the patriotic services rendered by the guerrillas in the mountains as the truth is that I have nothing but respect and admiration for them. I envy them for their sacrifice and readiness to give their lives for the sake of the country. What I regret very much is that I, as many thousand others, was not in a condition to follow them for obvious reasons — my family is big and composed mostly of girls who cannot possibly escape capture. What happened to the family of unknown patriot, Col. Emmanuel Borja, is a good example. He was able to flee outside the city, but then the Japanese arrested his wife and, I understand, other members of the family. He had to come back. Many of us just did not know where to go. Many of us could not be a guerrilla at all because of physical defects. I still remember many years ago when I was still young. I applied for enlistment in the National Guard which was to have been sent to Europe. I was rejected for very defective eyesight.

I can cite very many other incidents which show that our lives, those who stayed in the cities and towns, were all but rosy. There was a proclamation providing for mass responsibility and death if any Japanese was harmed or killed. In the streetcars, many were slapped for just jostling a Japanese. I remember an incident in front of my house. A “carromata” (horse rig), probably unintentionally on the part of the “cochero” (rig driver), blocked the way of another “carromata”. The passenger in the other “carromata”, a Japanese, attacked the “cochero” and almost killed him. The people gathered around wanted to lynch the Japanese. But someone in the crowd with presence of mind told them to desist as it would have meant the arrest and death of many persons in the neighborhood. We resorted to cowardice to avoid any trouble with the Japanese.

I would like to relate what our life in Baguio was like and our trek down down the mountains from Agusan, Baguio to Tubao, La Union.

Since the landing of the Americans on the Lingayen Gulf on January 9, 1945, there were daily flights of American planes to Baguio to bomb and strafe the different parts of the city. By the middle of March, bombings had become very intense. The central part of the city was almost all destroyed. Hospitals, convents, one Protestant church and the surroundings of two Catholic churches were destroyed. Many died or were wounded, especially in the bombed hospitals. The people expressed deep resentment for what we thought was indiscriminate bombing. My own experience with American planes was on January 5, when the market was strafed. I was then holding office at the Philippine National Bank, just around the corner from the strafing.

The Cabinet Hill was surrounded by military objectives. In the east were the South Road and the Teachers’ Camp (converted into a Japanese military camp); in the north, Elizalde’s compound and various private houses occupied by the Japanese; in the west was Hogan’s Alley occupied by the Japanese Marines; in the south, Baguio Auto Line (BAL), Engineer’s Hill, the Government Center and the Justice Hill. Hardly a day passed without bombings of these places. The first heavy bombing was staged by various B24’s and I actually saw the first bombs being released as they were discharged right above our house. We ran to the shelter under our house. The shelter withstood the ordeal but when nearby houses caught fire, we moved to the tunnel-shelter of Minister Sanvictores. Later, we used the shelter of Minister Jose Paez. Luckily enough, not a single bomb fell within the Cabinet Hill compound, although all the houses were full of shrapnel and bullet holes.

Since my family was very big, I decided to build our own shelter-dormitory on the eastern side of Cabinet Hill where we transferred on the 18th of March. The dormitory, built by the male members of my household including my two sons, was 2 by 3 meters with passage of 2 meters. The height was 5 feet 10 inches to the beams. The posts were of fair-sized pine trees. The sides and ceiling were of burnt galvanized iron. Near the passage we built a shaft for ventilation, but principally for an exit in case of necessity. We braced the shelter with two iron pipes so it would not collapse. We covered the shelter with about a meter and a half of earth. It was quite comfortable for sleeping.

The bombings continued. The Mansion House where the President and his family were staying, as well as Speaker Benigno Aquino, Sr. and other officials, was hit and badly damaged. When the American airmen staged carpet bombings, a bomb which would have hit squarely my air raid shelter and the adjoining shelters of Ministers Recto and Paez, exploded in the tree tops. If it had exploded on the ground, all three families would have been wiped out completely. Mr. Recto’s chauffeur was killed and my cook seriously wounded.

We got scared. We decided to walk everyday to the Catholic Cathedral to seek shelter during the daytime. But bombs fell all around the Cathedral and one of the bombs hit the road near the church. We decided that it was too dangerous for us to stay in the city and so we evacuated to a place called Irisan, in the outskirts of Baguio about 6 kilometers away. All the other Ministers also fled the city.

In Irisan, my two sons Tony and Alfredo, and my Filipino bodyguard, Venancio Llagas, built shelters in a narrow gap between two mountains — the shelters were actually caves. It would not be possible, therefore, for the bombs to hit us. My Japanese bodyguard, Mr. Ishikawa, did not accompany us to Irisan.

By this time, a big contingent of the American Armed Forces was proceeding to Manila while other forces prepared to go to Baguio and other places in the Mountain Province.

On the afternoon of the 12th of April, 1945 at about one o’clock, I decided to evacuate from Baguio because for weeks a continuous stream of people fleeing Baguio passed in front or near our shelter. In conversations with them, I came to know that they were leaving to save their lives either as a result of American air and land bombardments, or of massacres being perpetrated by the Japanese. They were all very anxious to go to the American occupied territory. Among them were men and women from all walks of life, from the poorest laborer to the richest tycoons, from a humble messenger to a very high government official. There were doctors, lawyers, engineers, nuns, priests — in fact all human activities were represented. There were newly born babies as well as persons who were visibly sick or over seventy years old who could hardly walk. I could not see how the old and the sick could make it, but I learned later that they all reached their destination after crossing steep and apparently insurmountable mountains, deep ravines, crystal-like rapid streams, thick forests. They arrived at the safety zone more dead than alive, however.

This stream of people so impressed us that we decided to take the long journey ourselves, although we had my child of 6 years, Menchu, who had been sick, and my mother-in-law, Maria de Lontoc, who was old, sickly and could hardly walk.

All our friends in the neighboring shelters, Dr. Jose de la Rosa and family, the Suntays and others, had already left and we regretted not to have gone with them. We received news that they arrived safely at their destination behind the American lines. Mr. and Mrs. Salvador Araneta, Compadre Lacson and family, Atty. Feria and many others stopped for a while at our shelter on their way to Agusan. We became more anxious to go. Two days before our departure, a massacre of about 32 occupants of 2 Igorot houses was perpetrated by the Japanese soldiers. The next day we found the places all around us deserted. I sent my son, Alfredo, to the shelter of Eugenio Lopez and they had just left without notifying us although we had agreed to go together. We inquired about Mayor Mitra and he had also fled. In the meanwhile, we noticed that fighting was getting nearer and nearer judging from the sound of cannons and machine guns. Shelling was becoming intense. Shells were falling all around our shelter. We could distinctly hear the whistling of shells passing overhead. At one o’clock, I sent my bodyguard to Minister Sison to tell them that we better leave right away. The answer came that they could not go as Mrs. Sison was sick and they were waiting for Major Leocadio de Asis who they had sent ahead to explore the way. I immediately went to their shelter which must be about 200 yards distance from my shelter. Shelling was very intense that afternoon and the shells were falling near our shelter and along the way. I had to dive to the ground many times. After almost running the whole way, I arrived on top of the hill where the shelter of Minister Sison was. Up there the explosions were louder; it seemed that the shells were falling just a few yards from us.

I proposed to Mr. Sison that we leave that same afternoon. He refused saying that his wife was sick and that he would prefer to wait for Major de Asis. I pleaded and pleaded, but he would not budge an inch. I then told him that we were leaving anyhow as I was afraid that the next day would be too late. I also told him that we had no guide but that I was sure that we would find other people fleeing on the way. Probably because shelling was becoming more intense and the shells were falling nearer and nearer, Mr. and Mrs. Sison decided to come.

I returned to our shelter and announced that we were leaving right then and there. Everybody was ready; everything we could carry had already been packed. Each of us, especially the body guard and the servants, practiced carrying our packs. All gave assurance that they could carry their respective loads. Even small Menchu had a small package. Needless to say, we were able to take very little. We left several sacks of rice, plenty of canned goods and other food provisions. We left almost all our clothing and several valises full of miscellaneous things. They were scattered in and outside the shelter as if a typhoon had just passed. We hid a little food in one of the caves and sealed the entrance, in case we should be compelled to return. We carried food only for one day as we could not carry more. We knew we had to travel at least 3 days but we were expecting to dig camotes along the way and, at any rate, we were ready to suffer hunger. We felt that all we would need was water and we had been assured that there was plenty of water along the way.

We climbed the first hill which was already steep although it was nothing compared with other mountains we had to climb later. We had a great deal of difficulty going up. When we reached the top, we realized that our packs were too heavy to carry all the way. We threw most of our load. The guard and the laundry woman, without even consulting us, left behind a greater portion of their load. It so happened that my clothes were in one of the packs. I had other clothes being carried by a small young servant girl, but they were all woolen clothes. I gave up hope of saving them because I did not believe the little girl could carry her load which was quite heavy. But to the surprise of everybody, she reached our destination without throwing any part of her load.

We went by the shelter of Minister Sison where the family joined our party, and proceeded on our way. Crossing the Naguilian Road, the trail was downhill and it was quite good. After walking about four kilometers we were stopped. On the way we were stopped by two Japanese soldiers. One of them, an officer, asked us where we were going. We told him that we wanted to escape from shells and bombs. We indicated that we were going to Amasi. He was very nice. He allowed us to proceed but warned us not to go straight ahead or turn to the right as there was fighting. He said we should take the left trail as it would be safe.

The place where we stopped and passed the night was near a Japanese patrol station. From there we could see the flash of cannons, hear the whistling of shells overhead and afterwards the sound of bursting shells. On the hillside some of our companions, mostly girls, danced and sang. We had a good sleep and the next morning, we had enough strength to proceed.

Starting our journey early in the morning at about 5 o’clock, we passed through rough trails dotted with big stones, indicating that we were walking on a river bed where a rapid stream runs through during the rainy season. Eight kilometers further, we reached the Asin road. We walked for another eight kilometers along this road where we arrived at a spot where heavy fighting had taken place. It seemed to be a dead trail. Trying to pick up the trail, we explored the area for a while and right up the road about a hundred yards from where we were, we found another trail. There could be no mistake about it; clothes were strewn all along the path. As a matter of fact, from this point on there were clothes thrown all along the trail to Pitugon. We could not possibly lose our way. We contributed our own clothes to the litter, including my terry cloth coat which had covered me for years after playing tennis.

We crossed a big river, went up a steep mountain where we saw some Japanese picking “camotes”, and reached a narrow plateau where at about 9 o’clock we stopped as airplanes passed overhead and began fierce bombardment. I was surprised to learn, especially since shell explosions had been taking place around her shelter, that during a bombing, Mrs. Sison is unable to walk. We could see the target distinctly. It was the place where we used to live and had just left only the previous day. There could be no mistake about it as we could see bombs exploding on and around the lime factory. (Lime is “apog” in Tagalog; this is the reason why the place is called Apugan. Irisan is the next barrio, the boundary of which is very near my shelter). Our shelters are just a few yards below the factory. We were sure that our shelters had been bombed and this was confirmed by reliable information we received later. We probably would have been killed if we had remained until the next Saturday as proposed by Sison. I do not know whether I had already said that I insisted in leaving that afternoon and did not wish to leave the next day as this day was Friday the 13th. Later we also learned that the only places in Baguio where hand-to-hand combat between Americans and Japanese took place were Irisan and vicinity. In other words, fighting was right there where we lived. What would have happened if we had not left?

After aerial bombardment at about 11:30, we moved ahead. We decided not to eat lunch until we were a little further. We crossed the narrow open plateau and again went up through a narrow trail well shadowed by trees. It was quite a winding trail. We seemed to be going around and around. Finally, we reached a ridge which was quite open. We went along this ridge. Ahead of us we could see shells bursting. Before we reached the place where the shells were falling, we turned left. We reached a place where very large rocks nestled several Igorots houses, all deserted. I forgot to state that after crossing the first river after the Asin road, we were stopped by a Japanese civilian. He asked us many questions and ordered us to give all our revolvers if we had any. We carried 6 revolvers. He took them all, but later returned them except one that belonged to Col. Desiderio which was really a very goodlooking revolver. Afterwards, he asked for cigarettes. We were convinced that he was not connected with the Army but was one of the Japanese civilians who went around robbing people. I should also state that from the time we left our shelter, an American observation plane had been flying overhead. It flew very low and we could see the pilot distinctly. He evidently knew that we were evacuees as he waved at us. We waved back whenever we were sure there was no Japanese around. We had to be careful. My son, Tony, was almost killed because a Japanese sentry saw him waving while an American plane flew overhead. He was lucky that the Japanese believed his explanation that he was waving at a girl friend in a house up the road, which was the truth.

We considered the Igorot village as unsafe as it could be the target of shelling. So after two hours of rest, although we were still very tired, we moved. We wished to reach the other side of the valley which we thought was only about two kilometers away. We walked and walked but it took us hours to reach the river bank bordering the village. This was a trail which descends very abruptly. The hill to the river bank was almost perpendicular. We looked down and we were perplexed as to how we could do it. Finally we decided to slide down. It was a most dangerous feat. It was raining hard and this made the trail very slippery. We feared that my mother-in-law might have to remain behind since she could not continue walking anymore. But she was brave and determined. She said she could make it also. She did, and we attributed it to a miracle. She could hardly walk but by sheer strength of will and perseverance she always could go farther and farther.

But there was a time when the way seemed impossible for her and to make things worse, she had fever. She did not wish to go any further; she could not. It rained and she had to lie down on the wet ground. But my son, Tony, true to my instructions to him to take care of Lola (grandmother), stuck to her. Tony and my Filipino bodyguard, Llagas, carried her down to the river bank. This took several hours. Could she continue? It looked impossible. We prayed and prayed. God must have heeded us as the next day, she found enough strength to proceed. She was able to go several kilometers when it started to rain again. Still suffering from a high fever, she had to take a long rest. Then, although practically dragging her feet, she continued on her way and was able to walk almost all the way to the border of the safety zone. All along the way since the start of our trek, I tried to find carriers, but I could not get any. I asked an Igorot guide to furnish me men to carry my mother-in-law but he said it would have to be after Ambosi as runners thought it dangerous to approach Baguio. A man was willing to do it for ₱3,000 worth of treasury notes. I did not have the money; I carried over ₱3,000 but half of them were PNB notes. He lowered his rate to ₱2,000, but I still could not pay. But the Igorot leader assured me that he would have some men carry Mama (my mother-in-law) after Ambosi. Finally, when we were almost at the end of our journey, a man agreed to carry her. How she was able to walk about 25 kilometers of trail crossing high mountains and deep valleys can only be attributed to God’s mercy.

Going back to the river bank, there was a lone house near the bank. As it was raining we went under it where we slept on the dirty ground with our wet clothes on. We slept soundly probably because we were tired. We did not mind the mosquitoes. It is possible that my wife was bitten here by a malaria transmitting mosquito since after her arrival in Manila, she had bouts of malaria. The house must have sheltered numerous evacuees; on the floor and all around were clothes and human refuse. It was upon our arrival in this place that an Igorot leader with several companions passed by and told us they were on their way to Baguio on behalf of the American Army to rescue General Roxas. I told them to be careful since Roxas was being closely watched. The leader said that he expected to be back next morning with Roxas. I thought he was just boasting.

The next morning we could not leave because my mother-in-law had not arrived. We worried about her and feared for her safety, and the two men with her (Tony and Llagas). We were embarrassed because we were delaying everybody in our party. Fortunately or unfortunately, an air bombardment staged by many airplanes began, so we could not leave anyway. The planes started diving just above us, and we could see the bombs being released. The target to be Japanese positions at the end of the Asin road. Finally, my mother-in-law arrived at about 10 o’clock. Shortly thereafter, we continued on our journey. While crossing the river I took a bath in the rapid crystalline current. When my mother-in-law saw my body which was more of a skeleton than anything else, she cried.

On the river we were advised that Gen. Roxas and Chief Justice Yulo and their families had arrived. The Igorot leader had made good his promise. It seems that he went directly to the shelter of Roxas, and upon his insistence the Roxases and the Yulos left at once. Mrs. Roxas, Mrs. Yulo and Miss Roxas were carried by the Igorots in hammocks. Sison and I decided to leave at once and go a little faster as we did not want Roxas and Yulo to leave ahead of us; we feared that the Japanese would pursue them. They were not pursued, however. I doubt whether the Japanese could have followed them because all along the way American airplanes flew above them as if patrolling to protect them from attacks by the Japanese.

We climbed one steep mountain and another steep mountain. We stopped to rest and shortly afterwards, to our surprise, my mother-in-law came walking. But she was very weak and again with fever. A very kindly mestizo gave her medicine. It started to rain hard again, and again she had to stay in the rain with fever.

We continued our way and after about 3 or 4 kilometers walk over a comparatively good road, we arrived soaking wet at a place which was apparently a rest house. As it continued to rain, we huddled like sardines in the one room house. In size, it must have been four by four meters. It had a front porch that sagged. At about 5 o’clock in the afternoon, we were startled by our Igorot guide suddenly jumping out the window. A Japanese soldier appeared with a loaded sub-machinegun pointed at us. Another armed Japanese soldier with a big scar on his face stood just outside the door. We could not tell whether there were others outside. The one inside the hut, with Capt. Desiderio who studied in Japan and spoke Japanese acting as interpreter, told us not to move. He told us to surrender all firearms. We showed him our five revolvers. He got them all, but then returned my revolver and that of Minister Sison. But almost immediately, he took mine back. He ordered us to open our baggage, which we did. He examined each of them. He got all the foodstuff. One of our companions, Mr. Gatchalian, remained seated on his bundle. The Japanese pulled it from under him and opened it. To our consternation, it contained a revolver with many rounds of ammunition. The Japanese became very angry. He pointed a revolver at Mr. Gatchalian. We thought the Japanese was going to shoot him, but fortunately he merely got the revolver. The tension eased. He asked us for our watches which we gave him. He returned some but retained the expensive ones, including my gold watch. I did not expect him to like my watch as I had been told that the Japanese preferred wrist watches and the watch of Mr. Sison was a gold wristwatch of the best kind. I prized my watch very much; it was a gift to me of Don Antonio Roxas. My other watch which had been presented to me by the employees of the Executive Bureau when I resigned from this office and which I therefore also prized very highly, had been accidentally included in the bag containing our very valuable medicines left along the way. I could not blame my wife for this as like others she was not herself. It was plain robbery, a regular daytime hold-up. As it turned out, the Igorots jumped out of the window to warn Roxas that there were Japanese and not to proceed. Roxas and Yulo did not arrive until after the Igorot had assured them that the Japanese were no longer in the vicinity.

Roxas and party arrived in the hut that night. He told us that they decided to leave Baguio after they found out that Sison and I had already left. They feared that the Japanese would take action against the Ministers who were left in Baguio. They walked very fast even during the night because they feared that they were being pursued. Fortunately, they met no Japanese. We had a long talk about many things that night. We agreed to leave early the next morning, April the 15th, 1945. He proposed that we go in groups instead of together, each group to leave at half hour intervals.

We learned that we were within the jurisdiction of Ambosi; that we were not yet in the safety zone. Although we were very tired, we did not sleep well that night. The Roxases and the Yulos slept in a nearby house, but we were still too crowded. We slept in a sitting position. The mestizo who gave medicine to my mother-in-law suffered a deep cut on his foot when he stepped on a can which had been thrown out the window by the young son of Mr. and Mrs. Villegas. He was bleeding profusely.

Mr. and Mrs. Villegas had a small baby and they kept lighting matches throughout the night. We could not understand why. We all grumbled and protested but they paid no attention. Because of them, I do not believe anybody was able to sleep.

We had no more food. The men went to search for food and they came back with a load of “camote”. This is what we ate for breakfast the next morning. We received information that the Japanese were pursuing us, so although according to Roxas’ plan they were to leave before us, Sison and I decided to go ahead. At about 5 o’clock, we continued our journey. I left my son Tony, my bodyguard and our laundrywoman to take care of my mother-in-law. I told my son that we would be waiting for them when we reached the safety zone. To make sure that they would not lose their way, I told them I would mark the turns or crossings with toilet paper, which I did. They could not lose their way as there was only one trail and the whole way as littered with clothes and other things thrown by the evacuees. My mother-in-law was growing weaker and weaker. I knew that, her strong will notwithstanding, there would come a time when it would just be impossible for her to continue.

The trails continued to be perilous — in fact they were even worse. Almost perpendicular mountains had to be traversed. After ascending and descending a mountain, another one loomed ahead. We counted nine high mountains before reaching Tubao. Many times we just had to slide down on our backs. There was one portion of about 100 yards on the side of a steep mountain with the trail no more than a foot wide and very slippery. In parts, avalanches had occurred and the trail disappeared down the mountain. We passed these portions by holding tightly on tree roots and vines which fortunately were quite abundant. We had to do some Tarzan stunts. To fall meant certain death as the ravine was very deep. Fortunately, no accident happened to any of us. It was the Almighty protecting us.

The first man we met along this trail told us that he had seen Japanese soldiers on the way. We became very nervous. Although we were already dead tired we accelerated our pace. Mr. and Mrs. Sison and our other companions were far ahead of us. My whole family with the exception of Tony, who was with his grandmother, were walking together. My wife was visibly very tired and weak. But the others, including little Menchu, seemed to be still strong. At one time, we stopped to take a little rest. My three young ladies, Dely, Tesy and Ming, who were a little ahead of us entered a dilapidated shack to take a rest. They came running and very excited. They saw a horrible sight — the body of an old person which they could not distinguish to be that of a man or a woman, already in an advanced state of decomposition. We left the place hurriedly.

We again climbed up a mountain so thickly forested that we could not see the sky. The trail was also very bad, but because it was very shady, we considered it the best portion of our trip. We crossed other streams with crystalline water, but although we wished to wash ourselves, we did not stop. We finally reached a group of houses. There were four or five persons in the village. They said that the day before they had been visited by Japanese soldiers which information scared us awfully. After eating some bananas which we picked along the way, we left. We were again caught by heavy rain. We stopped at an abandoned shack with a roof that hardly protected us. It was here that the Roxases and Yulos overtook us. The ladies looked fresh as they were carried in hammocks. As soon as the rains subsided, we proceeded. We had hardly walked 2 kilometers when it began to rain again. The trail was already very slippery and impassable. We had to stop under a structure which seemed to be an old stone bridge. When the sky cleared, we beheld a mountain on the other side of the river. Behind the mountain was already the safety zone. We burst in jubilation. Roxas signalled us to be quiet as there were Japanese. Sure enough; to our right we saw some Japanese soldiers going in a direction parallel to us. Are we going to meet misfortune at the last lap of our trip? We proceeded quietly and fortunately the Japanese did not see us or pretended not to see us.

As if to complete our suffering and martyrdom, the last lap to safety was a steep mountain which was very slippery from the rain. I fell down many times and at one time I almost rolled down into a deep ravine. I would have met instant death. It was impossible for my wife and daughters to go down the mountain. Roxas approached me and told me that runners and carriers would come for them. I still wonder how these Igorots can go down a steep mountain trail so easily just as if it were a perfectly level road. We arrived at the river bank safely and easily. For the first time since the war, we laid eyes on an American soldier. Our emotions were indescribable.

I related earlier our jubilation at seeing the U.S. Captain and his men. We were carried across the river and then we had to ascend another very steep, very difficult, slippery mountain. We did not allow ourselves to be carried any more. But we noticed that we climbed better and faster. Besides we were no longer suffering from nervousness caused by well-founded fears. We reached the top where we stopped to rest. We tarried as we were already in the safety zone. There were many soldiers and guerrillas. Shortly after we had sat down, my younger son, Alfredo, told me that my mother-in-law was coming. We thought he was joking, but then we saw her carried on the back of a man who was rather small. He was carrying my mother-in-law on his back as if she were a small child. We waited for her and there was a happy reunion of three generations of my family.

Before dusk we had to climb again, but it was not a difficult ascent compared with the others. At the top, a place called Pitugan, were three houses, one just a hut. The big one was occupied by Roxas and family and their friends. The small hut was assigned to my family and to Mr. and Mrs. Padilla. Others wanted to join as but we objected because there was no more room. I am glad the Padilla family was the one assigned to us since Mrs. Padilla is a sister of Don Jacobo Zobel, one of my very good friends whose family always supported me in my election bids in Calatagan and Nasugbu. Here for the first time we ate right; we had a good meal. Here we passed the night without hardly any sleep not only because we were almost all in semi-sitting positions, but also because we were too excited for being already in the safety zone. Even then the necessary precautions were taken by the American Captain. There were soldiers with submachine guns posted throughout the night around our houses. The order was to shoot anybody loitering around. Frequently, they searched the whole neighborhood with lighted torches and flashlights. We were cautioned not to go out by ourselves as we might be mistaken for Japanese snipers. We did not go out all night even though we felt the necessity to relieve ourselves. The precautions were well taken as the place where we saw the Japanese soldiers was just on the other side of the river, and once in a while they cross the river and shoot at anyone they see. Fortunately, no untoward incident happened that night.

The next morning, April 16th we left already rather late — about 7 o’clock. We walked not hurriedly on trails all going down. They reminded me of the trails of Batangas. I admired my wife; she had walked practically the whole way and she seemed to be still strong. She was very thin and I feared she would collapse, but she was no more tired than I was. We were, carrying nothing as we were able to hire carriers for this part of the trip. Mama and Menchu were being carried. All along the way, we met hundreds of people, many were runners and carriers. They brought canned goods and candies which they were selling at high prices to the thousands of evacuees coming from Baguio. At about half past eleven, we reached the plains. I think the place is called Rizal. There we stopped a while to eat young coconuts and sugar cane.

Gen. Roxas and Mr. Yulo walked with us. When we were half way to Rizal, a horse was brought for Gen. Roxas. We walked on the plains and after crossing two rivers we sighted a military truck. It was intended for us. The Engineer son of Minister Paredes was in it. The American driver was very nice. My wife and I boarded the truck. I wanted to bring my young ladies but I was told the truck was going back for them. We passed new roads which I understand were built by the American Army. On the way, we picked up Mama and Menchu. We reached Tubao after twelve. The truck returned to Rizal, and after less than an hour it returned with my other children.

We all went to church to give thanks to God for our safe arrival, our successful escape from the clutches of the Japanese. After we left the church, we stayed at the church plaza to wait for assignment of our quarters as we were told. It was there that we received the sad news that my daughter Neny had died. Our sorrow was indescribable. We wept like children. She had been a good and dutiful daughter. She married Ramon Cojuangco in September, 1944 a little more than six months ago. My wife and I were very happy when Neny married a man we heartily approved of. The news of her death was totally unexpected. We had always feared for Lily and her family because they lived in San Miguel near Malacañan and the San Miguel Brewery, and it was here that heavy fighting was reported. It was true that heavy bombardment was reported at Taft Avenue, but it was the Taft Avenue proper up to a little beyond Vito Cruz. This is still far from the house of the Cojuangcos which was on the southern end of Taft Avenue extension. But it turned out that the whole Conjuangco family left their house to seek shelter in the Chapel of De La Salle College near the intersection of Taft Avenue and Vito Cruz. It was a surprise to me to learn that they had gone to that place since, when I learned that the family of Judge Carlos had moved to that place, I expressed to them my belief that it was not a safe place. De La Salle College itself was occupied by the Japanese Army and it had to be bombarded from the air or shelled from the ground. I told them that they should either join the Aquino family who lived in a concrete house near Malacañan or they should just stay in their house on Taft Avenue which was a three storey cement house with a very strong air raid shelter. The reason for this instruction was that I feared the Japanese more than the American bombs and shells. It got into my head that upon retreat they would kill all the Filipinos they could find as by then they would have discovered that the Filipinos were not only guerrilleros but that they hated the Japanese. I based my belief on the record of the Japanese in China. I thought that the only house the Japanese would respect was that of Speaker Aquino for his vocal Japanese leanings. If they chose to remain in their own house in Taft Ave., my instructions to them were to secure the gates, and close tightly and securely all the doors and windows of the house. Evidently, they moved to La Salle upon the persuasion of the Carlos family, Mrs. Carlos being the sister of Mrs. Cojuangco.

I was called to the Municipal building where the office of the C.I.C. was. Engineer Paredes accompanied me. I met there Justice Yulo, Mr. Sison, Mr. Paredes, an American and a priest. There I cried again. The priest was trying to console me by saying that the news about Neny could not be true. This gave me a ray of hope. I was given a little brandy to drink probably to bolster up my spirit. I left the building without having been questioned at all. I think they just wanted to know my personal circumstances and these were provided by Engineer Paredes. I had just returned to the church yard when I was called again. We — Roxas, Yulo, Sison and Paredes and myself — were loaded in two jeeps and taken to Agoo which was the headquarters of the 6th Army operating toward Baguio. There we were introduced to the Commander of the Division, Gen. Carlson. We were invited to a luncheon which was a typical American meal. For the first time in a long time, we ate good bread with butter, nice sweets, ice cream, etc. We had a hearty meal. All the members of the staff of Gen. Carlson were there. After the meal group pictures were taken of us.

Gen. Roxas and Mr. Paredes were closeted with Gen. Carlson probably to learn from them some facts of military value in connection with the operations to take Baguio. We were taken to the office of Col. Arvey whose position we did not know. He might have been the Judge-Advocate. He seemed to have complete files on us and other Filipino high officials. He had a good many personnel and the office seemed to be a busy one. We were asked many questions, but the one that struck us the most was when he asked us what we thought of the postponement of independence. Yulo, our spokesman, answered immediately and without the least hesitation. He answered that our independence should not be postponed at all. The Colonel argued that what we need now is the country’s rehabilitation and this would require the assistance of America. Yulo answered that there was no incompatibility between independence and American assistance to our rehabilitation. I could not help making my sentiments also known by nodding approval to the statements of Mr. Yulo.

The Colonel immediately retorted, “I am surprised with your attitude. I have talked to very many Filipinos and 98% of them were for postponement.” I do not doubt that the Colonel was telling the truth. This reveals the inherent weakness of the Filipinos. I am sure that a great majority of them are for immediate independence. But we generally do not want to displease our hearers especially if they are Americans. We readily agree to insinuations. Or we are apt to presume that all the Americans are against our independence and so whenever we talked to them we give them to understand that we are not enthusiastic for independence. This trait, this weakness in our character must be remedied.

Before leaving another Colonel talked to me. He said that a mob near Baguio had unearthed about 800,000 of silver pesos, and he asked me whether I knew something about it. I told him that I was reliably informed by the Japanese that they were able to recover in the waters around Corregidor several boxes of silver pesos. These were turned over to the Taiwan Bank. This bank had a branch in Baguio and it is possible that the bank had buried the silver pesos in the place where the Americans found them. The Colonel after some recollecting exclaimed, “Oh yes, there was a piece of board with ‘Taiwan’ written on it.”

We returned to Tubao and rejoined our families. We were taken to the school building where two families were assigned to a classroom for living quarters. We, with the Sison family, occupied the classroom on the right end of the building, and the Roxas and Yulo families, the room on the other end of the building. We were given rations of canned goods at nominal prices; We had everything we needed, including butter. We had more than enough. What a contrast! Whereas the Japanese stole our food, the Americans gave us food. Our only problem in that building was sanitation. The authorities were doing their best to keep the surroundings sanitary. There were many toilets behind the building. But just the same human refuse was found abundant all around the building.

I forget to recount that before we reached Ambosi, there was continuous shelling directed by slow flying planes hovering above — the target of the shells was a mountain top just above us. In that place we heard sounds that were most terrifying. The sound travelled through the ravine where we were. I believe it was the whistling of shells falling above us, but instead of the whistling sound, it sounded like the zooming of many airplanes on account of the ravine. Or it might have been the sound of the cannonading at Galleno, the place below Asin where heavy fighting was taking place and as cannonading was on the ravine we were in the sound path.

The 17th and 18th, we spent resting, recovering from our ordeal. Each one of us had lost at least ten pounds on the way. We inquired about when we were to be brought to Manila. The military people promised to provide transportation to Manila just as soon as the quarantine of Manila was lifted and they could secure special passes for us. In the morning of the 19th, we were loaded in a closed small truck, and the rest of the story has already been told. Little did we imagine that it was the beginning of a long incarceration. We were ignorant of what they intended to do to us and we brought nothing. We were originally told that we were only going to San Fabian. I had nothing but the clothes on my back and my toothbrush and shaving kit.

I want to record the departure of President Jose P. Laurel.

On Sunday, March 18, we were called to a special meeting of the Cabinet at the Mansion House. All the Ministers, with the exception of Yulo, Sison and Roxas, were present. It was a very solemn meeting. The President spoke for more than one hour beginning at about half past five. We consider it one of the best speeches that he had ever delivered.

He explained that Ambassador Morata had seen him to transmit the wish of the Japanese Supreme Council to have the President, the members of his Cabinet, the Speaker and the Chief Justice brought to Japan. Laurel asked that he be given until that evening to give his answer. His purpose was to be able to consult his collaborators in the government. He showed us a letter which he had dictated when he was told in Manila that he and the members of his Cabinet might be taken to Japan.

In the letter he declined to go to Japan, giving his reasons. He accepted the Presidency on the conviction that he would be able to serve his country and people. He can only do so if he stays in the Philippines. He was determined to stay and serve his people even if it would cost him his life. His leaving the Philippines at this time would be a desertion and he cannot betray his people by such a cowardly act. Besides, Pres. Quezon was criticized by the Japanese themselves for having abandoned his people when they needed him. He considered the criticism well founded and he should, therefore, not commit a similar dereliction of duty. But if circumstances prevail on him to leave, he would like to request as a counter proposal that he go alone. Just as when the “state of war” with the United States and Great Britain was declared, he was desirous of assuming alone and exclusively the full responsibility, he was now willing to make another sacrifice by going alone so that the others would not have to undertake a dangerous trip to Japan.

Everybody was so affected that no one could speak after the peroration of the President. The President himself had to ask our opinion. The consensus of opinion was that, if possible at all, the President and his Cabinet and other high officials should not go. But if he had to go, each and everyone were willing to accompany him. The President reiterated his determination to go alone. He promised to go to the Cabinet Hill the next day to tell us the result of his negotiation with the Japanese.

The next day, Monday, March 19, he did not go to the Cabinet Hill. Tuesday, at 5:00 p.m., we went to the Mansion House. This time Yulo, Sison and Roxas were there. The President informed us that he had to go, and that his proposal to go alone was partly accepted in the sense that he would only be accompanied by some Ministers and a General. He announced that those accompanying him were Speaker Aquino, Min. Teofilo Sison of Home Affairs, Min. Camilo Osias of Education and Mrs. Osias, and Gen. Capinpin. This announcement was a great relief to me because I feared that on account of my position in the government, I had to go. I was worried as I brought my whole family to Baguio, except my two married daughters. I also brought my mother-in-law. My wife was not in good health. Besides, almost all the families in Baguio were having serious problems with the food shortage. Under the circumstances, I could not leave my family. The announcement was also a surprise as regards Manuel Roxas because it was taken for granted that he would have to go. The President concluded that the departure of the party would be announced soon. We promised to come in the afternoon of the next day.

The next day, Exec. Sec. Emilio Abello sent us a note that the President would like us to go to the Mansion House early. We went at two o’clock that afternoon. We had our picture taken with the President. In the picture was the Filipino flag which the President had been using and which was almost completely torn from the bombing of the Mansion House. Those present were Claro M. Recto, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Jose Paez, Minister of Public Works and Communications; Camilo Osias, Minister of Public Instruction; Pedro Sabido, Minister of Economic Affairs; Emiliano Tria Tirona, Minister of Public Health and Welfare; Arsenio Luz, Chairman of the Board of Information; Jose Sanvictores, Head of the Food Production Activities; Emilio Abello, Executive Secretary; Ramon Macasaet, Vice Minister of Health and Welfare and private physician to the President, Maj. Gen. Guillermo Francisco, Mayor Ramon Mitra of Baguio, Jose Laurel, Jr., Assemblyman from Batangas, and myself, Minister of Finance. Speaker Benigno Aquino, Sr. was also present. Chief Justice Jose Yulo and Brig. Gen. Manuel Roxas came after the meeting, conferred with the President, and left before the President’s departure. Ministers Quintin Paredes of Justice and Rafael Alunan of Agriculture were absent as they could not be notified.

The President spoke again for several minutes. He said that he had devoted the greater portion of his life to his country. It would be a pleasure and it is his determination to dedicate the rest of his life to the service of his country. Undoubtedly, he said, he would be criticized and bitterly attacked. But he hopes that some day his people will understand. His ideals and principles are very clear, having been repeatedly expounded by him. He wants to establish a Philippine nation, truly independent and free. He will combat with all his might any intervention or interference on the part of the Americans, or Japanese, or any other foreigner. He wants his people to be happy and prosperous. He believes that we should not depend upon foreigners as no one could love a Filipino better than a brother Filipino. He would like the Philippine Republic to befriend all nations, but we should always remember that we are Oriental and our country is located in the midst of Oriental nations. It is but natural that we should establish the most friendly relationships with other Oriental nations.

Afterwards, the President sent for his crucifix. He stated that since his childhood he had knelt and prayed before this crucifix. He is leaving it with us under the care of the ranking member, Minister Recto. Before it, he would like us to pledge unity and perfect understanding. He concluded by asking us to forgive whatever offense or wrong he had committed.

It was a very touching and pathetic scene. The President was crying and so were all of us. I could not bear it — I was the most affected as I am the most intimate friend of the President — I had to leave the room for a while. Nobody could speak. In everybody’s eyes we could see the love and trust for our President. The scene was at the Guest House, amidst the ruins and debris.

We left the President and went to the Mansion House. The President spent his time bidding goodbye to the Presidential Guards and the household.

At 7:00 o’clock in the evening, the President and those accompanying him to Japan went by automobile to Ambassador Murata’s residence. We followed on foot as the residence was just outside the Mansion House compound.

Members of the party to Japan were President and Mrs. Laurel, and all the members of his family including his in-laws, Speaker Aquino, Minister and Mrs. Osias, and General Capinpin.

Those who saw the President and party off were Ministers Recto, Paez, Sabido, Tirona, Luz, Sanvictores, Abello, and myself; Gen. Francisco; and Vice Min. Ramon Macasaet.

The Japanese present were Lt. Gen. Muto, Chief of Staff; Maj. Gen. Utsonomiya; Mr. Hamamoto; and many other Japanese.

As a last wish, the President asked Gen. Muto to extend assistance and protection to the Ministers and the General whom he left behind. Gen. Muto promised to do so and, addressing us, he stated that we should not hesitate to communicate to him anything in which the Army could be of help.

The party left by automobile at 9 o’clock. Ambassador Murata accompanied the party to Japan. Japanese soldiers in two trucks convoyed the party. They were supposed to go by automobile for about 15 kilometers; walk for about 60 kilometers, and then by automobile again up to the point the party could board an airplane. A few days later, Mr. Hamamoto told us that the President and party had to walk only about 30 kilometers and that they had arrived safely in Formosa. They could not proceed to Japan probably because of the invasion of Okinawa Island, part of Japan proper.

Before leaving, the President signed an order reorganizing the government by relieving all the Ministers and other officials who remained in the Philippines. Chief Justice Yulo resigned. The purpose was to be able to organize a complete government in Japan.

Thus ended the first government of the Second Republic of the Philippines. No doubt it had been a success under the able and courageous leadership of Pres. Laurel. The government was established under the most difficult circumstances. The war reached its acute stage and it was natural that there would be conflicts between the government and the Filipinos on the one hand, and the Japanese Military authorities on the other. The Japanese naturally wanted to win the war, and at times the requirements of the Army and Navy affected vitally the interest and welfare of Filipino citizens. The difficulty of subordinate Japanese officers and officials and Japanese civilians to understand and appreciate the Filipino customs and idiosyncracies and also to understand and effectuate the principles and aims of Japan as regards the Philippines, created problems which admitted no solution satisfactory to the Filipinos. With so many serious difficulties, the government of the Republic was nevertheless able to forge ahead. It is a wonder how it could count with so many achievements and accomplishments under the circumstances.

I purposely mentioned Japanese subordinate officers and officials. This is because the high officers, like Gen. Kuroda, Gen. Wachi, and Gen. Utsonomiya deserve the respect, admiration and gratitude of the Filipino people.

* * * * *

            Thus for the second time, I am out of the public service. It certainly afforded genuine pleasure and relief. Notwithstanding the fact that I was in the service of the government from 1909 to 1939, and from 1942 to March, 1945, I harbor only dislike for the public service. The reason is not because I have experienced disappointment in public service. I know of no other person who has been treated with as much justice. In fact, my promotions were even faster than they should have been.

But I have seen countless cases of irregularities in the public service. I have seen men promoted who did not in the least deserve it. I have seen flagrant cases of nepotism. I have seen vengeance wreaked on brilliant employees. I have seen bribery and serious irregularities in the service go unpunished because of the influence and “pull” enjoyed by the culprit. I have seen promising young men unjustly dismissed or laid off just to give way to relatives or favorites of the appointing officers. I have seen lazy and inefficient employees retained in the service to the prejudice of the interest of the people. All these so disgusted me that I longed to leave the public service and enter private business where I felt I belonged.

My first opportunity came in 1938 and I immediately seized it. The then President did his best to persuade me to remain in the service, offering all kinds of inducements, including the managership of either the Philippine National Bank or the Manila Railroad Co. But I insisted in resigning. I was not mistaken. In April of 1939, I joined Marsman & Co. I left the government with an indebtedness up to my neck.

On this day, Wednesday, August 1,1945 we read that at Potsdam, Germany, Truman, Stalin and Attlee (the new Premier of Great Britain), and with the concurrence of Chiang Kai Shek, sent an ultimatum to Japan demanding surrender. The conditions imposed were that Japan is to have only her four original islands. All lands taken by force must be returned.

August first has always been considered as an unlucky day. We were therefore glad that we went to bed at 10 o’clock without any unfortunate incident. But at about 11:30 that night we were awakened by a loud cry. We did not pay any attention. A few minutes later, we heard a heavy thing drop. We jumped out of bed and turned the lights on. We saw Dr. Julio Luz lying on the floor. We thought he was merely dreaming. We put him back on his cot. He woke up and began to sing. It was then we realized that he had lost his mind. He stood up on his bed and fell on the floor again. It was lucky for him that he did not get hurt. His brother, Arsenio, called for the doctor. The guard also notified Lt. Hagonberg. They came immediately. Julio called for Sanvictores. He took hold of the left hand of Sanvictores and pulled him in. Julio pulled Sanvictores so strongly that if he were not a strong man, being our physical director, he would have fallen. Luz saw Lt. Hagonberg and he asked, “How is Hagonberg?” “Well, thank you,” answered the Lieutenant. “How is Gilfilan? How is your shit?” The Lieutenant did not answer.

Luz crawled to the ballustrade and tried to jump. Three strong men, for in the meanwhile a big crowd had gathered around, pulled him back. His brother Arsenio became so nervous that he did not know what to do. He ran back and forth. Somebody remarked that it was the effect of Atabrine. Doctor Bunye said that it was the effect of the malaria itself as the type he contracted attacks the brain. But we who knew Luz before he came to Iwahig, and who had observed his conduct since his arrival believe that he is a lunatic.

Bocobo is also showing signs of eccentricity. He seems to think that he is seriously sick and would soon die. We believe that it is just the result of depression caused by our unjust imprisonment. We are all doing our best to help him. The Colonel and the Lieutenant are also doing their best to help. They have authorized him to go out of the stockade any time he wished to take a walk accompanied by another internee to Class A. We still hope to save him.

As a joke, we printed out the different hobbies of each of us, which showed that something is also the matter with our heads.


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.


June 27, 1945 Wednesday

A Colonel, Assistant Chief of the U.S. Military Police, came and inspected us today. He stopped in front of me and asked me two questions. “Are you comfortable here?”, he asked. I somewhat hesitated before answering, “Yes, under the circumstances.” What I really meant was that in view of the fact that we were prisoners, and because of the lack of facilities, the comfort that we have is all that could possibly be given. But we are not satisfied. Evidently, the Colonel understood me as he repeated “under the circumstances.” His next question was, “How is the food?” I answered, “It is sufficient in quantity, but it is not the kind of food we want. We prefer not to eat canned foods. What we want are fresh fish, meat and vegetables. We also would like to have rice. This is the kind of meal we eat as Filipinos.” He then turned to our Colonel Superintendent and asked him how they could be obtained. He even talked about fishing. Turning to me again, he said that rice is pretty hard to obtain; there is a scarcity of rice even in Manila and it costs very much. When he passed by Paredes and he was told that Paredes was our spokesman, he asked Paredes to see him. Jokingly he added, “not by motor car.” Paredes went to see him at 2 o’clock and returned after two hours. He immediately gathered us together to make a report.

Paredes said the Colonel talked to him about giving us better food, allowing us to bring food in, allowing us to have our laundry done outside the camp, etc. The Colonel said that he came precisely to investigate our living conditions and he will see what can be done. When asked about our petition to MacArthur, he said that it passed through him and he passed it on to the General Staff. Whether it reached MacArthur or not, he did not know.

Paredes then talked about our case. He explained that we had not been sentenced nor have we been informed of the charges against us. We believe that we have not done anything to deserve imprisonment. He mentioned some specific cases, like Bayan who is merely a technical man; that of Yulo, who supported two guerillas and gave information to the U.S. Army about what he saw in Manchoukuo which had been used by the U.S. Army to its advantage. Paredes asked that we be released; if that was not possible, that we be brought back to Manila and given limited freedom; and if this was still not acceptable, that our conditions here be improved. Here we are worse off than the criminals with long term sentences as they are allowed to go around the Colony, while we have to remain inside the stockade.

The Colonel said that he fully sympathized with us, but it was not within his power to grant our request. But he believes something will be done soon since Congress seems to be very interested in us. He reported that one day the House was discussing the matter of the collaborationists issue and the discussion became so heated that the public was excluded and the doors closed. The Colonel said that the C.I.C. was supposed to have investigated us, and after sentencing we were turned over to the Military Police. Paredes reiterated that none of us had been duly investigated and, consequently, we could not have been sentenced. The Colonel then said that probably the reason was that we were merely under protective custody to save us from persons who might want to kill us. Paredes said that he would be willing to bet that anyone of the officer class here could travel from one end of the Philippines to the other without being molested. Paredes said that they probably are not aware that in placing us under protective custody we are really being punished. When we are left “incommunicado”, we are punished; when we are separated from the family, we are punished; and when we are made to eat food that we are not used to eating, we are punished.

The Colonel said that the Military Police did not know anything about the merits of our cases; that MacArthur ordered that after action by the C.I.C, we be turned over to the Military Police; that they were given 48 hours by MacArthur within which to take us to Iwahig. This is probably the reason why we were shipped in a freighter where we were herded in a dark and hot hold like cattle. He added that the order is to hold us for the duration of the war.

Discussion ensued as to when the war with Japan, this being the war referred to by the Colonel, would last. The visiting Colonel asserted that it would take about eighteen months, whereas our Colonel here in the camp insists that the war would last only three months. Paredes said that with the way the American Army is fighting and with the bombing of Japan by super-fortresses, the war with Japan could not possibly last much longer.

Paredes and Gen. Francisco who also had a conference with the Colonel, got the impression that everything had been done in accordance with orders from Gen. MacArthur. In connection with our request for transfer to Manila, Paredes suggested that we could be confined in our respective homes, or in another place like the house or “hacienda” of Don Vicente Madrigal in Muntinglupa, or the house of Mr. Bayan in Quezon City. The Colonel took note of the suggestions of Paredes. Chief Yulo, after the report, again expressed his indignation and strongly criticized MacArthur.

A few days ago, all the members of the officer class were transferred to a part of one of the buildings. We are now separated from the enlisted class by a wall made of nipa. But we are in the same compound; we are now very crowded. However, there is no doubt that things have improved. The new administration seems to do everything for us. The Superintendent is Lt. Col. Gilfilan, while the assistant is Lt. Stanley F. Hogenberg, Jr. They are both very kind and considerate and take personal interest in us. The Lieutenant saw to it that we were provided with clothes and shoes. He gave us boxing gloves and other athletic equipment, and dominoes and other paraphernalia for our amusement. He provided instructions for the illiterate prisoners in the camp. Once he asked a young boy whether he went to church. He distributed Catholic books and sacred medals.

The enlisted class was required to work either in cleaning the premises or in preparing the new camp to which we will be transferred. This camp will not be finished until after three months. Sometimes men complain of the treatment accorded to them by the Captain in charge of the construction, compelling them to work even during a rain storm.

Don Vicente Madrigal receives newspapers which we read. Among the news is that Confesor was bitterly attacked in the floor of the House. Representative Borja of Iloilo said that if Confesor had not left for the mountains, he would have been killed for the many abuses he had committed, especially the taking of private property. Rep Rafols also hurled charges against Confesor. Both called him names. The language used must have been terrible as they were ordered stricken off the record. Confesor should resign or ask for an investigation. He should clear himself or leave the service. If the charges are true, his usefulness to the government is over since the people will lose their respect. A government with such officials will be crippled.

The other news is that there seems to be a strong movement to settle the dispute of Roxas and Osmeña for candidacy for President. It was reported that Osmeña may choose not to run if such sacrifice is necessary to effect unity. It is said that Osmeña had done it in the past and he will be willing to do it again. Roxas was expected to do the same. There was an editorial in which the withdrawal of either of them was advocated for the sake of unity. As a precedent, it cited the withdrawal of Rizal in favor of Del Pilar in Madrid; the elimination of Bonifacio and of General Luna; the conciliation of Quezon and Osmeña after the “Collectivitas-Unipersonalistas” fight and the Hare-Hawes-Cutting Bill fight. There was a suggestion for Osmeña to run for President and Roxas for Vice President. The fight seems to be inevitable, but efforts to settle matters should be continued to insure unity for the good of the country.

It is reported that Senators Sa Ramain and Rama had also been detained apparently for being collaborationists, but later released for the purpose of attaining a quorum during the Senate session. I do not know what Rama did; as regards sa Ramain, he had committed acts, such as signing the Constitution, for which others have been arrested and are now suffering imprisonment. Why the discrimination?

There are Senators-elect appointed during the Commonwealth Government who, under the Constitution, forfeited their right to a seat in the Senate for accepting other positions in the government. These are Domingo Imperial, who accepted the position of Justice, Court of Appeals; Roxas, who accepted the position of Colonel and afterwards became General in the Army; Sebastian, who accepted the position of Judge of the Court of First Instance; and Tirona, who accepted the position of Judge of the Court of Industrial Relations. If the four above are eliminated there can be no quorum in the present session of Congress. Already there are reports that the legality of the present Congress or the present session of Congress is being doubted. A lawyer has submitted a memorandum raising that question and Rep. Montejo of Leyte wants the question submitted for legal opinion. If the law is to be strictly adhered to, this question must be determined.

Rumor circulated that the Congress has passed a resolution requesting that we be turned over to the Commonwealth Government before July 15, 1945. An employee in the office of the Colonel happened to glance at a newspaper and he transmitted the news to a colonist, one Mr. Lopez, who came running to our quarters to tell us the news. We hope this will be confirmed. It means that our friends in Manila have not forsaken us. The general belief is that Congress must have some sort of understanding with Pres. Osmeña and Gen. MacArthur, and that after we have been turned over to the Commonwealth, we will be released. Discussion arose as to why the 15th of July was mentioned. One said that the purpose is to prevent us from sitting in the Senate since Congress adjourns on or about the, 15th of July. Another said that they want us to be out before the 15th to enable us precisely to attend the session. Chief Yulo doubts whether Gen. MacArthur would do anything. Furthermore, he opines we cannot be released during the duration of the war in view of the U.S. President’s order, and if MacArthur releases us or turns us over to the Commonwealth, it will have to be declared that a mistake in considering us collaborationist had been committed. MacArthur will not reverse himself or admit he was mistaken. Paredes thinks that the C.I.C. may declare us not guilty, in which case we can be released as we will not come under the presidential order.


May 31, 1945 Thursday

Today is a holy day of obligation, Corpus Christi, and we heard Mass.

Upon our arrival from church, there were rumors that more detainees from Manila were coming. At 11 o’clock, an amphibian truck arrived with 35 persons. I could recognize only two—Dr. Gualberto, the Mayor of Rosario, Batangas and Mr. Aurelio Alvero, a young leader. They informed us that thousands are being detained all over the Philippines and that many more will be brought here. I could not help but cry.

I know that those who left the country when the Japanese came or who fled to the mountains are undoubtedly patriots. I am not willing to brand them as cowards, renegades. They complied with their duty towards our country in their own way. I admire them. But we sincerely hope that they too would understand our situation. Not all of us could go abroad or live in the wild parts of our country, either for reasons of age or physical condition, or family. I know of countless persons now under suspicion and detention who were more than willing to leave and continue their patriotic activities either abroad or in the mountains. But what could they do” They could not leave their family behind—their wife and small children. They could not be thoughtless and cruel to their family. But know that deep in their hearts they felt sincere sympathy towards the Americans and true love for their country. Some found ways in which they could be of help to their country, without exposing their lives too much. Many of them were actually caught, tortured, and incarcerated, and some even killed by the Japanese. Many, although working for the government, never failed to do their bit for our country. As a matter of fact, we know positively that more than one half of our personnel were American sympathizers and guerrillas. We knew who they were. We took no action.

Let it be known that we here have never been traitors to our country and that all we did was done in the spirit of service to our people so that they may survive and so that our country may enjoy that for which we are ready to give our very life—her independence.

The newcomers came by airplane—better than the means of transportation given us. We were herded like cattle, loaded in a boat and crammed in a hold (bodega) with no water and very little ventilation.

I need not make a “Who’s Who” of the 35 newcomers. But I would like to say something about five of them. Dr. Gualberto was elected Mayor of Rosario many times. He was Mayor before and during the Japanese regime. When the Americans came he was asked to serve and did serve for 6 days. But the C.I.C. came, investigated him and later arrested him. He related that he was taken to the public plaza. A small section of the plaza was encircled with chicken wire and in the middle of the circle, he was made to sit on a wooden box. He sat there for two days. When he could not stand it any longer, he stood up and walked around. He was punished for that. He was taken to Manila and lodged in Bilibid Prison. His wife and family did not know where he was taken. It took them a month to find him. It is hard to believe that a man who had been chosen by the people so many times to head them was so disgraced and humiliated—exhibiting him like an animal in a public plaza.

Aurelio Alvero, is a master of the Tagalog language. He had been leader of the young people for many years. He organized various associations, one of which was called “Kalturap”. Later, when the Makapili was organized, it was generally believed that he was one of the organizers and one of the leaders of that society. He denies it vehemently. He believes that the impression was created by his association with Pio Duran who he greatly admires. According to Alvero, Duran was sincere and a man of conviction. He sought nothing for himself. He loved his country no less than the most patriotic Filipino. In fact he was admired by everybody who knew him intimately. He honestly believed that the course he had taken was the best means of helping our country. He was never pro-Japanese; as a matter of fact, he was thought to be pro-Chinese. The truth was that he is pro-his-country. He had nothing in his heart but the liberty and welfare of his country. For it, he was willing to sacrifice his life. Alvero continues about Duran: his last act was a great blunder and is regretted very deeply by his numerous friends. He was linked to Benigno Ramos, an ambitious man, wholly unprincipled whose sole aim was to be in power and amass wealth. Ramos organized an Army called the “Makapili” which, according to him would fight against the Americans. Many of them did fight. Duran joined Ramos as his assistant and one of the leaders of the organization. He is reported to be dead. We lost a patriot whose life had been dedicated entirely to the cause of his country.

Mr. Alvero alleges that he disagreed with Mr. Duran on the organization of the Makapili, so they parted ways. Duran continued with the Makapili and he organized a new one called the New Leaders Association. The organization had for its aims: to teach love of country; to propagate the national language; to keep peace and order; and to help the people in the procurement of food so that they may live and survive. Those purposes are indeed praiseworthy.

Col. Alfonso Torillo was a Major in the Philippine Constabulary when the war broke out. When the Constabulary was inducted into the USAFFE, he naturally became an officer of that Army. He was then stationed to Cavite as Provincial Commander. The Army ordered him to retreat to Bataan before the Japanese takeover. But his column was cut off and they had to remain in Cavite. Naturally, he disbanded his force, and like all other officers of the USAFFE, surrendered to the Japanese. The Japanese asked him to rejoin the Constabulary, and at that time refusal to obey was considered a hostile act and consequently meant detention at Fort Santiago. Torillo accepted. He was made Commander of the general service troops in Manila. When the Americans landed in Leyte, he lost no time in deserting the Constabulary and, together with the men in his troop in the USAFFE, joined the guerrillas. He and his men brought with them the weapons they were able to conceal from the Japanese. The guerrillas welcomed him and recognized him as one of them. He took part in various engagements, including that of Norzagaray.

But later, he was arrested by the C.I.C. and now he is here. He must have been the victim of the practice of the C.I.C. of arresting anybody against whom two affidavits have been received. He is now very bitter against the Americans.

In this connection, I notice that the C.I.C. is very slow in sizing up the situation. They do not seem to know that some persons are taking advantage of the situation to denounce and have their enemies arrested. Some make affidavits to cover up crimes they had committed by having possible witnesses imprisoned or even killed. Also, some detainees denounce persons, especially former officials and prominent persons, because they believe that the more important persons are detained, the better their chance of creating public reaction in their favor. They will then have a better chance of being released. The C.I.C. is blind enough not to see such diabolical plan.

Among the newcomers, there are two extremes in so far as age is concerned. One is very old and the other very young. The old man is almost 90 years old—87 to be exact. He has been charged with espionage. Is it possible that this feeble old man could still do some work of espionage? Well, I know that in this world anything is possible, but I think they should pardon him, whatever it is he has done. Let the few remaining years of his life be free from bitterness.

At the other extreme is a boy named Alfredo Camilon, only 14 years old. I was told that in Bilibid there is a 12-year old. Alfredo used to work in an airfield in Batangas together with hundreds of his townmates. According to his story, while walking home from the airfield with two gantas of rice, he was accosted by men who robbed him of his rice, and afterwards accused him of espionage. His father is a paralytic, and he had to be the breadwinner and therefore had never been to school. Could it be possible that this boy was a spy?

A funny, but at the same time tragic, incident occurred. On his first day in camp, Alfredo walked with us to the messhall. The American guard thought he was one of the local boys who sometimes are able to sneak in to mix with us or try to sell us something. He ordered the boy to get out. But then he was told that the boy was one of the detainees. The guard got very mad; he began damning his own countrymen. He said that he could not believe that Americans would do such an absurd and stupid thing.

We noticed that the guards are very eager to learn more about us. At the beginning, they took us for ordinary criminals and we were treated as such. There was one young guard who treated us very roughly. He ordered us around in a most haughty way, using rough and even indecent language. But he has changed. The guards must have found out who we are. They now seem to understand our situation and are as agreeable as possible. They try their best to make us comfortable; we can see that they fully sympathize with us. The officers complain that in spite of the ban, so many things are being brought in for the detainees. In order not to get our friends, the guards, in trouble, we do not tell them that the guards sneak the gifts in.

Sometimes the situation is reversed—they are the prisoners and we the guards. They become very melancholy and call on us to talk to them and cheer them up. They talk and dream of home and the loved ones they left behind. They are homesick. We try our best to help them forget, otherwise they get drunk to drown their sorrows.

Since the newcomers came, we have been with them constantly to get the latest news. They brought with them many newspapers and we have been reading them very thoroughly.

First I asked about Batangas from Dr. Gualberto. He said many towns have been almost completedly destroyed. Very little is left of Lipa, Bauan, Batangas, Lemery and other municipalities. First, the Americans shelled these cities and towns; afterwards, the Japanese burned everything before withdrawing. Thousands and thousands of my provincemates have died from bombings and shellings, and the guerrillas who killed indiscriminately. But the greatest number of casualties was massacred by the Japanese upon their retreat.

My relatives seem to be all safe. My uncle Vicente is alive. So are many of my friends. My cousin Rufo Noble is again the Mayor of my hometown, Taal. I was told that my cousin, Froilan Noble, who disappeared about a year ago, came back. He was arrested by the Japanese and taken to Mindoro. He was reported to have been killed by the Japanese or died from malaria, and we had already mourned him.

In Manila things are getting back to normal, but prices are going up because of shortages of supply. There is also the very serious menace of inflation. I regret that no importance is being attached to this phase of the problem. Rice is already costing a few hundred pesos a cavan. A newspaper article fears that it may go up to the same level as during the Japanese occupation. I worry about what is happening to my family.

The government is not running smoothly. The head, President Osmeña is away and those remaining are confused and lack leadership. The people do not respect them. The most important problems are left untackled.

Some of the newcomers are Ministers Emilio Tria Tirona and Arsenio Luz, Mayor Leon Guinto, Justice Jorge Bocobo. Many more arrive everyday. The American guards remarked that soon they themselves would not be able to enter the crowded prison.

* * * * *

Because of the Madrigal-Aguinaldo incident with Confesor, the Board of Directors of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce was reorganized and Gil Puyat was appointed President. It is a very good selection in my opinion. Puyat is the youngest leader in our business world. He is a successful merchant and when the College of Commerce of the University of the Philippines was reorganized, Puyat was asked to be the Dean of the Institution. His first step was to bring in outstanding or successful Filipino merchants as lecturers on certain phases of business. I was one of those prevailed upon to give lectures on merchandising as I learned it as Vice President of Marsman Trading Corporation. Teaching is not new to me as I began my career as a teacher and for many years I was a lecturer in Political Science in the University of the Philippines. So I would merely be resuming my former activity. The war prevented the carrying out of my new activity.

There is a growing tendency to encourage or create a division between Osmeña and Roxas. From all indications a fight may not be avoided. I am sure their many friends, like myself, would like to intervene to prevent such a thing from happening. Osmeña is now a very old man. He has been a leader or one of the two leaders of our country for generations. He had been our leader until he shared it with President Quezon. The first time I heard of him was in 1907 when I read an article written by an American praising him for the way he organized the new Philippine Assembly. All agree that he is honest and his love for his country is very intense.

Osmeña puts the welfare of his people above personal ambition. I remember that in 1922, his most ardent followers were very disappointed when he settled his differences with President Quezon on the Collectivista-Unipersonalista issue to prevent disunity among the people. In 1933-1934, he entered into an understanding with President Quezon after his defeat on the Hawes-Cutting Act. I was not certain whether the people were behind Mr. Quezon on that issue as the weighty reasons were on the other side. Furthermore, Osmeña was also backed by many young and upcoming leaders, like Speaker Roxas. But he knew what a separation and fight with President Quezon would mean—it would be most prejudicial to the welfare of the people and future plans to prepare our country for an independent life. He withdrew and left the leadership of President Quezon undisputed.

What a beautiful lesson this is for our people and future generations. Personal ambition, everything must be sacrificed for the good of the country. I wish every Filipino would be imbued with that spirit. We would then be a great people. Osmeña makes sacrifice a gospel and preaches it enthusiastically.

In the many elections I have run in, I was defeated only once—that was my second or third fight for Speakership against another great Filipino, Speaker Quintin Paredes. After his election, I made a public statement conceding it, praising him and offering my unconditional support. I stood by my word as I had never worked in the Assembly as hard as when Mr. Paredes was our leader. In a short time, we again had to face each other for Speakership Protempore. This time, I regained my former position. They say the Ilocanos are regionalistic. However, I received almost one-half of the votes from all the Ilocano provinces. A big banquet was tendered in my honor in front of the provincial building in Batangas. One of the speakers was President Osmeña. As usual, he preached unity for our country’s sake. Among other things, he cited my conduct after my defeat by Paredes. He spoke of it in glowing terms, considering it as an act which would foster unity and the stability our country. Osmeña is old now. Many believe that as a fitting recognition of his fruitful career in public service, he should be honored by electing him the first President of the Republic.

Manuel Roxas, a young man, has been in the public eye since 1919. He graduated from the University of the Philippines with honors. He was one of the topnotchers in the bar examination in 1914. He had a good start in life as he immediately went to work for one of our great jurists as private secretary. He was a good disciple, rising in stature in the legal profession. In 1919, his province claimed him by electing him provincial Governor of Capiz. But it soon became obvious that that place was too small—Manila was the field for him. He was elected Representative. His ability was not yet known in Manila at that time. Nobody thought of him for Speaker.

Of all the Collectivista Representatives, I happened to be the only one who was known nationwide. Many representatives talked to me; they wanted to honor me with the Speakership. I well knew that I was not prepared for the task; but then there was nobody else—none of us had any parliamentary experience. I agreed. The Unipersonalistas were composed of formidable debaters and parliamentarians, like Briones. We Collectivistas had the most number of members but we did not have a majority to put up a candidate for Speaker, unless we entered into a coalition with either the Unipersonalistas or with the Democratas. The composition then was about 33 Collectivistas, 28 Unipersonalistas and 22 Democratas.

One evening, President Quezon who was also President of the Senate, invited me out, and to my surprise he took me to Dreamland Cabaret in Cavite. After dancing a little, he talked to me thus:

“Tony, I understand you are a candidate for Speaker.”

“Yes,” I answered.

“Can you get elected?”

“Well, judging from the number of Collectivistas who talked to me, I have a majority.”

“But the Collectivistas do not constitute the majority.”

Here I remained silent because I did not want to tell him a plan that had been carefully laid out by his “enemies”.

Somehow or other it leaked out that the President wanted Roxas to be the Speaker. Plans were afoot to defeat Quezon’s wishes. They had conducted an investigation and found out that I could get a majority among the Collectivistas. A delegation of three Unipersonalistas, headed by Representative Briones came to see me to insist on my continuing my candidacy. They pledged 100 percent support of the Nacionalistas. On the other hand, the Democratas did not seem to favor my candidacy. However, they led me to believe that they would support me.

Returning to the cabaret conference, President Quezon stood up and said:

“Well, I congratulate you. You will be the Speaker. But I will not be President of the Senate.”

“Why, Mr. President?”

“You and I cannot be President and Speaker. We are both Tagalog, and to make it worst, we come from the same district. Unless I can enter into an understanding with Osmeña in the next election, we will be defeated.”

I instantly answered him: “Continue as President. We cannot afford to let you go. I withdraw.”

My friends were very disappointed. They charged me with cowardice and pessimism. I kept quiet. Roxas was elected after several days of deadlock, with the support of both wings of the Nacionalistas. The enemies of Quezon and Roxas, however, did not stop their intrigue against them. During the first days, we had sensational sessions. They always raised points of order to engage Roxas, and they were encouraged, by a third party—the Democratas. Whenever there was such a crisis I was asked to intervene. Many times I had to go around and talk to our friends, sometimes up to midnight, to save the Chair. Finally, Mr. Roxas was sent to America and I was elected Speaker Protempore. He remained there for many months. When he returned, he acquired enough reputation and prestige to ensure full recognition as a national leader. He was not only a brilliant orator, but he also had the courage to fight. He was ambitious and read extensively. In a very short time he mastered parliamentary rules. He could talk and debate on any question, including financial and economic. He had the personality that appealed to men and women—but especially to women who later became a decisive factor in the elections. He is highly patriotic, so when the clarion call of his country sounded, he hurriedly donned his uniform to fight. He is now one of our two outstanding leaders. His leadership is undisputed. He is bound to reach the summit.

Many Filipinos believe that our country will be able to regain the strength sapped by the war if Roxas and Osmeña work hand in hand in solving our serious problems. They wish that the people will allow Osmeña to close his long career of service to his country by honoring him with the Presidency. Roxas is young. He will still be around for many years. If there is any period in our history which requires understanding and unity, it is now. This is perhaps the most critical period in our history. Much of what we do now will bear upon the future prosperity of our country. We are praying for a united front. In this we sincerely offer our assistance, but not in the capacity of leaders but of followers.

Other news: the prices of commodities continue to go up. The necessary action should be taken now to avoid inflation.

The newcomers tell us of how they were insulted and villified at the beginning by our own countrymen—some even threatened to shoot them. In many cases, they did this in the presence of the Americans just to get their favor. Many of us still have a lot to learn—a strike against a countryman causes no more than a laugh and ridicule on the part of the foreigners who see us. Much need to be done along these lines.


May 22, 1945 Tuesday

Poetry seems to be contagious for today two poems were submitted, one by Minister Quintin Paredes and the other by Governor Sergio Aquino. Copies of each poem are attached hereto. Everybody was surprised about Don Quintin who was well known as a statesman and jurist, but nobody was aware of his talent to write poetry. Aquino was known as a poet. He evidently abandoned poetry to embrace the cause of our country and to serve our people. He became Fiscal and later Governor of Tarlac. His executive ability earned him a promotion to Governor of a district composed of the provinces of Pangasinan, Tarlac, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Zambales and Bataan. His poetry shows that he must have been a good poet.

We read in a local bulletin that Osmeña was coming home—back to the Philippines. Accompanying him were the members of two Committees—one composed of Senators and Representatives who are members of the Committees in the U.S. Congress having jurisdiction over the Philippines, including the Chairman of the Senate Committee, Senator Milliard Tydings; the other, a technical committee composed of military men (Army and Navy), and economists. The purpose for the visit of these Committees is not stated. But we fear that a survey will be made by both Committees which may later be used to justify the postponement of independence or the retention of the Philippines as a U.S. colony. Our only consolation is that before we left Manila at the end of April, we read a statement from Osmeña to the effect that independence is a settled issue; in other words, independence will come on July 4, 1946 or sooner. There was an insinuation that the date would be accelerated. But of course the Committee may report that the destruction of the Philippines is such that rehabilitation will constitute a serious problem, and that in order for America to help or to want to help, independence must be postponed. They may even report that it is the wish of the Filipino people to postpone independence.

Already it is rumored that there are agents of imperialism in the U.S. Army and Navy, in the C.I.C., who would attempt to influence us so that we ourselves would petition for the postponement or at least express sentiments in favor of such postponement. There are reasons to believe this rumor. It should be remembered that when we were in the headquarters of the Army operating around Baguio, Colonel Arsey, who seemed to be a member of the General Staff, asked us what we thought of independence. When we answered that we did not want it postponed, he seemed surprised and stated that he had talked to hundreds of Filipinos and 95% of them were for postponement. Similar questions I understand are being asked by some members of the C.I.C. This work of the Imperialists for retention is reported to have the backing of influential Filipinos, like Mr. Carlos Romulo.

Personally, I believe that the Filipino people will vote against retention. No amount of money and influence will swing them from their determination. If the vote in a plebiscite is adverse, fraud must have been exercised. But of course I may be wrong. It is feared that the Congress of the U.S. will revoke or modify the Tydings-McDuffie Act without consulting the Filipino people. We all understand of course that once independence is postponed we will never get our independence or at least its attainment would be attended by great difficulties. But I am sure of one thing: that until independence is actually attained, the agitation for it will never stop. Already Taruc and Alejandrino have organized their United Front, one of the purposes of which is to fight any person, group or party, whether Americans or Filipinos, who will want independence denied or postponed. As events are developing, there may be formed two parties in the Philippines with a clear cut issue on independence—one will be against and in favor of American domination, and the other in favor of immediate and absolute independence. The cleavage may cut along social lines: rich men who believe that only America could protect and preserve their wealth, will line up on one side; and those who sincerely believe that it is the destiny of all peoples to constitute themselves into independent nations, and those who believe that the Philippines by right should be free and independent, will line up on the opposite side. Those against independence may win in the first elections. But each defeat will only encourage those for independence to work harder, and in the long run they will win for their cause is just, right and patriotic. The retentionists will meet the same fate as the “Federal” and “Progressive” parties in the Philippines. The cause of Philippine independence will triumph in the end.

Such a fight will of course be prejudicial and injurious to the Philippines and the Filipinos. We have to admit that there was stagnation in the economic development of our country, due not only to the economic policies of America which favored only the Americans, but also to the fact that the Filipino leaders devoted their whole time to the political issue of independence, thus neglecting to prepare a comprehensive economic program for the development of the Philippines.

The American committees, however, may not consider any political issue. As the Philippines has shown loyalty to America and the Filipinos have not only sacrificed their homes and property but even their lives side by side with the U.S. forces, America may wish to help in the rehabilitation of the Philippines. The Committees may want to have first hand knowledge of the economic problems in order that they may be in a better position to assist the Philippines. In that case, we should be very thankful and very grateful.

My conversations within the compound have not been limited to the so-called big shots. I have also talked to the lowliest of us here in the colony. Some of them cannot even read nor write. I came across three men—Catalino Capasi, Almadover and Caramay—who all hail from the town of Sta. Rosa, Laguna, where I have many friends. They said that they were arrested, charged with being “Sakdal” or “Kapili”. They swore that they had never joined any of these organizations. One of them, Caramay, says that he was a “cochero” (rig driver), and it is possible that Sakdals and Kapilis had used his vehicle. They said that Sakdals and the Kapilis left with the Japanese. But one common feature during their interrogation was that they were compelled by the Americans to admit their guilt. They were beaten up by their American interrogators, slapped and boxed whenever they denied their guilt. At first, I just could not believe it. But they insisted that they were telling the truth and I am now inclined to believe them. But they also know of many cases where the arrested or suspected persons were threatened with bodily harm, but no actual force was used; where they were promised release or immunity if they would admit their guilt or sign affidavits against other persons. In other words, all means short of the use of force were employed in order to obtain a confession or admission on the part of the arrested person. Governors Aquino and Urquico told us that no such cases were reported to them. As a matter of fact, they were glad that they fell into the hands of the Americans because other suspects who were taken by the guerrillas—a good many of them—were put to death. According to the two Governors, a woman was burnt to death in the public plaza. I am just wondering whether cruelty is an Oriental trait. The Japanese have shown themselves to be unnecessarily cruel. The Chinese are also known for their cruelty. Are we Filipinos the same?

Although receiving gifts from the outside is prohibited unless the gifts go through the office, they continue to come. Gifts of food are not given to the addressee but divided among all of us. Many donors are anonymous. A Mr. V. Macasaet has sent me many things but I do not remember him nor do I know why he gives me anything. Do we really need the protective custody?

We were given a ration of shoes and clothing which are all second hand, having already been used by the American soldiers. With the exception of the shoes and underwear, we do not wear them. It is because they are all marked “X”. Why they are thus marked we do not know. The “X” probably serves to indicate that the articles now belong to the prisoners. We are not required to wear them. So, I have been wearing the clothes donated by charitable persons.

We try to make our lives less monotonous if possible. We want to forget our situation so that we would not be worrying too much and we would not continue expressing our indignation. Chief Justice Yulo does not seem to be able to do this. Instead of gaining like the rest of us, he is the only one who has lost weight. How do we pass the time then? We wake up early and immediately prepare for the outdoor group calisthenics. This lasts from ten to twenty minutes, and is obligatory. The exercises are quite scientifically prepared, involving all parts of the body. It is amusing to see overweight people, like Mr. Madrigal, perform the difficult movements in our exercises. After exercises, we proceed to the mess hall for breakfast. After breakfast, those of us detailed for the day’s work, clean the compound. When not on duty, I spend my time reading and writing. At noon, after lunch, we take a little nap. Afterwards, we either play a little poker or I continue reading and writing. Suppertime is early—as early as five o’clock. After supper we engage in personal conversations.

The most interesting part of the day is after 8 o’clock in the evening. A musical program is staged every night. We certainly have elements for the program. One of them, a Mr. Sotto, son of Don Vicente Sotto, is a very good singer. There are many other good singers. Then there is dancing choreographed by Dr. Hilario C. Moncado. The program is very amusing and we enjoy ourselves very much. Some of the American guards—the good ones, especially one by the name of Johnny—also take part in the program. A half past nine, the program ends and we then go to bed. I never forget to pray before going to bed. I pray to God to give health and comfort to my family. I pray for the salvation of our people.

We never miss hearing Mass on Sundays.


May 13, 1945 Sunday

Heard Mass.

Something should be said about the people living in the island outside the penal colony. Up to today, nobody has ever sneered at us. We have not heard any provocative remarks. On the contrary, we could read in their eyes that they fully sympathize with us. They communicated this sympathy, not only by oral expression, but by deeds. They shower us with donations of clothes and gifts of food. I brought no clothes as I lost them all when we moved from Baguio to Tubao. I was given many to make me comfortable. I have more food than I can eat; food I had not tasted for many months—fried chicken, adobo, fish, etc. Instead of indignation, we observed nothing but sympathy and approval. Certainly, men who had been traitors to their country or who had betrayed their people do not deserve such treatment.

Among our good friends are Dr. Dimayuga, Dr. Bunye, Col. Barros, one Mr. V. Macasaet, and many others who did not even want their names known.

The strict treatment continues. I fear that the attitude of the Filipinos towards America will change. The Americans were awaited with great anticipation. They were welcomed as true friends, as liberators, and as heroes. They were the legion of democracy and the Philippines will after the war enjoy a long era of prosperity and happiness due to the benevolence and liberality of the Americans. Let us see what will be the final attitude of the Filipino people.

Today I overheard a conversation among the men who had come from Bilibid where they had been detained since their arrest. They said that hundreds are already there and every day many more are coming. It appears that the C.I.C. requested each of them to make written statements naming persons who collaborated with the Japanese or who had committed murder, robbery or any serious act. Almost everybody complied. The statements contained names of many who really served the Japanese as spies or military police, but they also named many innocent persons. Those who had any kind of grudge against another included the name in his list. Generally, those mentioned are arrested and this explains the overflowing of prisons and concentration camps. It is reported that there was one who submitted practically the whole roster of high officials in the government so that they too would be arrested. His motive was to fill the prisons with influential persons so that they could constitute a good nucleus which could influence politics to work in favor of the prisoners.

In this connection, something should be said of the Counter Intelligence Corps (C.I.C.). Most of them are undoubtedly intelligent, qualified, and very sympathetic to the Filipinos. There are others who abuse their authority, and others whose procedures are objectionable. They would visit the prospective prisoners, and be as kind and friendly to them as they could be. The prisoners are allowed to go home and circulate very freely. Once full confidence is attained, the C.I.C. man would ask the prospective prisoners to make a full statement of their cases and to name persons who are really guilty. Believing that they could thus exonerate themselves, and at times as a spontaneous demonstration of cooperation brought about by such good treatment, they would “confess” everything. Later, however, they are arrested generally by C.I.C. men other than the men who first approached them. These are from stories of Govs. Aquino and Urquico and others who came from Bilibid. Because of this information, many of us now doubt the sincerity of Mr. Stanford. As I stated above, he was very kind. He even criticized President Roosevelt and many C.I.C. men. He distinctly and repeatedly told us that he fully sympathized with us and even believed that we should not have been molested.

Gov. Urquico is very bitter towards Americans. Like Recto, he also attributed our bad treatment to racial prejudice. I attach special importance to this because he is married to an American with whom he has many children. As far as I know they have been very happy.