February 8, 1970, Sunday

08Feb1970

PAGE 72

Office of the President

of the Philippines

Malacañang

February 8, 1970

Sunday

11:15 PM

I have sworn in the new cabinet members during my speech before the Constitutional Convention members during the cocktail for them at 5:00 PM at the reception hall except for the new Executive Secretary, Alex Melchor whom I swore in the evening at 7:10 when Iñing Lopez and Nanding, Heny Lopez and the Chronicle and ABS-CBN staff came to have dinner with us.

Iñing was very touchy, even arrogant, Heny was non-committal and IP Soliongco kept reapeating that nothing would be the same again and that we would have to listen to the voice of the students as this was the voice of the people.

I kept repeating to Ernie Granada that he should not push me to Byroade and the Americans.

It is my feeling that the Lopezes are going to do their best to undermine against us.

Met with Tony Pastalero brought by Angel Concepcion, former secretary of Sen. Camilo Osias, as well as Fernando (Gerry) Barican this noon for lunch with the first and the latter at 4:00 PM. They both promised to stop the talk about my resignation after I convinced them that if I were not around the military would take over. This is apparently feared by everyone including them.

Barican today has warned of a take over by the Jesuit-Fascist-CIA combine.

We really should warn our people of this. But today I met also with the Jesuit novices who want to be strengthened by my granting their demands (of the NUSP). I agreed to this to widen the split between them (the moderates) and the radicals.


June 24th, 1946

Fiesta of San Juan today—a lot of people must be getting doused up today crossing San Juan bridge, and perhaps even Mandaluyong.

At breakfast Osias reported he had talked guards into not changing the rules about bathing and shaving. We had never asked for present schedule he said, but does not see any reason for changing it either.

Laurel after dinner yesterday tried to give me two cartons of cigarettes, saying he had plenty—told him I did not need any more myself, but took one carton of Philip Morris so he took the other carton to Osias, Camels. I prefer Morris, because of it’s milder and sweeter taste.

Just finished another haircut—barber came early they did pretty good piece of work—gave two and one as usual.

Hardly any news from or about the Philippines these days. “Nippon Times” today carries two items but both of Americans going to Phil. Congressional Representatives at Independence Inauguration and McNutt’s Senate confirmation as first American Ambassador to the Philippines, He takes the Opposite number to Murata in the days of the invasion. Well, Manila is already used to having ambassador, so that wouldn’t be very much of a novelty any more. McNutt would probably be.making suggestions to Roxas too, not the least important being U.S. attitude towards allegedly former collaborators. Another interesting piece of Filipino, not Philippines news,
is in Sport column of Burley Harris about Costello winning a boxing bout and Joe Eagle giving an exhibition tilt with another old timer. Both at Kurakwen, Joe must be making plenty of dough these days with his Dai Ichi Taiku Club fights. Wish I could find out really how the Filipino boys in Japan are getting along. Have not heard again for some time from Gavino—perhaps my last letter to him has not yet been delivered and that was in early May yet.

It is getting awfully hot. Temperature last Friday was reported as highest June temperature in Tokyo during last 72 years—34.1 degree cent—93.7 Fahrenheit. ‘It gets hotter than this in Manila but not so sticky as here. Even now as I write my elbows get stick in to the top of table-—One perspires and the humidity turns perspiration with some sort of glue.

Was asked again this morning whether I want cigarettes. Answered yes I gave Steinmetz Y20—-promised to let me have Y2 change later Y9 a carton—-cigarettes came just after afternoon exercise-—2 cartons of chesterfields. Must look for somebody who had Philip to spare for exchange—Guard also called little while afterwards to give the two yen change. He hollered through the door hole “Mr. Vargas” while I was writing this.

_During afternoon exercise compadre Aquino said if he were in Phil. he would outliberal the liberal Party of Roxas by jumping over the fence to the radical side way over to the left to organize some kind of socialist democratic Party. We will see what happens when we actually get home——He may outstrip the communists yet at that. He is always so impulsive.

Grass detail again at 6 pm. It was pleasant with a cool breeze lowing from the southeast—We have cleaned practically the whole place surrounding the Blue Area now. Hereafter gras pulling will be much simpler, less exacting, not that anybody works to fatigue—Osias did not come out and when Steinmetz wondered why told him Osias must have something terrible In his head which he must want to put down on paper in a hurry. True enough when we came back I peeped through his small mesh door and he was stripped down to the waist furiously writing. Went to bed after reading till about ten pm. Didn’t seem to be any more mosquitoes around.


June 23rd, 1946

Got up earlier than usual today being Sunday so I could get out from trunk my Sunday clothes before beginning to sweep and mop the floor—Also to dust and wipe shoes ahead. At church this morning Father Scott said where he comes from they do not preach any sermon when it begins to get very hot in summer, as nobody wants to preach in the sweltering temperature, so beginning this Sunday he would bring pamphlet for each that we can read at our leisure instead of his preaching so that we may not have to stay too long in “this hot room.” He didn’t realize our smaller rooms specially the single cells are much warmer. First pamphlet distributed today is entitled “Christ and His Church. These Two are One” by Daniel A. Lord, S.J., Institute of Social Order 3742 West Pine Blvd., St. Louis 8, Mo. After catholic mass we remained for usual protestant service so called Osias instead of giving the prayer asked the congregation to read the Prayer of Repentance in the Army Service Manual. The scripture responsive reading was on Fear of the Lord, and the gospel selected was again on repentance—All these apparently slyly for the benefit of the un-repentant Nazis in the crowd. I think anyway that Osias had something like that in mind. BaMaw was the Speaker. His subject—“The Western is standing on its head.” He described the western christian man as egocentric creating his own God in his own image his ultimate being his personal God, his personal self. Man himself and his personal happiness man’s pleasure or happiness. Buddha he said 2500 years ago, just reversed that and instead preached the ultimate as Being cosmic process or cosmic power the law being or becoming of thing or of being and suffering being the sublimation of living, the pursuit of death through suffering that others may live. Said he cannot reconcile the Christian concept of a God who being all powerful and can correct lots of injustice and suffering go unrelieved or un punished. Said Freud and others cracked the idea of a soul—it is the fact of suffering as part of being that is the essence of Buddhism. Told him after the service that his speech which was well delivered in correct and elegant Oxford English was good, but nobody has yet cracked my soul, so everything is still alright.

Before start of catholic mass Father Scott asked me what news we had. Told him none. He then said he had read in yesterday’s paper—-presumably Stars and Stripes—That Ickes, the former secretary of the Interior had lambasted Roxas, saying Roxas in the uniform of brigadier-general had signed documents that were treasonable against the U.S.—Said also Roxas should now vigorously prosecute all collaborationists that had been indicted. Somewhat contradictory as inconsistent— if Roxas were a collaborationist how could he prosecute the other collaborationists? It is fortunate for Roxas, for the Philippines and for us that Ickes is out of Govt. of US. and has no longer any official connection with Philippine affairs.

After mass gave Father Scott an envelope containing Y30 together with Kyo Bun Kwan ask with request he please send in it to continue my subscription to “Time” magazine after ten more weeks after its expiration sometime this coming July. If I am not here any more, what’s thirty yen for the price?

At lunch I kidded both Osias and BaMaw that between the two of them they had today conspired to make it uncomfortable for the Germans—Osias with his prayers and hymns on Repentance and BaMaw on his cracking of the soul by citing mostly German authors and philosophers to prove it. They both hugely enjoyed the exposure and said they thought they had both done it very skillfully without anybody noticing it. Osias said it was like being caught by your wife! Guilty conscience? Have decided to give BaMaw a cigar for his part in today’s fun. Such a life.

Ikeshimo’s statement before the International War Crlmes Tribunal that everything that was broadcast from Radio Tokio during the war as propaganda ordered by the Jap. military should be of value to me in defense of speeches and broadcast as ambassador in case of my own trial I must keep the clipping on it from Nippon Times of June 21st, ’46 just in case. My counsel might find it useful in support of explanation of circumstances under which we were made to speak and broadcast While in Tokyo during the Jap. occupation of the Philippines.

Movies today. Started with newsreel showing ceremonies of putting on the hat on Cardinals Kemp and Spielman, 2 American cardinals by Pope in Rome recently—Main picture, however, was repetition of Vacation from Marriage which we had already seen some time before. However as situs is England and accent is very English decided to stay for it too to try to understand what they are saying. Aquino and Oslas preferred to remain in their respective rooms, and Osias took advantage of chance to talk to Sgt. and guards about Nazis, their clannishness, then trying to hog all magazines and books to themselves first and unfairness of changing rules about bathing and shaving. It seems he succeeded as guards promised there would be no change.

Read “Time” of June 10th before going to bed at 7 pm.


June 22nd, 1946

Was called late this morning for shaving. For a time thought I had written too soon to Nena about manong to shave everyday thinking they might skip it this time. Unable to hold my curiosity I push the guard calling number, and one of them Came to explain that upon complaint of some damn Nazi they had decided to call us for shaving and bath one day from the top of the list down the next from the bottom upwards alternating that way was claimed more fair to everybody concerned. Didn’t want to dispute fairness to new arrangements—I am on top of the list but told guard it had always been that way from the beginning. He sort of sympathized with me and will start Nazi’s again for tomorrow for shaving so that Filipinos may start bath first day after tomorrow. We only are allowed to bathe Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Maybe the Nazi’s are already contaminating even the GI
guards.

Thursday afternoon when I came back from dinner, Toto’s, Nena’s picture had been blown away from its place on the wall and no amount of search could locate it anywhere in my room. I asked guards to see whether they could find it downstairs—-it must have been blown away out of the window during dinner time when door was open and strong wind was coming through door. Two of them went looking for it but could not find it. We decided it must have fallen on the ledge just outside my windows, but as these are barred we couldn’t see enough of the ledge from my window. Yesterday I asked both Tom and Harold the guards then to help look. They went up on the roof of the building and was able to see the picture——but as he had no ladder to fetch it tried an experiment which worked wonderfully———We dropped a pebble on the picture hit on an edge which made it jump off the ledge to the ground and afterwards retrieved it and gave it to me. He was just as happy his idea worked as I was to get my picture back. It is again on the wall this time more strongly glued, but not enough to spoil it when time comes to take it away for home.

They gave me “Time” of June 10th at 9:30 this am. Pretty early this time, though magazine had been ripped Open by the  ensors—Had to glue cover page together—-Nothing about the Philippines—no story about Roxas inauguration.

Showed Nena letter to Ossie on my way to shave. Returned it to me at beginning of morning exercise-—said it was best letter home written so far——It will make Nena immensely happy-—Said he wants to meet her as soon as we get back——said he could visualize how she and brothers and sisters would enjoy reading it——also her mother——Said Nena would cry over it—said you must have enjoyed writing it. There are two things there though Nena will (illegible) you about; (illegible) With the parenthetical insertion of “marital filial and the only one wife explanation.” Well I said that’s true anyhow. Asked Osias whether I should let Aquino see it also—Answered Yes by all means—Reference to Aquino does both families honor, so why not? Aquino also read letter-—said that’s the kind of letter I like to write to my own daughters—but probably our compadre Laurel would not appreciate the humor involved —would think it too frivolous contrary to set of monastic relationship he has with members of his family. As a result he has had the marriages of his boys so far and they were all escapades or elopements in fear of parental disapproval or opposition. Even the son here has already expressed some concern about the way his sisters are being brought up or are growing. Aquino said moreover letter would make Nena very happy—added however now Marylou for instance would also want to be written to. I said precisely left open chance to write to other girls by announcing with sufficient provocation will write to others too. Aquino likes Marylou best of all the girls after listening to her play the piano one time. He calls “mi morenita.”

Quite unexpectedly they called us out grass detail at around six pm. After I had already put off my shoes though was still dressed with socks on and was taking my after dinner exercise. Outside Steinmetz the guard made a little speech about the doctor wanting the grass pulled out and asking us whether we would like to continue with the work, but that if we did we must show a little action so that when the doctor comes around to inspect something had been accomplished. Otherwise they would put some other people on It. We all  answered we had no objection to carrying on and proceeded to pull grass in count. In less than half an hour we cleaned an area larger than what we had done two days in succession previously—the guards were happy—even Kindermann and Shimizu the laziest in the crowd did some grass pulling more consistently for the first time.

On way out to dinner gave compadre Benigno “Time” of June 10th as he said he could finish it during the night and I intended to sleep early today—as matter of fact went to bed before 7 pm.


June 21st, 1946

June 21st

Started early in the morning to put letter to Nena in shape. Had made so many corrections and insertions of thoughts that came to me in the middle of the night that had to write all over again. In a way it is good as in this manner I retain a copy of the letter for file in case the original does not any reason go through or we are repatriated to the Philippines before the censored mail gets there. Did not go out for morning exercise for this purpose but kept on finishing and polishing the letter——must be careful not to appear to take things too lightly nor yet to give impression of too much sophistication. Moreover must consider mother’s feelings in the matter as she and other children will undoubtedly read the letter too. Finished the letter, 8 pages just in time for deadline before exercise at 3 in the afternoon. Do not intend to let anybody here read or know about it, except perhaps Ossie for possible critical review.

At afternoon exercise Ossie and I went for some violent sitting up calisthenics, and afterwards I tried old time tricks on a tree on the yard, pulling up pushing body down, flagging –almost sprained my clavicle muscles— pain all day and slight all night. Osias started to sing “The Old Gray Mare she ain’t what she used to be, many many years ago.” However perhaps with continued practice the muscle will limber up again. At any rate the bending exercise with feet up I do in bed arising I can do much easier now with a more acute and than when I started some time ago. Must not permit the pound to cross the Rubicon.

Sent Nena a clipping for Pepito Abad Santos about Kawakami’s suicide. Suppose however they know about that too in Manila. One of the press services may have sent it over.

No grass pulling again. Probably no more hereafter as yesterday we saw Japs pulling the grass in the areas we were cleaning last week. Serves us right for not doing the job properly——most of the Nazi’s just go out to sit and talk among themselves or to the Nazi girl prisoner or even to Rose.

Went to bed early because of fatigue from whole day writing and violent exercise in pm. Was asleep already at 7. Woke up during middle of the night—the wind had changed direction and was blowing into my room with spattering rain. Had to get up to close the windows so that rain would not get in to wet my desk and trunk. Also mosquito bothered still in spite of another spraying in the morning. Had to splash around with small towel now and then during the night.


June 19th, 1946

Rizal Day! Also Toto’s second wedding anniversary. We drunk our coffee to Rizal’s memory at breakfast this morning —- all five of us. But most of the conversation centered around Nena’s letter still with comments on the pictures she sent of the “mga apos,” as she calls them. Both Osias & Laurel Jr. were struck by Baby June’s commanding forehead — they said watch out for that fellow he looks. very intelligent, he will bear following when he begins going to school — he is bound to be somebody. Aquino thought June’s Junior brother was a girl who looked very much like his own, by the pictures at least. Laurel Jr. thought Nena’s Eddie was a very quiet sort of kid — yes I said & he looks very much like the Locsin’s perhaps the Vargas trace will appear later on as he gets older. Jr. also said Toto’s wife was very good looking & their baby looked very healthy and very much like her mother.

There was some confusion at the bath. Our #1 bathroom was said to be leaking, so I was asked to go take my bath in another room. I went to #3 where Osias usually takes his, the two Laurels always are together in #2. Osias & Aquino had not yet been called out, so that when later on they came Osias insisted on taking his bath in #1 saying he would guarantee not to spill the water on the floor & was taken up on his word. Aquino came to where I was—I had already finished bathing & was ready for my shave. Aquino usually takes his bath ahead of me as he does not immerse himself in the tub, but I do, so that when he came there still some soap in the water although I had taken good care to fill the tub up & let the water spill over so as to push off the floating soap suds that invariably wash off one’s body no matter how much he rinses himself before getting into the tub.

Nine-thirty & still no inspection in my room. Had been cleaning HIE since five-thirty in the morning, having taken down even the handbag that is on the roof of the W.C. & cleared off the dust — Also took out one of my tennis shoes for exercise in the afternoon which Osias & I do together these days —mostly bending & sitting up exercise to reduce the bulge on Osias girth and to try to arrest the growing pounds on mine. Probably they just told us there would be daily inspection so that everybody would start cleaning his cell.

The lieutenant himself finally came around at 9:45 said he was just looking around — dropped on me while I was looking at the snap shots that came with Nena’s letter. The lieut. looked at them too — Said “She is a very good looking girl —~ is he your son in-low?” referring to Toto. When I told him No, the girl is my daughter-in-law, the boy my son he remarked “Your son has very good taste.”

In casual conversation with Aquino at lunch I learned he referred to Toto‘s daughter, the picture where she is alone standing on a chair that reminded him of his own youngest.

Raining today — pair of morning exercise & all of afternoon indoors — While out, Pete said to go back to the rooms to fix up as there were visitors coming, true enough while we were at movies, a group of what looked like Chinese were inspecting. They passed by the messhall as the picture finished & we were beginning to file out, “Scarlet Street” with Joon Bermut. Story of a faithful elderly cashier — with a hen-pecking wife falling in love with a gold-digger in love with a young man. Ends up in the old man killing the girl when he surprises her talking in telephone with her young lover —old man runs away & police & others find the young man in the room with dead girl — He is tried & convicted of murder, is electrocuted but old man later become insane with remorse seeing visions of her & goes on the bum waiting to be tried & executed for two murders but nobody would believe him, even the police. Picture end with old man being shoved off a public park & still wandering around with his guilty conscience gripping him. I wonder who the visitors were? They must have been rather important or perhaps only part of American propaganda for their supposed humane treatment of prisoners — If only people knew that the Americans are holding us here for months without so much as an investigation, much less a trial.

Were taken out to pull grass, but only for a short time as it started to drizzle a bit & the guards did not want to stay out in the rain. Came back to the rooms before or about six and started to paste up on the wall between the windows in front of my desk pictures of Baby Jr. and his kid brother. Nena’s Eddie and Mameng’s Nena. Afterwards made an experiment which didn’t work out at all—-put some water into the little can of glue which was fast coagulating, stirred it up thoroughly and heated the bottom of the can but the glue and the water wouldn’t mix, the glue became too thin and not sticky at all so when Pete came in to bring Aquino’s reconstructed shirt from the girls asked him for some new glue and he promised to give a little after I had cleaned the can again of its miry contents.

Read until about nine-thirty. Before going to bed tried out the Japanese mosquito incense, but found it difficult to light the winding stick and keep it burning and smoking. So the night was full of mosquitoes again as usual. Wonder when they will bring in the mesh screens for my windows!

At morning exercise had a long talk with BaMaw about our conversation back in Oct. ’44 when he told me Marshall Sugiyama had told him Filipinos were not cooperating with Jap Army. Were on the contrary ferociously fighting back and helping the Americans, too many guerillas, and that we should be careful or expect some very bitter experience. This I told BaMaw was the constant background of all my speeches –had to make Jap feel, at least the civilians as the Army top level knew too much of what was going on, a certain sense of security, although a false one, I knew all the time, but to save the Embassy people first from any popular anti-Filipino reactions and try to help the people at home survive better. Asked him whether it would be possible for him to come to Manila to testify at my trial, if there was going to be any, although I rather think now the whole collaboration issue may be allowed to die a natural death eventually, I would arrange for his transportation back and forth and would be my guest in Manila if he came. Said he would be glad to consider as circumstances may command at the time.


April 25th, 1946

Early today rec’d April 8th number of “Time.” While going down to breakfast heard that Stahmer had been put in solitary confinement. Seen him later at his usual seat at table, however, but by morning exercise time he was gone supposedly taken out to be sent to Germany either to testify in the Nuremberg trials or to be tried himself.

First news we got thru Laurel Jr. hearing kitchen radio was this am. at exercise time to the effect that Roxas was winning in the early returns which we supposed must be Manila and neighboring provinces five to two. This buoyed everybody up, specially Laurel who had been very low these days. My analysis of reported resuts— (1) that all those who in some way or another had served during Jap occupation, and that included practically every Commonwealth Govt. official of any consequence, both political, administrative, judicial and economic—started to work for Roxas only after lapse of deadline for filing of cases in People’s Court. (2) That all those who in one way or another are personally or politically identified with or sympathetic to us who served the people during enemy occupation, Laurel, Aquino, Osias, Yulo, Recto, Alunan, Paredes, myself, everybody all worked tremendously hard after cases were filed against us, on assumption that Roxas’ record being more or less identified with or similar to ours, his success would result in better understanding or appreciation of our cases or the whole collaborationist issue, for which Roxas was attacked by Osmeña supporters; (3) that people felt Roxas was Quezon man being supported openly by Doña Aurora and thru Morato; (4) the guerilleros really had more confidence in Roxas, was more identified with him than with Osmefia; and (5) that all thinking and responsible elements in Phil. must have condemned Osmeña’s unholy alliance with the dissident groups of Hukbalahaps and others. We all hope the final result will be considered a popular vindication of our course of action during dark days of enemy occupation. This means, the Confesors and the Cabilis who claimed monopoly of patriotism have been kicked in the ass by the majority of the people themselves.

Stahmer was back after lunch——apparently bad weather——He may have to stay longer like the Chinese until somebody in the army remembers to give another order. It seems army authorities are at loggerhead as to what to do with him. One party says he is needed in Nuremberg as witness, another party says he is needed here for trial. It’s a toss-up just like most everything in MacA’s head these days.

Afraid had allowed my enthusiasm run away with myself. Read that dispatch about first returns and it merely says from early returns from five precincts, Roxas was leading 5 to 2 —Five precincts! They don’t mean anything in Phil. presidential elections. He may yet win by reason of being already in power and used at least his people, and not quite a few electoral tricks. Anyhow hope we will soon be back.

Rained all day —exercise both am. and pm. inside.


December 24, 1945

Xmas service in mess hall at 3 p.m. Germans sang Xmas carol in Deutsch -Chinese sang New National Anthem in Chinese- We sang Filipino National Hymn in Spanish, but only Osias knew the words.


September 5, 1945, Wednesday

We seem to have been forgotten, not only by the Americans but also by our own government, and even by our most intimate friends. Is Osmeña decided not to help us? With so many planes and other means of transportation, is it not possible to ship us to Manila? Why was it that when we were brought here, they found a freighter? Why cannot the Mactan which is cruising the southern waters pass by Puerto Princesa. Where are our friends?

The United Charter was ratified by our Senate. Out of the present membership, 15 voted for approval. This is illegal as the Constitution requires 2/3 votes, or 16 votes. Such an important humanitarian document should not start its life in the Philippines with a violation of our fundamental law.

We do not know whether any discussion of the Charter took place. If I were there, I would ask clarification of the provision on independent peoples. I would ask whether it is applicable to the Philippines. I would want to know whether the ultimate independence of now dependent countries is guaranteed. Unless satisfactorily answered, I would propose a reservation; at least I would put on record the following: (1) that the Philippines should not be among those affected by this provision as we are not a dependent people like those in English colonies, and our eternal craving is independence for our country; (2) that since the purpose is to avoid war or at least remove its causes, no people should be continued as dependent. They should ultimately enjoy the God-given right to all peoples under the sun — the right to independence.

* * * * *

As I said before, when I have the time, I will write all that we talked about in the last two meetings. Meanwhile, I would like to make of record the following facts brought out:

Our first connection with the Japanese began this way. About the time the Japanese entered Manila on January 2, 1942, some Japanese came to see Don Quintin Paredes. They wanted to know his opinion on the organization of an administration. Paredes was taken to the office of General Maeda, Chief of Staff of the Japanese Army who, not in very clear terms, asked Paredes to organize or cooperate in the organization of some form of administration. Summarizing what they talked about, Paredes reported that the General wanted him to organize or cooperate in the organization of a body which shall take care of certain activities like building of roads and bridges, planting and harvesting crops, keeping peace and order, and making people return to their homes. Paredes told the General that he could not speak for all the Filipino officials.

The next day, Paredes went to see Yulo to confer with him about the matter. Yulo thought the matter was a very serious one and immediately consulted Chief Justice Ramon Avanceña, the grand old man, whose patriotism had already been shown by words and deeds. Meanwhile, Vargas, the man left by the President in charge of the government in the Philippines and who as Acting Mayor surrendered Greater Manila, was in continuous communication with the Japanese officials. Jose P. Laurel had also been visited by some Japanese including General Mayashi, whom he had known in Japan. Benigno Aquino and Claro M. Recto were also contacted by Japanese officers and civilians, and later also had conferences with General Maeda. They went to see Mr. Yulo, where it was decided that a meeting be called with all the members of the Cabinet of Pres. Quezon, the Senators-elect, some Representatives-elect, the heads of political parties, representatives of the press and elder statesmen. As a senator-elect, I was one of those called.

I have already given an account of what happened in the meetings in the house of Speaker Yulo. I will make a resume of the causes of our acceptance.

1. Maltreatment of Filipinos and atrocities committed by the Japanese were an everyday occurence all over Manila.

Everyone who came to the meetings brought fresh news of abuses and atrocities committed by the Japanese, both military and civilian. Don Ramon Fernandez, a most respected citizen, was slapped. In many parts of Manila, men were tied to electric posts, brutally beaten up and left exposed to the sun. I cannot forget the men I saw on the corner of Azcarraga St. and Rizal Avenue who were left to die. Arrests were very common and many of those arrested did not return; those who came back reported horrifying experiences. Properties, especially houses and automobiles, all kinds of foodstuffs were confiscated.

During those early days of Japanese occupation, news were constantly coming from the provinces of atrocities committed.

2. There was no doubt that unless we accepted, the Japanese would have governed directly or through Gen. Artemio Ricarte or Benigno Ramos. These two men were openly supporting Japan and undoubtedly would obey and implement whatever the Japanese wanted.

Ricarte had some strange ideas. When the slapping of men and women was brought to his attention, he said it was all right; our people need it; we have been wrongly educated by the Americans. (“Mabuti nga po. Kinakailangan ng ating mga kababayan. Masama ang itinuro sa kanila ng mga Americano.”) He also later advocated a resolution against the Americans and a formal outright declaration of war against America and Great Britain.

3. Acceptance would be in accordance with the instructions of President Quezon to us. He told us to protect our people and for the purpose we could even have an understanding with the Japanese. He only imposed one condition. We must not take the oath of allegiance.

This is the reason why when at one time the Japanese proposed the taking of the oath we all refused and we were willing to be punished. The Japanese gave up as a mass resignation of officials and employees could have spoiled their world propaganda that the Filipinos were with them.

4. We feared, later confirmed by events, that unless we accept there would be no peace and order. We would not be able to plant and to harvest and our people would die of hunger before the Philippines could be liberated by the Americans.

5. From the beginning, probably to attract us or for propaganda purposes, the Japanese wanted to give us independence. We could not refuse as we would not be able to explain our refusal. So we preferred the provisional arrangement entered into as we all then believed that America would come back soon.

Chief Justice Avanceña approved everything we did. He said he would be willing to stake his reputation, everything he had.

The alternatives from which to select were the following:

(a) Continuation of the Commonwealth. Rejected by the Japanese.

(b) Organization of a Republic. Immediately rejected.

(c) Special organization under the Japanese Military Administration. This was followed, but we endeavored to make as little change as possible as when we were in the Commonwealth Government.

The Japanese wanted to call the central body “Control Organs.” There were a lot of jokes about this expansion. We decided for Philippine Executive Commission.

How I was appointed was finally disclosed. I was not in the original list prepared by the Japanese. Those in the list were Vargas, Aquino, Laurel, Yulo, Paredes and Recto. The Japanese insisted on this list. They said they wanted all the factions duly represented. But later it was decided to appoint Yulo Chief Justice. Yulo did not want to serve in any capacity, but if he had to serve, he preferred the Supreme Court. Yulo was slated for Commissioner of Finance. In view of his appointment as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, two names were submitted for the position. Quirino and myself. Vargas did the selection. It was fatal in so far as I was concerned.

Vargas and Aquino aspired to be Chairman. Vargas from the very beginning acted as spokesman on our behalf although he had never been authorized. Because of this advantage, he won over Aquino Under the circumstances, it was preferable to have Vargas.

We afterwards discussed the following:

1. Message to our combatants in Bataan and Corregidor urging them to surrender. A prepared message was presented to us. Everybody was against it. The language was very bad, but we felt that that was better since it would be our best proof that it had been imposed. Alunan remarked: “Cuanto peor el lenguaje mejor.” Nobody remembered that he had signed.

2. It is said that we sent letters to Roosevelt and Quezon urging them to stop the hostilities. We did write Quezon under imposition. But nobody remembers the letter to Roosevelt as clearly it would have been improper.

For some time, I have felt fear that we might have to wait for Laurel, Vargas, Aquino, Osias and Capinpin who were still in Japan. It will delay our cases considerably. It may also complicate them. I hope this will not happen.