August 27, 1945, Monday

We have just received the Free Philippines of August 23. It is reported therein that the Chinese troops will occupy various areas, among which is Hongkong. In the same paper there is an item to the effect that Premier Attlee of Great Britain stated before the House of Commons that plans for reestablishment of British Administration in Hongkong “are fully prepared”. Do the British mean to return Hongkong to the Chinese or not? Apparently, there is no such intention. Japan is being ordered to return all the lands she had acquired by force. Hongkong was occupied by the British against the will of the Chinese. Why should not it be restored to the Chinese? Such inconsistency has absolutely no justification.

Domei reports by radio the following statement by Laurel:

“In view of the reoccupation of the Philippine Islands by the United States and the reestablishment therein of the government of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, the acceptance by Japan of the terms of the Potsdam Declaration of July 26, 1945 and the consequent termination of the Greater East Asia War, the Republic of the Philippines has ceased to exist.”

Gen. MacArthur on August 24, 1945 issued the following statement:

“On the 29th of December 1944, when I ordered the interment by the Army of the United States of citizens of the Philippines who voluntarily gave aid, comfort and sustenance to the enemy, I stated that the military would relinquish control of such persons to civil authorities at the conclusion of hostilities. On V. J. Day, or shortly thereafter, in keeping with that statement I have directed this transfer of jurisdiction from military to civil authority.”

“This step is taken in the firm conviction that the Philippine Commonwealth Government is prepared to deal justly with those persons accused of collaboration, the crime of treason. I am sure that the democratic principles of which the Philippine Commonwealth Government is based will guarantee swift punishment for the guilty and equally swift exoneration for the innocent.”

General MacArthur also pointed out that the Army’s prompt relinquishment of jurisdiction over persons accused of collaboration is “in conformity with my previously expressed view that civil authority should be completely restored as quickly as practicable after the cessation of hostilities.”

Acting on Gen. MacArthur’s announcement, Pres. Osmeña, in a special message to Philippine Congress on August 24, 1945, recommended the creation of a Special Collegiate Court to try all collaborators.

The President stressed that the Court should be composed of judges of First Instance “who did not work under the Japanese or engage, directly or indirectly, in the buy-and-sell business with the enemy.”

Osmeña also proposed the appointment of a staff of special prosecutors, headed by the Solicitor General.

Decisions of the Special Collegiate Court would be appealable to the Supreme Court. He added:

“In view of the fact that some members of the high tribunal may be disqualified under the requirements specified, the President recommends that judges of the Court of First Instance be authorized to sit in the tribunal in lieu of the justices who may be disqualified.”

The above news came like a bombshell in this prison. Everybody was dumbfounded. Everybody was disappointed. Everyone of us of course would prefer to be accused and duly tried so that when our vindication comes, it will be accompanied by a formal declaration of our innocence. But in view of the special circumstances, we thought that another course would be taken. As America won the war with hardly any loss of time, we thought that America would be more magnanimous and just forget everything. Also, all the Filipinos seem to wish unity and we thought they would want to finish at once the collaboration issue as this is dividing our people. But it seems that Osmeña wishes to go ahead with our cases. We welcome such a decision and we will fight to the last ditch. Our faith in him is waivering and I am afraid that we will not be able to be with him. What a difference in attitude between Osmeña and General Tito of Yugoslavia and General de Gaulle of France.

What could be his motive? Some believe that he is ill-advised by those who hate the “collaborationists”. Some think that he feels that we will prejudice his candidacy as he assumes that the great majority of the “collaborationists” would be against him. Others are of the opinion that there is imposition on the part of the Americans in which case we will have to conclude that he is a weakling. Few others assert that Osmeña’s mind is already far from what it used to be and his judgment is not as accurate as it used to be. For my part, I am willing to give him the benefit of a doubt by preferring to believe that it is his duty to push our cases to the end after passing through certain proceedings.

So there is no amnesty.

Why did he have to recommend to Congress the creation of a Special Collegiate Court? Has he no confidence in the regular courts? Why did he have to provide that judges who served during the Japanese regime cannot sit in this Court? If he has no confidence in their impartiality and honesty, why did he reappoint them? This requirement leads us to think that he is interested in our conviction and he does not want to take any chances by allowing men who served in the former regime to take part in the proceedings. At any rate, his plan would delay our cases. I am sure that such a bill cannot immediately be approved in Congress, or may be disapproved. What happens then?

From the beginning, I feared that we might become victims of politics. This is the reason why I had been saying that we would not be released until after the elections of November. Now it may be the plan to hold us until after the elections to eliminate us from the elections.

We demand that we be given an immediate trial and that in the meanwhile we be allowed to be out on bail so that we can prepare our defense. Now we see the necessity of getting together, of organizing our own party so as to protect ourselves and fight those who caused us this martyrdom.

* * * * * *

Autograph hunting continues. People asking for our autographs are not only our companions, but many ladies in this community whom we had not met. It shows their sympathy towards us.

I cannot keep track of all of them. I shall only copy one or two.

To Miss Pino: “Although I have not had the pleasure of meeting you, I have heard so much about you that I feel as if I had known you for a long time. We are here bereft of the warmth of the hearts of our families, relatives and friends. If our suffering had not been as intense as it could have been, it is because we found persons whose kindness and sympathy toward us make us forget our pains and worries. To you more than anybody else we owe this consolation.”

In the afternoons, we are allowed to play games at the plaza or Colony Square. There is a school along the way and we usually stop to look at the girls and the teachers. Evidently, they know who we are. Whenever the opportunity arises, we engage them in lively and friendly conversation. I recall a Miss Pino, a very pretty girl. She sent us many gifts.

Col. Torillo: “My greatest satisfaction during our forced stay in Iwahig is that it gave me the pleasure and opportunity of knowing persons who can be a credit to any country. Among them is you, Col. Torillo, whom I have learned to like and to admire. The work assigned to you here is a most difficult and delicate one. You certainly acquitted yourself admirably.”

August 14, 1945, Tuesday

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

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

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

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

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

August 10, 1945, Friday

Lt. Hagonberg came this afternoon to say that the radio had announced MacArthur was going to speak about 7 o’clock. He was expected to make a very important announcement. Naturally, we became very anxious as we expected MacArthur to announce the termination of the war. After 7 o’clock, we were all outside, anxiously waiting for the return of the Lieutenant. At eight, he had not come; at nine, he had not arrived. Disappointment could be seen in the faces of all of us. Ten o’clock signal sounded and the rule was we had to go to bed and put the lights out. We went to bed, but nobody slept. We were still waiting for the Lieutenant. Whispers could be heard — maybe the news was bad, and that’s the reason why the Lieutenant did not come. At 10:30 we heard an automobile coming. We all jumped out of our beds very excited. It was the Lieutenant. He drove the jeep slowly and walked towards our quarters slowly. He did not seem very happy. We also assumed a serene attitude, not unlike the countenance during funeral services. Before he could speak, many of us instinctively asked him for the news.

He spoke slowly and seriously. He told us that the radio announced that Domei, the Japanese International News Service announced that Japan had sent notes to the United Nations, through Switzerland and Sweden, accepting the Potsdam ultimatum. To us this is very important news. We all felt happy. We could not sleep the whole night — we were too excited.

May 26, 1943

Doria and I sat in a taxi today with Mrs. Paul McNutt who had not seen our small daughter Ursula since she was a baby of three weeks at Baguio, six years ago. Mrs. McNutt was looking lovely and very smartly dressed. She commented on the regal style in which the Quezons lived at the Shoreham; and said that sometimes shen she entered the hotel with her arms full of bundles, as one was obliged to do nowadays, she met Mrs. Quezon flanked by two a.d.c.’s! Said that she herself had once been a refugee (from Mexico), but that was not the way people expected refugees to look! It was good-natured but ironic.

The Japanese radio (Domei) states that Vargas announced that all Filipinos should celebrate Japanese Navy Day (May 17) since the freedom of East Asia had been assured by the shattering by the Japanese of the Anglo-American and Dutch navies!

Arnaldo in charge of the library in the Commonwealth Building (1617 Mass. Ave.) says that it is not believed that the Japanese have destroyed any libraries in the Philippines, except possibly a part of the University Library. That the Philippine National Library was untouched, except that probably they took the old documents for their own great collection of Filipiniana in Tokyo–as, also possibly all the priceless collections of Professor Otley Beyer.

Sitting in the lobby of the Shoreham that evening with Dr. Trepp, we saw Quezon and his daughter Baby going toward the front door for a drive. Quezon went up the three or four steps nimbly almost waving his rubber-tipped cane. Trepp observed that if he had seen us, he would have been leaning feebly on Baby’s arm. Trepp told me that the President was a “used-up” man, physically; that there was nothing organical serious about his condition, and that he should live for from 5 to 10 years more–but was gradually wearing down. Says he (Trepp) saved Quezon’s life in 1932 and at first Quezon was grateful to him and put him in charge of the Sanitorium later replacing him there by Dr. Cañizares and making Trepp the latter’s “adviser.” As soon as Trepp had taught the Filipino doctors his methods, they shoved him aside. Quezon has not been generous to him in later years, but Trepp had built up a fine private practice in Manila, and had put his savings into successful gold mines.

Trepp said he “simply adored” Quezon until they went to Corregidor–but thought his leaving Manila a terrible mistake (of course, Trepp did not know of the pressure and specious promises of help from Roosevelt).

April 30, 1942

For the last couple of days, aerial attacks on Corrregidor have persisted intensely. An escapee from Bataan said that they are suffering from incessant bombings by hundreds of planes coming from all directions. Bataan has a length of some 70 kilometers while Corregidor is an island of two or three kilometers in width. Therefore, they cannot possibly be attacked simultaneously by so many bombers.

According to Tokyo, the carpet bombing is being launched to effect the surrender. Radio San Francisco, however, claims that Corregidor is still resisting. No attempts have been made to predict how long the resistance will endure.

Water in Manila is very scarce. Due to Japanese mismanagement of the waterwork system, water cannot be properly distributed. Electricity is likewise being rationed. Electic wires have disappeared and the operation of the electic plant is deficient.

April 27, 1942

The military authorities refuse to give out any information regarding the names and fate of the prisoners, most of whom are concentrated at Camp O’Donnell in Tarlac. Likewise, there is meager news about the prisoners of Bataan.

Many families are getting desperate about the whereabouts of their relatives, if they are not yet dead, that is. Malaria is rampant, and it is said that on the average, about 15 Americans and 30 Filipinos die of it daily.

Nine medical professors of Santo Tomas, some of whom had sons among the prisoners, and a good number of medical students, offered to attend to the sick prisoners. However, the Japanese did not accept them, saying that this would discredit their medical corps as being incapable of attending to the war victims.

I talked with some of the fighting men. Their accounts do not tally, as they each talked about events according to their respective experiences. Consequently, it is difficult to form an exact picture of the state of the Fil-American forces before the attack, during the surrender and after the fall. It seems that when the forces yielded, many of the soldiers who had been receiving good salaries during the war—something like ₱40.00 a month for soldiers—lost everything they had. Other soldiers had nothing to surrender except their arms.

A pre-war medical professor at the UST informed me that among the Bataan fighters, there are more of them afflicted with malaria and dysentery than those wounded in battle. The latter are relatively small in number, especially when compared to the casualties on the side of the Japanese. In Tarlac where he was imprisoned for two months, the Filipino captives are dying of despair, hunger and sickness. The Japanese lose no opportunity to humiliate and insult the Americans and the Filipinos who demonstrate any sign of loyalty to the Americans.

A dispatch from Domei stated that the number of prisoners has reached 62,600, 10,600 of whom are Americans. It added that 2,600 of these Americans are confined in military hospitals.

There are rumors that tomorrow, Emperor’s Day, there would be a grand military parade which will also be in commemoration of the fall of Bataan. However, no official announcement has yet been made to that effect.

Vargas ordered the hoisting of the Japanese flag in all public buildings and appealed to private individuals to do the same in their respective houses. He also prohibited the use of the Philippine flag, on advice of the High Command.

The people are uncertain and reluctant to carry out these directives. On the one hand, they fear being branded as collaborators. On the other hand, they fear the Japanese. If the administration would put more pressure, there would expectedly be many houses displaying the Japanese flag.

April 13, 1942

Corregidor, for three days now, has been under a hail of bombs and mortar shells from the coasts of Bataan and Cavite. Its searchlights continuously scour the waters and the beaches at night.

The propaganda organ printed a vilification campaign against the surrendering American forces. It alleged that the Filipino soldiers carried all the weight of battle while the Americans sought shelter and sat back comfortably behind the lines. It added that the captured Filipinos are famished, worn out and bare footed. However, in the same page of the newspaper, there appeared a picture captioned, “Captured Filipino” which clearly showed that the Filipinos had their shoes on. I wonder if the shoes were given them by the captors.

A report from Domei added color to the news. It mentioned the barbarism of the Americans. According to the report, the Filipinos had to fight in the most dangerous battles, while they lacked food supplies.

April 1, 1942

A friend of mine was shocked. He was standing near one of the Japanese garrisons in Manila. He saw a major entering the gate and all the soldiers stood at attention. The major was his former gardener.

Preparations are being made for the next rice planting season. The Bureau of Plant Industry is in charge of the production campaign. They have formulated plans towards increased production. Contrary to the general opinion, the NARIC has nothing to do with planting. We only take care of procurement and distribution.

Planes have been active the whole day. It is midnight and I can hear their droning. My chauffeur said he saw ten truckloads of Japanese dead passing through Avenida Rizal last night There must be heavy fighting in Bataan.

Sumatra is now completely under Japanese control, according to Domei. Half of the captured enemy troops were Dutch and British, according to the report. The Japanese sun is rising higher and higher. When shall it set?

March 27, 1942

For five consecutive days now, seven planes have been flying in the same formation and at very high altitude. People believe they are American planes. They even said that they dropped leaflets, though no one can give me any information as to the contents of the leaflets.

A press dispatch from Stockholm stated that according to a BBC report, Japanese bombers heavily punished Corregidor for six hours. Incredible. In order to find out what is happening at the other side of the Manila Bay we have to rely on information from Stockholm.

Radio Bataan confirmed the bombardment, adding, however, that the damages on military installations were light. The newspapers simply reported that “they caused damage on military installations.”

The Japanese High Command in Manila never issued bulletins about their activities. The USAFFE did not stop issuing press releases even when it had nothing to say. The sources of our information are San Francisco and London, since Radio Tokyo also keeps silent about the official affairs of the government.