August 16, 1945, Thursday

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

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

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

* * * * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


October 16, 1944

A very rainy day. The shelter’s full of water and no bombs. Several Japanese planes were flying but none of ours. A lot of people are disappointed. They expected them again today.

The Japanese have spread their ammunition dumps all over the city. In front of Hicky’s and Gabaldon’s and the street leading to the house and beyond there are a lot of boxes under the trees. Taft Avenue is exclusively for Army cars and trucks. Streetcars are also for Army and Navy men only. There’s a rumor that cars, dokars and bicycles will be commandeered. That’ll leave us with practically nothing. They’ve taken our food, our shelter and now –transportation.

The Japanese claim they sunk 12 aircraft carriers. “We’ve driven them off,” they boast. “No,” added another, “we sunk them all.” That’s why I’m disappointed. I wanted them to come to make these fellows eat their words.

Tio Phil thinks this was just a diversionary raid. Their main objective is Formosa, he said. They sent a couple of carriers here to mislead the Japs, he opined.

America is still silent about yesterday’s raid. Some say Aparri was terribly bombed. That’s what I think. In my opinion, the air raid over Manila was just a feint. They were after some big game up north.

Most of the casualties were due to AA fire. A child sleeping in a nipa hut near the cook’s house was hit by a shrapnel that entered through the roof. A cochero harnessing his horse had a narrow escape when a shrapnel hit the horse.

I have a feeling they’ll come tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed.


October 14, 1944

Today’s the first anniversary of the Philippine Republic, heh, heh. Puppet Laurel declared: “The first-year of the Republic has been a success”. He forgot to say that during this republic’s first year, the people have had less and less food. The BIBA has distributed rice only three or four times. There has been no peace and order, no….. oh why crab about it.

More houses are being taken. Revilla’s house is being taken by the MP and so is Dr. Vazquez’. Tio Gabriel complained to Mayor Figueras because Japanese soldiers entered his garden and take a bath under one of the faucets, and they enter his house and sit on his porch!

Tio Phil said that the Japanese will commandeer cars beginning today. We better hide the Buick. As a matter of fact, a Jap went over to the garage of Tia Mameng and wanted to commandeer her car. They’ve taken her house, now her car. When will these people leave us? Tio Gabriel said that someday they’ll take the air we breathe.

People expect bombing today. I’m crossing my fingers. There are many Japanese planes flying right now….


October 12, 1944

Haven’t written for more than a week because I’ve been sick. Got attacked by malaria again. Thought I had ice in my blood. Shivered like the dickens. Went to Lolo Pepe’s house yesterday. When I entered the door, I knew something wrong was happening. There was nobody around. I went to the old man’s room. Everybody was crying. He was agonizing. Cancer. He died at exactly 3 p.m. He is resting now. He was a grand fellow. He wanted to live, I think, just to see how this war was going to end. His daughter said his last word was: “I can’t anymore.” May he rest in peace.

Alarm sounded this afternoon. About fifty Jap planes went up, practiced formation flying, simulated dogfights and imitated the way U.S. planes dove over the Bay Area. It was a poor imitation. They’ve got a new type of plane. If the Americans return or rather when they return, we will probably see good dogfights.

A Japanese visited Tio Phil and told him that 700 U.S. ships were sighted north of Luzon including 100 aircraft carriers. I wonder if this is the invasion fleet, cross your fingers.


September 23, 1944

Manila’s agog. Everybody’s talking and whispering and laughing and dreaming about the raid. Everybody feels the Americans will be here before Christmas. Somebody opined “around New Year” and he was branded a low-down defeatist. A thousand pseudo-generals have sprung with theories on how easily the Americans will retake Luzon.

Despite the very tense situation, Manoling’s wedding went on. Very few guests were able to attend the wedding, according to Vic. The Casino Español was unable to serve the breakfast because the servants didn’t show up. Vic Fernandez had to improvise on the organ because the organist was not able to go to church. The bride arrived late and the priest didn’t say Mass anymore. When my brother congratulated Manoling, the lovesick Romeo closed his eyes and sighed: “Ah, I made it!”.

Biked downtown with Joe Meily to see people. Most of the stores were closed. There were many people carrying bundles, perhaps evacuating. Saw many sailors lying on the grass under the trees in the Sunken Gardens. The poor fellows looked haggard and shell-shocked. A cochero said those sailors swam to shore.

Visited Ateta. She was beautiful, as usual. She was dressed in blue and I’ve got to admit my heart skipped a couple of beats. She’s not the type of girl that makes you feel like whistling when you see her. Her beauty inspires respect, the kind of adoration you’d give to an angel.

Sentries wouldn’t let me pass through Ayala Bridge. Joe had a permit but the insolent sentry wouldn’t even look at the pass. He just shouted “Kora!” and pointed his bayonet at us.

Still no water. The servants took three cans of water from a nearby well and I took a bath with that. The telephone has been dead the whole day. So far nothing has happened to the electric service.

Several AA shrapnel fell near Tio Phil’s house, killing a horse and a cat. One servant of Tio Charlie was wounded in the arm by AA shell-bursts and Tantoco’s milk-boy was killed by a stray bullet.

Provincial reports reveal that more than 120 Japanese planes were destroyed in Clark Field, Pampanga. About 80, were downed in dogfights. Our Japanese neighbor boasts that four U.S. aircraft carriers have been sunk off the eastern coast of Tayabas.

Two air-raid alarms this morning but no bombing. Saw four U.S. observation planes flying very high. There were still fires in the direction of the Bay area but I couldn’t ascertain what was burning. A Japanese soldier said it was oil.

Two Japanese soldiers went to the house today. They asked for water because they were thirsty. Supplies from the Piers are being transferred in residential districts. One of the soldiers said that he came from New Guinea; the other from Singapore. I asked “How many soldiers are going to defend Luzon.” One of them said “More than a million.”

President Laurel declared war on the U.S. and Britain. Somebody said “What’s the difference?” Everybody knows, that Laurel is just a puppet, making a strong effort to show that he isn’t.

Papa has been busy the whole day asking the Japanese authorities to give us a few days to transfer our furniture. They agreed very reluctantly. They need private houses very badly because they are afraid to live in barracks. They’re hiding under the skirts, so to speak, of the civilian population.

Will try to tune in on KGEI. Am very anxious to know what America has to say about the raids on Manila. The Americans in the concentration camp in Santo Tomas must be excited these days. I’m sure they saw the planes and felt the ground shaking. Must stop writing. Somebody is ringing the doorbell.


March 13, 1942

Bataan, MIS, HQ

Went to an artillery battery. Watched them shell Japs. Beautiful sight. Terrific noise. Ground shook like a banca. Felt concussion in my chest. Saw smoke on enemy lines. Like powder puffs at first. Then tall columns of dust rising like thin, high, fountains. Shelling stopped when Jap planes hovered above, so as not to expose positions. Several Jap trucks were hit.

Artillery boys deserve main credit for inflicting main number of casualties on Japs. Without them Bataan would not be Bataan. Japs would have been able to easily penetrate our infantry. But our artillery is wreaking havoc on Japs attempting to push through our lines.

Boys in artillery very nonchalant. They work efficiently. Their morale is high. Jap planes consider them principal target.

Our 1:55’s and 75’s very feared by Japs. Operatives from Manila report that Japs in Manila when referring to Bataan artillery say: “Rupa, turu, kuru!” meaning “the earth boils or sizzles”.

One artillery officer who was sleeping throughout bombardment said:

“Sergeant, when shall we start firing?”

The sergeant replied: “We’ve just fired, sir.”

(later)

Heard story of a Filipino sergeant who escaped from the hospital to continue fighting in the front –very brave fellow. If all were like him.

(later)

Went to Signal Corps unit. Listened to KGEI broadcast from Fairmont Hotel. Looks like the whole world is talking about Bataan.

Told this to Fred. He said: “Hell, why don’t they send us the convoy? A lot of talking won’t do any good.”

Fred described western front. He was there all day yesterday observing Jap movements. He aid Japs fired artillery for six hours without stop. He also said some of our own shells dropped in our lines. Unfortunately, some of our boys were killed and injured until range was corrected.

Must stop writing. I feel the shivers coming. I have no more quinine.

More trouble from Tio Phil.

(later)

Personally received a report that in Nueva Ecija Tio Phil is rumored as a “Pro-Jap”. Told the General to give me some mission beyond the call of duty to make up for this thing. The General said he did not believe the report but nevertheless “I trust and like you.” Thanks, I said.


January 14, 1942

Seventeen offences punishable by death have been announced by the Japanese Commander-in-Chief. Some of them: rebellion, spreading false rumors, espionage, misguiding Japanese troops, stealing military equipment, looting, counterfeiting, harboring any one guilty of these crimes. Life isn’t worth a cent these days.

Informed the Japanese supervisor that plenty of tomatoes, radishes and other vegetables have not been harvested in Marikina, because the people have fled due to the presence of Japanese soldiers. Silayan wants to secure other people to harvest it.

Asked Dr. Vasquez to give me a triple injection: anti-cholera, dysentery and typhoid. Prevention or rather injection is better than cure.

The name of the Japanese Commander-in-Chief is Masaharu Homma. There is nothing said about him in the papers. The Japanese are very secretive.

My brother Philip arrived from Nueva Ecija. No peace and order in the provinces. Many abuses committed: rape, murder, torture, robbery.

Invited to a wedding. Why so many marriages these days? Misery loves company.

Well, it’s been another day.


January 28, 1936

Ex-Federal Judge Milton Purdy from Shanghai arrives. Funeral service in the afternoon in the Episcopal Cathedral for the late King George V. A very representative turnout. Murphy and Quezon both there –tho I think Quezon was rather unwilling to appear before his own people to take second place. Service was all about God and very little about the late King! Too many hymns and too much choir. Speech by Consul Blunt well phrased, and not so sloppy as if given by an American. Mrs. Quezon’s absence with Mrs. Phil Buencamino en route for Java is odd. What does it mean? Is it her dislike of Malacañan and of public office? Or has it political significance?


January 7, 1936

Played golf in a.m. at Fort McKinley with Doria; afterwards, we swam in the bay in front of our house. Colin Hoskins to lunch and we talked over landlord & tenant situation, and land taxes; and planned trips to see the big haciendas.

Left at 3 p.m. with Babbitt & Anderson for Cabuyao. Babbitt said his sugar companies were going to make all they could in the next five years, hoping to repay the capital in that time, and thereafter what assets were left were in the nature of a dividend. Said sugar machinery was of no use for anything else. After independence, a differential even as good as that given Cuba would not save the Philippine mills because the cost of production and haulage are so much lower in Cuba. Andy Anderson (manager of the Manila Hotel) said that tourist traffic here could never be much because the Filipinos had suppressed everything which might really interest American visitors –such as the Igorrotes and their naked women– hence these Americans made a bee line for Bali where there were plenty of naked women; otherwise Bali was nothing but the Philippines all over again.

Anderson predicted more trouble in the future for the Philippines from internal disturbances, especially when they had their own army with ambitious generals. Said he was not particularly apprehensive about Japan. Trouble here was that there is only “one Quezon” –Roxas, he thinks, is the next coming man.

When we arrived in Cabuyao, Phil Buencamino and his wife greeted us. Quezon was there with Nieto –they had been inspecting his farm just the other side of the river where Quezon is going to build a nipa house and to go there every Friday. He complained of being very tired. We were just sitting down to the bridge table when I had a long distance call from Geo. Vargas to say that Doria had been thrown from a horse in Manila and was in St. Paul’s Hospital. I left at once. Poor Doria was suffering great pain. Fool polo pony of Angel Elizalde bolted with her and ran her into the stable where she was smashed off. Very brave and already feeling better. Narrow escape from death!!

Anderson said Quezon’s troubles will come from his own followers, because he will not give them all they want and they will “double-cross” him later. He also commented on the fact that many wealthy white men here kept Filipina women; that it was more expensive than a white woman because the whole family has to be kept!