August 19, 1945, Sunday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


June 22, 1945 Friday

Hope for our release is just like a stock market; it goes up and down. One day everybody appears happy; the next day, disappointment and deep sorrow reign. Today we are all in high spirits for a reason which I shall now explain.

The urgent need for a separate toilet for the officer class has been felt for some time. Plans were drafted by Engineers Paez and Bayan. Construction was commenced a few days ago under the direction of the two engineers and the supervision of Don Teofilo Sison. This morning, while Mr. Bayan was on his job, the Colonel-Superintendent came although it is not inspection day. This Superintendent, unlike his predecessor, comes quite frequently. Engineer Bayan since his arrival had been having trouble with his teeth. He had consulted Army dentists who believed that all his remaining teeth should be pulled out and a complete set of false teeth be made. Evidently, the Colonel was told about it and he probably remembered it. The Colonel urged Mr. Bayan to have his teeth work done. Mr. Bayan answered that he would prefer to have it done in Manila as it would be very inconvenient for him. He explained that if all his teeth were pulled out, he would need a special diet. In Manila, in his own home, his family could prepare his special food. The Colonel answered that such special food could not be provided by them, but he would make arrangements whereby he would be served before everybody else. Engineer Bayan made the following remarks evidently in order to reinforce his refusal to have his dental work done here: “I expect to be released soon”. Mr. Bayan was probably not aware that he released a trial-balloon to find out something about our possible release. The Colonel spontaneously stated: “The probability is 90% that you will be released without trouble as the government is very interested in you. That is the way I look at it.” Adding, “So you are going to wait.” “Yes”, answered Mr. Bayan.

Those who heard this exchange lost no time communicating to others the good tydings. Senator Sebastian ran inside our barracks to tell us the conversation he heard. Naturally, we all became very anxious and listened very attentively to the narration of the Senator. Not contented with secondhand news, Mr. Bayan was shoved into the midst of the happy crowd and made to repeat the conversation. He was cautioned to use the exact words of the Colonel. Mr. Bayan was very accommodating. He kept repeating the conversation every time a new listener came around, notwithstanding his difficulty in talking on account of the condition of his teeth.

There was general rejoicing in the quarters of the officer class. The rejoicing soon spread to the quarters of the enlisted class. The whole morning the conversation was the topic of vivid comments. There were different versions as to the application of the ninety per cent. Senator Sebastian who heard the conversation gave his version as follows: “Ninety per cent will be released.” Recto concurred with this version, adding that the ten per cent referred to Mr. Bayan who will have to remain so that work on his teeth could be finished. The new version did not in any way dampen the enthusiasm as everybody expects not to be included in the ten per cent. The enthusiasm was such that the “bread and water” ration given us at the mess was devoured in no time. In his bewilderment, Mr. Bayan approached the ration table more than once. Don Quintin Paredes became a disciple of Dr. Samari, predicting that comments will continue for two days.

The expression “without trouble” has been interpreted by some to mean that there will not be any formal inquiry. Others believe that he meant that our cases are meritorious ones.

No news referring to us has provoked as much enthusiasm as this one. It is pointed out that the Colonel is in a position to know and he must have based his statements on some tangible facts. He could not have referred to the interest of the government unless he knows it positively.

God bless the Colonel. He certainly has revived our fading hope.

Sensational news are reported in the newspapers we have just received.

The first is to the effect that Representative Emilio de la Paz of Rizal, who was defeated by Representative Jose Zulueta of Iloilo for the Speakership, hurled charges that his defeat meant that there were still vestiges of Japanese influence in Congress. When informed that the Committee on Internal Affairs of the House of Representatives would require him to substantiate his charges, he stated that he is prepared to prove them. Many interpret the act of de la Paz as one of spite because of his defeat. I am willing, however, to grant him the benefit of a doubt. I credit him with sincerity and courage to denounce what he thinks is an evil or inconsistency in the acts of our public officials. As a matter of fact, if the acts attributed to many of us in this prison constitute collaboration, there are many members of Congress who are collaborators. I think I have already named somewhere in these writings some Senators guilty of the same acts for which we have been detained. In the House there are many who took active part in the pacification campaign. Some of them have amassed fortunes for activities during the Japanese regime. One was connected with a business providing lumber to the Japanese. A probe will perhaps disclose facts which may be the basis for the charges of Representative de la Paz.

The second news is to the effect that Cabili had accused President Roxas of the Senate of having sent him a form letter urging him to surrender to the Japanese. On the surface, the charge seems to be serious, if true. I do not know the facts, but there may be a satisfactory explanation for this. The date when the letter was written is very pertinent. Roxas after his appointment as Brigidier General, was placed in charge of the military operations in Mindanao. He was the head in that Island. When Corregidor was occupied by the Japanese, Gen. Homma declined to accept the surrender of Wainright and his men unless Wainright surrendered the rest of the USAFFE in the Philippines, being the Commanding General with jurisdiction over the whole Philippines after the departure of Gen. MacArthur. By radio and letters, Wainright communicated this condition for surrender set by Gen. Homma to all the District Commanders in the Philippines ordering them to surrender. Brigadier General Roxas probably only transmitted the order of Gen. Wainright. Roxas will undoubtedly clear up the situation.

Col. Peralta, the patriot and guerrilla hero of Panay, whose exploits won for him one of the highest decorations given to military men, wrote a letter to Pres. Osmeña, urging the latter to follow a moderate policy on the collaborationist problem for the sake of unity. I already had a high opinion of Col. Peralta. With his letter, my admiration for him has heightened even more. His motive for recommending such a policy is sublime and highly patriotic. It shows his intense love for his country. In war time, he had risked his life so that the liberty for which our forefathers had shed their precious blood, could be attained and preserved. Now in peace time, he urges unity as disunion at this crucial period in our history may cause us to lose whatever liberties we may have already won and even endanger the independence of our country which is already assured. I think much more will be heard of Col. Peralta. He will some day be in a position of great responsibility in our country. I have never seen him. It shall be a pleasure and an honor to meet him.

Dr. Moncado brought news substantially confirming the statement of the Colonel. I am still pessimistic.


June 21, 1945 Thursday

Food has been insufficient during the last days. We do not know what is happening. They say that it is the result of the policy of the new administration; others say that it is because our government is now the one providing the expenses for our food. I pity the enlisted class who have to work seven hours a day except Sunday.

I have always thought that the President of the Senate and the Speaker should be furnished copies of our letters to Osmeña and MacArthur. We have good reason to believe that Roxas, President of the Senate, and Zulueta, Speaker of the House, are working for us and they should know the facts. Furthermore, as high officials of the government who must be consulted about government policies, they should know our side. The question arose as to who shall send the copies. Yulo, whose attitude is very definitely and strongly against the injustice being committed against us and against those who are responsible therefor, did not want to do it. He said he did not care to use influence, since our cause was just. He expressed disappointment with the high officials who we thought were our friends. I argued that sending them copies does not necessarily mean that we solicit their influence; it was an act giving due recognition to officials of the rank of President of the Senate and Speaker. Alunan finally decided to send the copies.

Again rumor is spreading like wild fire that we will soon be released. I traced the news to Dr. Moncado. He said that it was the Captain in charge of the construction of the new camp who told him that we had been turned over to the Commonwealth government. The Captain also said that construction of the new camp would stop. Another person, Mr. Galvez, confirmed what Dr. Moncado had said because when he protested to the Lieutenant that our food was insufficient, he was told us that it was due to the fact that the expenses for our food is now being defrayed by the Commonwealth Government. Personally, I believe the rumor arose on account of a publication in a newspaper that Palawan would be turned over by the U.S. military authorities to our government effective August first. The hope for our early release is entertained on account of the belief that once the Commonwealth Government assumes jurisdiction over us, we would immediately be released. I am not so optimistic. I hope I am wrong, but the Manila officials do not seem to be very interested in us and, on the other hand, other considerations seem to be entering in our case.


May 24, 1945 Thursday

Last night, we received the memorandum order of May 15, 1945, providing for the classification of detainees. Therein we are called “limited assimilated prisoners of war”. The order is issued in accordance with the Geneva Convention. We were detained probably pursuant to (g) paragraph 76 of the Rules of Land Warfare adopted to Geneva. According to this provision, “Persons whose services are of particular use to the hostile army or its government, such as the higher civil officials x x x, may be made prisoners of war.” I doubt the applicability of this provision to us. The Philippine Republic during the Japanese occupation not being recognized by America, its declaration of the state of war was illegal and null and void. If so, the Philippines was not only not an enemy, but an ally. This was evidenced by the fact that Filipino soldiers fought side by side with the American soldiers.

The order classifies those in this community into two: those with “Officer Status” and those with “Enlisted Status”. Those belonging to the former are Emilio Abello, Rafael R. Alunan, Sergio L. Aquino, Sergio Bayan, Antonio de las Alas, Francisco C. de la Rama, Guillermo B. Francisco, Vicente Madrigal, Jose Paez, Quintin Paredes, Claro M. Recto, Pedro A. Sabido, Jose G. Sanvictores, Proceso E. Sebastian, Teofilo Sison, Jose Urquico, Jose Yulo and Francisco Zulueta. To the Enlisted Status belong all other detainees in this camp. I repeat that we did not ask for classification to foment class distinction and because we do not want to mix with the other people in the compound some of whom are very poor or very ignorant. We of course would prefer to be in quarters separate from the present compound for the sake of more comfort and sanitation. But if classification does not result in separate quarters, we would have preferred to let things stay as they are. Our companions have been true friends to us. I also admire their spirit of helpfulness. There are many of them who whenever they see us working insist on doing the work. Their attitude is very encouraging. It shows that complete union of the Filipinos can be realized.

One of the main differences between the two classes is that the officer class will not be required to work. The enlisted class may be so required.

I forgot to state that the officer class were former governors, chiefs of bureaus, cabinet members, as well as heads of the military establishment under the Japanese.

In the memoradum order, there is an expressed prohibition for an officer to have a personal servant, and those in the enlisted class are not permitted to act as personal servants to any other individuals confined in the camp. Undoubtedly, this prohibition has been purposely prescribed. We so-called big shots are being charged with using the others as servants or as orderlies. This is of course far from the truth. We have never required anybody to work for us, nor have we requested them to do so. Any service rendered by them has been entirely voluntary and upon their own initiative. They know that we are not used to doing manual labor, and following the Filipino custom and tradition, they insist on doing the work for us. In the provinces, if you have been good to your neighbors they would not allow you to do manual work. I believe this is also the case in the United States and everywhere else. The leaders are supposed to do the intellectual work, the manual labor being performed by those not prepared for the intellectual and technical work. Nevertheless, we insisted in doing manual work. Even Chief Justice Yulo and the millionaire Vicente Madrigal had to take a broom and sweep.

In accordance with the memorandum order, all detainess had to elect a spokesman. He is to act, not only as liaison officer, but as the representative of the detainees in presenting their grievances and complaints. We elected for the position Speaker Quintin Paredes, a very able and worthy man for the position. We virtually have constituted him the leader of the officer class.

The enlisted detainees also had to elect one group leader for every 250 men. For this position, they elected Dr. Hilario Camino Moncado. Both elections will have to be approved by the commanding officer of the camp. Unfortunately, the men belonging to the enlisted class have not been taking the matter very seriously. They joke a lot about it, and I am afraid this time they’ve gone too far. They held an election for assistant leader, although the memorandum order did not provide for such position. The joke was that they put up as candidate a man called Tony, who had been acting as a sort of leader or boss, to run against a man by the name of Cuaresma, who is mentally retarded and physically deformed. Tony had been a good and strict leader, but he lost to Cuaresma who obviously could not be a leader. Naturally, this action irked and angered Tony and now there are division quarrels among them and complete disorganization. Dr. Moncado could not control them; he has resigned.

* * * * *

I must preface the following discussion by stating that we have reached very definite opinions on certain points: that because of the improper, brutal and even uncivilized conduct of the Japanese in the Philippines, the Filipinos cannot be for the Japanese and will hate them for generations to come; that there is no comparison between the Americans and the Japanese, and if we had to choose between the two, we certainly would vote for the Americans 100%.

But although comparison is odious, we would like to compare the treatment accorded by the Japanese to government officials, and the treatment now being accorded us by the Americans. When the Japanese came they did not arrest nor even molest the Filipino officials. On the contrary, the Japanese offered them the government. The Filipinos were of course reluctant to even consider it. But when they saw that the people were suffering because of abuses on the part of the Japanese soldiers, they accepted believing that they would then be in a position to help and save their countrymen. They discovered later that they could do little.

Worthy of mention also in this connection is that, after a very short detention during which they were given what the Japanese called “rejuvenation course”, our officers and enlisted men in the USAFFE were released.

Whenever we compare this treatment with that being shown to us now, we cannot help but express indignation. We are very bitter. We have been arrested, deported and imprisoned. According to announcements it will be for the duration of the war. What makes it very painful is that we had all been staunch supporters of America before the war; that from the beginning we had prayed fervently for the return of the Americans and for the victory of the United Nations who, we were told, were fighting for individual liberty, for democracy and the right of small nations to continue their independent existence. Being a liberty loving people, the Filipinos wholeheartedly supported America to the extent of sacrificing the flower of our youth. (About 100,000 young men died in Bataan and other places).

What makes it very painful is that we did not have the least intention of serving the Japanese; our sole purpose was to serve our people. At the very first opportunity, we travelled over steep and almost impassable mountains, rivers and ravines to reach the American lines, and we had never experienced such happiness, forgetting our fatigue and sacrifices, as when for the first time in over three years we saw an American soldier. Now these same people that we have waited for so long have arrested and placed us in a penitentiary. What a disappointment! What a paradox!

Today, a Colonel from Manila came for inspection. He went through the premises and left apparently satisfied. But he said something in a very emphatic way which indicates the belief they entertain about us. He said that we must not attempt to communicate anything by any means, such as codes, marks, figures, etc. Their censors are experts and our attempt will be discovered. We are afraid they take as all for spies and traitors.

There was blackout tonight. But no enemy planes appeared. The blackout lasted for only a few minutes so it might have been just an air raid practice. Japanese planes have almost all been destroyed and it is just unthinkable that any of them could reach Palawan especially in view of the fact that they seem to need all their planes somewhere else.


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 16, 1945 Wednesday

Perhaps no small community has ever seen such divergence in social position, in worldly possessions, education and political beliefs and principles. We have people who dominated Manila society and men who have never seen the halls of Manila society. We have the worst criminals and men who cannot break the most innocent act against the law. We have the richest men in the Philippines and men of the poorest class. We have doctors of law and first order literary men, and men who are illiterate. We have men who are communists and men who are typical representatives of the capitalistic class. We have men opposed to independence and men who will sacrifice their lives for the independence of their country. We have a man who has no par in the Philippines—Dr. Moncado who controlled the most powerful Filipino organization in America and who founded a sort of religious sect in Lanao. With such divergence it would seem that there would be conflicts and rivalries among us. But such is not the case. Each person looks at the other as a friend. There is harmony and understanding. Probably our common fate is uniting us.

There are two persons I am very interested in knowing. One of them is Dr. Hilario Camino Moncado. He is known all over the Philippines because he was the president of the Filipino Association to which almost all the Filipino laborers or Filipino working class in America is affiliated. He has lived in America for many years so that he knows America and the Americans better than any of us. I had a talk with him and I got the impression that he is against independence. His reasons are not clear, but he said something which if true is worth mentioning in a diary like this. He said that America will never give up the Philiipines, as they will use this country not only as a commercial base, but also as military bases. He said that America is preparing for a showdown with Russia and for this purpose, she will need the Philippines. I reminded him that the American people will not stand for that as they are against militarism. He answered that America and the Americans have this attitude and they will not hesitate in using the Philippines for preparing for another war. I, of course, do not agree with him. I feel that I also know the Americans because I have been with them for five years, the latest being only in 1938-39. I was present when Congress almost unanimously disapproved a big outlay for the fortification of Guam. I still believe that the Americans are not militarists and that they will not do anything in the Orient that may involve them in future wars.

I also reminded Dr. Moncado that under the Tydings-McDuffie Act, we will attain our independence on July 4, 1946. Moncado assured me that the Tydings-McDuffie Act will be revoked or modified so as to postpone the granting of independence for a number of years. I remarked that if we do not get our independence now we will never get it.

But I want to discuss the practical side. How could independence be postponed? Under the Tydings-McDuffie Act, postponement will require the approval of the Filipino people. Moncado is sure of the approval and when I asked him why he was so dead sure, he stated that Wall Street will intervene as this country is a good commercial base. He said with the influence of Wall Street, we Filipinos will have to approve postponement. Of course the insinuation is clear. Wall Street will flood the Philippines with money and use it to get the votes of the Filipinos. I also cannot agree with him. I am afraid he is out of touch with the public sentiment in the Philippines and the psychology of the Filipinos. My opinion is that the moment Wall Street interferes with Philippine affairs, whatever cause it may support will be a lost one. There will be a very strong reaction against the use of money to influence us. I want to admit, however, that Dr. Moncado is not alone in that belief. Alunan and Zulueta also believe that the Filipino people will vote for postponement, not because of the influence of Wall Street, but because the Philippines having been almost completely destroyed as a result of the war, the Filipino people will well understand that we will need America for our rehabilitation.

I cannot agree with their views and predictions. I think the Filipino people will vote against postponement of independence. I also doubt if America will be in a position to be of much help as she herself will find difficulty raising taxes and paying amortizations of her national debt. Furthermore, unless we become a part of America, she will not be interested in helping the Philippines as evidenced by the attitude of Tydings. It seems that the sacrifices made by the Filipinos, including the martyrdom of thousands upon thousands will not be sufficient to deserve the help of America. Finally, I am not convinced that we would necessarily need the help of America for our rehabilitation. It will all depend upon what kind of an economic state we wish to have. If we want our industries and agriculture to be developed in a large scale as in the past, to have many millionaires or rich men with palatial homes and many automobiles, then we must solicit the assistance of America.

But that is not my ideal setup. I wish there were more millionaires and rich men but I am not very interested in helping them. They may be able to solve their problems without any assistance. My ideal economic state is where there is no poor, where people have enough to feed themselves properly, to educate their children, and still have a little money for enjoyment. This is the ideal state; this is the condition that will free us from discontent and revolution. With such a modest program, we will not need the help of financiers with their millions. We need only funds to develop our idle lands which are abundant and fertile, to rid these areas of malaria and other diseases, to build roads to make them accessible to other towns, to subdivide them into farms and secure title for each holding, to amply finance the farmers who choose to colonize these areas during the first year or years of their colonization. Do not be miserly with them. The failure of colonies in the past has been due to the fact that the support of the government was timid and only half-way. The prospective colonist was dumped in Mindanao, and upon arrival they did not know where to go to seek help. They encountered all kinds of difficulties: malaria, lack of transportation facilities, lawsuits involving titles to the land they had cleared, etc.

What we need is a modest program by which we can uplift the masses; by which each family will be a small land proprietor. In this way, discontent and revolution cannot breed. The conservatism in Batangas where radical movements had not progressed is due to the fact that almost everybody is a land holder. With the masses happy and contented we can still build up a united and strong nation.

The other personality is Mr. Luis Taruc. He was reputed to be a Communist or Socialist. He had the reputation of being very radical. He was known to be against any government and to be ready to kill if necessary to propagate his ideals. In fact, some killings in Pampanga like that of Tapia had been attributed to him. Now he is detained here, not because he collaborated with the Japanese as the fact was that the Communists never fought with the Japanese, but because he refused to disarm his followers. I asked him what he is now. He answered that he is still a Socialist, but for the present he is abandoning socialism. He organized the United Front, the purpose of which is to work for social reforms in favor of the small men and, above all, for the independence of the Philippines. He thinks the Filipino people will vote against postponement. Regarding independence, they will accept no compromise. They will fight anybody, including Americans, if they are Imperialists. They are ready and willing to join or have an understanding with any political party or group whose platform is immediate independence. They would even submit to the leadership of others on this question. He is accompanied here by the assistant leader of their organization, Mr. Casto Alejandrino, who is also reputed as a dangerous radical. I found both of them very reasonable and very patriotic. With men like them, there is no fear of a revolution against a government which is honest and just and not run by special interest groups nor by corrupt officials who take advantage of their positions to enrich themselves—a government whose only aim and purpose is the upliftment of the masses who are undoubtedly entitled to happiness. Without discontented elements there can be no revolution.


April 29, 1945 Sunday

It was 3 o’clock in the morning; the boat started to move. We could not see anything; it was pitch black. Destination unknown.

In the dark, the events of the past days came back to me.

We left Irisan, a town about six kilometers from Baguio on April 12, 1945 headed towards Agoo, an American-captured territory in the Province of La Union. After walking four days and four nights across mountains, we arrived at Pitugan, La Union. Across the river which bordered the U.S.-liberated province, we saw our first sight of our American liberators, a group of soldiers led by a Capt. Linguist. Our happiness at seeing the Americans was such that tears streamed down our faces. “Here are our liberators!” we exclaimed.

The Captain was tall. He might not have been a handsome man but to us he was the embodiment of perfection. He shook hands with Manuel Roxas first, with Jose Yulo next, and then with me. I had shaken hands with presidents (including Roosevelt), emperors (Hirohito and Pu Yi), and princes (Prince of Wales), but I had never taken a hand with more gusto than when I shook the hand of the Captain.

Capt. Linguist was very kind and nice to us. He gave orders left and right, doing everything he could for us. The Americans helped us across the river and, although we were already in the safety zone, the Captain took all the necessary precautions; soldiers with sub-machine-guns were posted around us throughout the night while we slept before proceeding towards the town of Tubao.

Deep in our hearts we felt an unbounded feeling of gratitude. Not for a moment did it enter our minds that our liberators, for whose return we prayed fervently everyday, were going to be our incarcerators.

At 7 a.m., we started for Tubao. When we reached the town of Rizal, we were met by a military truck driven by an American. We boarded the truck and reached Tubao about 10 a.m. Here in Tubao, we saw the place where the shelling of Baguio came from. That same morning, we were taken to Aringay, to the U.S. Army Headquarters. The Americans served us lunch. For the first time since the war, we had a real American dinner with bread and butter, ham, coffee, iced tea, etc. Here we were introduced to the head of the Army operating around Baguio, Major General Carlson.

We were photographed with the General and his staff. The Filipino group was composed of Gen. Manuel Roxas, Chief Justice Jose Yulo, Minister Rafael Alunan, Minister Teofilo Sison, Minister Quintin Paredes, and myself. We were also introduced to Lt. Col. Arcing Arvey. We were asked many questions, one of which was what we thought about the postponement of Philippine independence. As the senior in our party, Mr. Yulo answered for the group—that we were opposed to the proposition. Col. Arvey asked whether we did not need time for economic readjustment. He answered, “There is no incompatibility between the two. We can have independence and economic readjustment with the help of America.”

I was elated at his response as this represented my own thoughts and sentiments. We have heard rumors that the Imperialists had sent men here—Army officers, and men in the C.I.C.—to work for the withdrawal of the independence plan. It was their plan to work through the Filipinos: they want the Filipinos themselves to petition for the postponement of independence. They cannot do it directly in America as the majority of the Americans are against imperialism. As a matter of fact, I was present in the U.S. Congress when they voted down a large appropriation for the fortification of Guam. They argued that America should pull out of the Orient. But the Imperialists want to be able to show that the Filipinos themselves do not want independence. They are absolutely wrong if they think the Filipinos will give up their lifelong desire for independence.

We stayed three days in Tubao. We were given plenty of K-rations to eat. On the morning of April 19, a car driven by an American came for us. We thought we were going to be taken to San Fabian as we were made to understand. But before we started the trip, a Capt. Donahue explained to us that we would be brought to San Fernando where he hoped we would not stay long. He was very nice and apologetic.

We were shown the April 18, 1945 issue of the Free Philippines which stated that Gen. MacArthur had announced that American liberation forces “captured four members of the collaborationists cabinet”. The article continues: “The puppet officials who fell into American hands were Jose Yulo, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Antonio de las Alas, Minister of Finance, Teofilo Sison, Minister of the Interior, and Quintin Paredes, Minister of Justice, in the quisling Laurel Cabinet.” It also quoted from the American General, “They will be confined for the duration of the war as a matter of military security and then turned over to the government of the Philippines for trial and judgment.”

We were all dumbfounded. We never expected it.

On the way to San Fernando, we passed through San Fabian, a very busy port. All roads were improved, even widened and asphalted. The roads were jammed with military vehicles, including amphibian trucks. We arrived in San Fernando and proceeded directly to the U.S. Army Headquarters. At about 3 p.m., we were told to proceed to Manila. We were not able to say goodbye to our families.

We arrived in Manila at sundown. We drove around to different places, including offices in the Government Insurance Building and the Singian house just below the Ayala Bridge. It seemed like they didn’t know where to take us. Finally, we were taken to a house in Quezon City, arriving there about 7 p.m. Since may daughter Lily, Mrs. Ambrosio Padilla, lived nearby in the San Miguel district, I asked permission to be allowed to visit her. I was rather surprised when my request was denied.

When we arrived in Quezon City, we were joined by Pedro Sabido, F. Baybay, Jose Sanvictores, Francisco Zulueta, Sergio Bayan and Proceso Sebastian. Zulueta sympathized with me; he too could not understand why I was not allowed to see Lily, especially since we spent several days in Quezon City. On April 21, Zulueta was taken ill and had to be brought to a hospital.

We expected to see Gen. Manuel Roxas who was not brought with us to Manila, but he was not among those who arrived. It is said that he was also detained but given a certain degree of freedom.

In the morning of the 24th, Ministers Claro M. Recto, Rafael Alunan and Emilio Abello, and Gen. Guillermo Francisco arrived from Baguio. Recto and Gen. Francisco were very indignant. Recto said that if he had known what was in store for him, he would have preferred to have stayed in Baguio.

Next day, Wednesday, April 25th, we were all photographed and fingerprinted. I felt humiliated. We were all bitter, and we broke into tears. Generally, however, we thought that even this forced detention was better than our situation in Baguio where we were virtual prisoners subject to the dangers of bombing, shelling, and above all massacre by the Japanese Armed Forces.

In the afternoon, we were fingerprinted and photographed again, Gen. Francisco included. The morning photographed and fingerprinting session was for the Military Policy Command; the afternoon session, for the Counter Intelligence Corps.

When we arrived in the house in Quezon City, I was interrogated by two gentlemen, a Mr. Stanford and a Mr. Hendricks. I was questioned not only about myself, but also about others in the party, and other persons. I was asked about Secretary Kalaw, Mayor Guinto, Vice Mayor Figueroa, Vicente Madrigal, Leopoldo Aguinaldo, Sergio and Nicasio Osmeña, Fiscal Mabanag and Camino Moncado. I tried to make a correct and just appraisal of them.

In the following days, from April 25 to the 27th, I was questioned repeatedly. I was asked by Mr. Hendricks and Mr. Stanford about the Philippine currency taken from banks. I prepared a statement in reply to all their questions. In my report I also mentioned about the seizure by the Japanese authorities of the Philippine National Bank funds in Baguio.

After a week of separation, I received for the first time letters from my wife and other members of my family. They arrived in Manila last Sunday, April 22. My son-in-law, Ambrosio Padilla (Paddy), and my brother-in-law, Jose Lontoc, drove all the way from Manila to Tubao to get them. My family is now staying in an “entresuelo” in the grand old house owned by Paddy’s mother located in Rodriguez Arias St. In the letter, my wife wrote that on the way to Manila, they passed by Paniqui, Tarlac, to the house of my other son-in-law, Ramon Cojuangco. Ramon confirmed the death of my daughter, Natividad (Neny). I became almost desperate. When we were taken to the U.S. Headquarters in La Union we met some friends from Manila who were officers of the USAFFE. One of them was Major Nakpil who told me of Neny’s death. Before this, I refused to believe it.

My eldest daughter, Lily, and her family were all in good health. I have a new grandson, born during the battle for liberation of Manila. I have two grandchildren now, the other being Josie.

I also learned about the burning of all our houses. But we would have preferred to lose all if only Neny could have been saved.

Mr. Stanford is a very friendly and understanding gentleman. He promised to do all he could for us. He is a Republican and freely expressed his opinion. Naturally, he opposed many of Roosevelt’s policies. Among other things, he said that all allied nations must be made to defray the expenses of the war.

The next morning, we were all happy, having heard from our families and knowing that they were back safely in Manila. At about 11 a.m., an American Lieutenant came to advise that we were leaving at 12:30 p.m. All of us became very sad. We did not know our destination. I tried to get permission to be allowed to go to the house of the Padillas because it was just nearby. My request was denied. At 1 o’clock, a harsh looking Captain came in a big truck. We were ordered to board the truck. The Captain followed us in a jeep. We were escorted by American guards with rifles. We were told not to talk to anybody.

The truck headed for Quezon Boulevard, and when it turned right on Azcarraga St., we all thought we were being taken to the Bilibid Prison. But we drove by the Bilibid Prison and went straight along Azcarraga St. to the North Port. We heard the Captain asking for directions to Pier 8. We were lost for a while; we even went beyond Tondo Church. Finally, we got to Pier 8.

We were left in the open truck for two hours with the sun blazing down on us. We could have been allowed to leave the truck to be in a shady place since the whole place was under the control of the Army. Here we got an inkling of what kind of treatment was in store for us. The Filipinos around who apparently recognized us, looked at us with sympathetic eyes. Apparently, the delay was due to the fact that we waited for the four trucks loaded with prisoners from Bilibid Prison. Among the prisoners we recognized Gov. S. Aquino of the 3rd District, Gov. Urquico of Tarlac, Hilario Camino Moncado and Francisco C. de la Rama. Later, we found out that the two leaders of the Hukbalahap, Luis Taruc and Casto Alejandrino, were also with them.

At about 3 o’clock, we were ordered to board a landing barge. Gov. P. Sebastian had a heavy load, so I helped him. The barge took us to a boat of 7,000 tons capacity named Lewis Morris. We were ordered to go down to the hold of the ship. It was here where we found out that there were many other detainees, about a hundred of us. We were herded in a place too small for us—crammed in the boat’s hold, about 20 by 20 meters. It was hot. We howled in protest. Overhead, someone removed the wooden trapdoor. It became a little cooler. We were all very thirsty. Moncado saved the situation by managing to go up on deck. How he did it is still a mystery to us. I surmised that he used a human pyramid to reach the opening. He was away for a very long time and we feared that he had been caught. To our surprise and jubilation, he appeared and handed down buckets of water to us.

All expressed indignation. We did not deserve such a treatment. Recto said if he was assured that his family would be taken care of, he would rather die. Gen. Francisco said that after having served the Philippines and America, he could not understand why he was being thus treated. Yulo, the coolest headed among us, said, “I will never allow an American to cross the threshold of my house.”

Later, we learned unofficially that we were going to the Iwahig Penal Colony.

We were served breakfast at 9 a.m. At about 11 a.m., the boat stopped. We were allowed to go up on deck. The air was very refreshing. We saw a convoy of over 50 ships.

We were only allowed on deck for one hour after breakfast. Lunchtime came; we were very hungry. No lunch. After 2 o’clock we were told that we were to be given only two meals a day. Then at 4 o’clock, we were told we could go up on deck again for one hour. Finally, at 5 o’clock, they served us our supper of canned salmon. It was abundant.


August 3, 1942

The subjects discussed during the Rejuvenation Training Seminar type of lectures were varied, relevant, interesting to me although dismissed by most as “brain washers.” I wish I was able to keep records but the Japanese are so logistically poor to provide us even bare pencils and paper. So far, so many prominent Japanese and Phil officials had spoken to us, among them were Claro M. Recto and Jose P. Laurel. Hilario Moncado and wife, Diana Toy also came to entertain us. I noted Japanese speakers were careful not to offend the POWs even referring to us as excellent examples of Malayan soldiery the manner we fought in Bataan. One Jap Gen. said, “Being orientals, we should not have been at war. The Americans used you as pawns. Look at the comparatively few American POWs compared to Filipinos. Most Americans escaped to Australia.” And one Japanese official brought the subject of discrimination, how Filipinos are only paid half what their American counterparts are getting yet they belong to same unit. Why the Phil was only using obsolete P-26 planes while the Americans are using the new P-40. The harshest words I heard was from a Jap General whose unit was apparently wiped out during the battle of the Points in Bataan. He said, “Why forbear what was difficult to forbear. It would have been easier for us to subject you to wholesale extermination instead of being magnanimous now. This, I leave to you who understand the basics of humanity.”

The “Bamboo Mail” of Malolos operated by Judge Roldan is still operational with Mrs. Cuenca as chief courier. Today I received a letter dated last Jul 25 from my mother via the Bamboo Mail delivered by Ms Lulu Reyes from Mrs.Cuenca. The good news is Plaridel is back to normal with my uncle Jose Mariano, the elected mayor assuming leadership again. My mother also said that she took my wife Lucy to live with her in our ancestral home in Plaridel as she is due to deliver our first child anytime now.


March 21, 1942 – Saturday

Today is San Benito, my late father’s feast day. I asked an Philippine Army Chaplain to say mass at Detrick’s hotel. I took Communion.

During the morning I visited the military camp and the buildings destroyed by the aerial bombardment of December 20th.

In the afternoon I visited the Moncado Colony. Quite a sight. At the right of the main entrance there is a concrete boat representing Noah’s Arc with the statue of Mr. Lorenzo Reyes, Moncado’s assistant piloting it. Inside are two animals of each kind, a pig feeding 10 little pigs and a man killing a pig to make the proverbial lechon.

After the main entrance one finds the statue of Moncado in cap and gown and in a cement plate underneath is his biography. It states that Moncado was sent by his father to India at the early age of six years and graduated there at the age of nine with the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Kabala. One year later he obtained the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Numerical Science and a little later the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Human Nature. At the age of 14 was appointed Professor in that Indian School. In the walls around the monument are written the speeches delivered by him before the National Convention and other occasions. The people working in the colony do not get any salary and are happy to work free for Moncado. I saw his bedroom and adjoining rooms finely decorated.

I spoke to Mrs. Quezon and asked her advice. I told her I believed my duty was to remain in the Philippines with my men. She disapproved and said the life of President more important.