September 8, 1945, Saturday

We took our breakfast at 5:00 o’clock. At 6:00 o’clock we were on our way to the airport. I could not explain why when we parted from each other most of us were silent and in tears. It was probably because we were not so optimistic as to what will be done to us in Manila. Or perhaps it was the result of about five months of paternal association among us. We arrived at the airport at about 8:00 o’clock due to the bad roads and stops caused by defects in the truck engine. The airport is near the town of Puerto Princesa itself. As we left the barracks and the colony itself, we felt something for these places that was hard to explain as they were the scene of our martyrdom for our beloved country.

At the airport we got a good glimpse of the might of the United States. There were countless B24’s which we saw in action in Manila and in Baguio, and B29’s which devastated and crippled Japan. We became more convinced that Japan had absolutely no chance.

We left the airport at about 8:30 a.m. in 24-seat transport of a line called “Atabrine”. It reminded us of the daily doze of Atabrine pills we took in Iwahig to protect ourselves against malaria. After going over countless small islands we arrived in Manila at about 10:45. There was nobody to receive us. Our guards had to telephone for trucks. One truck arrived at about 12:30 p.m.; we had been waiting impatiently on account of the extreme heat. The truck was small and one-half of it had to be filled up with our baggage. We had to be crammed in the small remaining space. The trip was as bad as when we were herded in a hold in a boat on our way to Iwahig. As we reached the main Manila South Road, and we turned left, it became clear to us that we were going to be incarcerated at the New Bilibid at Muntinglupa.

We arrived at this place at about 3 o’clock. There we were met by Minister Tirona, Mayor Guinto, Vice Minister Pedrosa and others. Later we met Don Miguel Unson.


September 7, 1945, Friday

Yesterday I began to pack. Everybody was surprised as they knew that I had also become a pessimist. I told them we were going before next Sunday. Zulueta inquired, “On what do you base your opinion we are leaving soon?” I reasoned out that I expect MacArthur would turn us over to the Commonwealth immediately after the signing of the surrender document which took place on the 2nd instant. After assuming jurisdiction, I was very sure the Commonwealth would take prompt action to release us outright or under bail. I was sure that our government would not presume 119 guilty or at least afford us ample opportunity to defend ourselves. The only way to do that is by releasing us under bail in the meanwhile. Nobody seemed to take my hunch seriously.

This morning we woke up full of pessimism and gloom. Even the heavens seemed to decree our fate as it was dark and raining. Not one expected this would be a memorable day. We engaged in our usual activities with despondent demeanor, especially Mr. Zulueta. At about 11:05 a.m. here comes Lieutenant Straddling with his usual solemn attitude. After passing the gate, his face suddenly brightened. He was all smiles. We knew at once he was bringing some news. We were all breathless. We have received so much disappointment that nobody dared to predict favorable news. But when he was near us, he broke the news. Thirty of us were to be taken to Manila the next day. There was no general rejoicing as everybody was afraid that he would not be included among the 30 and nobody knew what the fate of those left behind would be. All listened attentively to the calling of the names. Everyone called burst in joy. After the reading of the names everyone scampered for the list to be sure his name was called or his name was not called. The Lieutenant stopped all chagrin when he announced that we would all be taken to Manila, by groups of about 30 persons in three planes.

We hardly slept that night. We were so excited, kept conversing. We built castles in the air. We remembered our dear ones. We would again enjoy liberty and taste the happiness of being with our family. We began to dream of plans for the future. We remembered and repeated the jokes. Many times we yelled, “Ilaw!”, the joke we played whenever we wanted the light to be put out or whenever we wished noisy or talkative fellows to shut up. We began yelling: “Gil! Cafe, chocolate!” Gil is the tall Spaniard we used to mistake for a “Bombay” because he wears a turban once in a while, who prepares coffee or chocolate for us every afternoon or early in the morning. But at about two o’clock, probably because of the intense excitement, we all fell asleep. At about 3:00 o’clock, we were awakened by noises from heavy steps and the “cocinillas” (small stoves) and pans. It was Gil preparing the coffee. Not knowing it was Gil, everyone began to yell, “Ilaw!” Gil answered that he was preparing coffee. How could it be — it was only 3:00 o’clock! We were not expected to take our breakfast until 5:00 o’clock. But Gil insisted that it was already after 4:00 o’clock. We all consulted our timepieces. It was clear his watch had stopped. We could no longer sleep. We stayed awake in our cots until about 4:00 o’clock when we got up and prepared for the day.


September 6, 1945, Thursday

I wrote a letter to my wife, congratulating her on the occasion of her birthday on September 9. How painful! This is the first time I will not be with her on her birthday.

I also told her to have Paddy and Monching arrange my bail so that when I arrive in Manila, I shall not stay long in jail.

We live on hope. All kinds of rumors are circulating about our departure. There is no definite news as yet. What must be happening?


September 5, 1945, Wednesday

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

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

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

* * * * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The alternatives from which to select were the following:

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

(b) Organization of a Republic. Immediately rejected.

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

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

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

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

We afterwards discussed the following:

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

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

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


September 4, 1945, Tuesday

According to the radio, the occupation of Japan by the American Army was proceeding smoothly. The General Headquarters was established in Yokohama. MacArthur lives at the Summer Residence of the Emperor near Tokyo. (I forgot to state that the Chief of Staff of the Japanese Army, Gen. Umeozu also signed the surrender document. We met him in Manchukuo. He seemed to be a very kind man.) A big combined Navy is now in Japanese waters and American soldiers are pouring into Japan.

Pu Yi, the Emperor of Manchoukuo, is reported to have abdicated. He once gave us a banquet in his Palace at Heinking.

At about ten o’clock, Lt. Hagonberg came. It turned out that he was visiting Dean Bocobo. The latter is very much depressed and always thinks he is seriously ill and dying. The doctors and all of us think that his nerves were all shattered as a result of our unjust and unnecessary detention. Hagonberg was trying to comfort him. He told Bocobo to have patience; that he will soon be out; that the only difficulty now was transportation. Before he left, the Lieutenant talked to many of us, especially Recto. Among other things he said: “It is a shame how you have been treated this way. Any person in whose heart justice and humanity throb will feel the same indignation.”

After midnight, Bocobo again began moaning and calling, stating that he was dying. By the way, he had not been sleeping for many days. He was calling repeatedly for a doctor. Dr. Luz, a few beds away, went to his aid. But Bocobo kept yelling, “I want a doctor.” The Lieutenant and Dr. Bunye came. Dr. Bunye said there was nothing the matter with him. We fear he has lost his mind.


September 3, 1945, Monday

General Yamashita, the Japanese Commander-in-Chief in the Philippines, surrendered with thousands of his men in Baguio in the presence of Lt. Gen. Wainright. He was immediately confined in New Bilibid in Manila and will be tried as a war criminal. Under him, thousands and thousands of Filipinos, including my own daughter and brother-in-law, were massacred. He should be made, to atone for it. He should commit harakiri.

While on the way to luncheon a discussion ensued as to the retaking of the Philippines by MacArthur. With the exception of Alunan, all those who expressed themselves were of the opinion that the loss of over a billion pesos and the death of probably 200,000 Filipinos might have been avoided if the Philippines had not been retaken; that it was absolutely unnecessary since with America’s control of air and sea, better equipment, and the atomic bomb, Japan could have been brought to her knees by direct attack on Japan. But MacArthur, according to them, was ambitious. He desired to erase the blot on his record caused by his defeat in Bataan and Corregidor, and his escape from Corregidor. He said that he would return. And he wished to make good his word. The trouble was that in his effort to recover the Philippines, millions worth of properties and thousands of Filipino lives were sacrificed. Recto remarked: “MacArthur has destroyed the Philippines.” (“MacArthur ha destruido Filipinas.”)

In the afternoon, the Provincial Treasurer, Arcilla, came with letters for us. He first asked us to sign the receipt for the letters. We were very excited; we thought that it was an order for our release. It was a resolution presented by Rep. Magalona petitioning MacArthur to release us under bail. We appreciated it as we know Magalona had the best of intentions. But we all agreed that it was a foolish resolution. How can MacArthur grant us bail? The petition should have been to immediately turn us over to the Commonwealth, especially since there was already a plan for the disposition of our cases.


August 30, 1945, Thursday

Taruc and Alejandrino left this morning.

It is reported that there is terrible inflation in Manila. Prices, especially of foodstuffs, are very high. Rice, for instance, is reported cost 200 pesos. There must be a great deal of suffering. How can employees live on the salaries they generally receive? And it seems that nothing is being done to combat inflation. At least we have not read of any. On the contrary, it seems that reckless spending and speculation are being tolerated. War always brings inflation. It is because of the enormous expenditures that have to be made in connection with the war effort. Inflation is caused by over circulation or by the fact that the money circulating cannot be absorbed by production and the requirements of business. It cannot entirely be eliminated but it can be minimized.

There are many measures that can be taken for the purpose. The first step is to go into the source of money — and this is the large expenditures for the Army and Navy in the Philippines. Steps can be adopted in this connection as I am sure the Americans will be willing to help and to cooperate. During the Japanese regime this was inpossible as they ignored absolutely any request for their assistance. Japanese companies and even individuals compelled the sale to them of Filipino businesses, and they invested lavishly in almost everything. Necessarily, the circulation became so enormous that the purchasing power of the military notes went as low as 1 peso for 500 to 1000 military notes. The U.S. Army and Navy can help very much absorbing a good portion of the payments made by them. The soldiers could be made to send more money home or to invest in government bonds, etc.

Since the inflation is a result of under-production and of the fact that businesses can not absorb the money in circulation, no effort should be spared to increase our agricultural and industrial production. Likewise, our commerce must be increased. Every incentive should be given to normalize and develop business. In this connection, the Filipino merchants should be given encouragement as much as possible. To increase production and facilitate the movement of commodities, transportation and communications must be restored and improved. Sufficient trucks should be assigned to the sources of production. Boats should be secured at once to resume the inter-island intercourse.

When there is inflation every conceivable means must be adopted to curb and regulate prices. When there is a big demand and very little supply, the prices increase and if there is no limit prescribed or stock limits are not enforced, prices soar to heights that most people cannot reach. Foodstuffs specially must be controlled. Our experience during the Japanese regime was that rice affected prices immeasurably; it practically regulated prices. Every time the cost of rice went up, prices of all other commodities and services followed. When a market vendor increased his price, he alleged that he has to pay more for his rice. When a “cochero” increased his fare, he alleged that he has to pay more for his rice. The worst sufferers, the employees, demanded better salaries and those demands had to be granted. But everytime increases were made, more money circulated and the result was the worsening of inflation — a vicious circle.

The best remedy is to enable the employees to acquire essential commodities at reasonable prices. They are more interested in acquiring what they need to live rather than cash which cannot buy what they need. House rents must also be regulated. But we must not be unreasonable about this. During the Japanese regime landlords were treated rawly. Rents were fixed at not more than 75% of pre-war rents. Most landlords suffered, especially those who belonged to the middle class with a fixed income. The worst feature of this order of rent control was that the order did not apply to houses and buildings newly rented which were rented out at exhorbitant rates. But the present landlords must not be allowed to charge very high.

Another necessary measure is the control of banks, insurance and other companies that receive and invest funds. Banks should be required to have a larger reserve so as to tie up a good portion of the money. Their investments should be controlled. Under no circumstances should money for speculation businesses be allowed. On the other hand, all investments which will increase production or which will develop business should be encouraged. Wisely managed, this may be a very effective measure against inflation.

Also, efforts should be made to import commodities for trade. The purpose is to increase commerce and thus more circulation can be absorbed. Arrangements must be sought so that more bottoms could be assigned to the Philippines.

Another hedge against inflation is taxation. Big incomes must be taxed higher than the ordinary so as to withdraw more money from circulation or speculation. Higher taxes should also be imposed on speculative enterprises. On the other hand, the taxes on production and transportation enterprises should not be increased.

Another means against inflation is the issuance of bonds. Every effort should be made to make the people save money by investing in bonds. Unlike previous sale of bonds purchases by banks, insurance companies and other investment enterprises should not be emphasized. Instead, the public in general should be invited to invest to the limit. But if the proceeds of the sale of bonds will be circulated again, then we gain nothing. They should be impounded and if spent, they must be invested in production enterprises or in the construction or reconstruction of public buildings and other permanent improvements.

When there is inflation the laborers and other persons rendering services do not suffer very much. It is because they can charge for their services as much as might be needed by them to live. A “cochero”, for instance, can increase his fare if necessary to live.

There are other measures that can be taken to combat inflation.

As to whether inflation is highly undesirable, there are some differences of opinion. Some contend that it is desirable. The great majority of economists, however, hold the opposite view. There is no doubt that it benefits debtors. It is heaven for debtors. Producers are also generally benefited. The only trouble is that they seldom learn the lessons taught by previous inflations. They generally expand greatly, and when depression comes, and depression generally follows at the wake of inflation, they find themselves with equipment and facilities that they have to scrap. They find that they cannot continue their business at the same pace without leading themselves to insolvency.

But there is no doubt that inflation is a curse, and evil which must be combatted with decision and energy. The great majority of the people suffer from it and if allowed to go unchecked the whole economy of the country will be dislocated.


August 29, 1945, Wednesday

Taruc and Alejandrino, the two communists or ex-communits and Hukbulahaps, were notified yesterday that they were leaving for Manila today. This morning they left by plane. We noticed that they left with a heavy heart and we felt exactly the same. Those two men have won the friendship and admiration of all of us. As friends and comrades they are as good as anybody can be. The impression they left is just the reverse of what they were pictured to us before. They were not quarrelsome, cruel and bloodthirsty as they were reputed to be. On the contrary, they are suave in manner, sociable and know how to get along with others. We do not know whether they have modified their views, but several interviews with them have convinced us that they are not the radical men who would forcibly deprive all the citizens of their right over their property. They harbor no ill-feeling or prejudice against the capitalists. They only insist that the masses be given such social protection and opportunity to enable them to live decently. They hate a dictatorial government; they will die for democracy. They are highly patriotic; they love their country above everything. They assured us that there would be no compromise as regards Philippine independence. They will fight even the Americans if they deny us our right to freedom. They are very willing to join hands with us in everything that would help our country and our people. They do not know what is in store for them. We hope that they will be released outright. They are not so optimistic, however. They fear that they will again be requested to surrender their arms numbering about 20,000 rifles and other arms. They were requested to donate these weapons to the Philippine Army for the reason that our Army had no money to buy arms. They refused. Before leaving they told us that they would not compel their men to turn in their arms. Let them do so on their own free will. They will remain in prison if necessary to uphold their views. Or they may be tried for some other cause. They are not collaborationists in the sense that they served or in any way were connected with the Japanese for the truth was that they fought the Japanese. They, therefore, should not have been placed among us. Perhaps the Americans prefer to dispose of their cases before the government is turned over completely to the Commonwealth.

Taruc and Alejandrino returned as they were not able to catch the plane this morning. They are scheduled to leave tomorrow.

Tonight the Class B quarters were inspected and searched. The Lieutenant found clothes supposed to have been stolen from the Supply Office. Some internees are implicated. They did not search the Class A quarters. Had they done so, they would have a large quantity of clothes, shoes, etc. which belong to the Army. These were acquired through donation or purchase. The Captain and the Lieutenant asked us to cooperate with them. I suppose what they were really saying was that they expect us not to receive or buy hereafter. They happened to see the Navy shoes of Arsenio Luz. They confiscated the shoes.

Recto is found to be positive for malaria. We are all scared as so many of us are already suffering from that sickness, we fear that if we remain here for a few weeks more we will all contract the disease.

My son Tony tried to land a job. He failed. He could not find a job — in some places, the employers expressed fear when they found out he bears my name. The Spaniards say, “No hay hien que formal no venga,” meaning that sometimes some good comes out of evil. Not being able to find employment, Tony was compelled to engage in business and he is quite successful. He makes enough money to support my family. He has already proven that he is an able merchant since during the Japanese regime he was also quite successful in business. After all, I am very happy that he did not become an employee. During inflation one of the worst sufferers are those with fixed income like the employees. But even under normal conditions I do not wish my sons to be employed, especially in the government service. There is too much injustice and disappointment. I have seen enough to dislike the public service. Furthermore, there is no future in government employment unless one is very lucky, as in my case. In so far as civic spirit is concerned, a person can also serve his country outside the public service. A merchant or a farmer serves his country just as much as politician, a government official or employee.


August 28, 1945, Tuesday

Our life within this prison is very monotonous. We do the same thing and see the same things everyday. Once in a while, however, there is great excitement. This is due to occasional fights among the internees. Yesterday, one whom we call Mike and the young boy internee fought and the former emerged from the fight with a broken nose. Today, Spaniard Gil had a scrap with a couple of internees. Gil suffered various contusions on the body. I think the fights are caused by restlessness; we have very little to do now and we are always in a nervous state because of our situation.

The construction of the new camp had definitely been suspended. This is undoubtedly due to the fact that soon we will be leaving this place.

We are still here. The delay in our departure is probably caused by the postponement of the signing of the surrender document from Friday to Sunday, September 2. Bad weather affected the preparation for the landing in Japan by American troops. The document is scheduled to be signed on board the dreadnought Missouri.

The delay was also due to lack of transportation. There are too many of us to go by plane. And there is yet no boat passing through Puerto Princesa. The Mactan expected here left Manila on the 26th and it has to pass through various other ports. At any rate, we expect to be out of this place by next week.