July 31, 1945 Tuesday

Yesterday, I received a long letter from my wife containing plenty of news.

Immediately after the occupation of Manila, Gen. Maeda, Chief of Staff of the Army of Occupation, sent a message to Vargas, then Mayor and a ranking Member of the Cabinet, giving instructions that a governmental organization be created to carry out the policy of the Japanese contained in a proclamation issued by Gen. Homma, Commander in Chief, par. 3 of which provides:

The authorities and the people of the Commonwealth should sever the relations with the United States of America and trust the just and fair administration of the Army, obeying faithfully all its commands, cooperating voluntarily with it in its stationing and activities here and supplying military supplies when asked.

In his inaugural address at the opening session of the First Congress of Philippines on June 9, 1945, Speaker Jose Zulueta quoted the declaration of prominent people (34) assembled at the house of Speaker Yulo in response to Gen. Maeda’s orders.

In response to the Message of Your Excellency as Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial Japanese Forces, on the 8th of January 1942, through Hon. Jorge B. Vargas, we have duly taken note of the contents thereof and respectfully express our gratitude for your Excellency’s words of solicitude over the welfare of our people.

We beg to inform Your Excellency that, in compliance with your advice, and having in mind the great ideals, the freedom and the happiness of our country, we are ready to obey to the best of our ability and within the means at our disposal the orders issued by the Imperial Japanese Forces for the maintenance of peace and order and the promotion of the well-being of our people under the Japanese military administration. Consequently, we have constituted ourselves into a provisional Philippine Council of State and we are immediately proceeding to draft our Articles of Organization in line with your Excellency’s advice.

I am not sure that the above is the exact text of the letter we signed. I took notes of all that happened and what were said in the meetings held in the house of Speaker Yulo, but unfortunately I lost them all when my house was burned.

I recollect very distinctly that we drafted and redrafted our answer many times. In the original draft instead of “advice” in the second paragraph it was “order”, we wanted to make the people know that we did not voluntarily offer our services, but that we were ordered to organize some form of administration. Our proposition was not accepted by the Japanese and we had to accept “advice” as a substitute. Instead of the “great ideals” and “freedom”, we used “independence” in the original. It will be remembered that from the very beginning we did not want to accept anything unless the independence of our country was assured. Without such assurance we were prepared to suffer whatever consequences our refusal may bring. The Japanese, on the other hand, did not want anything inserted referring to our independence. But in view of our insistence, they communicated with Tokyo for instructions. Tokyo apparently agreed to our demands; in fact, on the 21st of January, Premier Tojo delivered a speech before the Diet which, among other things, announced their policy of granting our independence upon compliance of certain conditions. The authorities, insisted in the use of “grand ideals” and “freedom”. Upon an inquiry, however, this was clarified to mean independence.

The inaugural speech of Speaker Zulueta was pronounced unanimously as an excellent speech. It showed that Mr. Zulueta has matured to statesman. His defense of the collaborators was superb. His statement of facts, however, was not exactly correct. We did not immediately constitute ourselves as Council of State. The meetings in the house of Speaker Yulo were informal. Those who attended were called by the Speaker to consider the order of the Japanese Military authorities. The statement in our answer about constituting ourselves into a provisional Council of State was the first mention of any Council of State, and as may be seen, it was only provisional and had yet to be approved by the Japanese military administration.

A newspaper has published that persons close to official circles have given the news that “small collaborationists” may be released when the Japanese pockets still in existence in the Philippines are wiped out, inasmuch as military security could no longer be endangered. “Big collaborationists” like members of the Cabinet of the last Republic, will be detained during the duration of the war, but they may be released upon the guarantee of the Philippine government.

To me, this is not good news. Why should there be any distinction between big and small? Insofar as military security is concerned, the small collaborationists are just as dangerous, if not more dangerous, than the big collaborationists.

The guarantee required of the Philippine government will place us in the vortex of politics. We will be placed into the hands of politicians. This is precisely what I have been fearing. I fear that our release or continuation under detention would depend upon whether it will favor or prejudice the political aspirations of the official concerned.

In connection with our letter mentioned previously, it should be added that we purposely used the word “obey” in order to indicate that we were being ordered, thereby attaining the purpose we had in wishing to use the word “order” in the first part of the second paragraph.

On July 25, 1945, there was a Reuter’s dispatch from Washington, substantially saying as follows: Senator Albert Chandler (Democrat, Kentucky) and a member of the Senate Military Affairs Committee told Reuter today, “I shall make use of the Senate Debate on the ratification of the San Francisco Charter to bring to the attention of my colleagues the question of the political future of India.

“I have studied with great care the reference in the Charter to dependent territories, and I would like to clarify the position that India would occupy in this new world organization.

“The Charter promises ultimate independence to all countries and I would like to know what steps can be taken by the new organization to bring about India’s complete freedom and independence.”

The Senate voted against the United States’ participation in Pres. Wilson’s League of Nations. This time the participation in the new league was approved and thus commits America to full-scale cooperation in the New World order. There are many causes of the failure of the former League of Nations. To me, one of them which I consider one of the main causes, is the failure to draw in the United States. Any world organization without the United States cannot endure. This is not only because of the greatness and importance of the United States among nations but also because she has assumed a virtual protectorate of the North and South American continents. This protectorate will extend to the Philippines.

I have already commented on the San Francisco World Charter insofar as its provisions referring to dependent peoples are concerned. I criticized this provision for not being clear and specific enough. There should not be the least doubt that the Charter will insure independence to small states and dependent peoples. Colonization must be eliminated for all time. This is necessary, not only to prevent wars between two or more nations, but also to avoid revolutions, rebellions, massacres, or just individual cases of killing, imprisonment or political persecution. If this policy had been implanted about the middle of the 17th century, there would not have occurred the American revolution; there would not have been recorded the many bloody revolutions of South American countries; we would not have suffered on account of our revolution against Spain. Rebellions of dependent peoples have caused death and untold suffering of a great number of people. Massacres, like that of Amritzar, India, have taken place because of the libertarian movements on the part of the people. How many lives have been lost for the cause of liberty! How many have languished in Britain for heading or championing separatist or liberal movements! How many have been deported, banished from the country that has given them life, and separated from their dear ones! All these horrors must be prevented at all costs.

* * * * *

            Autograph hunting continues. To Dr. Lanuza, I said: “Together we shall be up to the end of the journey.” What I mean is that having suffered together we shall be united in all efforts to win our vindication and to serve our country.

To Mr. Carmona: “I shall never forget the days when we together shared equally the joys and sorrows of life. This has cemented the friendship which binds me with you.”


July 25, 1945 Wednesday

Autograph hunting continues. This time from Mr. Prospero Baluyot. I wrote, “Acquaintance galvanized by suffering is always enduring. This is one of the benefits we have derived from our confinement here. Therefore, be assured, Mr. Baluyot, that our friendship will be everlasting.”

Ramos is circulating that Russia had given an ultimatum to Japan to surrender to the United Nations within 72 hours. It is said also rumored that Japan has surrendered unconditionally. The Colonel and the Lieutenant deny that these rumors are true.


July 23, 1945 Monday

The newspapers bring two pieces of news; one elated us, and the other alarmed us.

The first seems to indicate an early end of the war. United Press reports in New York that the United States government administration is taking steps to draft the United States unconditional surrender terms. New York Herald Tribune states that the possible terms as reported from reliable sources are the following: (1) Return of all territories seized by force; (2) Complete destruction of Japanese fleet and air force; (3) Dismantling of all shipbuilding facilities capable of turning out air crafts and munitions; (4) Japan will not be invaded, only a token “supervisory force” will be sent to Japan; (5) Japan is to retain her form of government, including the Emperor, and to manage her own political, economic and social affairs; and (6) Japan may be supplied with iron, coal, oil and other resources needed for civilian use.

Some parts of the above terms need clarification. For instance, what shall be done with Manchuria, Korea and Formosa?

If I were Japan, I would grab peace under the above terms. Japan is already beaten. With the hundreds of superfortresses, her annihilation or almost complete destruction is assured. Furthermore, due to her own fault, her dream of union among the countries of Greater East Asia has been blasted. Because of her record in these countries, it will take a century before her nationals will be welcomed in these countries. Not only did she disqualify herself to be the leader of any union to be organized here, but she will probably not even be admitted until she shows that she can treat other people as civilized people do. China may want to be the leader. If Manchuria and Formosa are returned to her, she will be the strongest nation in the world and may even dominate the world. The Chinese are not only good businessmen, but they have also shown themselves to be good soldiers. But they were also shown to be cruel at times. I believe that for the safety of the Orient, China be divided into at least three nations: North and South China, and Manchuria.

It is rumored that in Washington these terms for surrender were received with general approval.

The above news must be related to other news. It is reported that Russia is acting as intermediary and that Stalin took with him to Berlin the surrender terms, evidently to submit them to the Conference between him, Truman and Churchill. Another news item is that before the Russian delegation left for Berlin, the Japanese Ambassador Sato, had a conference with Foreign Commissar of Foreign Affairs Molotov and with the Vice-Commissar.

Something must be in the offing. All of us expect or at least hope that termination of the war will come.

Today, our stock prices have reached the highest level.

The alarming news is that the feud in Manila seems to be impossible to patch up. It is growing worse to the dismay and disappointment of the Filipino people.

Roxas is reported to have stated that the administration of Osmeña “smacks of dictatorship”. He reiterated his criticism of the elimination of judiciary officials, army men and civil service employees without following the processes provided by law for their separation. He also cites blunders being committed by the administration. “Take for instance eggs,” he said. “The price fixed is 3 centavos per egg, whereas the price at sources is 4 centavos. The hen will not even care to lay eggs.”

It should be remembered that the Committee on Appointments returned the appointment of the seven justices appointed by Osmeña. This is tantamount to disapproval. It was suggested that the Court of Appeals abolished by Osmeña be revived. Instead, Osmeña reappointed the seven justices in defiance of the apparent desire of the Committee.

The Senate of the United States Congress has approved the Bretton Woods monetary agreement, approved by representatives of 44 countries. The agreement provides for the establishment of an international bank with a capital of $9,100,000,000 to make or guarantee loans for rehabilitation and economic development. It also provides for a fund of $8,800,000,000 as monetary fund for stabilizing the currency exchange rate of participant countries. The participation of the United States will be $5,900,000,000 in the proposed $17,900,000,000, divided thus: $3,175,000,000 for bank’s capital and $2,750,000,000 for the exchange stabilization fund.

The approval of the agreement in the United States Congress seems certain.

This Agreement is of far-reaching effect. We must be a member of it. As one of the countries needing funds for rehabilitation, we should secure from the fund what we need for the purpose. The exchange question will also he vastly simplified. I suppose the bank will also act as a sort of clearing house.


July 21, 1945 Saturday

This is inspection day. We prepared our bed, baggage, everything. My family will be surprised at how well I can arrange my things. This is one of the many good things we have learned here. The bed cover is neatly folded, the mosquito net properly placed. Our mess kit and toilet articles, all very shiny, are meticulously arranged on our bed. It is a pleasure to see them.

After the inspection, Col. Gilfilan suddenly appeared in our quarters and engaged Minister Paredes in conversation. As usual, whenever he comes we get jitterly expecting that he was going to give us hell. After the appropriate preliminaries, they proceeded to discuss our case. Evidently, the Colonel had already submitted our letter to General MacArthur. He added that he had other papers about us but he had not seen our memorandum submitted to Mr. Stanford of the C.I.C. As reported by Mr. Paredes the conversation is substantially as follows:

The Colonel came prejudiced against us. Like others, he thought we had willingly collaborated with the Japanese, committed acts constituting treason to our country, and harbored anti-American feelings.

Paredes related how we happened to be in the service during the Japanese regime. He said that under the circumstances, we could not possibly do otherwise unless we wanted to endanger the lives of our people. We need not wait for guns to be pointed at us. The Japanese did not hesitate to arrest, punish and even kill. The people were unprotected. Furthermore, there was the danger of the administration falling into the hands of real pro-Japanese men like Ricarte, or of irresponsible rascals, like Benigno Ramos. These men had acted before and during the Japanese occupation as spies. They had not only baited the Japanese to commit atrocities but had no hesitation themselves to rob, abuse and even kill. This was the situation. We had to choose between inaction or action, hiding in the mountains or acceptance of the office which placed us in a position to protect or serve our people as best we could. We harbored no illusions about it but we preferred to take our chances to see what we could do for our people. We feel we did a satisfactory job. So many were killed; more than 500,000 people died because of Japanese brutality. But what would have happened if we did not accept? Knowing now what the Japanese are capable of, it will not be an exaggeration to say that at least one fourth of our population would have perished.

The Colonel nodded with approval. But evidently there were many doubts lingering in his mind. He asked why the Republic declared war against the United States. Paredes explained. He said that even before the inauguration of the Republic, Pres. Laurel was called to Tokyo where Premier Tojo himself expressed their desire for the Philippines to declare war against the United States and Great Britain. The Japanese Premier was very insistent. Laurel boldly refused. He spoke with frankness. He reasoned out that it would not be decent for us to declare war against the United States. The reasoning of Laurel was so sound that the Filipinos present, Aquino and Vargas, were astounded. No publication was ever made of the incident, but rumors about the incident rapidly spread and the people admired his courage. Tojo did not compel Laurel, but the Japanese never gave up on the idea. Every time there was a propitious occasion, the Commander-in-Chief and other generals spoke to the President about the declaration of war.

But the most serious request was when U.S. air attacks on Davao began. It should be remembered that there was a Pact of Alliance between the Philippines and Japan. The Japanese invoked the provisions of the Treaty.

A word about this treaty must be said. It was a treaty of Amity and Alliance. It was given wide publicity by the Japanese; they presented it as an outright alliance. The full document was never published. It was really a unilateral agreement. Whereas Japan had to fight for us, we were not under any obligation to help or fight with them. But of course, lest our true colors be discovered, we accepted that if the Philippines were attacked, we would defend our territory. In the case of Davao, Laurel did not consider it a threat to our territorial integrity, so he did not declare war. He promulgated, however, a proclamation declaring martial law. He thought this would satisfy the Japanese, but it did not — they kept requesting that formal declaration of war be made. American air bombardment of Manila took place on the 21st of September 1944. The Commanding General and the Ambassador saw the President and insisted on a declaration of war. We had special meetings of the Cabinet and secretly we planned what to do. It was evident that the members of the Cabinet were against it, and almost all the assemblymen. So were the members of the Council of State composed of Chief Justice Avanceña as Chairman, and Messrs. Miguel Unson, Pedro Aunario, Ramon Fernandez and Jose Paez. Even the President himself was not in favor. But above all, the people were decidedly against it.

But Roxas had a vision. He could see what could happen if something was not done. So he advised the President to issue some kind of a proclamation about the war. The Constitution provides that war can only be declared by the President with the concurrence of the National Assembly. The Japanese offered to facilitate plans to bring the assemblymen to Manila. But we made every effort to prevent a quorum in the Assembly. It was unanimously approved that no declaration of war be made; that a mere state of war be declared. There is of course a big difference between the two. The declaration of a state of war merely recognizes the state then existing which was the armed conflict prevailing in the Philippines. Every effort was made to eliminate as much as possible statements concerning America without the Japanese noticing it. As part of the plan, the President, a day or two before the declaration was issued, stated that there would be no conscription of the Filipino youth. Pres. Laurel somehow learned that the Japanese would order the conscription of the Filipino youth. The young people would be trained to fight Filipino and American forces. The proclamation contained no provision for conscription. In making the assurance, his intention was to be able to answer the Japanese in case they asked for such conscription, that his prestige would be adversely affected if he did not stand by his word. What good is a declaration of war without conscription? These are the facts. But of course the Japanese announced to the world that it was an outright declaration of war.

Colonel Gilfilan also asked about the labor conscription. It was also explained that this is one of those things that just could not be avoided. But let us examine the wording of the proclamation. It will be seen that it is a useless proclamation. It provides that labor conscription may be ordered by the Military Governor when deemed necessary.

The Colonel expressed surprise, “Did Laurel do all that?” He made Paredes to understand that he did not consider us guilty of any punishable act. He stated, though it is not known whether it was said jokingly, that a jury better be created and he be made a member of it.

He is confident that we will be detained only during the duration of the war. He said that his tour of duty is already over but he decided to stay until we were released. This is interpreted by us to mean that the war may end soon. As the Colonel started to leave, he stated that he would help us.

There is a lot of speculation as to why he came. Some believe that he knows something more definite about our early release, and so he wanted to have closer relations with us. Others say that he is authorized to investigate our case and was investigating our case. The rest believe that something involving us is going on in Manila and that the Colonel had been called for a conference. He is preparing himself.

Needless to say, our hopes are again quite high.


July 20, 1945 Friday

At about ten o’clock this morning, we were advised that Col. Gilfilan, the Superintendent, wanted to see Mr. Paredes, Gen. Francisco and me. We all became very excited. We thought that we will receive some good news relating to our release. But I doubted this. Why should others, like Yulo and Alunan, whose cases are also very meritorious, not be included? On the other hand, I feared that I would be investigated. A few days ago, an Army Chaplain came with letters from Manila. I got the idea that one of those letters was for me. They were handed by the Chaplain to the Colonel. As they were uncensored, I feared that the letter for me may have contained something that would require further inquiry. But it turned out later that I had no letter. Those who were not invited by Col. Gilfilan looked at us with envy. We walked to the office of the Colonel where we saw our dear friend who had shown deep sympathy towards us, Colonel Barros. We immediately concluded that Col. Barros wanted to visit us and, for some reason, we were allowed to talk him at the Superintendent’s Office. Colonel Gilfilan was extremely nice to us. He motioned to Col. Barros that he could talk to us in the farthest corner of the room. We were with Col. Barros for about 20 minutes. He brought us some gifts. He said that he had been wanting to see us to be able to personally express his sympathy. He said that we must not be ashamed because almost all our countrymen are convinced that we had done absolutely nothing against our country and people, nothing that was even censurable. We asked the Colonel whether there was news about us. He answered no, except he considered the speech of Gen. MacArthur favorable to us in the sense that he urges unity among the Filipinos. He said that his wife cried when she heard that we were here as prisoners. He said that the people at the beginning were somewhat prejudicial against us, but now they understand and they even admire us. He reiterated his ardent desire that we be freed so that our country may again count with our services.

When we were about to leave, Col. Gilfilan beckoned us to sit around his table. He said that he was doing all he could to make us more comfortable. We expressed our gratitude.

Upon our arrival at the stockade, we told our companions to prepare their letters as we were leaving the next day. No one swallowed it.

All the newspapers report heavy bombardment of Japan by air and sea. One thousand five hundred super-fortresses and fighters from aircraft carriers had attacked different places in Japan. Air attack is almost continuous. The biggest task force ever assembled with several dreadnaughts are bombarding Japan from places about a rifle’s shot from the shores. We who trembled with just a few small planes bombarding, have a pretty good idea of the effects of such bombardment. We are now confident that the war will end soon. Although America has always insisted on unconditional surrender, there were statements from responsible persons in America that Emperor Hirohito will be spared and that the Japanese people will not be enslaved. Somebody jokingly remarked that Hirohito will go to the shrine, commune with his God-ancestors, and afterwards, say that he was requested by them to surrender. Recto remarked that the ancestors will mark, “Estamos cayados”.

I had expressed the belief before that the collaborationist issue may divide our people and confuse the political situation. Already in Manila there is a serious division on this account. But the injustice committed against us and the indifference toward our situation shown by even our most intimate friends in Manila, will compel us to organize a party of our own. This will be composed of the supposed collaborationists and their sympathizers. We will organize everyone here and found a newspaper. We will put up candidates for representatives and senators. We ourselves will run. We shall seek not only our vindication, but the carrying out of policies and programs which shall make our country truly independent and prosperous. With the elements this proposed party can count on, it will be a formidable one. If Osmeña and Roxas do not reconcile, the new party may even put up a candidate for president.

McNutt, ex-American High Commissioner of the Philippines and the father of the re-examinationist movement under which the Philippines will have more or less permanent political connection with America, is coming. Avowedly he comes to investigate economic conditions, but if that is the purpose, he is not exactly qualified. I am more inclined to believe that he comes to ascertain the chances his theory may have, and begin laying the groundwork to push his ideas through. We must be on guard. In the movement, he will be supported by American capitalists who see in the Philippines a good field for investment or a strategic place for commercial operations in the Orient, and the imperialists who dream world domination by America. We must assure the free rights of every people. We must combat imperialism at all cost.

What are we? Nobody seems to know. We came as war prisoners, but such status is inconsistent with the theory of those who wish to detain us. If the Republic had never existed and the Commonwealth continued, then we cannot be enemies and we cannot be war prisoners. If the existence of the Republic is recognized, we will then be enemies. At the beginning, the Superintendent here always mentioned the Geneva Convention as the source of all their authority. Later, we were told that we were merely under protective custody. We should appreciate their good intention, but is there real danger for us? Still later, we were told that we were modified or assimilated war prisoners. None of us understand this. Finally, two days ago, the Superintendent objected to our calling ourselves prisoners. “You are not prisoners. You are internees,” he said. It soothes us not to be branded as prisoners, but what matters is not the name but the situation.

Once in a while we crave for real Filipino food. We cannot help but get tired of canned American food which we are not accustomed to eat. Minister Sison and I decided to stay at our quarters to be able to eat such food. It was one of the best meals we have ever enjoyed. We ate good fish, mechado, and rice, with mango and banana dessert. It was a perfect meal. It made us homesick, especially since the mechado was from my wife sent to me from Manila.

We were given a suit of khaki, a two-piece American soldier’s uniform. It is made of good cloth. The coat fits me, but the pants have to be remade by tailor Hernandez from Ibaan Batangas. He is a good tailor.


July 19, 1945 Thursday

The kind of food they give us varies. Yesterday, we had for the first time fresh fish for dinner. We certainly enjoyed it very much. Today we only had canned salmon. We hope we will have better food. Whatever the food is I always have an appetite. When I came here I only weighed 101 pounds; four weeks later, 108 lbs.; two months ago, 114; today, 118. I will soon regain my normal weight of about 125 pounds.

We are becoming pessimistic in view of the fact that Congress adjourned with considering the proposed resolution providing for action on our cause.


July 18, 1945 Wednesday

Life here is very monotonous. We see the same things and do the same things over and over again. We try to occupy our time, to entertain ourselves. We go to church every Sunday and pray the Rosary in a body in the evening. We have learned to do manual work such as sweeping and cleaning our premises. We have learned to sew, to wash clothes, to make our bed and to do other household odd jobs. We exercise regularly, and in my case, on Sundays when we are allowed to go to the town plaza for recreation, I play baseball. Every Monday, we are allowed to see moving picture shows, and in our quarters we hold programs to entertain ourselves composed of singing, boxing, poetry recitation, magic, etc.

Each of us has his special activity. Chief Yulo likes to meditate and brood over our situation. Speaker Paredes spends his time taking up matters with the prison officials as our spokesman, talking to the enlisted class, playing solitaire, reading, writing and entertaining himself with local girls who pity us so much that they try their best to console us. Recto has returned to his old love — writing poetry. He also reads extensively. He furnishes us with a lot of entertainment with his orations and amusing jokes. He also plays card games. Alunan takes it easy and spends his time reading and taking care of his health. Paez reads and plays “a holoy”. Zulueta has a carpentry shop and a kitchen. He spends a good portion of his time preparing a meal and eating it with gusto. Sabido enjoys making predictions which, unfortunately for us, never come true, ponders on economic problems, reads and plays a little card. Justice Bocobo reads and writes much and prays. Madrigal takes a lot of reducing exercises and is continually planning for the future development of our country. Sanvictores is the exercise booster and reads considerably. Luz entertains us with his jokes and interesting conversations. Gen. Francisco is suffering because of the injustice done to him and to forget, he reads constantly. Sebastian has the most diversified activities; he reads, writes, sings, exercises and plays cards. He has also been the most helpful to his companions. Abello reads much, and, as an experienced secretary and being the Benjamin, he is the jack-of-all-trades in the party, helping in everything. Sison keeps himself very busy by taking care of the beautification of our premises. He is also our spiritual head, conducting all our prayers. Bayan takes care of all engineering work and plays chess. His teeth are giving him a lot of worry. Lavides has no specific hobby; he likes to do whatever could be of help. Aquino watches over the games played by others, sometimes taking part himself and pondering on what this is all about. Urquico is pitied by all of us as he is always sick. The most interesting activity is that Paredes. Some young girls, in their eagerness to cheer us up, have been sending food and letters. Don Quintin takes pains answering their letters which are very entertaining, although devoid of all romantic expressions. We could see in them their deep sympathy for our unfortunate situation. They ask us to write in their autograph books. I wrote the following: “July 15, 1945. Unknown to you, but deep in his heart is engraved a sincere feeling of gratitude for the sympathy bestowed upon us who suffer terribly for having served our motherland.”

I recall those days during the luncheon meetings of the Ministers. Instead of discussing the specific tasks assigned by the Japanese, we would while away the time by sending notes to one another across the table. These notes expressed the nationalistic sentiments of each one of us. They were written in Spanish, Tagalog and English. I wish now that I had conserved these notes which could help very much in our defense. I liked the notes written by Claro M. Recto best. Recto would scribble a nationalistic poem in a matter of minutes, revealing what was in his heart and mind. I too scribbled a lot of notes and poems.

Inside the stockade there are now very few incidents. All are doing their best not to mar our reputation. There are some exceptions. Someone was placed in the isolation cell for one day for having stolen some clothes. Two men were placed in isolation for a week for having foolishly tried to escape. Another was almost similarly punished for defying an order to work. He was excused, however, as he showed that he really had hurt himself while working the previous day. He yelled at the Lieutenant, but one good trait of an American is that he does not hesitate to admit that he is wrong.


July 14, 1945 Saturday

I am naturally very interested in the former employees of the government. It seems that the administration has considered all former employees as collaborators and as such they were all dropped from the service. Osmeña has somewhat qualified this policy and a few, like the teachers, have been reinstated. But the great majority are still out of public service. Many of them are now suffering, the victims of the injustices of politics. I say injustice because they have been replaced by henchmen of the government moguls. I hope they will be reinstated immediately. My reasons may be seen below.

When the Commission organized the government on Jan. 21, 1942, there was practically no government employee that wanted to reenter the service. But the government had to run and we did our best to persuage them to accept employment. They told us that they preferred to wait because the Americans would be back in less than a year. Anyhow, they said they had already received their three months’ salary. At the beginning, I was rather doubtful myself as rumors were very strong that an American Army and Navy Convoy were already on the way. But days passed, weeks and months passed, and no help was in sight, and in the meanwhile resistance in Corregidor and Bataan was weakening.

The fall of Corregidor and Bataan was imminent — there was no indication that the Americans were coming soon. The employees held out as long as they could. But after they had spent their three months’ salary, most of them could not longer continue without employment. They were now drawing from the little savings they had. As everybody knows, unless a government employee is dishonest, he cannot possibly provide for the morrow. This the reason why I am now convinced that the insurance system of protection for the employees must be converted into a regular pension system. The insurance is just a temporary help; the pension is permanent and provides for the employee when he loses his job, or for his family after his death. With the pension plan we can retire old employees, and the employees will do their best to maintain an efficient record during the period necessary to entitle them to receive the pension. They will be honest as they know that if they become incapacitated or die, they can rest assured that their families will not live in misery.

Going back to the government employees, a few of them engaged in business; but a great majority of them had to work and they were not fit to do anything else. They had to choose between employment or starvation. It is easy to say that for patriotic reasons, he should have preferred to starve and to suffer. But when his innocent little children began to clamor for food, they had to be fed — no explanation could sooth them. What was the poor father supposed to do? He could go around borrowing money or asking help from his friends. His friends may be very accommodating, but this could not continue for a long time because they also are not enjoying abundance. He looks for a job outside the government or any work which had nothing to do with the Japanese. The only pair of shoes that he still has wears out and he has spent his last money. What could he do? He could not go to the mountains leaving his family to starve under the mercy of the Japanese. He did not want to steal for he is a religious and perfectly honest man. What did he do? He went to the office where he had spent the best years of his life. He went there out of necessity; to live, to save his beloved wife and children. He served without the least intention of helping the Japanese since, having been reared in an atmosphere of justice and freedom, he could not possibly ally himself with men for whom such justice and freedom were a mockery. His whole thought, his sole aim was to save his family. Even then, there were many who resisted.

I remember vividly one case and fortunately he is here with us because if I am wrong, he could correct me. I am referring to Mr. Pimentel, our Secretary. I met him one day (during the war) and asked him what he was doing. He said he was not doing anything and, although he was already in dire straits, he would prefer not to work with or under the Japanese. His information was that in six months, the Americans would be back. He said that he had sons in the USAFFE and he did not care to be in any way connected with the Japanese. I knew Mr. Pimentel as a man who was as poor as myself and that he had to work all the time to support his big family. When we parted, I saw the determination in his eyes to continue fighting the Japanese in his own way.

But Bataan and Corregidor were crumbling; they fell shortly. He became convinced that the Americans could not come back in one year. He could not hold out that long so he decided to accept employment. Pimentel’s experience is the same as that of thousands and thousands of government employees — by necessity they accepted employment. In their hearts they did not for a moment waiver in their ardent desire to see the Americans back in the Philippines. They could not give any outward manifestation of their sentiments, as the offices were full of spies and the movements of officials and employees were watched closely. But inside their homes, among their immediate family, they prayed fervently for the victory of America. But many did not stop there. When the guerrillas became numerous and active, most of them joined the guerrillas in one form or another. I say in one form or another because, although there were many who were given official ranks, there were also many who did not want any appointment or sign anything for fear that they would be discovered. After all, they said, the important thing was to render service to the cause of America and the Philippines. No official papers or signatures could be more valuable than that. Like true heroes, real patriots, the material gain never entered their minds.

How did they serve the cause of America and the Philippines? They served by furnishing valuable information, helping in every way those active in the guerrilla warfare, bolstering up the morale of our people, creating difficulties for the Japanese Army and Navy and the Japanese in general. These employees were the anonymous forces that helped. Their services were equally meritorious.

To cite an instance of how they served. Ironically, this involved Mr. Confesor who seems to have had something to do with the formation of the present government’s policy involving former employees. Sometime in 1943, evidently as an answer to the appeal of Gov. Caram of Iloilo, Mr. Confesor wrote him a letter giving his reasons why he did not care to come down from the mountains and surrender to the Japanese. I was able to get a copy of the letter. It was a well written letter and his arguments were very weighty. It impressed me very deeply so much so that as I had always considered him a close friend of mine, I wanted to discuss the matter with him. Unfortunately I was not able to see him. I said that it was a good letter, but it contained an insinuation against which I must protest. I lost my two copies during the fire in my house and in my office. But I distinctly remember that there was a paragraph or some sentences referring to some speeches we delivered in Iloilo (in March or April of 1943), which in substance say the following: “You better prepare new speeches which you can deliver next July when the Americans will be here.” The insinuations were that (a) we were mere job-seekers; and (b) we were so insincere that we only say what would be pleasing to the ears of our hearers. This is not the proper place to answer such scurrilous accusations. For the present, I must make it of record that I have never been a job-seeker, and that I have always considered insincerity as one of the worst traits a man can possess.

Well, I brought Mr. Confesor’s letter to Manila and placed it in my desk drawer at the office, together with many other important documents. Many employees had heard about the famous letter announcing the coming of the Americans and they were all anxious to get a copy. One day, a clerk of mine entered my office gasping. “What’s the matter,” I asked him. “Sir, they are distributing copies of Mr. Confesor’s letter,” he stammered. I was alarmed; everybody knew what was coming if the Japanese ever found out that a prescripted document like that letter was being copied and distributed in our office. It would have meant Fort Santiago for all of us and at that time the mere mention of that historic fort made everybody shudder. I investigated the matter and I discovered that, as I had just come from Iloilo and suspecting that I had a copy of the letter, my employees went through my drawers and found the copy. They made numerous copies using the typewriter in our office. Each and every one of them became a distributor of the letter and a propagandist of the coming of the Americans. I had to take unusual precautions to cover up that happening in my office. I understand similar incidents occurred in the other offices.

Another evidence of the employees’ pro-American feelings. About 20 employees of an important bureau of the government were arrested by the “Kempetai” (Japanese Military Police). They were charged with being guerrillas and according to the Kempetai, the evidence consisted of a list of “guerrilleros” which they found. The matter was brought up to Malacañan. Naturally a promise was made to the Japanese that the matter would be investigated and proper criminal and administrative action would be taken against the guilty parties. All except the three supposed leaders, were released. I do not know what happened to those leaders, but they were probably released after the usual torture meted out to almost all those arrested.

During the investigation it was discovered that if the guerrilla elements in all the bureaus were to be eliminated, there would have been almost complete paralization of the government. The whole matter was hushed and covered up. I do not recall anyone prosecuted or dismissed from the service for guerrilla activities or connections.

More evidence of the attitude of the employees. Everytime there was a meeting or a parade, attendance had to be obligatory under heavy administrative penalty, otherwise very few attended. The employees offered all kinds of excuses to avoid going to the parade or meeting.

In this connection, I would like to say something about the ex-officers and servicemen of the USAFFE. At the beginning, we were not sure what the attitude of the Japanese to their employment would be. Already we could observe that a good many of them were suffering for lack of means. We were able to convince the Japanese to allow us to employ these men. The argument we used, which we knew could never be true, was that these men sincerely wanted to be with the Japanese because they were beginning to understand that Orientals ought to be together. We devoted much attention to them. We issued orders reinstating them to their old positions and, as to the others who were not former government employees, we ordered that preference in hiring be given to them. I can certify that inspite of all the hardships these men were going through, very few took advantage of our orders. Only those who would otherwise starve unless they earned something accepted positions in the government.

Another fact that should be considered. In the last months of the Japanese regime, in view of the dangers in Manila, the food shortage, the financial condition of the government and the paralization of government activities, orders were issued for the release of the employees with payment of a certain amount of bonus. Everybody wanted to take advantage of it. If we had not rescinded our orders there would have been practically nobody left.

There are the men that are now being punished. They are patriots in their own way. Perhaps their services were even more effective than those who now wish to monopolize patriotism. The only thing they were guilty of was that they wished to live, and managed to live. And because they survived the war, they are now branded as traitors; because they were unable and could not possibly go to the mountains, they are being placed on a worst ration than bread and water.

It is said that something is being done — but the process is entirely wrong. A board of inquiry has been appointed to determine whether those seeking reinstatement could be allowed to return. My opinion is that they should all be reinstated and then the Board can determine whether they could or should continue or not. The difference is that in the first case, the employees are being presumed guilty and the burden of proving the contrary is thrown upon them. In the latter case, they are presumed innocent and they could remain in the service as long as nothing has been proven against them.

Justice is all that I demand for them.


July 11, 1945 Wednesday

Confesor, Cabili and Kalaw are out of the Cabinet. Their appointments would have been disapproved in the Commission on Appointments anyway, for justifiable reasons. The three are temperamentally unfit for such high positions. They are not only unprepared for such important responsibility but their prestige among the people is very low. They have done a great dishonor to our country in that they have done the most to divide us with their blind and indiscriminating prejudice against those who held any kind of position in the former regime. According to them, all those people are traitors to their country; that the only patriots are those who ran to the mountains and stayed there, those who issued emergency notes Like Confesor and Kalaw, or who did not join the government because the “buy and sell” business was more profitable. The Commission would have disapproved the appointments of the three with a full and public exposition of the reasons. Osmeña sensed trouble brewing. He immediately withdrew the appointments of Confesor anc Cabili, and appointed them to the Rehabilitation Commission in the U.S. Kalaw was made a book collector in the U.S.A. These are strictly political appointments. What can Confesor and Cabili do? Instead of helping they will prejudice the mission entrusted to the Rehabilitation Commission since that requires not only ability, but above all tact, moderation, and subtleties of diplomacy. These two men absolutely lack these qualities. As to Kalaw, isn’t it degrading that an ex-member of the Cabinet will merely be a book collector, a work that any instructor in a University can do? The worst part of it is that poor Juan de la Cruz is always the victim. The three men must be getting the salary of a Cabinet Member in addition to per diems and many other allowances of officials detailed abroad. How can we convince the people that we have the welfare of our country at heart?

Such action is weakening Pres. Osmeña. It may cost him the presidency. The general remark is that he is not using his appointing power judiciously.

It is also suggested that debts incurred during the Japanese occupation be revalued as of the date the debt was incurred. I think this is also a private matter which should be left to the courts. Furthermore, in almost all cases, the estimated value of the military note in the future had already been taken into consideration. I know for instance of a ₱100,000 indebtedness for which the debtor will pay only ₱5,000, but in Philippine currency at the time payment.

It seems that some banks refused to admit as security all real estate acquired during the Japanese occupation. This is a wrong attitude. If the owner has a Torrens Title, that should be enough for any bank to grant credit. If the guarantee is sufficient, the bank will not lose anything having acquired interest in good faith. But again this is a matter that should be left to the courts to decide. The buyer in good faith must be protected; on the other hand, sellers in bad faith must not be allowed to take advantage. The Chamber of Commerce has asked for a definition of the policy stating that unless this is settled rehabilitation would be difficult. The Chamber is right, since the amount of real estate transactions during the Japanese occupation was enormous.

Many more questions like this will arise in view of the decision of Judge Dizon that all court proceedings during the occupation are invalid. These cases should be appealed to the Supreme Court for final ruling. It is of transcendental importance. The Judge himself was aware of it as he suggested that an act of Congress validate such proceedings.