July 3, 1945 Tuesday

The papers report that Confesor and Cabili have been appointed as members of the Filipino Rehabilitation Commission in Washington. Both will have to go to Washington. Cabile has resigned as Secretary of National Defense. His appointment and that of Confesor as Secretary of the Interior were submitted to the Commission on Appointments of Congress. The papers said that in view of their new offices, the Commission on Appointments will no longer have to act.

I suspect that the appointments of Confesor and Cabili have been disapproved, or at least Pres. Osmeña had been told or was convinced that their appointments would be disapproved by the Commission. The attitude of the Commission was expected. Both had been attacking the “collaborationists” and it seems that public opinion in Manila is favorable to the “collaborationists”. Both talk a lot, but have accomplished very little, especially as regards the economy. Both have been using language improper for high government officials. Both have been very much criticized, and it is even reported that they have to go around with body guards as their lives are in danger. The attitude of the Commission is fully justified. Their appointment to the Rehabilitation Commission is a face-saving stunt.

On June 28th, Pres. Truman said that he hoped the meeting next month with Churchill and Stalin would result in a formula for a final treaty that “will insure peace for generations to come.”

We hope they will succeed. Such is the prayer of all the people in the world. War is so terrible that it must be avoided by all means. We do not know what the formula will be. Surely all the causes of war must be eliminated. To me colonization is one of the causes. It should be abolished as a thing of the past. All countries must be granted independence.

Jose Abad Santos was Secretary of Justice in Pres. Quezon’s Cabinet when the war broke out. Before his appointment to that office he had held many other important offices such as Justice of the Supreme Court. He was a great jurist. He accompanied Pres. Quezon in Corregidor, visited front lines in Bataan and traveled with Quezon to the South. When the presidential party left for Australia in 1942, Abad Santos remained with powers to represent the President in areas not under Japanese control. He was subsequently captured by the Japanese and reliable reports are to the effect that he had been killed by the Japanese. On June 27th, Pres. Osmeña said of him: “The late Secretary Abad Santos will go down in history as one of the most outstanding heroes of this war. Abad Santos is a real hero, a true patriot and should be held up before the youth as a model.”

According to the Free Philippines of June 29th, the President “emphasized Abad Santos chose to die rather than collaborate.”

The death of Abad Santos is still shrouded in mystery. Lt. Abad Santos, Jr. supposed to be a witness to his father’s death and, consequently, may be able to tell the whole story, was taken by the Japanese to Tokyo.

Abad Santos’ other son, Osmundo, entrusted to us in Baguio a sealed envelop containing confidential papers concerning Justice Abad Santos. They may reveal all the facts which we would like to know.

The tribute paid by Pres. Osmeña to Secretary Abad Santos is well deserved. He is truly a great man. I have already stated above what we did to try to save Secretary Abad Santos. We knew that he was an Orientalist and we thought this fact could save him so we told it to the Japanese authorities. But Abad Santos unluckily fell into the hands of a crazed and cruel man — Col. Kawakami. Col. Kawakami executed him before we could do anything for him.

The fact that Osmeña emphasized his statement that Abad Santos chose to die rather than collaborate with the Japanese is very significant. It is an attack on Roxas. Undoubtedly, it was a “hit back” on account of the bitter criticism launched by Roxas against Osmeña’s administration. It is a biting criticism of Roxas. Now the fight is on. No way to avoid it. Both Osmeña and Roxas will be candidates for President.

The statement of Osmeña, of course, also applies to us. We hope that it will not change or prejudice his attitude towards supposed collaborationists. After all, on account of our imprisonment in Iwahig we had nothing to do and could have nothing to do with the criticism of Roxas against him.

The question arose as to whether the fight between Osmeña and Roxas will favor or prejudice us. There is a difference of opinion. Recto believes it will favor us, as both would want to get our support. If not for this fight, we would be forgotten and left to rot here. In my opinion, it will prejudice us. Both may be too busy with the preparation of their respective platforms and with the campaign that we may be forgotten. At the present time, it is not known who among us are for Osmeña or Roxas. If the majority of us are in favor of Osmeña, Roxas may block our release through his friend. Gen. MacArthur, who before was not very friendly to Osmeña. If we are inclined towards Roxas, Osmeña may want us detained until after elections or after the war, and it is probably within his power as President to do so.

We had a meeting where we pledged to bind ourselves together as one. We will found a newspaper to be financed by Mr. Madrigal which shall be our organ for the propaganda of our platform, policies and aims. What these platform, policies and aims are, we have not determined. But we are agreed on two matters. First, we shall seek our exoneration and vindication from the charge of “collaborationists” with the implications of disloyalty and treason to our country and anti-Americanism. Second, we shall assist actively and wholeheartedly in the rehabilitation work of our country. As regards independence, there may be one or two dissenting voices, and the rest will be aggressively in favor. Needless to say, we will go after those who have been responsible for our imprisonment or who have been unjustly attacking us.

All these plans may lead to the formation of a party which will put up candidates for all positions, including those of president and vice president. With the men now with us who have repeatedly enjoyed the trust and confidence of our people, and who still retain this hold on their constituents, together with the thousands of persons also arrested, humiliated and imprisoned like us, the new party will be a formidable one. If we continue to be united and we all work vigorously, we may even win in the elections and thus be in power.

Pres. Osmeña has two sons imprisoned in Bilibid and later in Muntinglupa. They are being charged with being collaborationists for having engaged in the “buy and sell business” with the Japanese Army and Navy as the biggest purchasers in so far as war materials are concerned. Really, Serging Osmeña was one of the big “buy and sell” men and he made a lot of money. It is reported that he was able to pay the big indebtedness of his father. He established a company called “ESSO” and my son, Tony, was Treasurer and trusted official of the Company. Apparently, the young Osmeñas were expecting help from their father. It seems that such help was not extended. The father was indifferent. Furthermore, he made a statement to the press praising a son who worked against the Japanese and stating that he could not intervene in the cases of Serging and Nicasio. This peaked the anger of Serging. He immediately wrote a letter to his father stating among other things: “We have lost our mother, now we lose our father.” Serging complained that they had never been attended to by the father; he left them nothing. It was a very bitter and at the same time pathetic denunciation of his own father.

I do not know whether I would have done what Serging, Jr. did even if placed under the same circumstances. I do not believe I could do it. A father is a father; the children owe their existence to him. No matter how bad he may be, he must never be denounced by the children. This is especially so in the case of Pres. Osmeña. He is the President of the Republic. It is very embarrassing for him to have sons imprisoned for collaboration. Rather, Serging and Nick should have begged their father’s forgiveness for having placed him in such a situation. Furthermore, there are thousands imprisoned for the same reasons; Osmeña as President could not favor his own sons and not do the same for the others, unless he wants to be accused of favoritism and injustice.

Later reports are to the effect that Serging had retracted and he was awfully sorry for what he did. I am happy to hear this.

It is reported that President Osmeña had sent word to Serging and Nick that he will order the release of persons personally known to him with he himself as guarantor. This may be what induced Serging to change. If true, it will benefit not only his sons but many of us here who are not only known to Osmeña but are also his personal friends. This is especially so in my case. This has revived the hope of many.

Romulo is reported to have said that Roxas is no longer liked by MacArthur. If this is so, the interest that Roxas is taking in us may be prejudicial. But I seriously doubt the truth of the report of Romulo. If it is true, Roxas would not have been returned to active service as General and he probably would have been imprisoned just like us.

In turns out that the Dr. Sison reported here earlier who was snubbed by Romulo is not Agerico but Antonio. Dr. Antonio Sison is the family doctor of the Romulos and has never collected any fee from them. He saved the life of Romulo twice. When the incident happened it is reliably reported that Dr. Sison was indignant. This is the same Romulo that had been attacking the supposed “collaborationists.”


February 5, 1942 — Thursday

Got up at 5 a.m. Shaved, took a bath etc. At 6:45 a.m. left the house for the dock with Vice-President Osmeña, Chief Justice Abad Santos, Captain Andres Soriano, Major B. Diño, Medical Service and Lieutenant Jose Abad Santos, Jr. The launch Baler took us to Cabcaben where we arrived at 7:20 a.m. General Francisco, General McBride, Colonel Sellick, Colonel Jalandoni and Major Gavalen were waiting for us. On three cars we proceeded to the evacuation area N—1 which is near Cabcaben. The camp has been recently organized to accommodate the civilians that evacuated from the towns recently occupied by the Japanese and from the mountain regions which fall within the zone of battle. General McBride informed me that the first information that they had received was that the evacuees numbered about three to four thousand. This figure was wrong because there were about ten thousand already. The camp was fairly well organized each family having built a small bahay kubo under trees so as not to be seen from the air. The problem of sanitation is serious. There were some places with a strong odor of human excreta. I talked to the doctor in charge and to the evacuees. From this camp we walked through fields to the Base Hospital N—2 U.S. Army which is about half a kilometer from this camp. We met the Commanding Officer Colonel Vander Broughest and he took us around to the various wards, all placed in the open air. I saw many Philippine Army officers and enlisted men, and also some U.S. Army. I distributed some packages of cigarettes and they were all happy to get a good smoke. I also distributed matches and soap. In the front these three articles are in great demand. Soap is so scarce that officers and men have to wash their underwear, without soap, and use them again without ironing. I was surprised to see among the wounded Lieutenant Orobia and Lieutenant Molina of the Air Corps. They were wounded in the battle of Aglaloma where 200 Japanese were able to land.

Upon leaving the hospital we took the cars again and proceeded to the Command Post of General Francisco which is in Km 166. He was busy studying maps and giving orders. I walked to Manolin’s place which is about 300 yards from General Francisco. Lieutenant Colonel Roxas and other Medical Officers were all together. Manolin had his bed and tent nicely fixed under a large tree. While at General Francisco’s Command Post I phoned to Lee Stevens who is a Captain and is assigned under Colonel Quinn in Motor Pool N—2 at Lamao point. I asked him to meet me at San Jose but unfortunately we were delayed and he left before I could see him.

From General Francisco’s place we went to General McBride’s Command Post situated in the interior of the forest. While we were seated there having a cup of coffee, a Japanese plane passed by and circled around apparently on observation. General Marshall came from his Command Post to talk to me regarding the pay of civilian laborers. He was under the impression that the Commonwealth Government was paying them per diems in addition to their pay from the U.S. Armies. I informed him that this was not true. We talked with Colonel Fischer who is handling the G—2 work of the H.P.D.

From here we proceeded to base hospital N—1 which had been transferred from Limay to “Little Baguio”. It was neatly kept. Colonel Duckworth the Commanding Officer took us around the wards and operating rooms. I saw for the first an X-ray unit similar to the ones we ordered before the war broke out and which we never received.

Then we proceeded to Km.172 the old Command Post of General Francisco which has been transferred by Colonel Luna into an evacuation hospital. Further into the interior of the forest the evacuation camp N-3 for civilians was being installed under the supervision of Captain Gonzalez Infantry U.S. Army and Dr. Baltazar of the health service, brother in law of Lieutenant E.D. Rufino. Nice place now. I believe it will be damp during the rainy season.

Then we proceeded to the evacuation camp N-2 for civilians situated above Mariveles. There were serveal families from Bacolor. They were happy to see us. A young lady approached me and said: “General, how is Charito(Nucay), your little girl”? “I believe she is all right”, I answered. “Give her my best regards, I am Socorro Sarmiento, her teacher in the Assumption Convent”. What a coincidence! To find in “no-mans land”, living the life of a soldier, the teacher of my child.

Then we proceeded to the Headquarters of the Philippine Army where I conversed with the officers and discussed with them several problems presented to me for decision.

From here we went to Barrio San Jose near Mariveles. This hour (3 p.m.) being the time when the Japanese planes invariable bombard the airfield at Mariveles, General McBride suggested that we take the cut-off. I readily approved not only because I realized that the Mariveles road was an inferno every afternoon, but also because I was not familiar with the cut-off. I did not regret having taken this decision. The road is really picturesque, crossing the mountain ridge giving the traveler, a wonderful airplane view of the surrounding country and the Mariveles bay.

On the road we passed the prison compound. General McBride invited us to see it. It is a huge place surrounded by two walls of barbed wire three meters apart. Within the compound the prisoners were separated into small sections. In the left corner there were two enemy aliens (Germans); they looked well fed and contented. In an middle section there were ten Japanese wearing a black blue Kimono which had white letters on the back P.O.W. (Prisoner of War.) I was informed that they had ten prisoners from the Philippine Army and I asked to see them. I was allowed to enter the compound but I was made to leave the pistol with the guard outside. Lieutenants Ponter and Medden U.S. Army did the same thing. As we entered two additional guards rushed to the rear part of the compound and guarded us while I talked to the men. I found that 7 out of the 10 were in for desertion. I investigated them briefly and I became convinced that the charge of desertion could not be proven. They were soldiers left behind when their units changed positions in the battle line and had been lost. As a matter of fact they had been asking for the position of their units.

From here we continued our trip to Barrio San Jose, Mariveles, where the launch Baler was waiting for us. We arrived at 4:50 p.m. Just as we stepped out of the cars and began walking down the cliff to go to the beach we saw three Japanese planes returning from their bombing expedition to Mariveles and apparently were on their way to Cabcaben.

The wind was blowing hard and the waves were larger than usual making it hard for us to board the launch. We were finally carried by sailor to a boat which took us to the launch.

We arrived at Fort Mills at 6 p.m. Too late for dinner, had to dine at the house.


January 9, 1942

Manila Bay

On board Navy Courier Boat

 

Beautiful morning. Sun is slightly above horizon. Sea is calm. Cool morning air. All is quiet except for chugging of boat. Looks like a pleasant cruise.

Heard Mass said by Fr. Ortiz and received Communion. The President and family, Vice President Osmeña, Gen. B. Valdes, Sec. Abad Santos and Col. Manuel Roxas all attended Mass. Mass was said in small corridor between Fr. Ortiz’s bed and the President’s. Fr. Ortiz was slightly peeved because Nonong Quezon attended Mass in pajamas.

Had breakfast with President and his daughters. The President was in good spirits. He said he was aware of the sacrifices the Filipino youth were now undergoing. “I am sure,” he said, “they will come out of it gloriously.”

The President recalled his last speech in the U.P. campus when he told the student body that it was very probable that in a very short time many of them would be fighting and dying.

At the other table, I watched Gen. Douglas MacArthur taking his breakfast. He was not talking at all. He ate hurriedly and I don’t think he even finished his coffee.

Breakfast even in Corregidor is rationed. We had a handfull of oatmeal, one slice of bread, a little jam and a cup of chocolate. Nonong Quezon wanted more and I noticed Nini gave some of her own food to her kid brother. I had to hurry through the breakfast because the boat was about to leave.

Fr. Ortiz gave me a big can of of powdered KLIM and he told me to ask him anything I needed. He gave me a strong embrace and he told me to take good care of myself.  He accompanied me to the boat and he told the general that I was one of his craziest students.

Right now, I am half-way between Corregidor and Bataan. From here, Corregidor looks like a small reef floating between the jaws of a huge monster. Corregidor stands between Cavite and Bataan at the very narrow entrance of Manila Bay. Japs have not dared attack Corregidor from Western entrance. Too many coast artillery guns.

Morale of men in Rock very high. They have more ‘inside’ news on the convoy. All the big-wigs are there. I noticed a lot of officers in Rock are somewhat bored due to inactivity. Some of them want to go and fight Japs in Bataan. Others prefer comfort and safety of Rock.

Life in Rock is very dull. Officers sit around listening to swing music from KZRH and laugh at radio commentator. Once in a while during day they have to rush inside the tunnel to hide from bombs. At night, they gather outside mouth of tunnel, to breathe some fresh air and to light a cigarette. Smoking is prohibited inside tunnel.

Boys in Rock are very glad when some of the fellows in Bataan drop over. It sort of breaks the monotony of their lives. They crowd around Bataan boy and pump him with a thousand questions on life in the mountains and conditions of trenches and “how many Japs have you killed?”

Pepito Abad Santos was very eager to go with me to Bataan. He said he was bored stiff with life in the tunnel. But his father did not give him permission. He gave me several letters for some of his schoolmates that are now in the front.

We are now approaching Cabcaben. Japs have bombed this little dock several times but they have always missed. Our boat is signaling the shore defenders now. I can see Fred waiting for us in the command car.

The general just called for me. He said: “When the boys ask you why they called for us, keep it a secret. Nobody must know. Tell them I’ve just been relieved. Secrecy is essential.” He added: “If they ask about the convoy, say you understand it will be here very soon —to pep them up.”

I asked the General: “Frankly sir, when is it arriving?”

He said: “No mention of it during our conference.”

 

(Later)

 

51st brigade, C.P.

Bataan

 

Everybody wondering why we were called to Rock. Fred’s asked me ten times: “What’s up, Phil? Come on tell a pal.”

Major Sison asked: “When is the convoy arriving? Are we going to get more reinforcements?”

My sergeant said: “May be, sir, we are going to commence a general attack.”

Major Montserrat asked about health of President and “how’s my friend Valdes?” I told the Major that Gen. Valdes was sending him regards and that he was probably going to get a promotion. Major Montserrat was very happy.

Nobody dared ask the the General anything. Neither did he speak a word. He just told his orderly to pack his things.

I think the general will take me to the Intelligence Service. I’m sure I’ll find that work more interesting.

The General is writing right now under candle light. He is forming his new staff. I think Maj. Gen. Guillermo Francisco will head this division. General de Jesus may take officers he needs for his new assignment according to arrangements in Corregidor. I wonder where we will have our headquarters: Corregidor or Bataan?

Intensified patrol activity in front. Artillery duel. No casualties, on our side.

A lot of monkeys running up and down trees in this area. Fred said the other night the sentinel shot a monkey. He shouted “Halt” and the dark figure kept on crawling. When morning came, sentinel found out it was a big monkey. Password for tonight is “Lolita.” Words with letter ‘L’ are generally chosen. Japs cannot pronounce the ‘L.’

Some of the boys are singing “The gang’s all here.” They are out of tune. In Corregidor, there was no singing. Too many high officers around.

Report just received that Japs started attack on Western sector putting pressure on 1st Regular Division.

Lost my bottle of quinine pills.