Discussion is raging in the Camp as to what the government will do with regard to alleged collaborationists like us. To some, this question has been settled—Pres. Osmeña having already spoken. As reported in the Free Philippines of June 1, Pres. Osmeña declared that he reiterates his policy on collaborators as stated in his speech delivered in Leyte last November. According to this policy, “every case should be examined impartially and decided on its merits.” Persons concerned fall within 3 categories: “Those prompted by a desire to project the people, those actuated by fear of enemy reprisals and those motivated by loyalty to our government and cause.” The matter had been submitted to the Cabinet. The President declared on the 31st of May that the question of collaborators is difficult but not an insoluble problem—provided it is not made a political football. He said that it shall not be allowed to result in a division of the people, as this would be fatal to the success of our efforts toward national rehabilitation, reconstruction and the preservation of national unity.
In his speech in Leyte, the President admits that not all public officials could go to the hills to fight. Some had to remain in their posts to maintain a semblance of government, to protect the population from the oppressor to the extent possible by human ingenuity and to comfort the people in their misery. If the officials did not accept and serve, the Japanese would have governed directly and utilized unscrupulous Filipinos capable of committing treason to their people. The President concluded that the motives which caused the retention of the office and conduct while in office, rather than the sole fact of its occupation, ought to be the criterion in deciding each case.
I agree 100 per cent with Pres. Osmeña. He evidently is thoroughly familiar with the facts. We are now convinced that full justice would be given us. However, from the beginning, I feared that politics and personal considerations might creep in, in which case we cannot be assured of justice in the disposition of our cases. Our country is now in a terrible state; its rehabilitation will be a great problem. We should not do anything that might hinder or affect unfavorably all the rehabilitation efforts. Now, more than ever, we need complete unity. This is the reason why I resent deeply acts and statements of present officials of the government that would compel us to be indifferent or to do something to protect ourselves which might prejudice such efforts. If we really love our country let us forget the past; let us bury our personal ambitions, all personal considerations. Let us be one in carrying out all plans that would enable our country to recover in the shortest time possible.
There is a great deal of rumor and speculation concerning those of us who are senators. A few days ago, rumor spread that we were leaving the Colony soon. Many congratulated us and asked us to visit their families. Some even handed us letters. The rumor became more persistent when Pres. Osmeña, on May 31, 1945 issued a proclamation calling a special session of the Philippine Congress for June 9th. The senators who are here are Yulo, Recto, Paredes, Madrigal, Sebastian and myself—six. One, Sen. Tirona, is detained in Bilibid Prison. There are two vacancies in the Senate on account of the deaths of Senators Martinez and Ozamis. It is said that our presence was necessary to have a quorum. I could not see it that way as there were 15 members of the Senate remaining. But they argued that some of them might not be allowed to sit; like us, they accepted positions in the Japanese regime or committed acts similar to ours. Roxas was one of the framers and signers of the Constitution of the Philippines and later accepted the position of Chairman of the Economic Planning Council. Rodriguez was a member of the Council of State and later on accepted a position in a committee. Arranz was another framer and signer of the Constitution and was a member of the National Assembly. Fernandez was signer of the manifesto to form a government organization at the beginning of the Japanese regime and later became member of the Council of State. Imperial was in the Court of Appeals. Sa Ramain was another framer and signer of the Constitution. They might be classified in the same category to which we belong, and if they are excluded from the special session, there could of course be no quorum.
News came that Congress had convened and that the Senate was organized with the following officers: President, Senator Roxas; President Pro Tempore, Senator Quirino; and Floor Leader, Senator Rodriguez. This has blasted all hopes of our being called in Manila in connection with the Senate.
Undoubtedly, the main reason why we have not been called is that we are still political prisoners. Surely they do not know us nor understand us. We are not capable of doing anything which may divide our people, which may hinder rehabilitation of our country in her preparation for an independent existence. For my part, I shall readily sacrifice my ambitions for the common good and to make our nation great and enduring.
On June 2, we read in the papers that Gen. Manuel Roxas was reverted to inactive status effective May 28, upon his own request. Pres. Osmeña declined to comment. Many interpretation have been given to this news. It especially became mysterious on account of the attitude of Osmeña. It was believed that there had been a serious break between our two great leaders. We were very much concerned. We knew that it meant that the work for the rehabilitation of our country may be seriously affected. Our problems, the situation our country is in now, are such that no one man or group can cope with the situation. But we have faith in their spirit of sacrifice, in their love of country. We were relieved when Roxas was elected President of the Senate; now we know the reason for Roxas’ change of status. It is a great event—Roxas is the natural and logical man for that office. With his experience and ability, our country will be greatly benefited.
We are encouraged with the news that Senator Tydings, after his personal inspection tour, reported that the Philippines was stricken very badly by the war and needs prompt help. He submitted a four-point program for the rehabilitation of the Philippines as follows: (1) Loans to Philippine government to finance reconstruction; (2) Strict compliance with legislation calling for complete independence as quickly as economic conditions permit; (3) Gifts of funds for Army and Navy engineers to undertake rehabilitation of buildings and other structures as soon as war conditions permit; (4) General treatment of the Philippines to expedite the return to normal conditions. We should be very thankful to the Senator for his program. I hope, however, that as regards independence, the phrase “economic conditions permit”, will not be interpreted like the “stable government” condition in the Jones Law. The third is not clear; it may refer only to military buildings and structures.
Today we received a very disheartening news. It seems a fight between Osmeña and Roxas for the presidency is unavoidable. The election will be in November. Roxas is reported to have said, “I am more than ever determined to fight Osmeña for the Presidency.” The President on the other hand is reported to have said, “It doesn’t matter. I will run for the Presidency in November on national, and not purely personal issues.” So there is a challenge and an acceptance. Friends of both will undoubtedly intervene to settle the feud. I doubt whether they will succeed. Osmeña, on account of his long service in the government and his advanced age, wants to close his public career with a vote of confidence on the part of the people. On the other hand, Roxas feels that, although he is still young, this may be his last chance on account of the state of his health. Furthermore, he thinks that this is the time that he could be of great help to his country as the problems of the country are those he specialized in his studies and observations. Such a division will be fatal to our country. Our country lies prostrate on account of the war. She needs all of us, especially these two outstanding leaders whose love for country is proverbial and whose combined knowledge, experience and ability will enable us to surmount the difficulties that are in store for us. We pray to God that His light may be shed upon us in order to illumine our minds, so that all ambition, all rancor, all personal considerations, in fact, everything we have or may want to have, will be sacrificed at the altar of our mother country.
A word more about independence. Political independence and economic support on the part of America are entirely compatible. One great advantage of becoming an independent nation is that we can proceed with the preparation of our programs, and carrying out these programs with full power and without international considerations other than the reciprocity agreements involved. When I was Chairman of the National Economic Council under President Quezon’s administration, I despaired on account of the difficulties arising out of our dependent status. We could not legislate on anything that may affect American interests, notwithstanding the fact that the U.S. passed legislation without consideration to its effect on our economy, especially with regards to our exports to the United States. We could not deal with other countries as we did not possess the authority to do so. My experience has convinced me that it is impossible to prepare and carry out a complete and comprehensive program unless we have an independent nation, with complete freedom in tariff, currency, commercial treaties, etc.
The question has been raised whether it will be possible to prevent the fight between Osmeña and Roxas. From my personal point of view, settlement is most difficult. Now that Pres. Quezon is dead, we have to decide who would succeed him. Of course the choice is between Osmeña and Roxas. Their friends did all they could so the fight could be avoided. No effort was spared; no argument neglected. They especially emphasized the fact that Osmeña was old, and that the arrangement could be that Osmeña can be President this term and Roxas the next. All efforts failed.
Who will win? Nobody can tell. Each count with unconditional supporters. Each can muster good and effective arguments. In my opinion, however, the result will depend upon their views on live issues, especially the date for our independence, the political and economic relationships that may be established with other nations, and the “collaborationist” problem. In so far as I am concerned, personal considerations will never enter, grievances that I have had in the past, will all be forgotten. What matters to me is the independence of our country and the welfare of our people. For these I shall be willing and ready to make any sacrifice.
We had a program within the compound this evening. It was very entertaining.