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.”


10th January 1945

Not all the Japanese are unaware of how things are going. Today a Japanese admitted to me that the situation looked “hopeless”. The Americans, he said, were betting huge sums and Japan had no chips left. We were playing poker, which explains his choice of metaphor.

No, he said, the Japanese did not mind their sons and husbands being marooned and doomed on Luzon as on the other bloody islands of the south; that was a sacred duty cheerfully fulfilled. All the same, what was the use? He had already forgotten those sanguine expectations he had told me about one year ago, expectations of Chiang’s surrender after the victories in central China, expectations of “annihilating” the Americans once they came within range of the tokotai. This was no longer a 50-50 affair lacking only the mediation of Stalin for a negotiated peace. It was now 30-70, he judged, and it was, more than ever, time for peace. But no, not surrender. He could not bring himself to say it.

Afterward I had another chat with a Japanese newspaperman, To him too the situation appeared irretrievable and the future unpredictable. The young people were deeply Asian in outlook, he thought; they hated the America and England for whom their fathers and grandfathers still, in their hearts, had a haunting fear and respect. (Yvonne tells us that the little boy who lives next door to her sticks out his tongue every time they meet and calls her “dirty foreigner”). But nobody knew what time would bring. Would the youngsters hold out to the end, hurling the empire with them into national suicide? Or would the old men smother this fierce frenzy with their knowing pessimism, the instinct of age to save what there was left to save, to compromise, to fix, to bargain, to keep a penny rather than to risk and loose it all?


January 26-27, 1943

Shoreham Hotel.

Quezon is offered $1,000 a lecture for ten meetings by Getts, a lecture promoter, who came to lunch with his wife, the former Osa Johnson, widow of Martin Johnson the big game photographer.

Quezon expressed himself as in favour of a balance of power in the Far East–that Japan should not be so crushed that China may arise in her place as the would-be dictator of the Orient.

He said that Churchill and Roosevelt could not get Stalin to come to Casablanca–he did not wish to be tied up to them as he is playing his own game and intends to go to Berlin alone and then arrange his own empire; that Churchill and Roosevelt did not want Chiang Kai-shek at Casablanca.

Quezon maintained that the Ilongots in his youth were free-for-all head-hunters. I remarked that they had killed very few Americans–only two whom I remembered, while the Spanish in their day simply didn’t dare to go into their country. Quezon replied that during the first revolution against Spain, the Filipinos got hold of a lot of firearms, and they tamed the Ilongots who could not stand up to a shotgun when armed themselves with only their spears and arrows. Like most of the Filipinos who lived in Baler, his native village, Quezon has Ilongot blood through his mother.