June 30, 1945 Saturday

The Post of June 23, reports that a congressional investigation of the acts of the Secretary of the Interior, Tomas Confesor, as Governor of Panay and Romblon during the occupation, is proposed in a resolution introduced by Representative Ceferino de los Santos of Iloilo. A joint committee of Congress is to look into the “state of terrorism, criminality and maladministration” and to investigate the issuance, use and disposition of emergency currencies. He made as basis for the resolution the recent speeches in Congress, reports on alleged arrests and executions and property confiscation in the islands during the occupation, as well as reports on the fight between Confesor and Col. Macario Peralta, head of the Panay guerrillas. Peralta is reported to possess affidavits which he intends to use against Confesor.

In an interview with the Associated Press reported in the Post of June 23. Kalaw said: “We need free trade with the United States over a period of 20 years or not at all.” I do not understand it. Supposing we are offered a 10-year or a 15-year period, are we going to refuse? To refuse will constitute an unpardonable blunder, a knife thrust at the very heart of our mother country.

It must be mentioned that after the surrender, many Bataan and Corregidor Filipino veterans were in a miserable state. Those who were previously in government claimed their former positions. Some who were not, applied for government employment. They were compelled to do this so that their dear ones may live. We Ministers and former Commissioners tried to help them as much as we could. All those with suitable qualifications were employed. Even those without civil service qualifications were accommodated. Instructions were passed around to give preference to these veterans. We were able to help many this way.

Editorial, Manila Post, June 23. Vindication. “When we first announced our stand on the collaboration issue we strongly advocated a liberal, dispassionate and realistic view conformable to the Pronouncement of President Osmeña in his ‘Government of Laws’ speech, in which he defined a policy poles apart from the view of the guerrillas and certain Cabinet members who uncompromisingly held the strict view that all those who served in the Vargas and Laurel governments and in Japanese-controlled entities are collaborators. We were then labelled in some unthinking quarters as collaborationist with the malicious intent of discrediting us.

“But knowing that the popular sentiment was on our side and that our stand rested four-square on principles, we steadfastly and courageously adhered to it and reiterated it time and again…

“For our part, we held ourselves fortunate to find that the principles for which we have long been fighting alone, and because of which we have been spitefully branded a collaborationist periodical, finds a champion in Senate Pres. Roxas, whose patriotism no one can now question.”

Following is a continuation of Roxas’ speech reported earlier: “On February 20 (1942), President Quezon was leaving Corregidor upon the request of the President of the United States and of Gen. MacArthur. President Quezon did not want to leave… I think it is my duty to say that Pres. Quezon not only left Corregidor with reluctance because he said he wanted to suffer and die with his people if need be, but he was very reluctant to leave Manila for Corregidor because he said, ‘I believe it is my duty to remain with my people in time of great need and trial.’ But he was prevailed upon. The United States government believed that it would be very unwise to risk Pres. Quezon’s life because he was the symbol, not only the leader, but the symbol of Filipino resistance and Filipino patriotism and Filipino idealism. He was not only the leader of his country, he was the father of Philippine liberty, and he was the man that built up in this country all the love and affection and loyalty that we have borne out in the battlefields… With tears in his eyes he left because he thought that it was his duty to his country, but he left with a broken heart and left only because he believed that his presence in the United States would accelerate the sending of reinforcement here…

“He left Corregidor and asked me to go with him. (He declined because he was afraid that the soldiers that were fighting in Bataan would suffer a dislocation and their morale would be weakened or shakened if they learned that he had left the country leaving them to fight alone.) He left leaving me all the responsibilities of government.”

Pres. Quezon issued an executive order providing that if anything should happen to him and to Vice President Osmeña during the duration of the war, that Manuel Roxas would be officially recognized as the legitimate successor to the presidency of the Commonwealth. One month later, Quezon wanted Roxas to come with him to Australia. “After the war, the safety and the future of our country can only be saved in his (Roxas) hands.” Roxas declined giving his reasons. Quezon answered, “Under those circumstances, I believe you should stay.”

Roxas’ speech continued, “I remained here because I wanted to continue fighting. I wanted to organize the resistance movement in the Philippines and, with the help of God, I think I did my share, poor as it is.”

According to reports from sources close to Pres. Osmeña, he did not know that Representative Lopez of Cebu was going to attack Senate Pres. Roxas; otherwise, he would have asked Lopez to refrain from delivering his speech, as he did when he found out that another solon from Cebu intended to attack certain members of Congress for activities during the Japanese regime. This was to preserve unity and avoid any discussion among the people. The controversy in our midst as to whether the Senate should have determined by lot the terms of office of the Senators, seems to have been started by the following amendment which seems to have already been approved by Congress:

Sec. 9 of Act 666, as amended, will read: “Sec. 9. The Senate shall within ten days after approval of this act, determine by lot which shall serve for a term of six years, which of the group shall serve for a term of four years, and which of the group shall serve for a term of 2 years; Provided that the Senators whose term of office shall cease as a result of the lot, shall hold over until their successors shall have been elected. Provided, further, that Senators whose term of office would have expired under the old rule shall continue in office without compensation until their successors are elected.”

The changes thereby introduced is that instead of holding the determination by lot within ten days from the beginning of the session which should have been held last January, 1942, it will be held within ten days after the approval of the amendment. Another change is that the Senators whose term of office had expired could continue in office until their successors are elected but without compensation. The purpose undoubtedly is to insure a quorum in the Senate.

Hope for our early release was again revived. It is said that the selection by lot will have to be done in our presence and that it seems that we are needed in the Senate to insure a quorum.

Secretary of the Interior Tomas Confesor on June 24 hurled back at Senate Pres. Manuel Roxas the charge of Fascism with which the latter has accused those who “want (the country) to be governed by the Chief Executive alone.”

Evidently referring to the attack of Roxas against the administration, Confesor declared: “I understand that someone made the state­ment that our present economic ills are administrative rather than a legislative responsibility… That statement shifting the responsibility of solons to these problems to the executive branch of the government alone is a Fascistic theory — an abdication of legislative power or authority; and anyone who advocates the abdication of legislative authority, is advocating a dictatorial form of government.”

Roxas is right. The economic problems are primarily for the executive to handle. The Legislative only intervenes whenever legislation is necessary. Even then, after the approval of the legislation the rest will have to be performed by the Executive. The theory of Confesor is impractical. The Legislative body moves slowly being composed of many persons and its acts will have to be sanctioned by the majority. The Executive, on the other hand, can move most expeditiously. Economic problems have many ramifications and if everytime each ramification will have to be submitted to the legislative body and will have to await the approval of this body, the measures or remedy required will come too late — at a time when damage or “prejudice had already been caused or the condition no longer admits of any remedy.

In the same speech of Roxas, he said, “While it is true the only ways to determine political questions in a democracy is by allowing the people to decide those questions, I invite the Senator from Bohol to file a bill in the Senate setting a date for the next election and I promise him I will see it through at the earliest date possible.”

According to Confesor, the United States Army is spending from 70 to 80 million pesos a month in the Philippines today. It means that within a year they may spend up to one billion.

My comment: If the information is correct, there will be inflation for I am sure that much circulation cannot at present be absorbed by the production which covers industry, agriculture and commerce. I am surprised that the necessary hedges against inflation are not being set up.


June 22, 1945 Friday

Hope for our release is just like a stock market; it goes up and down. One day everybody appears happy; the next day, disappointment and deep sorrow reign. Today we are all in high spirits for a reason which I shall now explain.

The urgent need for a separate toilet for the officer class has been felt for some time. Plans were drafted by Engineers Paez and Bayan. Construction was commenced a few days ago under the direction of the two engineers and the supervision of Don Teofilo Sison. This morning, while Mr. Bayan was on his job, the Colonel-Superintendent came although it is not inspection day. This Superintendent, unlike his predecessor, comes quite frequently. Engineer Bayan since his arrival had been having trouble with his teeth. He had consulted Army dentists who believed that all his remaining teeth should be pulled out and a complete set of false teeth be made. Evidently, the Colonel was told about it and he probably remembered it. The Colonel urged Mr. Bayan to have his teeth work done. Mr. Bayan answered that he would prefer to have it done in Manila as it would be very inconvenient for him. He explained that if all his teeth were pulled out, he would need a special diet. In Manila, in his own home, his family could prepare his special food. The Colonel answered that such special food could not be provided by them, but he would make arrangements whereby he would be served before everybody else. Engineer Bayan made the following remarks evidently in order to reinforce his refusal to have his dental work done here: “I expect to be released soon”. Mr. Bayan was probably not aware that he released a trial-balloon to find out something about our possible release. The Colonel spontaneously stated: “The probability is 90% that you will be released without trouble as the government is very interested in you. That is the way I look at it.” Adding, “So you are going to wait.” “Yes”, answered Mr. Bayan.

Those who heard this exchange lost no time communicating to others the good tydings. Senator Sebastian ran inside our barracks to tell us the conversation he heard. Naturally, we all became very anxious and listened very attentively to the narration of the Senator. Not contented with secondhand news, Mr. Bayan was shoved into the midst of the happy crowd and made to repeat the conversation. He was cautioned to use the exact words of the Colonel. Mr. Bayan was very accommodating. He kept repeating the conversation every time a new listener came around, notwithstanding his difficulty in talking on account of the condition of his teeth.

There was general rejoicing in the quarters of the officer class. The rejoicing soon spread to the quarters of the enlisted class. The whole morning the conversation was the topic of vivid comments. There were different versions as to the application of the ninety per cent. Senator Sebastian who heard the conversation gave his version as follows: “Ninety per cent will be released.” Recto concurred with this version, adding that the ten per cent referred to Mr. Bayan who will have to remain so that work on his teeth could be finished. The new version did not in any way dampen the enthusiasm as everybody expects not to be included in the ten per cent. The enthusiasm was such that the “bread and water” ration given us at the mess was devoured in no time. In his bewilderment, Mr. Bayan approached the ration table more than once. Don Quintin Paredes became a disciple of Dr. Samari, predicting that comments will continue for two days.

The expression “without trouble” has been interpreted by some to mean that there will not be any formal inquiry. Others believe that he meant that our cases are meritorious ones.

No news referring to us has provoked as much enthusiasm as this one. It is pointed out that the Colonel is in a position to know and he must have based his statements on some tangible facts. He could not have referred to the interest of the government unless he knows it positively.

God bless the Colonel. He certainly has revived our fading hope.

Sensational news are reported in the newspapers we have just received.

The first is to the effect that Representative Emilio de la Paz of Rizal, who was defeated by Representative Jose Zulueta of Iloilo for the Speakership, hurled charges that his defeat meant that there were still vestiges of Japanese influence in Congress. When informed that the Committee on Internal Affairs of the House of Representatives would require him to substantiate his charges, he stated that he is prepared to prove them. Many interpret the act of de la Paz as one of spite because of his defeat. I am willing, however, to grant him the benefit of a doubt. I credit him with sincerity and courage to denounce what he thinks is an evil or inconsistency in the acts of our public officials. As a matter of fact, if the acts attributed to many of us in this prison constitute collaboration, there are many members of Congress who are collaborators. I think I have already named somewhere in these writings some Senators guilty of the same acts for which we have been detained. In the House there are many who took active part in the pacification campaign. Some of them have amassed fortunes for activities during the Japanese regime. One was connected with a business providing lumber to the Japanese. A probe will perhaps disclose facts which may be the basis for the charges of Representative de la Paz.

The second news is to the effect that Cabili had accused President Roxas of the Senate of having sent him a form letter urging him to surrender to the Japanese. On the surface, the charge seems to be serious, if true. I do not know the facts, but there may be a satisfactory explanation for this. The date when the letter was written is very pertinent. Roxas after his appointment as Brigidier General, was placed in charge of the military operations in Mindanao. He was the head in that Island. When Corregidor was occupied by the Japanese, Gen. Homma declined to accept the surrender of Wainright and his men unless Wainright surrendered the rest of the USAFFE in the Philippines, being the Commanding General with jurisdiction over the whole Philippines after the departure of Gen. MacArthur. By radio and letters, Wainright communicated this condition for surrender set by Gen. Homma to all the District Commanders in the Philippines ordering them to surrender. Brigadier General Roxas probably only transmitted the order of Gen. Wainright. Roxas will undoubtedly clear up the situation.

Col. Peralta, the patriot and guerrilla hero of Panay, whose exploits won for him one of the highest decorations given to military men, wrote a letter to Pres. Osmeña, urging the latter to follow a moderate policy on the collaborationist problem for the sake of unity. I already had a high opinion of Col. Peralta. With his letter, my admiration for him has heightened even more. His motive for recommending such a policy is sublime and highly patriotic. It shows his intense love for his country. In war time, he had risked his life so that the liberty for which our forefathers had shed their precious blood, could be attained and preserved. Now in peace time, he urges unity as disunion at this crucial period in our history may cause us to lose whatever liberties we may have already won and even endanger the independence of our country which is already assured. I think much more will be heard of Col. Peralta. He will some day be in a position of great responsibility in our country. I have never seen him. It shall be a pleasure and an honor to meet him.

Dr. Moncado brought news substantially confirming the statement of the Colonel. I am still pessimistic.


May 11, 1945 Friday

Three officers, a Colonel, a Lieutenant Colonel, and Major arrived. We thought that they came to investigate our respective cases. We soon learned that they were here to inspect our quarters. They went all around and seemed to be satisfied with the sanitary conditions. The Major, however, began asking questions. We did not know his purpose. He asked me whether we were comfortable. I answered that for a prisoner, we were comfortable. He asked next whether we were happy. I of course had to answer him in the negative.

From the very beginning I was not happy as I do not like the implications of my detention. It implies treason to my country. This is far from the truth. I served my country and my people and no other country or people. There is also the implication that I was an anti-American. Given any antecedents and my connection, I can not possibly be anti-American. Finally, there is the implication that we constitute a menace to war security. Would I help the Japanese, especially after the death of my daughter at their hands? Considering these injustices, I cannot possibly be happy.

At 11 this morning, we were surprised to see Don Vicente Madrigal, the millionaire, coming. Everybody was glad to see him as we were all hungry for news from Manila. He said he was arrested two days previously, detained at Quezon City, and later brought by plane via Leyte. He told us about the destruction of Manila and the killing of countless Filipinos, including some very prominent people, by the Japanese, by American bombing and shelling, and the street fighting between the Americans and the Japanese. Asked about the attitude of the people towards us, he said that not only was there no bitterness, but that the public reaction was favorable. He also said that his feelings towards the present government is not that of enthusiasm. The head, Mr. Tomas Confesor, is dividing our people by going after those who held any kind of important position under the Japanese. Many reacted angrily to this. For instance, Macario Peralta, the head of the guerrillas in Panay, said that Confesor was not a hero as he did nothing but hide in the mountains.

Don Vicente Madrigal said that Gen. MacArthur seems to be in favor of the holding of sessions of the Philippine Congress. He furnished facilities to bring to Manila the Senators and Representatives. President Osmeña, however, answering an inquiry, wired against the sessions, saying that the policy with reference to the collaborationists must first be defined. To do otherwise may imperil our independence, the progress of rehabilitation and also the commercial treaties that we may want to enter into.

Madrigal also informed us that the economic condition in Manila is not satisfactory. Money was scarce and so were commodities. This was a surprise to me. I am sure it will be a disappointment to many who thought that upon the arrival of the Americans, money and commodities would be plentiful.

Asked about the cause of our detention, he answered that he had good reasons to believe that it was the result of pressure on the part of Filipinos who are now in power, like Confesor. I commented that such an attitude was regrettable. The financial and economic problems are very serious and all the Filipinos are needed in the solution of those problems. I made it clear, however, that in so far as I was concerned, I do not want to hold any more positions in the government.


27th day, Jan. 23, 1945

What a hectic day! I had the opportunity to hit Peralta, and I have done it good and hard.

The damned fool is finished.

My throat is slightly improved.

Maj. Cisneros and Cily J saw me.

I am now ready to go.

We felt like kids when [we] received our new clothes today—the first in three years.

I saw Chic Parsons—what a man! He is all service for every one he can help. Why don’t we have more of his kind?

I got funds today. I am giving the boys pocket money to enable them to go around at ease.


22nd day, Jan. 18, 1945

Warsaw has fallen! This is the principal feature of the broadcast this morning. Russia certainly knows how to time her punch to produce the desired effect. This is a fatal blow to Germany. Russians are just now 15 miles from German Silesia. It appears that this Russian drive will throw Germany off balance and probably knock her down for the count should the European Western front be continuously hammered hard and strong by the allied forces as to prevent Germany from sending reinforcements to the Eastern front, The Eastern situation should hasten the collapse of Germany.

The Philippine war front has become front page news all over the world. This war has definitely placed the Philippines conspicuously on the map. At least for the next generation, American and Australian children will be studying closely Philippine geography and history. We are no longer an unknown item in world affairs.

1 1/2 billion dollars for naval construction in the Philippines. What a large sum that would be sunk by America in the Philippines!

Philippine laborers and business men would have a big share. This war is therefore a blessing in disguise.

Poor Peralta. He again committed a big foul by sending a message to Abcede on “crooks.” He exposed once more his idiocy to Abcede.

Today, we receive the message that tomorrow a hydroplane will be picking us up— from our beach.

Should nothing miscarry tomorrow, we could be taking our lunch somewhere in Leyte or on some other point.

May God be with us—during and after the trip.


13th day, Jan. 9, 1945

Maj. Soliven came this morning and took us out after lunch to Col. Absede’s CP. We reach the HQ late this evening on a motor boat. The trip has been rather monotonous. We find Col Abcede waiting for us. His HQ is upstream and well hidden. Yet the Japs succeeded in getting in there through the back door. The darned fools did the unexpected as they did also in Panay.

The good Col. has tuba, hash & corned beef ready for us and a good dinner.

To our surprise, after dinner, the HQ band started to play dance music. And the girls of the camp showed up dolled up for the dance. We dance, that is, my party, for the first time in three years. We have a good time. This is my first opportunity to be amidst young girls, with their hair and faces well done up.

I have been introduced to staff officers of the camp. They are a fine group of enthusiastic young officers. I like them. They like me too, I presume. Their air is cordial, friendly & cooperative. They do not have the braggadocio of Panay officers. They do not show the insolence of Peralta’s clique. Here they are respectful to civil officers—friendly and helpful.

Col Abcede is sound and understanding. He does not have the imperious pretensions of Peralta.

Some personalities that strike me as interesting are Lanza, Maj. Cunanan and Manas.

I meet here Mrs. Villamor and Lt. Rexford. Why is Mrs. V. going with Rex and Rubenstein?

I have a nice bed here.

I have drunk several glasses of tuba.


11th day, Jan. 7, 1945

We have done a good day’s job. Col. Abcede came to see us this morning. He impressed me favorably on first sight. He looked modest & humble. He is an understanding fellow. He does not have the arrogance & the condescending air of Peralta. He is charming with his officers, but the latter have a high regard for him. He came in with various officers of his staff. They are all nice fellows. What great things we would have accomplished in Panay if we had officers of their kind and character.

They enjoy listening to our remarks on Peralta. They wonder why Peralta has been behaving as he has towards civil officials.

They are treating us royally here. We have just returned from Maj. Hollero’s CP. He has a fine family and a very charming wife. We got there Palm Olive [soap], tooth brushes and 1,000 rounds of buckshot.

Why didn’t Peralta give us the same things?

We have passed a great day. It’s the first time in ten days that [I] have been out. My strides were firm and steady. Everybody here is telling me [I] look strong & healthy. Thank God.

We are tired but satisfied. A shower has made me feel fine. What a day!


9th day, Jan. 5, 1945

Here we are eating, sleeping, reading and waiting—day after day. We are getting bored.

When will we get picked up here?

We are still concerned with the Osmeña statement on puppets and collaborators.

I have been feeling well since I arrived here. I feel stronger. I sleep well.

We hope that Peralta is intelligent and sane enough to understand MacArthur’s second proclamation on enemy collaborators.

What’s happening in Panay now is our worry here now.

Of course, while waiting to be picked up, we have an opportunity to exchange our views on world and local problems, now & after the war.


February 25, 1943

Peace and order in Vizcaya continue to be good so the Japanese Army’s total strength is now reduced to Bn. size. The American POWs are all transferred to Cabanatuan Camp. Meanwhile, the two Grla. Companies of Capt. Aban in Bagabag and Capt. Asuncion in Solano continue with their every Saturday Taisho program taught by Japanese Army instructors that gave them reason to assemble and conduct their close order and extended drills after. These Companies secretly under my command are about ready for future operations and are adhering from standing instructions on training, intelligence collections, laying low and awaiting orders. I am happy that latest scuttlebutts indicate Japanese advances towards Australia was stopped when Guadalcanal was taken back by the US Marines and the airfield there can be used now against the major Japanese Base in Rabaul.

It is gratifying to note that the 14th Inf. Grlas. was the first guerilla unit to contact Gen. MacArthur in Corregidor late Jan. 1942 through the effort of my classmate, Lt. Ed Navarro who took his transceiver all the way from Camp Allen to Kiangan, then to Bayombong during their retreat. This transceiver was used to send messages to USAFFE HQ by the 14th Inf. Grlas. but was lost after Col. Nakar was captured. Lately, I learned another PMA Classmate, Capt. Amos Francia Signal O. of Panay Grlas. under Col Peralta, through his ability and resourcefulness, was also able to fix a radio transmitter in their mountain hideout and able to contact SWPA HQ of Gen.MacArthur late last month. Francia is not only a classmate but also a blood relative and fellow Bulakeño.