June 26, 1945, Tuesday

It may be asked: If the conduct of the Japanese is as reported above why did we serve in the Japanese regime and later in the Philippine Republic?

I had good reasons for not accepting any position in the Japanese regime. Aside from my past relations with America and the Americans, and the position I had held with the Philippine government which would make my acceptance of any position under the Japanese regime improper, I had plans which I could carry out only as a private citizen. I was Director of Marsman & Co. and President and Vice President of various Marsman enterprises, like the Coco Grove Mining Co., Marsman Trading, Insular Drug, Cardinal Insurance, Marsman Lumber, etc. Immediately before the war, Marsman & Co. further expanded its enterprises, by buying American Hardware and the Food and other departments of Pacific Commercial Co. There were also many new industries and businesses planned. Such was the condition of Marsman & Co. when the war broke out.

The offices of the Marsman enterprises were in the Marsman Building at the Port Area. It was right next to military objectives. From the second day of the war, Manila Bay was bombed including the Port Area. A favorite target was Pier 7, considered the longest in the world, located probably less than 100 meters from our building. Bombing continued almost everyday until the day before the entry into Manila of the Japanese Army on January 2, 1942.

I used to go to the office regularly although I did not have to. Employees were dismissed after 11:00 a.m. as it was noted that air raids commenced after that hour; nevertheless, I and other executives would remain in our offices and continue working as if nothing was happening. The bombs fell around the building. It might have been a military target as Admiral Hart, the Head of the American Asiatic Fleet, and the Navy General Staff had their headquarters in the Marsman Building. We had somebody in the building watch for Japanese planes and sound the alarm. We would all run down to the air raid shelters whenever he gives the signal; and when the planes were overhead, we would all lie down, cover our ears and open our mouths. I used to sit next to Admiral Hart in the air raid shelter located in the first story under the stairs. The building was also surrounded by layers of sandbags. Luckily, the building was never hit. There was only one bomb that fell behind the building about five yards away. All the windows of the building were shattered. I found several shrapnels inside my office which was on the 4th floor from which I got a good view of the pier.

In my house, we built no shelter at all. We used to hide on the first floor on both sides of the stairs which was located at the very center of the house. We lined the walls with sandbags and placed boards and many other things on the second floor directly above us. No bombs fell near us but we could hear the detonation very well so that at times, they sounded like they fell just next door to us. We save planes dive down and drop bombs on Nichols Field.

I never go out during an air raid. But I was caught in the streets twice when this occured. The first time I was luckily in front of the Bay View Hotel, a nine story reinforced concrete building. It seemed to be a safe place. The bombs fell in the bay near the hotel. The second time, I was in real danger. A special meeting of the Chamber of Mines was called and generally, either Vice President Ohnick or myself attended. We had agreec that Mr. Ohnick would attend that morning. The meeting was a special one called to discuss a very important matter concerning the mining industry. At the last hour, Mr. Ohnick decided not to attend and I had to rush to the meeting at the Pacific Building. This was the 27th of December, 1941. The meeting was hurriedly held and adjourned. I had sent my chauffeur to the bank to get some money and when after the meeting my automobile was not back, I had to borrow the automobile of the attorney of the company, Mr. Amando Velilla. I forgot to give directions to Mr. Velilla’s chauffeur not to pass through Intramuros (the Walled City) to go to Escolta but to go on to Padre Burgos St. outside Port Area. He drove through Intramuros, across the Malecon Drive and the air raid sirens sounded. Following instructions, we had to leave the car and seek shelter in the Myer’s Building. I entered a small compartment which had been converted into a very poorly built shelter. There were other people there, but they did not know me. Bombs fell all around. I heard the sound of an airplane which seemed to be flying very low. The moment I heard the sound I hit the floor, closed my eyes, covered my ears, and opened my mouth. Forthwith, I heard something heavy drop; then the building shook as the bomb exploded. The building was hit and shrapnel flew all around. When I dove, those around me laughed; they thought it was funny. I came through unscathed while many of the people around me were hurt. It was indeed a very narrow escape, but my satisfaction was that it happened while performing a duty for the company which had extricated me from financial difficulties. The Myer’s Building caught fire and burned down. The experience made me very cautious.

The City of Manila had already been declared an open city; nevertheless, the Japanese planes continued dropping bombs. To protect people residing in the nearby municipalities, like Pasay, San Juan, Caloocan, these were also included in the open city.

It was on December 28, 1941 when Japanese planes bombed the Treasury Building and the Philippines Herald offices located in a building on the other side of the former moat and wall around Intramuros, about opposite the Legislative Building. We were then having caucuses of both the members of the Senate and House to agree on the organization. When the siren sounded we ran to the shelter in the cellar. We were in the shelter until after three o’clock without anything to eat. It was very hot and crowded inside. The Herald had just written a strong editorial against the Japanese. It was also the time that the Church of Sto. Domingo and the Letran College were destroyed.

In connection with the advance of the Japanese and the occupation of Manila, it was in the morning of the 8th of December that the war began. I remember the date very well as that is the feast day of my hometown, Taal, Batangas, and we were about to leave that morning for Taal when we heard the news in the radio about the attack on Pearl Harbor. A few minutes afterwards we heard the bombing of Baguio. At 12:30 p.m. the bombing of Clark Field was reported and at 3 o’clock that same afternoon Nichols Field was attacked. Nichols Field was only a few kilometers from my house at Malate so that the war was brought next door to us. As I said, although there was bombing almost everyday I continued going to work especially since I noticed that the other executives were always present at the office. Very few of the Filipino personnel came. We continued holding meetings of the Boards of Directors of the Marsman companies as usual, but many times they had to be suspended to go to the shelter on account of air raids. I remember that one of my last acts was to sign dividend checks declared by the Coco Grove, of which I was the President. Before the coming of the Japanese we took steps to have our gold bullion taken to Corregidor where the USAFFE was going to make its last stand. We also endeavored to send all the moneys of the Marsman companies to the United States. I remember that our last meeting was at the University Club and we left some of our papers there. While there, I telephoned to arrange the sending of money to the United States.

Before going to the office, I would generally inquire from General Francisco about the situation of the advancing Japanese Army.He told me confidentially that the situation was very bad; that the Japanese were advancing very fast. I also informed my American friends and I advised them to withdraw as much of their deposits as they could. They refused on account of the official communique from the General Headquarters to the effect that “Enemies repulsed; no change in front.” About the 27th of December, I told them the Japanese had already passed San Pablo, Laguna, almost 100 kilometers away. It was then too late for the Americans to withdraw their money and they became very angry.

Since the attack on Pearl Harbor, there was absolute blackout throughout Manila. We passed terrible nights. Oftentimes, we heard revolver or gun shots. We understand that it was to enforce the blackout. The guards also shot at persons moving suspiciously or signaling, or at the places where the signaling was coming from. We actually saw many such signals, evidencing the presence of spies and fifth columnists.

The nights were dark and gloomy. I remember that we passed Christmas without the usual celebration. Some in our neighborhood tried to sing the Christmas carols, but they seemed in our ears like songs sang in necrological services. The thieves were also active. I remember that while we were downstairs on account of the air raids, a thief entered the second floor of our house. We heard the bathroom window creaking and we immediately ran upstairs and turned on the light in the room next to the bathroom. We found the door of the bathroom closed and we suspected the thief was still inside. In the meanwhile, the air raid wardens with an American Army officer were yelling from the street ordering us to put the light out, otherwise they would shoot. I quickly ran down to explain to the officer that there was a thief inside the bathroom. The officer went upstairs. Standing behind the closed bathroom door, he yelled to the thief to come out. He then broke in the door with his revolver. He found nobody: evidently, the thief had jumped out the window. There were practically no people going around at night. The cinematograph were open, but we never went.

In the day time, there were many people in the streets. During air raids, the air raid wardens were kept very busy. These are paid employees and they were very strict in the performance of their duties. The warden in front of our house, a man by the name of Emilio, was especially efficient. We noticed that the white people were reluctant to obey him. I remember an incident which I witnessed. The warden ordered a white couple to stop because there was an air raid; but they continued on their way. The warden ran after them to stop them. An American officer happened to be around and he drew his revolver and threatened to shoot the warden if he insisted. The warden, fearing for his life, let the couple go. When the officer drew his revolver, I immediately ran to my house to get my revolver. My intention was to shoot the officer if he shot at the warden since the latter was merely performing his official duty.

People were very careful about letting in anybody into their houses, even those caught in the streets during an air raid. Doors were always kept closed and locked. The reason for this was that there had been cases where bad elements took advantage of air raids to rob the houses.

On or about December 28, 1941, Pres. Quezon, Vice Pres. Osmeña with Secretary Santos, Col. Roxas and Gen. Valdes fled to Corregidor. For several days before and after their departure, there was a heavy movement of American and Filipino troops fleeing Manila as it had been declared an open city. They went north to Bataan where they were to make their last stand. It was about this time when I received an order from the U.S. Navy to turn over the Marsman yacht anchored in front of the Yacht Club to the Navy, and another order from the Army to blow up all our dynamite cache in Camarines Norte, and all our oil. We had just received a consignment of over 4000 cases of dynamite and in preparation for the war our two oil tanks, one of which was the biggest in the Philippines, were filled up.

On that same day, my son Tony who had finished training in the Cavalry Camp at Parañaque, and who was a Sergeant-Major in the Philippine Army Reserve received an order to join his regiment. He had been waiting for it; all his other classmates had received theirs. He prepared to comply with the order. I noticed that he was very, very anxious to do so. He envied his classmates, especially Apostol who only the day before left without him when his order did not come. Apostol never came back. Tony’s instructions were to report to the military headquarters in Pampanga. But when he arrived at the train station, the last train for the North had left and so had the last police bus that took reservists to their destination. Upon Tony’s insistence, I went to Malacañan to inquire and there I met Maj. Gen. Guillermo Francisco. I inquired from him as to how Tony could report for duty. He answered that the orders given to Tony and others which were issued on about December 9, 1941 had already been cancelled.

Before the Japanese entered Manila, I as a Senator-elect and as such a high government official, discussed with Speaker Yulo, Mr. Vargas and other officials what we should do. Should we hide from or present ourselves to the Japanese military authorities? After due discussion, and following instructions allegedly given by Pres. Quezon, we decided to stay. However, I expected that we would immediately be called by the Japanese and as I did not want to be one of the first to be called, and as I wished to know first what the Japanese would do to the Filipino officials, I decided to go into hiding. I went to New Manila and hid in the house of Doña Narcisa de Leon on Broadway Avenue. I changed my name and everybody was instructed to call me by that name and not divulge my identity. I went there in the afternoon of the 29th of December. I was very well treated Mrs. de Leon who is our “comadre” and in fact by the whole family. They certainly took good care of me. Rizal Day, December 30, passed and for the first time since that day was made an official holiday, there was no celebration. The Japanese were expected to arrive and enter Manila on December 31, but they did not come.

For the first time, I was not with my family when the New Year was ushered in. Like Christmas, there was no celebration of any kind. The usual fanfare and family reunions were conspicuously absent. There was a lot of speculation as to when the Japanese would enter Manila and what they were going to do.

By the second of January, 1942, when the Japanese had not shown up, we learned that the Japanese contingent coming from the North was somewhat delayed and that coming from the South was waiting. I called up Mr. Ohnick and told him I was hiding and asked his advice as to whether I should stay in hiding. He answered that I better just stay home. So in the afternoon, I went home. I left my revolver in Broadway as I was afraid that if I were to encounter the Japanese I would be searched, and if found with a revolver, I would be shot. It was a memorable short ride home. At any time, I was expecting to meet the Japanese and I wondered what I would do. I passed through España St., Quezon Avenue, Quezon Bridge, Arroceros St., Plaza Lawton, Taft Avenue and San Andres St. I met no Japanese, but I saw spectacles which gave me a glimpse of the moral fiber of the Filipinos. It foreshadowed what was to come later -the shameful conduct of many of our countrymen of robbery consisting in illegal confiscation of goods, soulless profiteering on goods, including foodstuff, and rampant bribery of the police and other agents of the law who were charged with the prevention of illegal traffic of commodities and sale at prices in excess of those fixed by law. I saw big crowds all along the streets and at first I did not know what it was all about. On España St. I met people carrying all kinds of commodities, clothing, canned goods, etc. On Rizal Avenue, I saw persons forcing open the Chinese stores and carrying out everything, including furniture. It was rampant looting. People rushed into the stores like mad dogs. I reached the other side of Quezon Bridge and there I saw a big crowd snatching everything they could get from the old Ice Plant. I could see them carrying frozen meat and fish.

On Lawton Square, on Taft Avenue, San Andres St., I saw the same thing. Some people used automobiles, “calesas” and “carretelas” to haul their loot. Many of them sold their wares right there on the street for very low prices; one could buy everything: clothing, foodstuff, furniture. I learned later that the goods came from the Port Area. Some bodegas were opened to the public. Other bodegas, however, were forced open. This was not to be regretted after all as the goods would have fallen into the hands of the Japanese. My chauffeur insisted in going to the Port Area with our automobiles. I refused to allow him to go. I prohibited all the members of my family and all those who worked for me to take any part in the looting or even to buy the looted goods. I consider it dishonest to acquire them. In fact, there was looting all over Manila. Right in front of my house they forced a Chinese store open and stole everything inside. The policemen who witnessed this looting were powerless. Some of the policemen were even seen to take part in the looting. It was a shame.

I forgot to mention that during the bombing, every time there was an air raid alarm, American soldiers were stationed in various parts of Manila to watch for parachutists. Five American soldiers were stationed just outside my house. Whenever they came, we offered them coffee.

It was in the afternoon of the 2nd of January between 5 and 6 o’clock p.m. when the Japanese entered the city. They marched down various streets, two of which were Taft Avenue and Mabini St. From Taft Avenue we could hear yells of “Banzai.” Those passing Mabini rode in trucks. We could see them very well from our house. For a victorious army, it was surprising that there was no show of pride.

The next day, the people went out expecting excellent treatment as many of them sincerely believed that the Japanese would treat us as equals and brothers. That same day we were awakened to the reality that the Japanese were not as we expected. That very first day, there were incidents due to the fact that the Filipinos were being compelled to salute the Japanese sentries. Everybody was searched for arms, which was to be expected. But the Japanese civilians were very abusive. Sometimes, although the Japanese soldier had already searched the man and found nothing, the Japanese civilian who acted as interpreter would get his watch or other things. All automobiles were confiscated without ceremony. Even civilians confiscated automobiles. I was just about to leave my house in my automobiles when my friend, Mr. Schultz, stopped me to tell me the Japanese were confiscating automobiles and his automobile had just been taken. So I went walking along the boulevard to go to the Marsman building at the Port Area. However, at the Luneta, I was stopped by a Japanese sentry. Evidently, entry into the Port Area had been prohibited.

On January 4th, an automobile with Japanese Navy officers stopped at our house. My family was scared. The civilian interpreter told me to get dressed and go with them. I was taken to the Marsman Building. I was made to wait at the anteroom of what used to be Mr. Jan Marsman’s office on the fourth floor. After about half an hour, I was ushered in. I saw a uniformed man who turned out to be the General and Chief of Staff of the Japanese Army in the Philippines. The General asked me many questions. He asked where Mr. Marsman was and whether the company was really owned by Britishers and Americans. He also told me he knew that Admiral Hart, the head of the American Navy in the Philippines had quarters in the building. He then asked where the telephone or secret communication to Corregidor was located in the building. Then the Japanese asked me for the keys to all the Marsman buildings and warehouses. I told them that I was Vice President of the Marsman Building Corporation and as such I was quite familiar with the plans of the building, and that I was not aware of any telephone communication with Corregidor. We went back to the Marsman Building where they took me all around the building to search for the communications equipment, but we did not find any. They thanked me and I prepared to leave. But before doing so I asked that I be allowed to go into my office to get a few things. They asked me for specifications and I especially mentioned the English Dictionary. My intention was that if I were allowed to get the dictionary I would then ask for other things. I had many valuable things in my office, such as important documents, parts of my diary, my collection of rare stamps, my photographs with Pres. Quezon and Mrs. Marsman, and other personal belongings. A Navy Captain escorted me to my office. But at the door, he stopped me and went inside. When he came out, he told me they would look for my things and deliver them to me at my house. On the way out of the building, I was looking all around, especially at the safes in which the companies had at least P60,000.

The next day the Japanese came for me again. We went to the Marsman bodegas near the North bank of the Pasig River. I do not know why they brought me there as I was not allowed to go inside the bodegas. I saw various trucks parked in front of the bodegas. The caretaker told me that trucks had been coming frequently and that the Japanese loaded them to the limit with things taken from the bodegas.

The next morning after the entry of the Japanese, I went to the Admiral Apartments on Dewey Boulevard. Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Ohnick were expecting to be arrested by the Japanese at any time and that same morning at about noon, somebody had telephoned me that Mr. and Mrs. Ohnick were leaving with Japanese officers. When I arrived at the Admiral Apartments, they were gone. I just missed them by a few minutes. I saw their automobile being taken by the Japanese. I tried to stop the soldiers but they did not pay any attention to me. I lingered around the hotel. I met and talked with ex-Representative Pedro Sabido and Dr. Salvador Araneta. I found that Mr. Sabido decidedly in favor of a close relationship with Japan and membership to the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. This is the reason why in the sub-committee on Economic Planning of the Preparatory Committee for Philippine Independence, I made him Chairman of the Committee on the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. Araneta, on the other hand, was decidedly against any relationship with the Japanese. It should be remembered that he was one of the most active for permanent political relationship with the United States.

The only high officials of the Marsman enterprises who regularly attended the Board meetings after the Japanese came were Mr. Welhaven, Mr. Ottiger, Mr. Velilla and myself. Von Ahren called a few times. Mr. Ohnick attended once at the San Luis office he was out of the the concentration camp for a few hours. The Japanese came once to inquire what we were doing. We announced that we were discussing our affairs. They asked whether we were licensed. We explained that we were not operating. There was an understanding in the company that we were to take care of the interests of the Marsman enterprises during this period. We held many meetings in my house on Calle San Andres where we discussed various affairs of the companies to do all we could to protect them. We decided to prepare an inventory of all the stock we had for such claims as we may later wish to make. Very little could be done as regards these two matters as it was most difficult to deal with the Japanese and they would not allow us to have access to the premises of the Marsman buildings and bodegas. I was to continue with any work that could be done for the companies as Messrs. Welhaven and Ottiger are whites and the Japanese are prejudiced against whites. Furthermore, Mr. Welhaven was a semi-belligerent as he was from Norway, the refugee government which had declared war against Germany and Japan.

I did my best to get Mr. and Mrs. Ohnick released from the concentration camp in Sto. Tomas University. I used to send a few things to them and to other Marsman men at the camp. I generally went with Mr. Velilla and Mr. Ottiger. I shall never forget those visits. Those Japanese guards were very hard to deal with. I carried a pass from Colonel Watanabe. We had to go through all kinds of difficulties to get in. My papers were scrutinized. We were usually made to wait at the gate for a long time. There we saw many Filipinos slapped and treated like dogs. We feared that our turn would come. Many times we could talk only in the presence of the Japanese. I often went to see the Superintendent since it was easier to talk to him to ask him to be allowed to talk to internees without any guard present. When leaving I generally would loiter around the grounds to talk to different people. I knew I was exposing myself to danger in doing so. One of the internees, Mr. Kelly, a high official of Marsman Company who was one of my best friends in the organization, was suffering from something which required him to go to Dr. Gonzales on Legarda St. Every time he went, he called me up. I always took him back to Sto. Tomas in my automobile where we would have a good chat along the way.

I continued my efforts to get Mr. and Mrs. Ohnick out of the concentration camp. Mrs. Ohnick was released because she was sick most of the time. Mr. Ohnick was able to get permission once in a while to be out of the camp for a few hours.  I went to talk to the Superintendent about Mr. Ohnick. I told him that I would like to have Mr. Ohnick released in view of the fact that his wife was sick. I explained to him my relationship with Mr. & Mrs. Ohnick. I said that Mr. Ohnick was the Vice President of Marsman & Company, and that I was a member of the Board of Directors. Mr. Ohnick, when interviewed by the Superintendent, mentioned that his father was a pure blooded Japanese. I knew this, and I also knew that his father’s name was Oniki, but I never mentioned it. The Superintendent decided to release Mr. Ohnick to me. Of course I had to guarantee his good conduct. Mr. & Mrs. Ohnick moved to a house near the Rizal Memorial Stadium where I visited them quite frequently. Mrs. Ohnick was in very poor health.

Mr. & Mrs. Francisco were also released as Mrs. Francisco was very sick. They occupied a house in New Manila where I visited them. I noticed that their house was being watched by the Japanese police. I pitied them very much as they complained that they could not get some essential things like laundry soap. Mr. Francisco attended a few of the meetings of Marsman & Co.

Mr. Ohnick was present in various meetings in my house and in a meeting at the Marsman store and shop at San Luis St., almost directly in front of the Agricultural Building. At one time. some Japanese came and asked whether we had license to operate the store. We answered that we had not opened the store and that we were merely having an informal meeting. This store was later seized by the Japanese. In these meetings attended by Mr. Ohnick the main question discussed was whether or not we should continue the business. The consensus of opinion among us was that we should suspend operations of the company. However, upon my suggestion, we filed a petition to operate. My reason was that if we did not apply for a license to operate, they might take this as an admission that it was an enemy company. We were contending that it was not enemy property inasmuch as the majority stockholders were Mr. and Mrs. Marsman who were naturalized Filipinos. I forgot to state that Mr. Francisco, another high official of Marsman, was also present in some of those meetings. The Japanese never took action on our petition, and in the meanwhile they continued taking everything in the store until nothing was left.

It was agreed that I was to take charge of protecting the properties and interests of Marsman enterprises and that I was to act on matters that may come involving the enterprises. I was also to study future plans for the activities of the company during the Japanese regime if we ever decide to reopen.

Upon the request of my friends in the concentration camp, I suspended sending food or even visiting them. I noticed that I was being watched very closely. I remember one incident. We had a party in the house of Mr. and Mrs. Ohnick. All of them, with the exception of myself and Velilla, were Americans, Englishmen, Norwegians and Swiss. It was to celebrate the birthday of Mr. Ohnick and I went there with that understanding. The next day there was a full report about the party by the Military Police. The report stated that it was to celebrate the birthday of Mr. Marsman. It turned out that it was the birthday of Mr. Marsman and that the party was intended for him also, but I did not know this.

Because of my close relations with the Americans, the Japanese became suspicious of me. They complained to Malacañan. Knowing that drastic action would be taken against me, I desisted from visiting and sending food to the camp. My friends well understood my situation.

The Japanese Army entered Manila on the 2nd of January, 1942. Before their entry, the government made all the necessary preparations. Vargas, the Secretary to the President, which position made him a ranking member of the Cabinet, was at the same time appointed by Pres. Quezon as Mayor of Manila. He was the one charged with the painful duty of surrendering Manila. This was called Greater Manila as the municipalities around Manila –Pasay, Parañaque, San Pedro Makati, San Juan, and Caloocan– were incorporated into Greater Manila. Quezon City was also made a part of it. The purpose in creating a Greater Manila was so the whole area comprising those cities and municipalities could be included in the declaration of open city. Vargas and Laurel, got in touch with Katsumi Nihro, then Japanese Consul General in Manila. In the meanwhile, all the policemen were disarmed to prevent any incident which might result in combat with the Japanese. They were merely provided with walking sticks. Big streamers were placed along Taft Avenue and P. Burgos St. by the City Hall, warning the Filipinos to keep the peace. Vargas surrendered the city without any incident. He was told by the Japanese to continue as Mayor. He as well as Laurel were approached by the Japanese about forming a Central Government. Kihara, former Japanese Vice-Consul in Manila, took part in the negotiations. General Hayashi, an old friend of Laurel, called him also about forming a government. Aquino and Recto were approached by their friend, Kanegae. Later, Mori talked with Paredes on the subject.

Laurel was the Secretary of Justice and Acting Chief Justice; Aquino was a member of the Cabinet before the last reorganization of the Cabinet by Pres. Quezon and was slated to be the Speaker of the next House of Representatives; Paredes, Floor Leader and Speaker-elect; Recto, Senator-elect. Aquino, Paredes and Recto talked to Yulo who was then Speaker of the House and slated to be the President of the Senate. Yulo decided to consult Chief Justice Avanceña, the grand old man of the Philippines, whose views are always sound and whose patriotism had already been tested. He then called the other members of the Cabinet before the last reorganization to a meeting –Teofilo Sison, Rafael Alunan, Jose Fabella, Serafin Marabut, Jorge Bocobo. Fabella could not attend as he was sick. Later, they called all the Senators in Manila. These were Ramon Fernandez, Vicente Madrigal, Melecio Arranz, Eulogio Rodriguez, Elpidio Quirino, Arnaiz and myself.

The House of Representatives in a caucus designated the following to attend the meetings: Jose Zulueta, Eugenio Perez, Jose Veloso, Tomas Oppus, Prospero Sanidad, Alfonso Mendoza. Finally, prominent people were called and those included Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, President of the first Philippine Republic; Ramon Avanceña, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; Miguel Unson, a businessman and civic leader; Alejandro Roces, another statesman, owner and publisher of the influential newspapers. Juan Sumulong, the president of the Democrata Party was included in the list. When he was approached by Secretary Bocobo, he answered that he would consult his men. He died before he could do this. There are others whose names I could not remember just now.

Many meetings were held in the covered glorietta by the swimming pool on the left side of the palatial house of Speaker Yulo. It was an ideal place for secret meetings. Almost all expressed their opinion very freely. Each had the courage to make his conviction known. The discussion was very thorough. Everybody was aware of the gravity of the situation and the momentous decision we necessarily had to make. Some were in favor of the establishment of some form of government; others were not. We were, however, agreed on one point. Under no circumstances would we accept any arrangement unless our independence was guaranteed. We made it very clear that we would not give up the freedom for which our forefathers had lavishly shed their blood.

Evidently, the Japanese negotiators transmitted this to Tokyo as Premier Tojo, on the 21st of January, in a speech before the Diet, promised independence for the Philippines if conditions of peace so warrant and if the Filipinos understood and cooperated with the aims and purposes of Japan, such s the establishment of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.

After due deliberation, we decided not to form a government, but to have an organization which would merely cooperate with the Japanese civil administration in the Philippines. The Japanese, therefore, established their own civil administration in the Philippines which had all the departments and all the attributes of a government. On the other hand, the Filipinos organized a Commission with the Chairman as its chief executive.

As it turned out, the work of the Commission was of an auxiliary nature only. It could only decide routine or unimportant matters; all important matters, such as legislation and decision on policies had to be submitted to the Japanese Administration for approval.

Why did we accept such an arrangement? The following were our main reasons:

(1) To be assured of our independence whatever the result of the war might be.

(2) To be in a position to help the people. We knew the record of cruelty and brutality of the Japanese in China as many films had been shown in Manila depicting the atrocities of the Japanese. In our own country, slapping, unjustified arrests, illegal confiscation of private properties, and many other forms of abuses, had already become a common everyday happening. What could we do? We, who had repeatedly received the confidence of our people, could not forsake them precisely at a time when they had great need of us. Our personal interest should be of no account; no sacrifice is too great if dedicated to the cause of the people. We accepted, not necessarily because we were sure we could do much for our people, but in order to place ourselves in a position to help. Whether we succeeded or not only history will judge. Passion now runs high that even the most obvious might be overlooked.

(3) But our principal reason was that if we did not accept, the administration would fall into the hands of men like Artemio Ricarte, or an irresponsible person like Benigno Ramos. We are not sure that Ricarte is not a patriot. His record as a revolutionary figure points to his greatness and patriotism. But he was already over 75 years old. Somebody would have to govern for him, and history tells us that a government directed by another man behind the scene is dangerous as it generates the most iniquitous acts or acts of oppression by the government. His conduct in connecting himself with the Makapili has proven that our fear was well founded. Furthermore, Ricarte lived in Japan and was pro-Japanese and there was no one in our meeting that welcomed Japanese influence in the Philippines. Why did we think Ricarte might be head of the government? Because he came with the Japanese Expeditionary Forces and from the very beginning he was proclaiming that he was in favor of a dictatorship.

If not Ricarte, we were sure that the head of the government would have been Benigno Ramos, the head of the Makapili. He is so well known that it seems unecessary to describe him. Suffice it to say that he was an ambitious man and a degenerate. The only thing he thinks of is how to exploit other people. The many cases of “estafa” were the best proof of this assertion. He is a man without moral principles. He would not hesitate to kill to attain his purpose. The number of people killed by the Sakdals and the Makapilis is proof of this. In a government under Ramos, the people would be driven to start a revolution for they would not tolerate such indiscriminate killings,  Many of Ramos’ men –Sakdals– were killed by their own countrymen; in fact they had to concentrate themselves in places under the protective wings of the Japanese. The Filipino would have been the victim as Ramos would have been aided by the Japanese Army.

A government under Ricarte or Ramos would be used by the Japanese to commit cruelties and murders of the Filipinos.

(4) The last reason, which is no less important than the previous ones, is that we felt we were merely complying with the instructions of Pres. Quezon. These instructions are stated somewhere above. Whether we have complied faithfully or exceeded our authority, only history will decide. It should be remembered that the instructions contain no detail and all we could say for the present is that all our acts were done in good faith. If at times we apparently had exceeded our authority, it was exclusively for the purpose of avoiding a cataclysm, a great misfortune. In those instructions, Pres. Quezon foresaw the danger in leaving a government open to men like Ricarte or Ramos.

But I should reiterate that the Commission organized was not a real government. All its acts were merely delegated or had to be approved by the Japanese civil administration. We had hundreds of cases where we tried to do something or to do it in a different way, but the Japanese just did things or had them done in accordance with their whims and desires. The Office of the Director-General in the Japanese Administration was really the head of the government. It was occupied by Gen. Hayashi, and leter by Gen. Wachi.

When it was certain that a Commission was to be organized, somehow it got into my head that I may be appointed to the Commission. I wanted to avoid it by all means. As Vargas was the one dealing with the Japanese, I sked him not to have my name considered at all. Upon my insistence, he promised. He even showed me the proposed list wherein Yulo was suggested for Commissioner of Finance. When the list came out my name appeared. I became, to use a vulgar expression, groggy. My wife cried as she knew what that meant. She feared we would be in constant danger; she really hated public service as during my 29 years of service I got nothing but disappointments. I immediately went to Vargas to see whether I could decline. Vargas answered emphatically that I could not, unless I wanted to endanger my life. I consulted Mr. Ohnick. He understood the situation. He advised me to accept it, but to resign after three months. I consulted Vargas again and he said that he was aware of my situation, that he would help me get out after three months. I therefore asked for a three-month leave from Marsman & Co., which was granted. Such is the story of my acceptance.

After three months, I asked Mr. Vargas to allow me to resign. He said that it was not yet time. I asked and obtained another month’s leave of absence from Marsman & Co. At the end of the month, Mr. Vargas asked me to stay. He told me that it was for my own safety as he was sure the Japanese would consider my resignation a hostile act.

Mr. & Mrs. Ohnick were taken to Sto. Tomas again when the Japanese, for reasons I do not know, recalled all former internees, including the old and sick, to the Sto. Tomas concentration camp.


May 31, 1945 Thursday

Today is a holy day of obligation, Corpus Christi, and we heard Mass.

Upon our arrival from church, there were rumors that more detainees from Manila were coming. At 11 o’clock, an amphibian truck arrived with 35 persons. I could recognize only two—Dr. Gualberto, the Mayor of Rosario, Batangas and Mr. Aurelio Alvero, a young leader. They informed us that thousands are being detained all over the Philippines and that many more will be brought here. I could not help but cry.

I know that those who left the country when the Japanese came or who fled to the mountains are undoubtedly patriots. I am not willing to brand them as cowards, renegades. They complied with their duty towards our country in their own way. I admire them. But we sincerely hope that they too would understand our situation. Not all of us could go abroad or live in the wild parts of our country, either for reasons of age or physical condition, or family. I know of countless persons now under suspicion and detention who were more than willing to leave and continue their patriotic activities either abroad or in the mountains. But what could they do” They could not leave their family behind—their wife and small children. They could not be thoughtless and cruel to their family. But know that deep in their hearts they felt sincere sympathy towards the Americans and true love for their country. Some found ways in which they could be of help to their country, without exposing their lives too much. Many of them were actually caught, tortured, and incarcerated, and some even killed by the Japanese. Many, although working for the government, never failed to do their bit for our country. As a matter of fact, we know positively that more than one half of our personnel were American sympathizers and guerrillas. We knew who they were. We took no action.

Let it be known that we here have never been traitors to our country and that all we did was done in the spirit of service to our people so that they may survive and so that our country may enjoy that for which we are ready to give our very life—her independence.

The newcomers came by airplane—better than the means of transportation given us. We were herded like cattle, loaded in a boat and crammed in a hold (bodega) with no water and very little ventilation.

I need not make a “Who’s Who” of the 35 newcomers. But I would like to say something about five of them. Dr. Gualberto was elected Mayor of Rosario many times. He was Mayor before and during the Japanese regime. When the Americans came he was asked to serve and did serve for 6 days. But the C.I.C. came, investigated him and later arrested him. He related that he was taken to the public plaza. A small section of the plaza was encircled with chicken wire and in the middle of the circle, he was made to sit on a wooden box. He sat there for two days. When he could not stand it any longer, he stood up and walked around. He was punished for that. He was taken to Manila and lodged in Bilibid Prison. His wife and family did not know where he was taken. It took them a month to find him. It is hard to believe that a man who had been chosen by the people so many times to head them was so disgraced and humiliated—exhibiting him like an animal in a public plaza.

Aurelio Alvero, is a master of the Tagalog language. He had been leader of the young people for many years. He organized various associations, one of which was called “Kalturap”. Later, when the Makapili was organized, it was generally believed that he was one of the organizers and one of the leaders of that society. He denies it vehemently. He believes that the impression was created by his association with Pio Duran who he greatly admires. According to Alvero, Duran was sincere and a man of conviction. He sought nothing for himself. He loved his country no less than the most patriotic Filipino. In fact he was admired by everybody who knew him intimately. He honestly believed that the course he had taken was the best means of helping our country. He was never pro-Japanese; as a matter of fact, he was thought to be pro-Chinese. The truth was that he is pro-his-country. He had nothing in his heart but the liberty and welfare of his country. For it, he was willing to sacrifice his life. Alvero continues about Duran: his last act was a great blunder and is regretted very deeply by his numerous friends. He was linked to Benigno Ramos, an ambitious man, wholly unprincipled whose sole aim was to be in power and amass wealth. Ramos organized an Army called the “Makapili” which, according to him would fight against the Americans. Many of them did fight. Duran joined Ramos as his assistant and one of the leaders of the organization. He is reported to be dead. We lost a patriot whose life had been dedicated entirely to the cause of his country.

Mr. Alvero alleges that he disagreed with Mr. Duran on the organization of the Makapili, so they parted ways. Duran continued with the Makapili and he organized a new one called the New Leaders Association. The organization had for its aims: to teach love of country; to propagate the national language; to keep peace and order; and to help the people in the procurement of food so that they may live and survive. Those purposes are indeed praiseworthy.

Col. Alfonso Torillo was a Major in the Philippine Constabulary when the war broke out. When the Constabulary was inducted into the USAFFE, he naturally became an officer of that Army. He was then stationed to Cavite as Provincial Commander. The Army ordered him to retreat to Bataan before the Japanese takeover. But his column was cut off and they had to remain in Cavite. Naturally, he disbanded his force, and like all other officers of the USAFFE, surrendered to the Japanese. The Japanese asked him to rejoin the Constabulary, and at that time refusal to obey was considered a hostile act and consequently meant detention at Fort Santiago. Torillo accepted. He was made Commander of the general service troops in Manila. When the Americans landed in Leyte, he lost no time in deserting the Constabulary and, together with the men in his troop in the USAFFE, joined the guerrillas. He and his men brought with them the weapons they were able to conceal from the Japanese. The guerrillas welcomed him and recognized him as one of them. He took part in various engagements, including that of Norzagaray.

But later, he was arrested by the C.I.C. and now he is here. He must have been the victim of the practice of the C.I.C. of arresting anybody against whom two affidavits have been received. He is now very bitter against the Americans.

In this connection, I notice that the C.I.C. is very slow in sizing up the situation. They do not seem to know that some persons are taking advantage of the situation to denounce and have their enemies arrested. Some make affidavits to cover up crimes they had committed by having possible witnesses imprisoned or even killed. Also, some detainees denounce persons, especially former officials and prominent persons, because they believe that the more important persons are detained, the better their chance of creating public reaction in their favor. They will then have a better chance of being released. The C.I.C. is blind enough not to see such diabolical plan.

Among the newcomers, there are two extremes in so far as age is concerned. One is very old and the other very young. The old man is almost 90 years old—87 to be exact. He has been charged with espionage. Is it possible that this feeble old man could still do some work of espionage? Well, I know that in this world anything is possible, but I think they should pardon him, whatever it is he has done. Let the few remaining years of his life be free from bitterness.

At the other extreme is a boy named Alfredo Camilon, only 14 years old. I was told that in Bilibid there is a 12-year old. Alfredo used to work in an airfield in Batangas together with hundreds of his townmates. According to his story, while walking home from the airfield with two gantas of rice, he was accosted by men who robbed him of his rice, and afterwards accused him of espionage. His father is a paralytic, and he had to be the breadwinner and therefore had never been to school. Could it be possible that this boy was a spy?

A funny, but at the same time tragic, incident occurred. On his first day in camp, Alfredo walked with us to the messhall. The American guard thought he was one of the local boys who sometimes are able to sneak in to mix with us or try to sell us something. He ordered the boy to get out. But then he was told that the boy was one of the detainees. The guard got very mad; he began damning his own countrymen. He said that he could not believe that Americans would do such an absurd and stupid thing.

We noticed that the guards are very eager to learn more about us. At the beginning, they took us for ordinary criminals and we were treated as such. There was one young guard who treated us very roughly. He ordered us around in a most haughty way, using rough and even indecent language. But he has changed. The guards must have found out who we are. They now seem to understand our situation and are as agreeable as possible. They try their best to make us comfortable; we can see that they fully sympathize with us. The officers complain that in spite of the ban, so many things are being brought in for the detainees. In order not to get our friends, the guards, in trouble, we do not tell them that the guards sneak the gifts in.

Sometimes the situation is reversed—they are the prisoners and we the guards. They become very melancholy and call on us to talk to them and cheer them up. They talk and dream of home and the loved ones they left behind. They are homesick. We try our best to help them forget, otherwise they get drunk to drown their sorrows.

Since the newcomers came, we have been with them constantly to get the latest news. They brought with them many newspapers and we have been reading them very thoroughly.

First I asked about Batangas from Dr. Gualberto. He said many towns have been almost completedly destroyed. Very little is left of Lipa, Bauan, Batangas, Lemery and other municipalities. First, the Americans shelled these cities and towns; afterwards, the Japanese burned everything before withdrawing. Thousands and thousands of my provincemates have died from bombings and shellings, and the guerrillas who killed indiscriminately. But the greatest number of casualties was massacred by the Japanese upon their retreat.

My relatives seem to be all safe. My uncle Vicente is alive. So are many of my friends. My cousin Rufo Noble is again the Mayor of my hometown, Taal. I was told that my cousin, Froilan Noble, who disappeared about a year ago, came back. He was arrested by the Japanese and taken to Mindoro. He was reported to have been killed by the Japanese or died from malaria, and we had already mourned him.

In Manila things are getting back to normal, but prices are going up because of shortages of supply. There is also the very serious menace of inflation. I regret that no importance is being attached to this phase of the problem. Rice is already costing a few hundred pesos a cavan. A newspaper article fears that it may go up to the same level as during the Japanese occupation. I worry about what is happening to my family.

The government is not running smoothly. The head, President Osmeña is away and those remaining are confused and lack leadership. The people do not respect them. The most important problems are left untackled.

Some of the newcomers are Ministers Emilio Tria Tirona and Arsenio Luz, Mayor Leon Guinto, Justice Jorge Bocobo. Many more arrive everyday. The American guards remarked that soon they themselves would not be able to enter the crowded prison.

* * * * *

Because of the Madrigal-Aguinaldo incident with Confesor, the Board of Directors of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce was reorganized and Gil Puyat was appointed President. It is a very good selection in my opinion. Puyat is the youngest leader in our business world. He is a successful merchant and when the College of Commerce of the University of the Philippines was reorganized, Puyat was asked to be the Dean of the Institution. His first step was to bring in outstanding or successful Filipino merchants as lecturers on certain phases of business. I was one of those prevailed upon to give lectures on merchandising as I learned it as Vice President of Marsman Trading Corporation. Teaching is not new to me as I began my career as a teacher and for many years I was a lecturer in Political Science in the University of the Philippines. So I would merely be resuming my former activity. The war prevented the carrying out of my new activity.

There is a growing tendency to encourage or create a division between Osmeña and Roxas. From all indications a fight may not be avoided. I am sure their many friends, like myself, would like to intervene to prevent such a thing from happening. Osmeña is now a very old man. He has been a leader or one of the two leaders of our country for generations. He had been our leader until he shared it with President Quezon. The first time I heard of him was in 1907 when I read an article written by an American praising him for the way he organized the new Philippine Assembly. All agree that he is honest and his love for his country is very intense.

Osmeña puts the welfare of his people above personal ambition. I remember that in 1922, his most ardent followers were very disappointed when he settled his differences with President Quezon on the Collectivista-Unipersonalista issue to prevent disunity among the people. In 1933-1934, he entered into an understanding with President Quezon after his defeat on the Hawes-Cutting Act. I was not certain whether the people were behind Mr. Quezon on that issue as the weighty reasons were on the other side. Furthermore, Osmeña was also backed by many young and upcoming leaders, like Speaker Roxas. But he knew what a separation and fight with President Quezon would mean—it would be most prejudicial to the welfare of the people and future plans to prepare our country for an independent life. He withdrew and left the leadership of President Quezon undisputed.

What a beautiful lesson this is for our people and future generations. Personal ambition, everything must be sacrificed for the good of the country. I wish every Filipino would be imbued with that spirit. We would then be a great people. Osmeña makes sacrifice a gospel and preaches it enthusiastically.

In the many elections I have run in, I was defeated only once—that was my second or third fight for Speakership against another great Filipino, Speaker Quintin Paredes. After his election, I made a public statement conceding it, praising him and offering my unconditional support. I stood by my word as I had never worked in the Assembly as hard as when Mr. Paredes was our leader. In a short time, we again had to face each other for Speakership Protempore. This time, I regained my former position. They say the Ilocanos are regionalistic. However, I received almost one-half of the votes from all the Ilocano provinces. A big banquet was tendered in my honor in front of the provincial building in Batangas. One of the speakers was President Osmeña. As usual, he preached unity for our country’s sake. Among other things, he cited my conduct after my defeat by Paredes. He spoke of it in glowing terms, considering it as an act which would foster unity and the stability our country. Osmeña is old now. Many believe that as a fitting recognition of his fruitful career in public service, he should be honored by electing him the first President of the Republic.

Manuel Roxas, a young man, has been in the public eye since 1919. He graduated from the University of the Philippines with honors. He was one of the topnotchers in the bar examination in 1914. He had a good start in life as he immediately went to work for one of our great jurists as private secretary. He was a good disciple, rising in stature in the legal profession. In 1919, his province claimed him by electing him provincial Governor of Capiz. But it soon became obvious that that place was too small—Manila was the field for him. He was elected Representative. His ability was not yet known in Manila at that time. Nobody thought of him for Speaker.

Of all the Collectivista Representatives, I happened to be the only one who was known nationwide. Many representatives talked to me; they wanted to honor me with the Speakership. I well knew that I was not prepared for the task; but then there was nobody else—none of us had any parliamentary experience. I agreed. The Unipersonalistas were composed of formidable debaters and parliamentarians, like Briones. We Collectivistas had the most number of members but we did not have a majority to put up a candidate for Speaker, unless we entered into a coalition with either the Unipersonalistas or with the Democratas. The composition then was about 33 Collectivistas, 28 Unipersonalistas and 22 Democratas.

One evening, President Quezon who was also President of the Senate, invited me out, and to my surprise he took me to Dreamland Cabaret in Cavite. After dancing a little, he talked to me thus:

“Tony, I understand you are a candidate for Speaker.”

“Yes,” I answered.

“Can you get elected?”

“Well, judging from the number of Collectivistas who talked to me, I have a majority.”

“But the Collectivistas do not constitute the majority.”

Here I remained silent because I did not want to tell him a plan that had been carefully laid out by his “enemies”.

Somehow or other it leaked out that the President wanted Roxas to be the Speaker. Plans were afoot to defeat Quezon’s wishes. They had conducted an investigation and found out that I could get a majority among the Collectivistas. A delegation of three Unipersonalistas, headed by Representative Briones came to see me to insist on my continuing my candidacy. They pledged 100 percent support of the Nacionalistas. On the other hand, the Democratas did not seem to favor my candidacy. However, they led me to believe that they would support me.

Returning to the cabaret conference, President Quezon stood up and said:

“Well, I congratulate you. You will be the Speaker. But I will not be President of the Senate.”

“Why, Mr. President?”

“You and I cannot be President and Speaker. We are both Tagalog, and to make it worst, we come from the same district. Unless I can enter into an understanding with Osmeña in the next election, we will be defeated.”

I instantly answered him: “Continue as President. We cannot afford to let you go. I withdraw.”

My friends were very disappointed. They charged me with cowardice and pessimism. I kept quiet. Roxas was elected after several days of deadlock, with the support of both wings of the Nacionalistas. The enemies of Quezon and Roxas, however, did not stop their intrigue against them. During the first days, we had sensational sessions. They always raised points of order to engage Roxas, and they were encouraged, by a third party—the Democratas. Whenever there was such a crisis I was asked to intervene. Many times I had to go around and talk to our friends, sometimes up to midnight, to save the Chair. Finally, Mr. Roxas was sent to America and I was elected Speaker Protempore. He remained there for many months. When he returned, he acquired enough reputation and prestige to ensure full recognition as a national leader. He was not only a brilliant orator, but he also had the courage to fight. He was ambitious and read extensively. In a very short time he mastered parliamentary rules. He could talk and debate on any question, including financial and economic. He had the personality that appealed to men and women—but especially to women who later became a decisive factor in the elections. He is highly patriotic, so when the clarion call of his country sounded, he hurriedly donned his uniform to fight. He is now one of our two outstanding leaders. His leadership is undisputed. He is bound to reach the summit.

Many Filipinos believe that our country will be able to regain the strength sapped by the war if Roxas and Osmeña work hand in hand in solving our serious problems. They wish that the people will allow Osmeña to close his long career of service to his country by honoring him with the Presidency. Roxas is young. He will still be around for many years. If there is any period in our history which requires understanding and unity, it is now. This is perhaps the most critical period in our history. Much of what we do now will bear upon the future prosperity of our country. We are praying for a united front. In this we sincerely offer our assistance, but not in the capacity of leaders but of followers.

Other news: the prices of commodities continue to go up. The necessary action should be taken now to avoid inflation.

The newcomers tell us of how they were insulted and villified at the beginning by our own countrymen—some even threatened to shoot them. In many cases, they did this in the presence of the Americans just to get their favor. Many of us still have a lot to learn—a strike against a countryman causes no more than a laugh and ridicule on the part of the foreigners who see us. Much need to be done along these lines.


May 12, 1945 Saturday

A general meeting was called. Mr. Paredes explained that there had been thefts in our premises, quarrels, and the sanitation measures were not being observed. He said that the time had come to decide whether the administration and enforcement of the rules should not be turned over to the Army. A general discussion ensued. It was the prevailing opinion that we should continue administrating our own affairs. But everybody should agree to abide by the decision of the corresponding authority and to submit to any punishment meted out. All agreed. I am happy that this was the decision as we must show that we know how to take care of our own affairs.

In the same meeting we were advised by Mr. Sanvictores that a Colonel was coming to hear complaints or anything we wanted to say. We will be allowed to talk to him one by one. Many conferred with the Colonel. As they were private conferences, we do not know what was said. However, it is suspected, as a result of complaints on the part of a few, that one of the complaints is that there is a class composed of the big shots and that those big shots are treating and using the others as servants. Such a charge is of course absolutely untrue. In the first place, none of us ever claimed to be big shot, although Mr. de la Rama always refers to us as “We big shots.” It is true that some of the prisoners are serving us, but it was strictly voluntary. They were the ones who offered to render services probably in return for the fine treatment we extended to them and the many gifts of commodities that we give them. We offered money to them, but they refused. They are fine fellows. We fear that there are some who, for reasons of their own, want to create a division among us. They want the Americans to believe that class distinction exists and that the higher class is enslaving the lower class.

At about noon, many very unfortunate incidents happened. Before leaving for the mess hall, the toilet house was burned. There was quite an excitement as the fire threatened to spread to our quarters. All helped to put out the fire. Abello approached a guard to ask him to do something to prevent the fire from spreading to the quarters. The guard, instead of listening, roughly ordered Abello to go and line up with the others. We succeeded in putting the fire out.

Lunchtime at the mess hall, somebody took the mess kit of Madrigal and offered to get food for him. A guard shouted at Mr. Madrigal to get his own food. When Zulueta stood up to get his drinking cup, the guard also shouted at him to sit down. From the beginning many offered to clean our mess kits after each meal. When a guard saw somebody take Paredes’ kit to clean, he roughly ordered the man to return to his seat. I naturally did not allow Alfredo to get and clean my mess kit. Alfredo is a kindly man who voluntarily and without my previously knowing him offered to serve me. He served me very well. I later found out that he was a Makapili accused of murder. In the course of these incidents one guard was heard to say that he would “fix up those big shots”.

That same afternoon, we, the original fourteen men, met to size up the situation and to adopt whatever measures were necessary. After a discussion it was agreed to authorize Mr. Sanvictores to take up the matter with Col. Forbes through Lt. Severance. Since they themselves had been announcing our classification, we asked that it be formally announced and made effective immediately. After we are classified, we would ask that we be given separate quarters. I was of the opinion that if we were not given separate quarters, we would not be interested in the classification. I believe that our official classification would end once and for all the alleged division into ordinary people and big shots. In so far as food and other commodities are concerned, preferences and advantages have been in favor of those said to belong to the lower class. At any rate such an accusation should be used in favor of the segregation.

Last night, we (Recto, Gen. Francisco, Roy, Bayan, Sebastian, and myself) engaged in conversation just outside our sleeping quarters. Gen. Francisco continued to question his detention. He said that he fought in Bataan and was placed in a concentration camp by the Japanese. When he was released, Pres. Laurel insisted in appointing him Chief of Constabulary. While in that position he not only did not do anything contrary to the interest of the United States and the security of the guerillas, but even encouraged the Constabulary men to join the guerrilla forces. The Japanese had him removed as Chief and even threatened to kill him. After such antecedents, he cannot understand why he is now a prisoner of the Americans. Mr. Recto attacked our detention bitterly. He is sure that it is the result of racial prejudice. Many Americans harbor racial prejudice and even among the guards, it can be seen that they look down on us. The only course open to us is immediate, absolute independence. We will then be able to deal with America and other nations as an independent nation. Alunan is opposed to independence as he is sure there will be revolution in the Philippines. Recto answered that if a revolution has to come, let it come now as it is better to purge the Philippines of the bad elements. After the revolution we will have a stronger nation, just like what happened to America. Out of the civil war arose a more united and consequently stronger and greater nation. Alunan argued that the economic conditions of the Philippines require a period for rehabilitation. I answered that if America really wants to help she can do so even with independence. As an independent nation, we will be in a better position to rehabilitate our economies and also to bargain with America and other nations. Recto added that this is the most propitious time to have our independence inasmuch as Japan is gone and cannot recover within the next fifty years, whereas China will be very busy with their work of unification and construction. He ended by saying that he does not intend to enter politics anymore, but if he does, such will be his policy.

In the course of our conversation, Recto said that Roxas is for postponement of independence; Osmeña has always advocated independence after a period of economic readjustment and not independence at the present time.


May 3, 1945 Thursday

Americans on board are going crazy over souvenirs of ₱5000 Japanese bills with our signature.

We were told to get ready. We did not actually leave the boat until about 3 p.m. We were loaded in three amphibian boats. After an hour sailing on a river, we reached the Colony. The boat went up the bank and functioned like a truck. It certainly is a wonderful invention. We saw amphibians for the first time along the road from Tubao to Manila and I was glad I had the experience of embarking in it. It is a real boat when on water and a real truck when on land.

We reached Iwahig at about half past four. We were taken to a stockade less than 100 meters long and about 80 meters wide. We were divided into three groups for the three “Camarines”. The “Camarines” are big enough for our number. The list of prisoners included high officials of the Commonwealth government, prominent citizens, businessmen, Hukbalahaps, Makapilis, and those accused of murder and other atrocities.

Upon our arrival, Col. Forbes who escorted us on board the Lewis Morris ordered us to line up. He made a few remarks which substantially were as follows: “I have been designated to be your head custodian in the representation of the United States Government and of the Philippine Government. It is a painful duty, a task which I would have preferred not to have. I want to make your position clear. You are not here as criminals or convicts. Your status shall be that of a war prisoner under the Geneva Convention. I hope you will not try to escape. If anybody outside talks to you, ignore them. Until I receive instructions you shall all be treated equally. If you want anything or desire to say anything you shall communicate with me.”

In that talk there is an insinuation that we are being held to protect our lives. Such a protection may be necessary for those in the service of the Japanese who had killed or committed abuses. It may be necessary for those who had been spies. But certainly we do not need such protection as our lives are not in danger. Our people perfectly understand that our purpose was only to protect them and to serve them.

Col. Forbes then asked whether anybody wanted to say something. Mr. de la Rama mentioned Minister Quintin Paredes as one who might want to speak. Mr. Paredes declined to say anything.

Afterwards, we selected our respective places. I selected building No. 2. We occupied a corner—Minister Jose Paez, Gen. Francisco, Vice Minister Sergio Bayan and Gov. Sebastian, and myself.

We took our meals in our quarters until May 5, when we were asked to move to the mess hall nearby. At the beginning we all refused to go. Mr. Paredes and I vehemently protested on the ground that it was too much humiliation. I said that I preferred not to eat. Mr. Paredes began shouting at the Sergeant who had asked us to go. Later a meeting was held and cooler heads suggested that the Sergeant could do nothing as he was merely complying with the order of his superior. Since the Colonel was away, we better obey in the meanwhile. We then marched to the mess hall located near the plaza about 200 meters away. It was also built like the “Camarines” but the walls are much higher. The kitchen before which we lined up to get our ration, was just in front of the mess hall. We found the place really better. At least the jostling to get the food stopped and it was easier to keep our quarters clean.

We saw the necessity of organizing especially in order to have and enforce rules on sanitation. A council was selected and Chief Justice Yulo was elected Chairman. Committees were created, among which were that of Peace and Order, and Sanitation to which Mr. Paredes and Mr. Bayan were appointed, respectively. All seem to understand the necessity of keeping perfect peace and no one showed any opposition. The Sanitation Committee, however, had its hands full. Cleanliness was not observed by some especially in the toilets. Cigarettes and used matches were thrown everywhere. Bayan was so desperate that he wanted to resign. Paredes threatened to turn over the enforcement of the rules to the Army. The position of Liaison Officer to discuss matters with Col. Forbes and his assistant, Lt. Severance, was created. Jose Sanvictores was designated for this position.


December 21, 1944

Significant developments. Puppet P.I. government moving to Baguio. Laurel and all Ministers including Manuel Roxas scheduled to leave for Baguio last night. Jap Embassy also hurriedly packing to transfer to Baguio. Jap Dept. of Information burning papers, will continue propaganda in Baguio. Speaker B. Aquino remained in Manila, promised to go up after wedding of his son Billy. Minister Antonio de las Alas expressed fear Japs will eventually bring P.I. cabinet to Tokyo. Gen. Paulino Santos, head of P. Constabulary, will reside in Malacañan. Japs planning to give Sakdals thru Makapili more extensive powers in Manila government.

Further indications Japs vacating Manila: big shipyard and iron works in Findlay & Miller docks being dismantled; ammunition dump in Pinaglabanan being transferred. All telephone installations of buttai 2944 in City being removed. Jap leather factory in Aviles has stopped work. Wives of Jap civilians left by train last night. Preparations to move sick Jap soldiers from Quezon Institute now underway. Non-stop movement of troops, trucks, tanks, artillery in Manila roads. Soldiers are in full pack. Trucks loaded with supplies and baggages. Roads leading to the outskirts of Manila filled with Japs leaving the city hurriedly.

Manilans agog by these new developments. Morale of people has risen to skies. Jap morale evidently on the downgrade. An old Jap who had been here 10 years said: “What do you think of all these things?” Manilans think Americans will be in Manila by the 15th of January. Landings will be effected “maybe before Christmas or New Year”. People suspect landings in Batangas. Everybody is in gay spirits. “No better Christmas could be had!” some say. Talk of open city revived.

Barrio Teresa, Sta. Mesa, zonified yesterday morning. All houses in said barrio searched. About 400 males corralled near Sta. Mesa market. Everybody made to sit under sun. One man being battered with a blunt instrument kept shouting, pleading: “Somebody please kill me, please, please, please.”

Victor Pagulayan, assistant manager of Naric, dying. After leaving Fort Santiago he was brought to the hospital. Several liters of water have been taken from his lungs.

Indications rise that RICCOA, newest rice agency, may be able to distribute around 600 sacks for Manila before Christmas, if Japs permit. It is reliably known that Japs have recently decided to take “all rice that can be procured from Central Luzon because of military needs.” Rice to be harvested will not be deposited in Jap bodegas in City. Harvest will be stored in warehouses along Central Luzon. This again indicates Jap intention to leave Manila. This will naturally worsen food situation in City, increase hunger-deaths. Doctors of San Lazaro hospital estimated that deaths due to chronic hunger in city around 500 daily. Many walking in streets can be seen suffering from vitamin deficiencies. Beri-beri rampant especially among lower classes.

With all these significant developments, I am of the opinion that Gen. Yamashita recognizes the untenability of defending Manila. The more troops he keeps here, the more will be sacrificed. Manila is indefensible due to its many exits and entrances. Consequently, Yamashita has taken away from city all material and people like the puppets whom he would not like to see in the hands of Americans. He has sent the bulk of his troops to the north. He has sent a minimum force to guard the coasts of Tayabas and Camarines and Batangas, most possible landing points. Yamashita realizes that his troops in the coastline will only be decimated by U.S. aerial and naval bombardment. Coastline of P.I. is flat and open. No natural protection to defenders from skies. Yamashita expects to make his stand in the north with his back to Japan. There he has natural protection, mountains, cliffs and food.

People are waiting for the zero hour. When, when will it come? Opinions range generally “from Christmas” to the first 15 days of January. Up to now the furthest I’ve heard is “around the month of March.”

Meanwhile collaborators have changed tune, speak differently. Even Aquino is changing his opinions. Opportunists, perhaps.

Guerillas are increasing in numbers. Some believe capitol of Batangas, taken by guerillas, with aerial support.


January 21, 1943

This morning I had a most pleasant surprise, two prominent visitors, Spanish Aviator Capt. Juan Calvo known for his solo flight from Manila to Madrid in mid-30s, and Col. Alfredo Ramorez ’14, former Comdt., UST ROTC, both with the 14th Inf. Intelligence of Col. Enriquez.  They cover their travel as traders with dry goods in their truck and wanted a BC pass to facilitate getting through BC check points which I granted.

After briefing them of the condition of peace and order in Vizcaya with my good rapport with local Japanese military authorities, Col. Ramirez informed me of recent developments since our meeting at Miss Lulu Reyes place last month.  He said the Japanese are clamping on guerrillas that early this month, a counter-intelligence unit under one, Gen. Baba started at Kempei-tai HQ in Manila.  The Sakdalistas set up their own informant network called “Makapili” reporting directly to Baba. Raids were made often and it was reported that Col. Thorpe operating from  Mt Pinatubo  was captured near Ft. Stotsenburg, while Capt. Joe Barker was captured in Manila and both are now in Ft. Santiago.  Col. Ramirez also reported that guerrilla leader Ralph McGuire was captured and executed.  The Colonel also cautioned me to be very careful.  They left later for Cagayan province whose Sr. Inspector is my classmate Leoncio Tan ’28.