December 26, 1944

Manila

Japs moving out. Truck after truck loaded with troops evacuating Manila. All Jap cars camouflaged with leaves. Mindoro landings have struck fear in Jap hearts. The end is near.

Puppet government of Laurel transferred to Baguio. They left in a hurry. The presidential convoy was escorted by Jap troops and P.C. soldiers.

Remaining Jap soldiers are desperate and despotic. Sentries are reenforcing their barricades. Passers-by are searched.

All vehicles are being commandeered: Cars, trucks, carromatas, dokars, bicycles and push carts. All Filipinos except puppet collaborators walk. Only Japs ride in cars. People who did not know of the order were stopped in the streets, their cars, bicycles or carromatas taken away from them without pay. A cochero was very angry: “They’ve taken away my only means of livelihood” he said. House-to-house search started in Malate and Ermita districts.

Hardly any food in the market. Stalls empty. Vegetables, meat, and fishes cannot reach Manila because Japs confiscate all food in the way. A soldier came to the house this afternoon asking for our chickens. The Japanese Army is a scavenger force. A man whose bicycle was taken remarked bitterly. “They’ve taken away two of my houses, my furnitures, my rice and now my bike. Pretty soon they’ll take the air I breathe.”

Papa is very nervous. The Japs have sealed the Crosley and Buick. They’re demanding that we produce the tires of the Buick. Pa said that he sold them already. A Jap neighbor took one of our carromatas.

Only leader left in Manila is Benigno Aquino. He will leave for Baguio on Wednesday. He explained the basis of the rumors on the open city proclamation. To a question propounded by dad regarding the open city conjectures. Speaker Benigno Aquino pointed out:

“There has been an open city proposal. It came from us: the officials of the Republic. We wanted to at least make of record that we took measures to ensure the safety of Manilans and Manila. But Yamashita, the Jap commander-in-Chief did not accept our proposal and he explained that the complete demilitarization of Manila would lay it open to a possible paratroop invasion from Mindoro. Under the circumstances, Yamashita pointed out that the next best thing to do was to transfer the seat of the Republic’s government to Baguio and meanehile he will remove his troops and military installations and it will be up to the Americans to notice that the Japanese have already left.”

Dad then asked: “What kind of a force will the Japs leave here?” Aquino replied: “I understand that the Military Police will remain and perhaps enough troops to cope with a surprise attack by paratroops.”

Aquino said that he liked the speech of President Sergio Osmeña from Leyte. “I liked particularly the part where he counseled the guerrillas to act discreetly regarding collaborators because among them are men who are there because they have been forced and because they had nothing but the people’s welfare in mind. Aquino said “What that speech I have enough…..”.

Manila is worried about the recent drastic acts of the Military Police, the Japanese equivalent of the German Gestapo, Recently, it has been rumored that Dr. Antonio Sison, head of the Philippine General Hospital and President of the University of the Philippines was arrested at his home by members of the Military Police. Other prominent doctors that have disappeared are: Dr. Nicanor Jacinto, famous Manila surgeon and head of Doctor’s Hospital; Dr. Miguel Cañizares, tuberculosis expert and head of Quezon Institute and Dr. Jose Jose, head of a provincial hospital.

In the recent “zonification” (technical name for mass arrest) of Teresa, five men were killed by Japs because they were suspected of guerrilla activities.

In the mass arrest at Polo and Obando, more than 500 people were massacred to death. All the male citizens were locked in the church. From the pulpit, a hooded informer was made to point out guerrilleros. Those pointed out were beaten with wooden bats. The Municipal treasurer was hung upside down and killed by trained military hounds. Other suspects were burnt to death. Still others were drowned. A group of ninety were made to dig their own graves then machinegunned or bayoneted according to the sadistic inclinations of the executioners.

In Imus, Cavite, the military governor, Col. Castañeda and the provincial commander, Col. Javallera have escaped to the hills. Japs “zonified” Imus and killed all men who fought in Bataan. Many innocent men were killed. In some cases, wives of suspects were abused. Reign of terror exists at present in Imus.

Meanwhile, as the days pass by, more men die of hunger in the city. Today as I walked downtown, I saw a haggard, skeletal figure, dressed in rags, steadying his weak body at the iron gates of Jap residence while begging for food. Near a restaurant in Avenida Rizal, there was a young woman lying on the dust-covered pavement and death froze her hands in an extended, pleading, gesture. In the slums of Sampaloc, five little girls sat on the sidewalks, thin, gaunt, dirty, begging all passer-by for “rice, please, rice.” I saw an old man with a semi-crazed look in hid eyes searching a garbage can for food. I also saw a Jap truck filled with sacks of rice guarded by soldiers with fixed bayonets.

Only happy note of the day were leaflets dropped by American planes yesterday: “The Commander-in-Chief, the officers and the men of the American forces of Liberation in the Pacific wish their gallant allies, the People of the Philippines, all the blessings of Christmas, and the realizationof their fervent hopes for the New Year.”

Merry Christmas.

[This is the last entry in the diary, which ends here]


September 24, 1944

Its been a lonely day. No bombs. No siren. Nothing but wait and wait and wait from morning to afternoon to late this evening.

We’ve moved part of our furniture already. I can’t describe how sad it feels to leave a house you’ve occupied for more than thirty years. But what can we do? These Japanese don’t know the meaning of kindness, not to mention justice.

There are rumors that landings have been effected somewhere in Camarines and in Atimonan, Tayabas. A BIBA chauffeur reported that American tanks have landed in Camarines. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I hope this isn’t a false alarm.

A 1000-ton Japanese ship was set ablaze this morning at Pier 7 by Filipino guerrillas, according to a Japanese officer who talked to Joe Meily this afternoon. He said that “the Filipino terrorists” have not been apprehended.

Sal Neri came over this afternoon. He said that members of the Military Police inspected the house of Pedro Vera and Miguel Cañizares at four o’clock yesterday morning. “They were looking for transmitters,” he stated.

Another Japanese officer came to the house this afternoon. There is no such thing as privacy these days. We had a short conversation. He told me that he came from New Guinea. I asked “How was Hollandia?” He closed his eyes, shrugged his head and said “So very terrible.”

At about 10 o’clock this morning, Japanese soldiers living in the house across the street ran to their fox holes like frightened chickens. Apparently U.S. planes were sighted. Traffic was stopped in Santa Mesa street until noon time, according to Joe Meily.


May 26, 1943

Doria and I sat in a taxi today with Mrs. Paul McNutt who had not seen our small daughter Ursula since she was a baby of three weeks at Baguio, six years ago. Mrs. McNutt was looking lovely and very smartly dressed. She commented on the regal style in which the Quezons lived at the Shoreham; and said that sometimes shen she entered the hotel with her arms full of bundles, as one was obliged to do nowadays, she met Mrs. Quezon flanked by two a.d.c.’s! Said that she herself had once been a refugee (from Mexico), but that was not the way people expected refugees to look! It was good-natured but ironic.

The Japanese radio (Domei) states that Vargas announced that all Filipinos should celebrate Japanese Navy Day (May 17) since the freedom of East Asia had been assured by the shattering by the Japanese of the Anglo-American and Dutch navies!

Arnaldo in charge of the library in the Commonwealth Building (1617 Mass. Ave.) says that it is not believed that the Japanese have destroyed any libraries in the Philippines, except possibly a part of the University Library. That the Philippine National Library was untouched, except that probably they took the old documents for their own great collection of Filipiniana in Tokyo–as, also possibly all the priceless collections of Professor Otley Beyer.

Sitting in the lobby of the Shoreham that evening with Dr. Trepp, we saw Quezon and his daughter Baby going toward the front door for a drive. Quezon went up the three or four steps nimbly almost waving his rubber-tipped cane. Trepp observed that if he had seen us, he would have been leaning feebly on Baby’s arm. Trepp told me that the President was a “used-up” man, physically; that there was nothing organical serious about his condition, and that he should live for from 5 to 10 years more–but was gradually wearing down. Says he (Trepp) saved Quezon’s life in 1932 and at first Quezon was grateful to him and put him in charge of the Sanitorium later replacing him there by Dr. Cañizares and making Trepp the latter’s “adviser.” As soon as Trepp had taught the Filipino doctors his methods, they shoved him aside. Quezon has not been generous to him in later years, but Trepp had built up a fine private practice in Manila, and had put his savings into successful gold mines.

Trepp said he “simply adored” Quezon until they went to Corregidor–but thought his leaving Manila a terrible mistake (of course, Trepp did not know of the pressure and specious promises of help from Roosevelt).


June 13, 1936

At sea–caucus between Quezon and members of the Legislature. Most convincing evidence of good will and cooperation of the executive and legislature upon a high level of intelligence. The President’s method of address to the Assembly was perfect:–extreme seriousness in presenting his plans, and terminating many a subject with a pretty wit which brought roars from his audience. I believe he will get his whole program through, and very progressive it is: increased income tax and inheritance tax; increased taxes upon the mining industry (where not still in the exploration stage); change of cedula into “school tax”; progressive land tax on large estates to solve agrarian problems without the necessity of government purchase of all the Church haciendas (my contribution); regulation of transport by omnibus so as not to lose government investment in the railroad; trebling of sales tax, but to be imposed only once–and at the source. He said that without these taxes there would be only one million pesos surplus in the budget–which left nothing extra for the “pork barrel,” i.e., public works. If passed, he would see that the Assembly had at least three millions more to spend on public works. He also recommended Boards of Arbitration for fixing minimum wages, etc.–said they had been going slow heretofore in labour legislation being recommendations from the Department of Labour are “too theoretical” and might possibly cause damage greater than their good. Time, he thinks, has now come to make a beginning “for we have done nothing as yet for the labourer and small farmer.” (To my surprise, when Quezon broached his “somewhat radical” plan for a progressive land tax, Roxas who sat next me turned and said “splendid”).

Quezon told the Assembly that he would recommend nothing bearing on the tariff laws, until after a trade conference with the United States; and nothing changing the currency laws as at present.

Then Osmeña spoke, gracefully and eloquently. It was a very passionate and convincing address. The first part was about the development of Mindanao, in which he made references to work in the past of Quezon, Carpenter and me. Then turned to leprosy problem (Culion)–Quezon is anxious to abandon Culion and have separate leprosia in different provinces, so as not to separate and isolate the lepers so horribly. Osmeña (and Dr. Cañizares) believe leprosy is contagious and especially so in childhood. Roxas says the annual increase of lepers in the Philippines is one thousand; all they can do is to take care of them. He adds that the Philippine Government has, so far, spent twenty million pesos on Culion–chiefly in subsistence and transportation.

Quezon finished by saying that hereafter, bills for legislation would not be transmitted to the Legislature by the Executive but even if prepared in the Executive branch would be handed to Chairmen of Committees. He concluded by saying that there is no reason for calling this a junketing trip, due to the serious and productive conferences aboard. At the same time, he did not deny that there had been recreation on the journey, adding: “For my own part, when I became a candidate for the Presidency, I did not become a candidate as Obispo.

Visit to the Culion Leper Colony: Quezon was very emotionne and quoted Dante’s inscription over Inferno--Osmeña once more did the honours, and made the speech. Cured lepers, who are discharged, are not wanted any longer at home especially if they bear traces of their former disease, and after 6 months or so they usually write asking permission to come back here and settle in the “Negative Barrio.” Private capital is doing good business in this town of 7000, with a cinema, electric light plant and Chinese tiendas. After a drive around by motor, in which many facts were discussed in relation to the disease, back to the Negros–and off on our last leg towards Manila.

At lunch there was an interesting discussion between Quezon, Roxas and Sabido over labour. Roxas says there are no labour problems in the Philippines except in two or three large towns. They all condemned the attitude of the Bureau of Labour (now a Department) in trying to stir up trouble. Murphy’s creations of Parole Courts and Public Defenders were attacked;–evidently Secretary Torres is going to have a rough ride in this National Assembly.

Quezon said “someone” (F.B.H.) had told him how agents of the Department of Labour went around asking labourers if “there were any complaints” and he had given Torres a severe dressing down. He added that the right man for Secretary of Labour is Varona, whose attitude is always reasonable–he has common sense and a great hold over labour audiences. Quezon also remarked that the labour leaders in the Philippines are generally “crooks.”

An interesting constitutional question arose between Quezon and Roxas as to impeachment–Quezon is opposed to the unicameral system; he says esprit de corps will cause the Assembly to impeach the Executive and so long as the Commonwealth endures, ultimate safety lies in the President of the United States having the last say. After complete independence the situation would be dangerous–he says a vigorous Executive would send General Santos with soldiers to close the Assembly! This may be prophetic.

At dinner with Quezon and Roxas alone, I commented on how little things change in the Philippines–here were the two of us together again twenty-three years later! Quezon answered: “Isn’t it beautiful.”

Long talk later with Floor Leader Romero of Dumaguete.