Saturday, November 11, 1972

I was in the office at about quarter past eight, because there was so much to be done. Afterwards, at eleven, I left for the session hall. I dropped by the office of Nonong Ricafrente (assistant secretary of the Convention). Pretty soon, Lilia Delima and Pete Valdez arrived.

Pete related to us how (businessman) Esco Escobar and Inggo Guevarra had engaged in banter. Esco was kidding Inggo that hitherto, the delegates were writing a Constitution but now, he understands, they are so busy reading that they do not write anymore; they only read.

Inggo’s response was swift, “You complement us. We do not even read now. We only sign.”

Inggo Guevarra is a good friend of Marcos. Apparently, jokes like this coming from people who are friends of the President would indicate, in a way, the regrets of many people in the Convention over what the President has done with the Constitution. I think even the people close to Marcos quite disagree with his brazen takeover of the Convention.

Nonong Ricafrente told us that he has had it from good authority that the Constitution would finally be finished by about the 29th of November so that November 30 would no longer be National Heroes Day. It would be declared Constitution Day.

Nonong has heard what I have also heard—that President Marcos had, at first, wanted the interim National Assembly to be composed only of the delegates to the Convention, with the senators and the congressmen being eliminated. The reason is that the President wanted a complete rejuvenation of the government. He had thought that, to a large extent, many of the members of the Convention were elected, more or less, on a nonpartisan basis—compared, anyway, to the members of the Congress. Also, he had felt sure that even with the members of the Convention alone he could control the interim Assembly; he would not need the support of the congressmen and senators.

Later on, the President relented, Nonong related. After all, he has many friends in Congress. When they went to him, he was persuaded to allow them to return as members of the interim Assembly.


September 11, 1942

BCA Academics are progressing smoothly. However, every passing day I come to know my classmates individually that today I can say I know all of them. It can be recalled this group started with that 1,400 “not sick” survivor POWs from Capas released and transferred to Camp Dau for Rejuvination Trng. last Jul 17. I knew more than half of them as my former associates and underclassmen at PMA. From this group 300 of us were sent to BCA and since our class started, I came to know those I did not know before, mostly senior PCA grads.

Among the Sr. PCA grads are Cols Lizardo ’15 Regmtl. Comdr. 41st Div, much decorated in Bataan; Col. Tomas Domaol ’17 C/S 41st Div of Gen. Lim; Cols Turingan ’17, Javalera ’17; Magsino & Diano ’19 Front Line Bn. Comdrs.; Majs Fidel Cruz ’27, Francisco Luna ’28, Leoncio Tan ’28 brilliant Div. Staff Os. Then we have Maj. Batongmalaque ’31 a Bn. Comdr. under Gen. Capinpin with his tales about his former CO, the legendary Capt. Canuto, better known as King “Canute.” Then we also have two bright combat lawyers, Lts. Amado Aleta and Francisco Bautista who earned decorations in Bataan for gallantry in action. Lt. Bautista was also the Captain Ball of the Phil. Olympic Basketball Team of 1936 that won 2nd place for our country next to the US. We also have my former PMA mentors Capts Alfredo Santos, D. Ojeda, S. Villa and E. Duque. Of course my classmates, Cabangbang, Tirona, Piccio, Escobar, Javier and Rodriguez. Then my underclassmen from ’41, ’42, & ’43.

In the battlefields, the group earned more than 300 DSC, SS, BS, Purple Hearts with many having multiple awards. This is an awesome group that fascinates me no end. I am privileged to be a member of this group, indeed.


September 4, 1942

Yesterday PM, Lt. Gomez & I were given special instructions on Japanese drill commands preparatory to our close order drill sked this PM.  By this time we have been exposed to the Japanese anthem “Kimigayo” every morning and many Japanese common terms like  “Ohayo”, “Ikaga desu ka” and “katakana”.  Aside from Cabangbang and Tirona mentioned earlier, my other PMA classmates in this present class are Escobar, Javier, Piccio & Rodriguez and together with our underclassmen of ’41, ’42 & ’43 in this class, are elated in my being Sec. Marcher.  However, there are skeptics that have negative comments and I told Gomez not to comment, to let the gossips run its course.

At 1430 today, our class was transported to Luneta Park for Close Order Drill.  After the Section are assembled to start drill, I walked to where our Tac. O., Lt. Fukushima is and addressed the class:  “Comrades, I would like to let everyone know my admiration on Lt. Fukushima.  He was responsible for the capture of my OSP crew in Manila Bay after the Fall of Bataan.  He treated us well and made us Malolos POWs”.

His ego titilated, Fukushima asked the class to form a circle around him, then started drawing diagrams on the ground describing how his two patrol boats tracked Q-112’s escape towards Hagonoy coast till it disappeared after scuttling and later finding our group of 20 to be captured by him.  It took him about half an hour to tell his story that shortened our drill which was just to familiarize everyone of the Japanese commands like Kiotsky (Attention); Wakare-Atsumare (Fall Out and Reform; etc.  And for the first time, our classmates realized how Lt. Gomez and I were made Section Marchers and the malicious gossips about us disappeared.

Today being a Friday, we are all looking forward for this weekend to be with our families.


June 11, 1941

Despite Hitler’s nightly air raid, Churchill’s England keeps fighting back.  Their radar system are a great help.  The PA’s two elite branches, the OSP and PA Air Corps (PAAC) are busy with their training programs.  Because they are located in Manila area  our classmates easily maintained contact and found ethos sympathetic to our PMA experience.  I became a  sort of message center being stationed in Port Area and residing in Manila, among my classmates from the different PA branches far and wide.

My classmate who kept me abreast of the goings on at PAAC is Cav Alberto “Kabayan” Aranzaso, a close chum at PMA.  PAAC Hq is located at what was popularly known as Nichols Field but their specific base is called Zablan Field (now Villamor AB) named after an early pioneer, Maj Porfirio Zablan PCA ’15, who died in a plane crash. Out of the 32 class ’40  that tried out, 17 finally got their wings.  Tomas Tirona was the first to solo flight while Nolasco Escobar with his instructor Maniquis, crashed,  killing Maniquis and an Air Field was named after him.  Escobar survived and got his wings.

To date, my 17 PAAC classmates are assigned to various post  participating in rigorous training.  Alberto Acena and Pedro Baban are with the 9th Obsvn Sqdn in Cebu; Mariano Punzalang, Pedro Bartolome,  Crisosostomo Monta, and Damian Pavon are with the 7th Adv Trng Sqdn Maniquis Field, Cabanatuan, as flight instructors: Bartolome Cabangbang, Alberto Aranzaso, Urbano Caldoza, Horacio Farolan, and Pedro Aragon are with the 6th Pursuit Sqdn under 1st Lt Jesus Villamor; Tomas Tirona was appointed Comdt PAAC Basic Flying School with Lauro Ello, Nolasco Escobar, Victor Osias, and Epifanio Segovia as Flight Instructors.

After getting his wings and qualifying as an air pilot, Francisco Vitug, crashed his plane, survived but lost an eye.  He transferred branch of service to Finance Service (FS).  PAAC is proud of the fact that then Maj. Dwight Eisenhower while on the staff of MacArthur and helped establish PMA, learned to fly and earned his wings under the of PAAC, particularly credited to Lt Pelagio Cruz ’35 of Bulacan.