July 4, 1945 Wednesday

Great day for the United States. It is Independence Day, marking the birth, of the American nation. She is justly called the cradle of liberty — the repository not only of the democratic rule, or government by the people, but she also adopted principles and ideals to guarantee the rights of men.

But what a paradox, what an irony — the Philippines is still under the Stars and Stripes. She should not have stayed here so long. We have been deported and imprisoned. We have been forcibly taken from our homes and separated from our dear ones. We have been humiliated and made to suffer. We have been treated like hardened criminals, muted with persons accused of treason and other serious crimes. In other words, we have been deprived of our liberty. And all these without any trial, without proper investigation, without even informing us of the charges against us. Oh, liberty, justice, where art thou?

It is said that the most serious charge against us is for having signed the two “manifestos” — both beseeching the people to keep peace and order and to help in the reconstruction of the Philippines. I shall discuss the first document in connection with my statement as to why I accepted a government position under the Japanese regime. As to the second “manifesto”, I signed it together with many others, not voluntarily and willingly for, as a matter of fact, it was imposed upon us, but without any regret. Under the circumstances, it was a good and justified step. We wanted our people to keep peace and order while they were defenseless and at the mercy of the Japanese. We wanted to save as many Filipino lives as possible. The peaceful citizens who lived outside cities and towns were suffering terribly because of the criminal and unscrupulous elements who took advantage of the disorder to prey upon them. Food production and transportation of foodstuffs were being interrupted or at least made difficult. Many in the cities died of malnutrition. The poor and those belonging to the middle class suffered terribly for lack of food or because food prices were beyond their means. Under the circumstances, what could we do but urge that peace and order be maintained.

Although it is July 4th, a holiday in the United States and in the Philippines, many of the enlisted class are being made to work at the new camp. They are hurrying up the work to be able to finish it as soon as possible. We are now too crowded in these quarters and we understand many more are coming. We may be happier here because it is in the center of the populated portion of the colony, but if we shall be crowded, we would prefer to be transferred to the new site. The work at the new camp now is done by rotation unlike before when it was done by volunteers. This seems to be a better arrangement because attendance was never assured — sometimes there were many and at times very few; some persons work there everyday, others do not work at all. There were complaints about the food, about being guarded too strictly, that they cannot take any rest, that they are being made to work in the rain. Proper complaints were filed and the authorities seemed to be inclined to hear them out. Food now is more abundant and the treatment better. But we must admit that at times the treatment accorded is well justified. Some men abuse the liberty given them and, instead of working during working hours, they would go fishing, or gather fruits, or talk to colonists. The motto should be “Work hard during working hours; any deviation from this rule is cheating.”

Aurelio Alvero was ordered today to go to the new camp to work. He refused on the ground that he is suffering from rheumatism. He was told that unless he complied he will be put in the “bartolina” which has just been finished. The “bartolina” is only about one and half meters by two meters in size and there is no ventilation except a small opening. It must be hell to be in there, especially when it is hot and with bread and water only for subsistence. Alvero says he does not mind being placed in the “bartolina”. I think what should be done is to have Alvero examined, and if his claim is true, he must not be compelled to work. Alvero said that he was afraid to get wet in the rain which will worsen his condition. He will be willing to do any other kind of work.

* * * * *

In connection with Romulo again, after the nomination for candidates for Senator in 1941, Romulo, who was an intimate friend of mine, showed coolness towards me. I attributed it to the fact that I was nominated and he was not. His resentment was absolutely unjustified. We all worked for him and we were able to get a big majority in the convention promise support for Romulo. Although Pres. Quezon always said that he wished the convention to act freely, the fact was that he controlled the nominations. He was the one who prepared the list of candidates and the names in his list were the ones nominated in the convention. When we submitted the name of Romulo, the President flatly refused for two reasons: he belonged to the same organization (Philippines Herald) as Don Vicente Madrigal. As Madrigal had already been chosen, Romulo could not be a candidate. The other reason was that he was not supported by a majority of the delegation from his own province, Tarlac. How could he expect other provinces to support him when his own province would not even vote for him? But there was a clear majority in favor of Romulo in the convention. It was probably influenced by the Free Press poll in which he got first place among an array of big men. Because of this, I had been calling him “Senator”. When later I was nominated and he was not, I noticed that he changed, probably believing that if I had not been included he would have been nominated. But it was all in accordance with the desire of President Quezon.

I was not a candidate at the beginning. Having been in politics for many years, having held high positions and dispensed many favors, there were many who wanted me to be a candidate. During the Free Press Contest, many approached me to ask my permission to include my name among the candidates. I objected strongly. I was through with politics. I had good reasons not to return to politics. I was in the government service from 1910 to 1922, in politics from 1922 to 1933, and a member of the Cabinet (Secretary of Public Works and Communications and as Secretary of Finance) from 1933 to 1939. In 1938-39, I was Financial Adviser to the President and member of the Economic Mission to America (Mr. Osmeña was Chairman). Having been repeatedly entrusted with power by our people and having held many of the highest positions in government, I felt satisfied. The only positions higher than the highest I have held are that of President and Vice President. Although many persons have talked to me about these positions, and modesty aside, I feel I can do the work to the satisfaction of the people especially in view of my record as an executive, I nevertheless have never had the ambition to occupy a position higher than those I have held. On the other hand, I felt that I had served my people sufficiently and I should devote the rest of my years building myself economically to insure the welfare of my family, consisting of a wife and ten children.

It is true that I made a lot of money from 1939 to 1941 when I was connected with Marsman enterprises as Vice President and Director of their many companies. But I had not yet saved enough to insure the future of my family. My whole plan that November of 1941 when nominations for senator were being considered, was to continue in business with Marsman & Co. I felt that my plans would be impossible to realize if I ever entered politics again. When I left the government I was deeply indebted — about ₱115,000. This was the result of politics, of having stayed too long in the government where one cannot possibly have made money unless he was dishonest; unless he violated the public trust and took advantage of his position to enrich himself. Under these circumstances, why would I want to reenter politics by allowing myself to be nominated as Senator, which at the time meant sure election, not only because I was well known all over the Philippines, but also because of the so-called block voting? (Block voting is that system by which a vote for the ticket of a party is vote for all the candidates of the party.)

How and why was I nominated? I was busy working in my office on the 4th floor of the Marsman building at Port Area. I tried to forget politics and I believe I had succeeded — never in my wildest dreams did it occur to me that I would enter politics again. My determination was strengthened by the fact that my wife and children who had suffered troubles and deprivation because of politics were strongly against it.

It was in the latter part of October, or the beginning of November, when I was called by Pres. Quezon to Malacañan. I thought he was going to talk about the elevator for his new house that Mr. Marsman had given him. I went to see him immediately. I was surprised when he came right out and told me that he wanted me to be one of the candidates for Senator. It was totally unexpected. The papers mentioned many names in connection with the nomination, and I was not included. It was because they understood very well that I was tired of politics — that I hated it. I was satisfied with my work at Marsman & Co.; I was paid well — enough to insure the welfare of my family.

I was speechless for many seconds. Finally, I was able to answer the President that I would like to be excused as I had decided to quit politics for good. He asked me to think about it and to come back after two days.

I did not have to think about it; I was decided not to be a candidate. I nevertheless consulted with my wife and children. Tears streamed down my wife’s face. She knew what it meant. She suffered much because politics had ruined us financially. Furthermore, when I was in politics, she had no rest. Any time of the day or night, she was molested by my constituents. She could not refuse to see them because they were men who had worked and sacrificed much, even spending their own money, to further my candidacy. It would have been the height of ingratitude not to attend to them and be gracious. Remembering all these, her answer was a definite no, for which I was glad as it was in accordance with my conviction.

I returned to Malacañan and told the President of my decision. The President was surprised; he could not understand why I was going to forego and opportunity to be a Senator without having to work or spend for it. He argued with me, stating that I should seize the opportunity, that I could still continue in business, and that I should not turn down any opportunity by which I could serve my country.

I answered him that I had already served my country perhaps as much as any other Filipino (almost 30 years of continuous public service). He then explained the reasons why he wanted me to be a candidate. He said that the Senate was recreated to imprint more seriousness in the legislative business; that the single chamber system was a failure — many bad laws and poorly prepared laws have been passed by the present Assembly; that with every election the radical elements increase and, after a few more elections, they may get control of the Assembly; and that the Assembly is being infiltrated more and more by irresponsible persons. He proposes to insure with the recreation of the Senate that only good laws will be approved. For this reason, he wanted the members of the New Senate all to be serious and responsible, men who are well known for their accomplishments, men in whom the people will have full trust and confidence. This is the reason why he had included me. I naturally felt very flattered. Nevertheless, I repeated my negative answer. I told him that I had already considered the matter from all angles. He left me in disgust.

I went back to my office happy and contented. I thought the matter was closed. Before that day, I had not consulted anybody in the Marsman Company. After the second conference with Pres. Quezon, I decided to consult with Mr. Benjamin Ohnick, Vice President of Marsman & Co. and the ranking man in the organization since Mr. Marsman was in the United States. Mr. Ohnick was inclined to advise me to accept, but did not want to assume full responsibility. He decided to consult Mr. Marsman since the latter was the one who got me into the organization. He sent a telegram to Mr. Marsman. Mr. Marsman answered advising me to accept. He said that under the circumstances, I could not decline. I was rather embarrassed. I regretted having consulted Mr. Marsman and Mr. Ohnick since I had already declined and the President seemed to have dropped the whole matter. I decided to forget the whole thing.

But a week after my second conference, Pres. Quezon called me again. He curtly told me thus. “I want you to be a candidate.” I answered, “Mr. President, you should have commenced that way. You know that I cannot refuse or disappoint you. When I left the government, I pledged to you that you could call on me at any time. You wished to convince me by argument, and I had given this matter serious thought. Now that you want me to be a candidate, it is decided. I accept,” I noticed that he was very pleased. I left rather depressed.

Two days afterwards, I received a letter from him. He said that he had given further thought to the matter and he was of the opinion that I could not be a candidate without resigning my positions with Marsman & Co. I also studied this angle and I also came to the conclusion that there is an incompatibility between the office of Senator and my positions of Director of Marsman & Co., Vice President of the affiliated companies like the Marsman Building Corporation, Marsman Trading Corporation, Cardinal Insurance Co., Insular Drug, and President of the Coco Grove (a mining company). I was also director of many other affiliated companies like the lumber company, etc. Some of these companies get government contracts and there is a prohibition in the Constitution against members of Congress being interested directly or indirectly in government contracts. But I could not disappoint President Quezon and, on the other hand, the matter had already gone too far for me to withdraw since everybody already knew that I was a candidate.

I told Mr. Ohnick about the new incident. He told me to resign, as indicated by Mr. Quezon, after my election. He said that later, he would make other arrangements that would not violate any laws since he understood very well that I could not afford to give up my income from Marsman entirely as the compensation of a senator could not support my family. I so advised President Quezon.

I was nominated formally by the Convention and elected as Senator. Although I hardly campaigned, I occupied sixth place in a roster of 24. Later, Mr. Ohnik told me that the plan was to appoint me later as adviser or attorney for the corporation which does not fall under the prohibition. In fact, many Senators and Representatives occupy those positions in various companies. But I shall divorce myself from all executive positions.

Those are the facts about my nomination. As may be seen, my candidacy had nothing to do with the non-nomination of Romulo.


May 19, 1945 Saturday

The whole premises were cleaned thoroughly in preparation for the expected coming of Gen. MacArthur tomorrow, Sunday the 20th.

I had a long conversation with Don Vicente Madrigal. Two of the matters he touched upon I would like to record. The first was an incident involving himself and Confesor. While in Quezon City, he said that as President of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce, he went to see Sec. Confessor about matters involving the Philippine Chamber of Commerce. Confesor refused to receive him on the ground that he did not want to see or have anything to do with persons who collaborated with the Japanese.

Don Vicente said that it really happened this way. A meeting was called in Malacañan to discuss matters in which the Chamber was interested in. He arrived late, and as he was going up the stairs, he met Don Leopoldo Aguinaldo who was just leaving. Don Leopoldo, a director of the Chamber, was another big merchant and a good friend of the Japanese. Madrigal asked him why he was leaving. He answered that Confesor, before the meeting, stated that he will not sit in any place where there are collaborators, referring to Don Leopoldo. Don Leopoldo thought at first that Confesor meant it as a joke, but was told otherwise. When Madrigal heard what had happened to Aguinaldo, he naturally did not proceed to the meeting anymore. Aguinaldo sent a letter to Confesor asking in what way he had collaborated with the Japanese. Confesor did not reply.

Another incident involving Confesor was told to us. A former subordinate of Confesor, former Director Balmaceda, went to pay his respects to Confesor. Upon seeing Balmaceda, Confesor became very angry and insulted him for being a collaborator. He told Balmaceda that he had the nerve to show his face to him and that he ought to be ashamed of himself. This incident was confimed by Don Vicente.

These incidents lead us to believe that Confesor, as Secretary of the Interior, has something to do with our detention. It is part of his policy of persecution of alleged collaborators. I do not believe the people will approve of the attitude of Confesor. At any rate, it is highly prejudicial to the interest and future of our country. Now and after the war, our problems will be very serious. There is the work of reconstruction of our devastated cities and towns. There is the problem of rehabilitation. Food must be provided and our industry, commerce and agriculture be restored. The economic development of our country must be started and pushed with vigor, our currency made stable. These problems are so great that the cooperation and energy of all the Filipinos will be needed. The policy of Confesor will divide us and thus the concerted effort of all the Filipinos to solve said problems cannot be assured.

Don Vicente Madrigal talked also of Gen. Carlos P. Romulo. He said that Romulo is even rougher and more uncompromising than Confesor and Secretary Cabili. One day he saw copies of the Philippines Herald being sold in the streets. He learned that the newspaper’s daily publication started a week before. Romulo appears as Chief Editor. Don Vicente sent word to Romulo stating that he was glad that the Philippines Herald was already being published. It must be remembered that Don Vicente is practically the owner of the Philippines Herald as he owns the majority of the stocks. Romulo offered his regrets and apology to Don Vicente for not having informed him. Romulo added that the publication of the Herald would have to be suspended as Gen. MacArthur did not want any of the old newspapers to begin publication. Later the Free Philippines began its publication.

When Romulo arrived from the U.S., he did not visit Madrigal nor offer any help to him. Madrigal considers Romulo the most ungrateful man he has ever known. He bought the Herald upon the entreaty of Romulo who did not want the Herald to fall into the hands of the Roceses. He made Romulo the Editor. Romulo wanted to go to Chunking and other places in the Orient to be able to write on the conditions in those places. He had no money, however. Don Vicente granted him an unlimited credit that allowed Romulo to visit many places in the Orient and write a series of articles. These made him very famous in the literary world. The articles earned him the Pulitzer Prize, which also brought in some cash. After all he has done for Romulo, as Mr. Madrigal puts it, Romulo’s attitude of indifference towards him was the height of ingratitude.

On account of the expected visit of MacArthur, we decided to prepare a memorandum. We thought of doing this long before we knew that MacArthur’s visit. The memorandum was drafted by a Committee composed of Yulo, Recto and Paredes. It was later submitted to a general meeting, where we discussed it freely and each made suggestions.


December 12, 1941

Newspapers and the radio announced a Japanese landing in Legazpi, Albay. Some of our friends had sent their families to that province, believing it out of danger. Now they are worried and there is no way of finding out how it is with their loved ones.

The daytime raids continue. We were left in peace at night. The evening seem to be very long because we take our supper at six in the afternoon and we are not allowed to put on the lights unless our windows are hermetically covered with cloth or black paper. Woe to those who are careless. A shot would take care of those lights! The people are so scared they dare not even light a cigarette. The pilots knew the map of the city better than the majority of us.

The editors and the staff of the DMHM (El Debate, Mail, Herald, Mabuhay), the four dailies which are being printed in the adjourning block, asked us for refuge during those raids. We conceded, giving them access to the secretarial offices where they could install their telephones and their typewriters. However, the periods of warning signals are so frequent and prolonged—sometimes more than two hours—that they almost have no time to work on their newspapers. We are kept abreast, nevertheless, of the latest developments.


Friday, Jan. 26, 1940

Segundo-Daily Reminder - 1940_Page_027

Went to Malacanang for PAAF Ex. Council meeting.

Went to McA and wished him many happy returns. Picture in Herald omits my name as usual due to that SOB Amado Araneta.

Went to San Lazaro and measured horses. Had quite a time in Dr Lorenzo Reyes re his horse.

Tony Araneta came to see the house in Paranaque —

Worked on rules & rep. re admission of cadets to W.P.

To Malacanang tonight for reception Admiral Hart.


September 15, 1936

Quezon asks the Assembly to permit the recall of the “Chinese book-keeping” bill, as he will not veto it if passed, but asks that the Chinese be given a term (2-3 years?) to prepare!! This is a bill already mentioned in the preceding pages of this diary, which requires Chinese in the Philippines to keep their accounts for tax inspection in English, Spanish or a native dialect. The Herald, Tribune and Bulletin commend his action editorially. As this is the law for which he and I fought so hard nearly twenty years ago, and the unconstitutionality of which as declared by the United States Supreme Court caused Quezon to denounce savagely to me only three months ago the legal decisions of both Chief Justice Taft and Justice Johnson,–that is, to say the least, a most extraordinary reversal on Quezon’s part. The power to make this law is now said to be existent under the new Commonwealth constitution. It is very sad for me to see him jettison one of the principles which he held most ardently. He now gives somewhat the appearance of a man riding a bucking broncho–not of a leader.


August 13-17, 1936

August 15 at Rafferty’s dinner (Grawfus). I sat between Alfonso Sy Cip and Romulo, head of the Herald. Romulo told me of his dramatic defiance of General Wood, when the latter called him on the carpet for the attitude of his paper–(all of which was published in the Herald at the time); of the magnificent impromptu speech by Quezon in defense of my administration at a banker’s dinner in San Francisco. Romulo also said Manuel Roxas is “laying low”; that Quezon was mentioning my name to be first for inscription on the gold plate to be put up at Malacañan (on the first anniversary of the Commonwealth) to commemorate those Americans &c &c–Romulo also remarked: “it would be terrible if the Republicans won the election in the United States.”

Reception at Malacañan this night. As we had dined first at Colonel Garfinkel’s at Fort McKinley, we arrived after the reception line had dissolved and after the Rigodon had been danced. Quezon was in very good form and was pleased to show various improvements he had made in the Palace, which is now lighted by the great chandeliers from the old Ayuntamiento and was cheerfully bright for the first time since the Cimmerian darkness of the Murphy regime. The cabaret downstairs was dreadfully overcrowded. No whiskey was served at the bar. Dancers were streaming with sweat. Traffic, however, was better managed than I have ever seen it, for three different parking places were provided with a telephone to each. The refusal of Quezon to have whiskey and soda served surprised me more than anything I have ever known him to do. It can hardly have been the monastic influence of his predecessor! Anyway it made most of the guests leave early to dash for the Manila Hotel. However, Quezon himself, went to bed at 10:30 so he can’t have cared how early the guests left. Mrs. Quezon appeared, and was very agreeable.


August 3-9, 1936

On August 3rd the Bulletin carried an article stating that the High Commissioner’s office had turned “thumbs down” on the proposed new bond issue for public works pending in the Assembly. The Herald that afternoon published a very aggressive and powerful statement by Quezon that the High Commissioner’s office had absolutely no legal authority to interfere in the matter of the bond issue, and denouncing the Bulletin etc. I telephoned him that night to congratulate him on his statement. He was pleased, but said he was in bed with a temperature of 102° (probably the result of yesterday’s lechon at the picnic he gave in Laguna Province for the Assembly!); he added: “I was somewhat provoked by the Bulletin’s article.” Subsequently, he told me how the idea had been given to the Assembly thru Cuenco–that the policy of the Bulletin was to be always “throwing bricks” at the Administration; that it was also that paper’s fixed principle to try to make out that the High Commissioners governed the Philippines, (contrary to the provisions of the Tydings-McDuffie Act). His vigorous counter-attack threw the Bulletin office into confusion, and Taylor sent Ora Smith to Malacañan to apologize, but he couldn’t see the President because of his illness. Quezon told me “every pain I had in my stomach I laid on the Bulletin.” Weldon Jones came to see him the next day and said “This may cost me my job,” so Quezon sent a letter by Clipper to Murphy stating that Jones was not responsible for the “thumbs down” article; that he was very satisfactory here, and would be the best man for High Commissioner if Murphy did not come back.

On the same day (August 3rd) the Herald printed an article by MacArthur on the defense of the Philippines. It was an extremely able and brilliant analysis of the military problems of this country, and made very convincing reading. Quezon was so much pleased that he proposes to give a banquet in favour of General MacArthur.

Quezon was in Baguio August 5-8, 1936. Jim Ross had dinner with him recently, and the President said that Mrs. Quezon was going away for a year. Jim told him to be careful and to remember “the fierce light which beats upon the throne”!


June 10, 1936

All day at sea. Quezon talked of the newspaper press, and said they had always (except of the Herald–“which was founded by me (Quezon) with the money of my friends”) attacked him and supported Osmeña. He added: “Murphy had daily press conferences and one a week for foreign correspondents, while I agreed to one general press conference a week, and only kept three of those”!

Quezon said of Davao that he intended to persuade ten rich families from Negros, Bulacan and Pangasinan to take up a thousand hectares each, and establish modern hemp haciendas there to show the Filipinos that they can cultivate better than the Japanese. The advantages of the latter in hemp had been in organization and modern science–qualities quite lacking in the hemp culture of the Bicol regions of the Philippines. The last “individual” method surviving there “insured the least profit at the most cost,” as contrasted with organized, “planned” industry.

Bridge the whole afternoon. At supper with Quezon, Roxas, and Sabido, the last named called attention to Assemblyman Rafols of Cebu who had Nile green embroidered pyjamas (at the next table)–like a woman’s beach pyjamas. Lots of laughter and chaff and Rafols was called “Cleopatra.”

Sabido then told of Assembly roll having been called to: “Datu Umbra” (husband of Princess Dayang-Dayang), and Rafols had objected to the use of the title saying: “why shouldn’t my name be called as ‘lawyer Rafols.'” Umbra happened to be absent, but at the next session he appeared and said he understood he had been “attacked” (some mischief maker probably an “anti,” said Quezon), and was prepared to “meet” the gentleman from Cebu anywhere outside the Chamber in a closed room or in the open. Rafols at once apologized and asked to have his previous remarks expunged from the record. (He had “heard of these Moros” said Quezon.)

Quezon tells me he is going to establish a general pension system for all government employees.

The President is provoked by the ruling of the State Department of the United States as to Americans being unable to divest themselves of their citizenship on becoming Philippine citizens; said that the law firm of Ross Lawrence and Selph had acted like damned fools in presenting the question as they did; that the State Department had taken this chance of serving the United States Treasury (income tax); that these opinions of Ross, Lawrence &c and of Clyde Dewitt had shown their imperialist frame of mind. Roxas said this left the situation as really ridiculous. Sabido asked Quezon what would be the position of Americans who had meanwhile become Philippine citizens, when the ten year period expired–Quezon replied very positively: “They will be Filipino citizens.”

The President said he would station 1000 soldiers at Parang. He has evidently been depressed over the situation for he remarked to me confidentially: “I am beginning to believe I shall make a success of this government but you have no idea how deep petty jealousies are.” (It is unusual, to say the least, to find so buoyant a character at all discouraged.)

N.B. At my conference on the Aparceros bill with Magalona yesterday, I was embarrassed by his bringing with him as “interpreter” a reporter of the Bulletin, the very paper which had savagely attacked Perfecto’s bill recently, and had denounced its proposal to put a progressive income tax on large landed estates–the policy I had suggested to Quezon in January.


May 24, 1936

Conflict between Don Vicente Singson, head of the Rice and Corn Corporation, and Collector of Customs Aldanese who insists on duty being paid on imports of rice from Saigon. Singson refuses to pay. Aldanese says that the Corporation makes a profit and must pay duty. (No doubt this is on the side of Chinese dealers who control the rice market here.) Later, Quezon, after consulting Secretary of Justice Yulo, ruled that the Corporation need not pay customs duty. (The Herald on May 27 gave a front page leader on this as “a menace to constitutional Government” because Quezon decided this point himself instead of letting it go to the courts.) It is evident that all signs of dictatorship will be resisted here.