Monday, September 18, 1972

Today is one of my once-a-week trips by bus to Quezon City Hall. I do this to feel the pulse of the people.

As I was alighting from the bus at about 3:50 p.m., Ruth Manoloto, wife of my friend Ric at Knox, was getting nervously on the bus. Upon seeing me, she yelled, “Caesar, huwag ka nang magtuloy sa Con-Con. Umuwi ka na. Binomba ang Con-Con ngayon. Umuwi ka na.”

People were starting to flee. Romy Capulong was pale. The blast was at the sala of Judge Lustre on the 6th floor, he murmured.

Trooping behind him in ruffled dignity was well-known criminal lawyer delegate Dakila Castro, murmuring that Lustre is a good man—why should this happen?

I got nearer the building. Many people were screaming that it was the session hall that was bombed. Two thoroughly frightened City Hall employees passed me by shrieking that the canteen was damaged; there were splinters all over the place. Rebeck later appeared. “I last saw Tonypet Araneta crawling like a cat under the desks,” he quipped.

Apparently, this was what happened: At the precise time that Jess Matas was being interpellated, a big noise was heard. The soft-spoken Jess then politely said, “Excuse me, but could you please speak louder because there is so much noise outside?” He had hardly finished his sentence when there was a sudden explosion at the comfort room of the 14th floor. The delegates docked and flew to the other side of the session hall to the stairway. The women screamed. And pandemonium ensued.

I saw two people, one male and one female, being carried out in stretchers. Tonypet appeared later and gave us his version of what happened: The 4th, 6th and 14th floors were bombed!

Panic was in everybody’s face. The venerable Justice Jose Ma. Paredes came out scampering like a frightened rabbit. His eyes popping out, the gentle old man blurted, “This is the justification of your resolution for a recess. We have reason for a recess.”

This bombing incident made martyrs, to some extent, of the delegates. And at this stage, some martyrdom may be necessary to gain sympathy from a public that is fast losing its patience. The people are losing confidence in the Convention. After more than a year, it has not yet finished its task.

The time bombs were planted on three floors and they exploded almost simultaneously within seconds of each other. The question is—were they really meant to kill—or only to terrorize?

The corollary question is—who could have done it? To me, no moderate—whether of the right or of the left—would have done this. I am inclined to believe that not even the radical left would want to sow terrorism; this would alienate them from the population. The only group, to my mind, that would have some motive for bombing Quezon City is the Marcos group itself. The motive? To sow fear among the population and to find an excuse for imposing martial law or suspending the writ of habeas corpus. The executioners could be some paid pigeons of Marcos.

Come to think of it: who burned the Reichstag in 1933 anyway? Surely not that unfortunate Dutchman who was immediately arrested. Wasn’t the joke in Berlin at that time, that Goebbels loved to play dangerously with matches?

The Constitutional Convention would never be the same again. Fear has been sown into the hearts of delegates. Nevertheless, it would be difficult, at this stage, to suspend or adjourn the Convention. The proper thing would have been for the Convention to decide on a recess before the bombing incident. But now, it is too late to call for a recess; it would look cowardly for the delegates to do so.


August 15, 1945, Wednesday

Three orders of Gen. MacArthur have been brought to our attention.

The first, as reported to us by a Colonel who inspected our prison, was that MacArthur gave the Military Police an order while we were in Quezon City to take us to Palawan within 48 hours. This explains why they were in such a hurry to take us to the boat. We were notified at 11:00 a.m. to get ready and at 1 p.m. we were loaded in an open truck with heavy guard. In that truck we were not allowed to go down until we embarked at a landing barge at about 4 o’clock. So that we were literally dried in the sun for three hours. There should have been no hurry to load us in the hold of a ship as anyhow the boat laid anchor and did not depart until the day after. The trip to Iwahig has already been described.

The second was under date of July 17, 1945. Therein we were prohibited from writing to our relatives about our case or from giving instructions concerning our political plans or financial interests. Correspondence was confined to subjects of personal interest and not subjects connected with our detention or to carrying on political and business activities. The explanation given is that the intention of detaining us is to separate us temporarily from the political and economic life of the Commonwealth. We noted this order on August 9, 1945.

Because of this prohibition, all that could be communicated to us and all that we could communicate was the state of our health and our personal activities. Our letters soon became repetitious and monotonous so that now we do not write as frequently as before.

The third order was contained in the Daily Journal, International Falls, Minnesota, Dec. 30, 1944.

Gen. MacArthur’s Headquarters, Philippines, Dec. 30 — AP. Gen. MacArthur today ordered military interment of Filipinos who ‘have given aid, comfort and sustenance to the enemy’.

A proclamation issued by his headquarters said that military necessity requires that such persons be removed from any opportunity to threaten the security of our military forces of success of our military operations.

As Commander of the Southwest Pacific Areas, MacArthur declared his intent to ‘remove such persons when apprehended from any position of political and economic influence in the Philippines and hold them in restraint for the duration of the war whereafter I shall release them to the Philippine government for its judgment.’

A spokesman emphasized that this was not punitive action, but merely military interment similar to action taken against the Japanese in the United States early in the war. He said the proclamation was directed particularly at persons in positions where their actions could be of military consequence.

MacArthur said ‘evidence is before me of such activity’. He gave no details.

There should be no quarrel about the order itself. I do not agree with MacArthur that we can endanger military security. But let us give him the benefit of the doubt.

What I cannot understand is why we were deprived of our liberty without due trial or investigation — without giving us an opportunity to be heard. The charge against us must have been that we gave aid, comfort and sustenance to the Japanese. Why did MacArthur convict us of this charge based on the evidence before him — evidence submitted ex-parte? We do not know what it consists of. Why were we not given an opportunity to examine such evidence and to give our side of the case? If we were found guilty after a trial, we would at least have had the satisfaction of having been submitted to due trial or investigation.

Why did MacArthur do such a thing? Many versions have been given as to the motive of MacArthur. One said that he is not as Pro-Filipino as he is alleged to be. Another said that it was personal ambition, He has his eye on the presidency of the United States and he thinks this will help him. Another said that it is just sheer stupidity on the part of MacArthur. Yulo even thinks that MacArthur is anti-Filipino and he does not care what happens to us. Personally, I believe that MacArthur is ill-advised.

I am afraid I will have to modify the opinion I expressed earlier when I wrote on MacArthur.

In this connection, many of us believe that the Philippines should not have been invaded at all. The Americans should have gone direct to Japan. With the superfortresses, the absolute predominance in the air, the absolute control of the sea, and the atomic bomb, there was not the least doubt that the mainland of Japan could have been invaded and Japan conquered in a very short time. But MacArthur had stated that he would return to the Philippines and he wanted to make his promise good. He suffered humiliation when he fled from Corregidor and he wanted to recover his prestige by returning to the Filipinos. He wanted to satisfy his personal pride because of his political ambition. This decision on the part of MacArthur has been very costly to us. We lost hundreds of millions in material wealth. But this is nothing compared with the appalling loss of life. I estimate that about half a million Filipinos died because of the American invasion. History will have something to say about this.


Wednesday, April 3, 1940

Segundo-Daily Reminder - 1940_Page_082

Meeting at Malacanang w Pres Q. Mac, Sutherland, Sec Sison and Gen. Staff re site Mil. Acad.

Meeting opens up with Pres Q & MacA talking informally as if we were not present. We were being used as background only. MacA proposes site to be Quezon City. They discuss advantages of Quezon City. Lim talks and says there is a board charged with the location and that the board has started its work. More discussion of Quezon City. I open up and tell them of our board work. I open up a map and show them where we are working. I explain the requirements of a Mil. Acad. site. MacA says something in rebuttal. P. Quezon mentions about cost of water & sewer system if we go to the mountains, and the cost of the road. Pres Q. talks about going Ipo. We will reconnoiter this place too.

Comments: Pres Q. wants the Acad. to be in Quezon City and he uses MacA to be tool for the proposition.  Mil. expert style. The plan is this. The three million pesos must go to Quezon City by hook or by crook. To justify reduction of Mil. budget

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it must appear that no such reduction is being made as the supposed reduction is going to the building of a Mil. Acad. But that academy must be built in Q.C. Thus two purposes are accomplished. After this money is already spent in Q.C. it will be found without doubt that the selection was poor so that the Mil. Acad. will be moved somewhere again but the Quezon City shall have been built up. MacA is surely acting as a tool and nothing else.