No effort is being spared to prevent a break between Osmeña and Roxas and to preserve unity. It is said that a great majority of the Senators and Representatives signed a petition which they presented to Osmeña and Roxas urging reconciliation and unity. In this campaign, they were backed by other influential people outside the government.
Speaker Zulueta declared that a fight between Osmeña and Roxas is a remote possibility. Both are Nacionalistas and Roxas has not resigned from the party. He said that a Party Convention should be held. Both must submit to the convention and abide by the result of the convention. In theory, this is very good. But I fear that this is not what will happen. If passions run high, no convention will be able to prevent a fight.
What has been the reaction? The people are decidedly behind the movement. Osmeña, to the surprise of everybody, expressed conformity, but at the same time announced his candidacy. I could hardly believe this. It shows thoughtful political strategy. I wonder who are advising him on political affairs. He gave up and did certain things, however, which might have paved the way to reconciliation.
For instance, instead of making an issue of his appointment of the three notorious Cabinet secretaries by raising the argument that the positions are more or less confidential and a matter of confidence, knowing that members of Congress were strongly against it, he withdrew the appointments, an action which had no precedent. There was no mental reservation that he would reappoint them after adjournment, as other executives have done in the past. No kind of effort at all was made toward face-saving. In the past, the appointments are confirmed and after a little while, some apparently good or plausible reasons are invented for the withdrawal from office of the appointee.
And what was the attitude of the appointees? To say the least, it was shameful. They were not man and courageous enough to face the truth. Do they think that there was even a handful of men who believed that they could do much in the Rehabilitation Committee? It is believed that they would spoil the whole effort in America. In the case of Kalaw, what a shame — from Cabinet member to book-collector, a ₱100.00 clerk work! And there was no sign of indignation on the part of these men. It also is not a credit to the appointing official. And all these are at the expense of prostrated Juan de la Cruz. Getting ₱1000 a month for “vacation work”. And these are the patriots who will give their lives for Juan de la Cruz? Poor Philippines!
Oh, I almost forgot the other good action of Osmeña. Showing a spirit of revenge, Confesor announced that while in the U.S. he would expose Roxas who he had been attacking violently. He especially ridiculed the claim that Roxas was the head of the underground resistance in the Philippines. Osmeña was forced to admonish Confesor publicly. He enjoined Confesor to devote his time to the work of the Committee. As to Roxas, a ray of hope arose when it was published that he had ordered the cessation of the campiagn for his candidacy. There was jubilation as it was interpreted to mean that an understanding had been reached. Almost immediately thereafter, however, the papers reported a speech made by Roxas before a guerrilla group attacking the administration of Osmeña. In substance, Roxas said that the administration has not done anything, has absolutely no idea of what should be done to rehabilitate the wrecked finances of the government and to solve the food shortage and other grave problems of the country. It was a bitter denunciation.
Such is the present situation. The fight is not a remote possibility as claimed by Speaker Zulueta, but it is now a reality. Only a miracle can save our country from what all consider a national cataclysm.
I forgot something else also in this connection. It was reported that Roxas told the Senators and Representatives that he would be for unity if the following conditions are accepted: (1) reinstatement of all officials elected in 1940; (2) reinstatement of all employees in the civil service; (3) reistatement of justices and all judicial officers; (4) reinstatement of officers in the Army; (5) more effective rehabilitation measures; and (6) redemption of all Philippine National Bank notes. At first Roxas denied the news; it seems, however, that the report is absolutely true. It is also reported that Osmeña is inclined to accept Roxas’ conditions. This is humiliating since it is an admission of the failure of his administration. But he had sacrificed his personal ambition more than once before, even what others would call dignity, for the sake of his country.
As a matter of fact, unity is not impossible to attain, but the root cause of disunity must be eliminated. To me, it all arises out of this foolish “collaboration issue”. If there were no such issue, there would been no reinstatement problem of employees, judicial officers, elective officials, and Army officers because all these people are being deprived of their respective offices due to this meaningless collaboration issue. As to rehabilitation, there could be no issue about it, and as to bank notes, there should not be much disagreement. Now that the Japanese have been driven away, all were agreed that 99-1/2 percent of the Filipinos were against them. There is practically no Filipino today who does not mourn the death of a near relative or who has not been the victim of Japanese cruelty and brutality. I would say even the most pro-Japanese changed. Everyone we talked to wanted a crack at the Japanese. My own son was insisting in joining the Army because he imagined hearing always the pitiful cries of his dear sister Neny. Some people in government have made it appear there were countless “pro-Japanese Filipinos”. We thought they could be counted with the fingers of our hands. But it turns out, to our surprise, that we were all wrong because they ran to several thousands. It is driving us to desperation. It is root cause of this destructive evil of disunity. A revelation was opened to us.
Even MacArthur was alarmed with what was happening, and he earnestly counseled unity for the sake of the independence of our country and welfare of our people. I know be loves our country and I have no doubt that his only purpose is to help our country. But I fear that for reasons on which many theories have been advanced, he is not aware of the fact that, more than anybody else, he is responsible for this situation. What a disappointment!
The Americans themselves are becoming aware of our anomalous situation. They do not seem to know what to call us. At first, they said that they merely took us under protective custody to protect us from infuriated people. If so, are all measures being taken necessary for the purpose? Was it necessary to leave us exposed to the sun for 2 days in a place (Pier 4 in North Harbor) where there were no persons, except soldiers and Army employees, that could harm us? Was it necessary to herd us like cattle in a dark and hot hold of a ship with a small exit door securely guarded? Was it necessary not to allow us on deck except for only an hour everyday? Do they mean to say that our lives were in danger while sailing in the deep China Sea with only American crewmen? Was it necessary to confine us in a small well-guarded place within a colony in a government reservation? They confined us with those who were real spies of the Japanese and who had been responsible for the death of Filipinos. These are the people whose lives are in danger and are in need of protection. Instead of getting justice and liberty, we landed in jail here in Iwahig wihout knowing what it was all about, there to be treated worse than the worst criminals — the convicted criminals could roam around the Colony, talk to the people, and eat what is good for them; whereas we are detained in a stockade of less than one hectare in size surrounded by barbed wires. Here we are held incommunicado, compelled to eat food that we detest, ordered to be neat but not allowed to send clothes outside to be laundered nor given facilities for laundering inside the stockade; humiliated by marching us like ordinary prisoners to the mess near the plaza with guards carrying sub-machines guns; prohibited to smoke on the way and to talk to each other; deprived of our liberty without the semblance of a trial which we thought is guaranteed to free people by the Constitution and the tradition of America.
We have not injured anybody; one the contrary; we did our best to save and protect the people. Even the guerrillas can have no motive for complaint. All we did was to advise them to lie low while the Americans were not yet here since we were absolutely defenseless. For each Japanese killed, houses were burned, hundreds of Filipinos killed, and we just could do nothing about it.
There seems to be a movement in Manila to postpone the election. Speaker Zulueta seems to be decidedly for postponement, giving his reason that peace and order throughout the Philippines is such that it is not yet possible to hold elections. Of course postponement of an election is really undemocratic, but if elections are not advisable under the circumstances, there should be no hesitation to postpone. Personally, I believe it should be postponed. It will facilitate the efforts for understanding and unity.
It is reported that there are two blocs in the Senate: one pro-Osmeña and the other pro-Roxas. The pro-Osmeña senators are reported to be Rodriguez, Rama, Garcia, Torres, Sa Ramain, Martinez and Bondoc. It is very regrettable to have such blocs in the Senate.
* * * * *
The war in the Philippines has just been declared officially terminated. This, of course, does not mean that there will be no more fighting in the Philippines. Many Japanese soldiers have retreated to the mountains. I suppose the Filipino guerrillas will take care of cleaning them up. I believe over half a million Filipinos have died on account of the war. I am afraid Filipinos will continue dying. Mutual congratulations were passed around. Osmeña made the statement that now we can return to constitutional civil administration. Undoubtedly, this is an answer to the charge launched by Roxas that constitutional guarantees are being disregarded. It was thought that because of the termination of the war in the Philippines, we can now be released. Evidently though, “during the duration” is being interpreted to mean while the war in the whole Orient has not been declared terminated.
Many speculations have been made as to when the war will end. Some say that because of the reconquest of the Philippines it will terminate soon. My opinion is that it will all depend upon the circumstances. In case peace negotiations are started, war will end tomorrow. Japan knows that she is licked. It is all a question of time. If she persists, she knows that all her cities will be wiped out and millions of her people will die. She is only interested in face saving. Even if the words “unconditional surrender” are not used, she would be willing to give up all that she would lose under an “unconditional surrender”.
Continuation of the war will also mean, of course, the sacrifice of lives of Americans and the expenditure of huge amounts of money although these would be very small in comparison to what the Japanese stand to lose. Some Americans, like Sen. Capeheart, are inclined to favor a negotiated peace. They are willing to consider peace overtures which he assures have already been made. But it seems that Pres. Truman and other Allied high officials insist in an unconditional surrender. Nobody of course knows, but Japan may be able to hold out for some time yet. More than a year ago, they knew that the Americans and the British will be able to attack her by air, land and sea. She must have been preparing for it. Furthermore, Japan is very mountainous, the type of terrain appropriate for their way of fighting. The strategy of the United Nations seems to be to break the morale of the Japanese and to destroy the Japanese faith in the divinity of their Emperor. It will not be so easy to destroy a system which has been observed for many centuries. This may take some time and in the meanwhile, the Japanese may continue fighting. I hope Japan’s surrender will be very soon.
Pessimism again reigns in the stockade. Our feeling has never been as low as it is today. Our impression is that we are being forgotten. What must be happening? It looks like the war may drag on for some time and, in the meantime, we have to make the most of our confinement.