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March 17, 1942 – Tuesday

After breakfast I asked permission to go to Bacolod to buy some things I needed and leave that atmosphere of nerves and shouting. Father Ortiz and I agreed to lunch at Ben Gaston’s house. We met Ben in Bacolod and he drove us to Talisay where the family hacienda is. Delightful served by Ben’s sisters Nieves, Conchita and Maria Luisa and Ben’s mother. I did not enjoy it because of a phone call from the President ordering us to return to Buenos Aires immediately after lunch. When we arrived at Buenos Aires we were told to get ready to leave at 5 p.m. I investigated the reason for his sudden change. The previous night, the President told us that he made up his mind not to run away and let himself be captured by the Japanese in case they attack Negros. He asked me if I wanted to be caught with him or remain and go to the mountains and hide. I replied that as Secretary of National Defense I would stick to him.

I found out that a radiogram had been received from General MacArthur advising the President to proceed to Mindanao. Soon after he received this message, Major A. Soriano arrived from Mindanao and advised him of the same thing.

We left for Panubigan at 6:30 p.m. and arrived there at 10:30 p.m.