Gave the men in the office a confidential, heart-to-heart talk. This is what I said:
“Many responsible people outside and inside this office have suggested that I should be more assertive or aggressive regarding my powers and authority, and that if these are not accorded me, I should resign.”
“This is very easy to say, especially for people outside who are wont to criticize without knowing what is going on in this office As a matter of fact, I placed my resignation verbally with Secretary Vargas as far back as January, which was denied, and also with Mr. Noya on three subsequent occasions, each time likewise denied. I could not put this in writing for obvious reasons.”
“To the people in the office, in particular, I must remind that since the Japanese Army of Occupation took possession of the NARIC we have been literally sitting on top of a volcano, what with every one of the personnel being under a constant nervous strain, and more so when Mr. Castro Unson was taken to Fort Santiago, and subsequently, our Assistant Manager, Mr. Victor Pagulayan. In other words, as a conquered people, we have to grope our way through the confusion and uncertainty, and accept orders as they come. Under the circumstances, we should not demand anything but merely suggest, petition or make of record.
“The truth is that the many unnecessary inconveniences which the public suffered in the manner in which rice and flour were distributed, in the purchase of palay, and in the issuance of passes—all caused condemnation of the writer, without the public knowing that those procedures were made upon orders of the Japanese authorities regardless of our suggestions. Our men in the office know that nothing can be done without the stamp of approval by any of the dozen Japanese civilian authorities placed in this office. What could we do? Merely accept orders and invite their attention. What has been their answer? That people erroneously believe we are proceeding on peace-time basis, and they forget that we are still at war: in short, their answer is, ‘Such is war!’
“I now ask every member of this office to think in retrospect from this day back to January, and consider what has been their state of mind. Hasn’t it been incessantly under nervous strain on the verge of prostration? How many have left on account of that condition? They are Abes, Melo, Paez, Occeña, Orendain, Sison and other minor employees. The rest of us have stood at our posts and tried to work as best as we could under these very difficult circumstances, which means, to obey orders and not to demand anything. We are sacrificing ourselves to serve the people.
“With the placing of the NARIC under the control of the Army, in which I was formally named Manager, I shall now try gradually to demand the authority which corresponds to the Management. But this must be done with plenty of good judgment and prudence.
“This morning Mr. Tanco and I are going to return the visit of Gen. Yamakoshi and pay our respects to him. I shall make my first overtures on the authority of the Manager.”
I must study tight-rope walking.