Officially the Philippines is independent. But is she? Yesterday, during and after the ceremonies, many young people were asking us: “Do you believe that we will have a true independence?” To all of them, we gave the same reply, “Let us wait for the facts to speak for themselves.”
Even the most optimistic does not have to wait long to realize that this form of independence is nothing more than another form of dependence. Neither the army nor the navy have shown any indication of returning the buildings they occupied, nor had the number of Japanese military forces invading our streets and plazas diminished, nor were we aware of any government or private enterprises confiscated during the war which were returned to their owners.
A very significant coincidence: yesterday, hardly had the birth of the Independence been poclaimed when a number of house owners in Ermita received orders from the Imperial Army to vacate their properties within forty eight hours.
Officially, the military administration, or the invisible national government, had been dissolved. But we could not ascertain whether another one, more invisible and more mysterious, had taken its place. It was clear that in matter pertaining to international relations, the sovereignty of the new government was almost nil not only because it was recognized solely within the Sphere, but also because all the other members of the Sphere were dancing to the tune that Tokyo was playing. An emasculated internal sovereignty which did not reach the level of a complete autonomy; a nonexistant or impotent external sovereignty: such seemed to be the independence doled out by Japanese magnanimity.