It is rumored that Gen. MacArthur is coming on the 20th. We do not know the purpose of the visit. But we shall see.
I had considered Minister Jose Paez as one of those absolutely content with his lot. Being a quiet man, he has never been heard to complain. In my conversation with him today, I found that he is resentful of the treatment accorded to us. He believes that there was deceit in that we were not told at all that we were going to be arrested, detained and deported. The Americans ignored the idiosyncracies and customs of the Filipinos; we were not given any opportunity to see our families or, as in his case, to see whether they had left Tubao for Manila, and if so, where they lived in Manila. The Americans do not know the attachment of a Filipino to his family.
Chief Justice Yulo has been sick during the last few days. He has not been going to the mess hall. We all believe that the only thing the matter with him is he worries too much and broods constantly. He just cannot understand why he should be detained and deported after his attitude of defiance against the Japanese which almost cost him is life and after he had served the cause of America.
I do not mean to make this a “Who’s Who”. But there are other personalities, characters and persons in this community of which special mention must be made.
The first is Don Vicente Madrigal, reputed to be the richest man in the Philippines. He was a schoolmate and one of the most intimate friends of Quezon and Osmeña. In fact, they used to confide in him their innermost secrets. From a humble beginning as a coal dealer, he became the coal king of the Philippines, controlling the greater portion of the coal business. He later expanded his business to almost every branch of business endeavor. He became a shipping magnate, a large scale merchant, a manufacturer (cement and sugar), an agriculturist, etc. His name was connected with almost all the big businesses in Manila. In recognition of his rise in the business world, he was elected president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce many times. He became a real tycoon. Pres. Quezon recognized his ability, and although he knew that Don Vicente loathed politics, he compelled him to be a candidate for Senator in 1941. He was elected, but the war came and he was not able to occupy his seat. During the Japanese regime, he was a member of the Organization Committee of the First Council of State, the preparatory committee for Philippine Independence which drafted the Constitution of the Philippine Republic and the Planning Board. Probably more will be heard of Don Vicente when the rehabilitation period comes. It will be a crime not to make full use of his experience and unquestioned ability.
There is another person of an entirely different type. He is a notorious character. He is Francisco C. de la Rama, alias Francisco Concepcion, alias Francisco Angeles, and now F.C. or Frank. His admirers call him “Don Paco”. I tried to avoid mentioning him as I do not care to talk about the bad side of anybody, especially those who, like De la Rama, are with us and who do their best to comfort and help us. But today he himself told us his whole story. He misappropriated funds belonging to Bachrach & Co. while he worked for them as a sales agent in the Bicol region. His picture was at one time posted throughout the Philippines for having been accused of “estafa” by the Gonzaga’s of Negros. A prize of ₱500 was offered for his arrest. He fled to Singapore and to other foreign countries. But he became homesick and returned to the Philippines. He was in hiding in Jolo, in La Union, and in the Ilocos region. Unfortunately for him, he was discovered and arrested everywhere he went. However, he always managed to keep out of jail by bribing the arresting officers. At one time, the very Constabulary officer who arrested him helped him escape to Baguio. It was then the time of the mining boom. He bought over 40 mining claims for ₱200 each and sold them at ₱5,000 each. With this large sum, he was able to settle all claims against him. He then assumed the surname of De la Rama pretending to be the nephew of the big millionaire, Don Esteban de la Rama of Iloilo. Because of his name, he was made Director of a mining company. He was later accused of “estafa” with more than 50 counts against him by the stockholders of the company. He was convicted only on one count and sentenced to one year and eight months, but as he was a recidivist he was given an additional sentence of 10 years. He probably was pardoned because when the Japanese came, he became the foremost “buy and sell” man. He made millions easily in his business with the Japanese Army and Navy. He also became one of the biggest men in the real estate business. His name was heard everywhere. He overshadowed famous names like Madrigal, De Leon and Fernandez. He especially became famous because of his published donations to charity of thousands of pesos. He gave money to the Government for scientific research. He donated a big sum to the “Timbolan” to feed the needy. He made large donations not only to institutions, but also to individuals. It is said that upon his arrest, a big demonstration of laborers was staged demanding his release. He is now with us. He has been very helpful to everybody. He seems to have been able, by his usual means, to elicit the good side of the guards and, for this reason, we are now able to receive things from the outside and to send out anything. He is still young and if hereafter he becomes careful with his conduct, he may still be a real power in the business world, being an intelligent and able man.
There is a real personality in our group. I am referring to Major Gen. Guillermo B. Francisco. This is the highest rank that has ever been attained by a Filipino in the U.S. Army. In 1908, he was one of the first graduates of the Philippine Military Academy in Baguio. He rose from the ranks. In each province where he was assigned, he left a record for efficiency and wise and impartial enforcement of the law. He could not be bribed nor influenced by politicians. For this reason, politicians in some provinces molested him by presenting unfounded and absurd complaints. He was Chief of Staff of the Constabulary for many years. In 1936, he received his just and well merited promotion to Brigadier General. From 1938 to 1941, he was Chief of the Philippine Constabulary. Just at the beginning of the war in Dec. 1941, he was promoted to Major General and continued as Chief of Constabulary, which afterwards became a division of the Philippine Army. Upon the induction of the Philippine Army into the U.S. Army, he naturally became a Major General in the U.S. Army. As such he also had to retreat to Bataan where he was placed in charge of a very important and strategic sector. He acquitted himself very creditably. While there he was ordered by Gen. Wainright to go to different places for pacification. Believing that it was for the interest of his country to maintain peace and order, he did his best to comply with the instruction of Gen. Wainright. When Bataan surrendered, the Japanese placed him in the concentration camp at Camp O’Donnell. He was later transferred to Camp Stotsenberg where he with hundreds of other captured USAFFE officers were required to finish a rejuvenation course prescribed by the Japanese. He was returned to Camp O’Donnell where the Japanese requested him to organize the Government Employees Training Institute for the rejuvenation of public employees. And so he was released.
His stint with the training institution was cut short by his appointment as Chief of Constabulary with the rank of Major General. But this too did not last long because the Japanese did not trust him. He was relieved as Chief of Constabulary. The Japanese were right as his sympathies were with the guerrillas; as a matter of fact, he did not take action against Constabulary men who deserted and joined the guerrillas. He had even formulated plans to convert all the Constabulary to guerrillas when the proper time came.
After his relief, Pres. Laurel made him Chairman of the Advisory Board for Peace and Order. The President in doing so only wanted to save the General as he knew that the Japanese would otherwise arrest him and kill him. Together with Generals Manuel Roxas and Capinpin, he was forced to go to Baguio and there subjected to a very close surveillance. They assigned a Japanese Military Police to watch him. He was very anxious to rejoin the U.S. Army so that at the very first opportunity, he escaped from Baguio to go to the territory occupied by the Americans and present himself to them. He reached the American lines in April. Almost immediately after his arrival he was taken to Manila and there detained. He was subjected to the humiliation of photographing and fingerprinting. He was so indignant that he wept. He was later deported to Iwahig Penal Colony and is still with us. He is terribly bitter. He said he cannot understand why when the Japanese got him, he was put in a concentration camp and now that the Americans are here he is also imprisoned. Gen. Francisco is only 60 years and much more will be heard of him.
There is another person I would like to mention. He is Mr. Esteban Marcelo, an old man probably in his seventies. He is the biggest fisherman or fish dealer in Tondo. He is a friend of many big and influential public officials, especially Minister Paredes. Before the war, he frequently inivited high officials for a fish dinner at his house. During the Japanese regime, Japanese Military Police were seen quite a number of times eating dinner at his house. Such an act is now being considered as cooperation and for this reason he is now with us.
We have one military governor of a district and that is Hon. Sergio Aquino. We have also one provincial governor, Mr. Jose Urquico. Aquino is the Military Governor for the Third District and Urquico the Governor and later the Deputy Military Governor of Tarlac. They were accompanied by a young man by the name of Rafael Aquino. Why were these Military Governor and Provincial Governor singled out when there were so many military and provincial governors? And why was Rafael detained since his arrival in the Philippines from Japan, when he is only a boy without any record of service to the Japanese? Probably, there are other governors who have cooperated more actively and effectively than Aquino and Urquico. The only explanation that could be found is that Sergio Aquino is a relative and brother-in-law of Benigno Aquino, Sr.; Jose Urquico is also a brother-in-law of Benigno. Benigno Aquino was Speaker of the National Assembly and as such he was the second man in the Philippine Government officialdom. He is known to be the most rabid pro-Japanese. He had made many virulent speeches against America and the Americans. He is considered even more Japanese than Pres. Laurel himself. He went to Japan with Pres. Laurel and we can now almost surmise what would have happened to him if he had stayed in the Philippines.