The Post of June 23, reports that a congressional investigation of the acts of the Secretary of the Interior, Tomas Confesor, as Governor of Panay and Romblon during the occupation, is proposed in a resolution introduced by Representative Ceferino de los Santos of Iloilo. A joint committee of Congress is to look into the “state of terrorism, criminality and maladministration” and to investigate the issuance, use and disposition of emergency currencies. He made as basis for the resolution the recent speeches in Congress, reports on alleged arrests and executions and property confiscation in the islands during the occupation, as well as reports on the fight between Confesor and Col. Macario Peralta, head of the Panay guerrillas. Peralta is reported to possess affidavits which he intends to use against Confesor.
In an interview with the Associated Press reported in the Post of June 23. Kalaw said: “We need free trade with the United States over a period of 20 years or not at all.” I do not understand it. Supposing we are offered a 10-year or a 15-year period, are we going to refuse? To refuse will constitute an unpardonable blunder, a knife thrust at the very heart of our mother country.
It must be mentioned that after the surrender, many Bataan and Corregidor Filipino veterans were in a miserable state. Those who were previously in government claimed their former positions. Some who were not, applied for government employment. They were compelled to do this so that their dear ones may live. We Ministers and former Commissioners tried to help them as much as we could. All those with suitable qualifications were employed. Even those without civil service qualifications were accommodated. Instructions were passed around to give preference to these veterans. We were able to help many this way.
Editorial, Manila Post, June 23. Vindication. “When we first announced our stand on the collaboration issue we strongly advocated a liberal, dispassionate and realistic view conformable to the Pronouncement of President Osmeña in his ‘Government of Laws’ speech, in which he defined a policy poles apart from the view of the guerrillas and certain Cabinet members who uncompromisingly held the strict view that all those who served in the Vargas and Laurel governments and in Japanese-controlled entities are collaborators. We were then labelled in some unthinking quarters as collaborationist with the malicious intent of discrediting us.
“But knowing that the popular sentiment was on our side and that our stand rested four-square on principles, we steadfastly and courageously adhered to it and reiterated it time and again…
“For our part, we held ourselves fortunate to find that the principles for which we have long been fighting alone, and because of which we have been spitefully branded a collaborationist periodical, finds a champion in Senate Pres. Roxas, whose patriotism no one can now question.”
Following is a continuation of Roxas’ speech reported earlier: “On February 20 (1942), President Quezon was leaving Corregidor upon the request of the President of the United States and of Gen. MacArthur. President Quezon did not want to leave… I think it is my duty to say that Pres. Quezon not only left Corregidor with reluctance because he said he wanted to suffer and die with his people if need be, but he was very reluctant to leave Manila for Corregidor because he said, ‘I believe it is my duty to remain with my people in time of great need and trial.’ But he was prevailed upon. The United States government believed that it would be very unwise to risk Pres. Quezon’s life because he was the symbol, not only the leader, but the symbol of Filipino resistance and Filipino patriotism and Filipino idealism. He was not only the leader of his country, he was the father of Philippine liberty, and he was the man that built up in this country all the love and affection and loyalty that we have borne out in the battlefields… With tears in his eyes he left because he thought that it was his duty to his country, but he left with a broken heart and left only because he believed that his presence in the United States would accelerate the sending of reinforcement here…
“He left Corregidor and asked me to go with him. (He declined because he was afraid that the soldiers that were fighting in Bataan would suffer a dislocation and their morale would be weakened or shakened if they learned that he had left the country leaving them to fight alone.) He left leaving me all the responsibilities of government.”
Pres. Quezon issued an executive order providing that if anything should happen to him and to Vice President Osmeña during the duration of the war, that Manuel Roxas would be officially recognized as the legitimate successor to the presidency of the Commonwealth. One month later, Quezon wanted Roxas to come with him to Australia. “After the war, the safety and the future of our country can only be saved in his (Roxas) hands.” Roxas declined giving his reasons. Quezon answered, “Under those circumstances, I believe you should stay.”
Roxas’ speech continued, “I remained here because I wanted to continue fighting. I wanted to organize the resistance movement in the Philippines and, with the help of God, I think I did my share, poor as it is.”
According to reports from sources close to Pres. Osmeña, he did not know that Representative Lopez of Cebu was going to attack Senate Pres. Roxas; otherwise, he would have asked Lopez to refrain from delivering his speech, as he did when he found out that another solon from Cebu intended to attack certain members of Congress for activities during the Japanese regime. This was to preserve unity and avoid any discussion among the people. The controversy in our midst as to whether the Senate should have determined by lot the terms of office of the Senators, seems to have been started by the following amendment which seems to have already been approved by Congress:
Sec. 9 of Act 666, as amended, will read: “Sec. 9. The Senate shall within ten days after approval of this act, determine by lot which shall serve for a term of six years, which of the group shall serve for a term of four years, and which of the group shall serve for a term of 2 years; Provided that the Senators whose term of office shall cease as a result of the lot, shall hold over until their successors shall have been elected. Provided, further, that Senators whose term of office would have expired under the old rule shall continue in office without compensation until their successors are elected.”
The changes thereby introduced is that instead of holding the determination by lot within ten days from the beginning of the session which should have been held last January, 1942, it will be held within ten days after the approval of the amendment. Another change is that the Senators whose term of office had expired could continue in office until their successors are elected but without compensation. The purpose undoubtedly is to insure a quorum in the Senate.
Hope for our early release was again revived. It is said that the selection by lot will have to be done in our presence and that it seems that we are needed in the Senate to insure a quorum.
Secretary of the Interior Tomas Confesor on June 24 hurled back at Senate Pres. Manuel Roxas the charge of Fascism with which the latter has accused those who “want (the country) to be governed by the Chief Executive alone.”
Evidently referring to the attack of Roxas against the administration, Confesor declared: “I understand that someone made the statement that our present economic ills are administrative rather than a legislative responsibility… That statement shifting the responsibility of solons to these problems to the executive branch of the government alone is a Fascistic theory — an abdication of legislative power or authority; and anyone who advocates the abdication of legislative authority, is advocating a dictatorial form of government.”
Roxas is right. The economic problems are primarily for the executive to handle. The Legislative only intervenes whenever legislation is necessary. Even then, after the approval of the legislation the rest will have to be performed by the Executive. The theory of Confesor is impractical. The Legislative body moves slowly being composed of many persons and its acts will have to be sanctioned by the majority. The Executive, on the other hand, can move most expeditiously. Economic problems have many ramifications and if everytime each ramification will have to be submitted to the legislative body and will have to await the approval of this body, the measures or remedy required will come too late — at a time when damage or “prejudice had already been caused or the condition no longer admits of any remedy.
In the same speech of Roxas, he said, “While it is true the only ways to determine political questions in a democracy is by allowing the people to decide those questions, I invite the Senator from Bohol to file a bill in the Senate setting a date for the next election and I promise him I will see it through at the earliest date possible.”
According to Confesor, the United States Army is spending from 70 to 80 million pesos a month in the Philippines today. It means that within a year they may spend up to one billion.
My comment: If the information is correct, there will be inflation for I am sure that much circulation cannot at present be absorbed by the production which covers industry, agriculture and commerce. I am surprised that the necessary hedges against inflation are not being set up.