Yesterday my wife received a coded note at our Tennessee St. residence from Maj. Enriquez which, in effect, stated that he was able to contact his man at BC HQ and for me to prepare for the “good news.” He also stated that when I get the note he will be back to his unit but that I will hear from him later. And so today, I requested San Lazaro Hospital to release me from the sick list as I “have recovered completely from my malaria”.
At 1000H today, I left the hospital, went home and reported to BC HQ at 1500H. The Adm. O. directed me to the Misc. Casual GP with instructions to report every morning. This GP is composed of BC officers waiting to proceed to their new stations. I wonder if I still have to proceed to my original Lanao assignment otherwise I may be back at the hospital if there ever is a ship for me.
Being a Sunday today, I got a special half day evening pass starting 1500H from the San Lazaro Hospital to visit my sick wife with the provision that I will return immediately should there be a surprise check by BC HQ. Providentially, after alighting from my bus at Taft Ave. corner Tennessee St., walking eastward towards where my wife resides, I was surprised to see Maj. Manuel P. Enriquez (Manolo) our Tactical O. at PMA, walking in opposite direction near Colorado St. corner. Manolo seems surprised too to see me and since my wife’s residence is only a block away, I invited him to come with me for a private talk.
I knew Maj. Enriquez is not supposed to be in Manila as he is the ExO of LCol. G. Nakar of the 14th Inf. Guerillas in Cagayan Valley. After arriving home and finding my wife’s fever had subsided, Manolo and I secluded ourselves in a private room. Maj. Enriquez told me he is on a secret mission for the 14th Inf. I told him I was paroled to the BC and my predicament is that I refused to go to my assignment in Lanao. He claimed to have a man at BC HQ named Maj. Pedro Jaminola. Manolo then asked me, “If I can have you assigned in N. Vizcaya where my units are, are you willing to work with us?” Without hesitation I answered in the affirmative. He said he will contact Maj. Jaminola accordingly and that he will be in touch with me later after he got my wife’s address and phone number. With that understanding, Manolo left. I am very hopeful that Maj. Enriquez can do something to help me out of my predicament. Meantime, I stayed with my wife who felt much better by midnight when I returned to the hospital as if nothing happened.
Maj. Suguiyama, the Japanese Kempeitai supervisor of BCA, sent an investigator to San Lazaro Hospital to find out details of my hospitalization. Apparently, he learned I was unable to take my ship to Lanao that left three days ago (Oct 4). The hospital furnished all the documents about my case from the time I was admitted Oct. 1 to the present. In my own testimony, I said I had a severe recurrence of malaria with high fever early morning of Oct. 1 when the ambulance of San Lazaro Hospital came to my rescue. At present, my malaria attacks are subsiding and perhaps in a week, the hospital can release me. The investigator who seemed sympathetic to me confided that Maj. Suguiyama is furious and if it can be proven I was malingering, he will send me to Fort Santiago as an example. I can only have my fingers crossed and hoped for the best.
Yesterday morning, upon learning the ship that will take us, the newly commissioned BC officers to their assignments in Visayas and Mindanao will leave Manila in four days, I decided to enter San Lazaro Hospital. My cousin, Dr. A. D. Lipana UST ’27 has a classmate who is an official at the hospital and was able to make arrangements that I be admitted as emergency patient ostensibly suffering from severe malaria. This way, I thought I will miss the ship and my Lanao assignment.
At 0800 this morning, an ambulance from the hospital took me from my Tennessee residence in Malate and effective today, I am a patient at San Lazaro Hospital “suffering from severe malaria duly recorded with high fever”.
I sent a letter to BC HQ, copy furnished my friend Lt. Fukushima, about my hospitalization. I also requested my cousin to make sure the documentation of my hospitalization and illness are complete for any future investigation.
Today is Graduation Day at BCA and all that passed the course were announced and given commissions as police officers with ranks from 5th Class Inspectors (Lts), 4th Cl. Insp. (Capts.), 3rd Cl. Insp. (Majs.) & 2nd Cl. Insp. (LCols). Majority are 5th Cl. Insp. and I am one of them. Those that failed and expected to be dismissed are given appointment as NCOs, thus to Sgts are Maj. Romulo Villaflor, Lt. J. Artillaga ’41, Lt. A. Astete ’42, Virgilio Danao ’42, to Cpls Lt. Nicolas Camello, Lt. Jose Fernandez and Lt. Marcos Simpao. They failed intentionally thinking that BCA will be like PMA, dismissal.
Our orders of assignments also came out and to my dismay, I am assigned to the province of Lanao with Insp. Tomas Domaoal as my Sr. Insp. with Insp. Francisco Bautista, a lawyer. I was expecting assignment in the Tagalog provinces but never in this land of juramentados. I was very upset and my blood was boiling but kept it all to myself. My classmate Joe Javier is assigned to Jolo and seems not bothered about it. I have to think deliberately and wisely on how I can avoid going to Lanao. Maj. E. Batongmalaque is assigned to Davao and happy about it. My classmates Cabangbang and Piccio are looking forward to their new assignment in Cebu.
It is my impression that, since majority of the members of our class are PCA graduates and former Constabulary Os, we are generally in favor to serve as police officers to help preserve traquility for the welfare of our people to help them resume normal lives. Like the provincial and municipal elective officials of Bulacan who are collaborating with the Japanese Adm., their situation had virtually returned to normal with minimum interference from the Jap. Adm. The fact is at the end of May 1942, the Japanese guards at Malolos POW Camp turned over their duties to the Prov. Sheriff and shortly after public schools opened. Unlike in Iloilo province where the elective officials headed by Gov. Tomas Confesor refused to collaborate (branding collaborators as traitors) the Japanese appointed Dr. Caram as governor and a new set of mayors to serve sending thousands of troops to maintain order in Iloilo.
Today I learned of some undercurrents among a few members of the class that are not willing to serve in the BC. This group is led by Maj. Romulo Villaflor, an artillery officer and his followers are non-PCA grads. What they are trying to do is to fail intentionally the course and like at PMA, be dismissed and not graduate. I commented to Maj. Villaflor that the Japanese has a strange sense of humor and may not follow what they expected and return them to Capas. Apparently, he did not believe me.
BCA Academics are progressing smoothly. However, every passing day I come to know my classmates individually that today I can say I know all of them. It can be recalled this group started with that 1,400 “not sick” survivor POWs from Capas released and transferred to Camp Dau for Rejuvination Trng. last Jul 17. I knew more than half of them as my former associates and underclassmen at PMA. From this group 300 of us were sent to BCA and since our class started, I came to know those I did not know before, mostly senior PCA grads.
Among the Sr. PCA grads are Cols Lizardo ’15 Regmtl. Comdr. 41st Div, much decorated in Bataan; Col. Tomas Domaol ’17 C/S 41st Div of Gen. Lim; Cols Turingan ’17, Javalera ’17; Magsino & Diano ’19 Front Line Bn. Comdrs.; Majs Fidel Cruz ’27, Francisco Luna ’28, Leoncio Tan ’28 brilliant Div. Staff Os. Then we have Maj. Batongmalaque ’31 a Bn. Comdr. under Gen. Capinpin with his tales about his former CO, the legendary Capt. Canuto, better known as King “Canute.” Then we also have two bright combat lawyers, Lts. Amado Aleta and Francisco Bautista who earned decorations in Bataan for gallantry in action. Lt. Bautista was also the Captain Ball of the Phil. Olympic Basketball Team of 1936 that won 2nd place for our country next to the US. We also have my former PMA mentors Capts Alfredo Santos, D. Ojeda, S. Villa and E. Duque. Of course my classmates, Cabangbang, Tirona, Piccio, Escobar, Javier and Rodriguez. Then my underclassmen from ’41, ’42, & ’43.
In the battlefields, the group earned more than 300 DSC, SS, BS, Purple Hearts with many having multiple awards. This is an awesome group that fascinates me no end. I am privileged to be a member of this group, indeed.
I enjoyed my weekend with my family at Tenneessee St., Malate and my visit at UST where my father in law, Richard, and sister in law, Helen, both US citizens are interned with virtually what used to be the American community of Manila. Because my wife has close contact with Mrs. Lulu Navarrete, I was able to visit my former Sqdn. Comdr. & CO, Q-111 in his secret hideout in Sampaloc. Q-111 was intercepted by enemy destroyers during our attempt to escape to Panay last Apr 9 and although Q-111 was captured, the crew managed to escape to Batangas. Navarrete ’35 is still recovering from malaria. He recounted that they stayed for a week in the hinterlands of Batangas before going their separate ways.
The sad part of his story is that Chief Wm. Mooney, our chief Torpedoman who was with him and helped pioneer the OSP since 1940 died of dysentery in a lonely hut in Batangas. Maj. E. Jurado USNA’34 OSP Chief is recuperating and hiding in a Batangas town with Danday’s relatives. Lt. Alano ’40 managed to get a boat ride home to Bohol. Lt. M. S. Castillo USNA ’38 and Lt. A. C. Campo USNA ’40 are with their families in QC. Navarrete also told me that Q-113 managed to escape in the Navotas area late last April and the crew are all hiding with their families. Lt. Nuval ’38 CO Q-113 is reportedly in La Union while his ExO, Lt. L. Picar ’40 is somewhere in Singalong.
From the way I see it, my OSP comrades who are able to escape are now living like fugitives as all unsurrendered USAFFE personnel are in the wanted list of the Japanese. Our status with the BCA appears better –we are not in hiding and we are at peace with ourselves.
Yesterday PM, Lt. Gomez & I were given special instructions on Japanese drill commands preparatory to our close order drill sked this PM. By this time we have been exposed to the Japanese anthem “Kimigayo” every morning and many Japanese common terms like “Ohayo”, “Ikaga desu ka” and “katakana”. Aside from Cabangbang and Tirona mentioned earlier, my other PMA classmates in this present class are Escobar, Javier, Piccio & Rodriguez and together with our underclassmen of ’41, ’42 & ’43 in this class, are elated in my being Sec. Marcher. However, there are skeptics that have negative comments and I told Gomez not to comment, to let the gossips run its course.
At 1430 today, our class was transported to Luneta Park for Close Order Drill. After the Section are assembled to start drill, I walked to where our Tac. O., Lt. Fukushima is and addressed the class: “Comrades, I would like to let everyone know my admiration on Lt. Fukushima. He was responsible for the capture of my OSP crew in Manila Bay after the Fall of Bataan. He treated us well and made us Malolos POWs”.
His ego titilated, Fukushima asked the class to form a circle around him, then started drawing diagrams on the ground describing how his two patrol boats tracked Q-112’s escape towards Hagonoy coast till it disappeared after scuttling and later finding our group of 20 to be captured by him. It took him about half an hour to tell his story that shortened our drill which was just to familiarize everyone of the Japanese commands like Kiotsky (Attention); Wakare-Atsumare (Fall Out and Reform; etc. And for the first time, our classmates realized how Lt. Gomez and I were made Section Marchers and the malicious gossips about us disappeared.
Today being a Friday, we are all looking forward for this weekend to be with our families.