May 27, 1942

Monthly consumption of tiki-tiki by Japanese Army is 6,000 sacks according to Mr. Kobatake.

Monthly quota to be covered by Naric in the provinces: Nueva Ecija—3,000 sacks; Bulacan—2,000 sacks; Tarlac—500 sacks.

Price of Tiki-tiki in Manila: Tiki-tiki No. 1 is ₱2.50 per sack of 48 kilos gross excluding sack; Tiki-tiki No. 2 is ₱2.00 per sack of 45 kilos excluding sack; Tiki-tiki No. 3 ₱1.50 per sack of 45 kilos excluding sack.

Mata-mata is ₱2.00 per sack of 45 kilos gross excluding sack. Binlid is ₱3.50 per sack of 50 kilos gross excluding sack.

Price in the provinces in 10 per cent less than the price in Manila without sack.

…Telephone calls, visitors, tiki-tiki, darak, mata-mata, binlid, rice rations, “Oh sir, the rice is brown,” “How do you arrange rice rations?”, “How about giving this voter a job for old time’s sake?”, Inada’s arrogance, Japanese suspiciousness, inability to understand each other’s language, threats, “You’re a pro-Japanese!”, “Why didn’t you open the bodegas?”, more war prisoners dying, send medicine for camp, so-and-so was slapped by Nakashima, boxed by Inada, that Filipino is an informer so be careful of him, Pagulayan, Unson, Fort Santiago, “I resign!”, “That’s hostile act, no you can’t resign!”… Life is a bloody nightmare!

April 8, 1942

Intro from memoirs: But one day I had a scare. Old Pio Duran, who believed in the Jap-sponsored Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, if there ever was one, called me up and said I was wanted at Fort Santiago at 11:30 a.m. on April 8th…

I was worried. I could not tell Lolita [my wife] I was wanted at the Fort…

10:30 a.m. Thinking of Lolita and the kids. In the face of grave affliction, a man’s family is uppermost on his mind. He ceases to care about himself. He only thinks of his dear ones. He suddenly realizes that it is only for them that he lives.

Must stop writing, I’ve got to say goodbye to the boys. This silly sentimental crab will bore you no more…

11:00 p.m. Sorry, diary, the old bore is back again. No, he wasn’t detained. He was just shocked. He was a victim of a twisted sense of humor.

It was not an investigation after all but an invitation. Why I was invited, I don’t know. The others present were Dr. Antonio Sison, Messrs. Julio Francia, Pedro Aunario, Ramon Ordoveza, Pedro Vera, Bibiano Meer and Tomas Morato. Everyone was invited in the same fashion and for two days, they all imagined they’d be tortured in some dark cell. Morato arrived with sandwiches. “Just in case they lock me up,” he said.

Col. Ohta and Major Nishimura, the heads of Fort Santiago, explained the reason for the invitation. “We want to show you that Fort Santiago is not a place of torture.” We were taken around and shown the cell of Dr. Rizal. Games and exhibitions were performed before us. One Japanese officer, a Lieut. Koeki, took a bale of hay and hacked it into two parts with one swift stroke of his samurai sword.

We had quite a luncheon, too. And afterwards everybody was given a chance to speak. When my turn came, I told them what was uppermost in my mind. I was thinking og Pagulayan and Unson. I asked if something could be done to release them. But before I could say anything more, Major Nishimura raised his hands and said: “Not now, please.”

So I kept quiet, I knew all this was a sham.

While we feasted above, men were groaning in the dungeons below. The food stuck in my throat and I felt cold. I guess everybody felt the same way too…

March 29, 1942

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.

 

March 13, 1942

No news about Pagulayan and Unson.

Many complaints from the public and from Filipino employees have been received by me against Mr. Inada, the Japanese who is in charge of the Distribution Department. He is very arrogant. He treats visitors very rudely. Makes them stand before him for hours. How can I call his attention? What is my status? I am a Manager who is not a manager.

The Japanese have a way of saying one thing and doing another. It will take time to understand them.

February 28, 1942

Rumors (are) that more NARIC employees will be taken to Fort Santiago. Most of my men are demoralized. The efficiency of the service is impaired. Nervous tension in the office prevails.

Unson has not yet been released. Charges against him have not been specified. He was just arrested and detained. Nobody knows how long he will be imprisoned. Who will be next?

Heard a heart-lifting broadcast over the Voice of Freedom: “Be of good cheer. Sleep tight through the night of defeat. Gather strength for the morning and we’ll be there sooner than you think.”

Now we grope through the night. For how long, only the Lord knows. We must carry on. Somewhere ahead is the morning.

How many of us will live to see it?

February 21, 1942

No news of Unson. Many employees want to quit. Some have fled to the mountains. They are afraid of the Japanese. I cannot prevail upon them to remain. If they get into trouble, they might blame me. The Japanese must reform, if he wants to attract the Filipinos. The iron fist will not win many to his side. A policy of fire, backfires.

You can accomplish more with sugar than with vinegar.

February 19, 1942

Everybody in the office is in a state of high nervous tension. Unson was taken to Fort Santiago. Why was he taken? What will they do to him? Nobody knows. Nobody dares ask. Who will be next? Many are planning to leave the office. They will hide. I may be taken any time. They may hold me responsible for my men. Reign of terror. Sullenly Noya said: “Sympathizers should beware. They too will be investigated.” In Fort Santiago, torture is part of the investigation. Shall I help Unson? Shall I appeal for him? What can I do, anyway? I might even be suspected. Life under the Rising Sun is not sunny but dark. Very dark.

Worked till nine p.m. Closed contracts on sacks at thirty centavos. Tried to buy everything possible. Established policy as to purchases of palay. Buy palay at ₱2.50, if without sack and freight. Purchase rice at ₱5.10, if without sack and freight. Secure truck permits for Syquia, Loewinsohn, Zarragoza, Quisumbing. Trucks are very needed to transport palay and rice. There are plans to commandeer more trucks. Ask Mr. Mori, owner of Mizuno Athletic Supply, for my car, Buick-250. He was the one who commandeered it.

Personnel of the National Trading Corporation must be reduced to minimum, according to the Japanese. The corporation must be closed and liquidated.

The Civilian Emergency Administration has been dissolved. Will ask for the retention of useful men. The rest will be dismissed. Talked to Mr. Noya before leaving the office for home, regarding my resignation. His exact words: “Please, some other time, doctor. Just now you have to lead your boys.”

Had better sleep now. Am very tired. I wonder how Unson is. I hope he is not being manhandled. Today is Mrs. Quezon’s birthday. Can still recall the parties at Malacañan. When will those days return? The past has vanished like a dream.