May 20, 1945 Sunday

The memorandum was put it final form. As we had no typewriter Minister Paez wrote it with his very fine handwriting. Those who signed the memorandum are the original fourteen, Don Vicente Madrigal and Governors Aquino and Urquico. Instead of giving the contents of the memorandum, I shall attach hereto a copy of it. In this connection, it should be stated that Justice Yulo believed that the document should have been stronger. For instance, the use of the phrase, “which should not be overlooked.” Yulo did not insist on his suggested changes because, as it will be remembered, there was a dissenting opinion (Minister Sison) on the question of whether we should submit a memorandum or not. I was strongly in favor of presenting such a memorandum to both President Osmeña and General MacArthur. I argued that our silence might be interpreted as an admission of guilt and later they may allege that they took no definite action because they thought that we had willingly acquiesced and seemed to be resigned to our situation.

All of us in the community have to work. We were divided into groups and each group takes care of the cleaning of the whole premises for the day. This day is a very significant one. The cleaning was being done by a group of five persons among whom were Capitalist Madrigal and Communist Taruc. I wish we had been able to take a picture when the two were working side by side—Madrigal with a broom sweeping and Taruc following him around with the waste receptacle to put the trash in. It is symbolic of an ideal situation. It is not utopian to believe that capital and labor can be together. This confinement might yet result in a solution of the serious problem of relationship between capital and labor. Capitalists can continue but they must give an equitable participation to laborers, participation which will enable the workers to own land, build a small but cozy house, and have enough money to buy sufficient food, educate their children, and have a little amusement such as seeing moving pictures. With such an arrangement there, can be no labor troubles. Radicalism of the pernicious type cannot develop.

I am probably the most athletic among the group. I do not mind manual labor. In fact, when I learned that one of the work to be done was the grounds along the fence of the stockade, even before we were ordered to do so, I started moving the stones by hurling stones over the fence in the manner of a shot put. In that way, I got my work done and got my exercise. I run daily around the stockade grounds for an hour and shadow box for a few minutes.

This day is the beginning of poetical activity in the community. Don Claro M. Recto, a known poet, wrote a poem concerning each of the members of the original party of fourteen with the addition of Don Vicente Madrigal. The poem is so good and interesting that instead of describing it, I prefer to attach hereto a copy of the poem.

May 19, 1945 Saturday

The whole premises were cleaned thoroughly in preparation for the expected coming of Gen. MacArthur tomorrow, Sunday the 20th.

I had a long conversation with Don Vicente Madrigal. Two of the matters he touched upon I would like to record. The first was an incident involving himself and Confesor. While in Quezon City, he said that as President of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce, he went to see Sec. Confessor about matters involving the Philippine Chamber of Commerce. Confesor refused to receive him on the ground that he did not want to see or have anything to do with persons who collaborated with the Japanese.

Don Vicente said that it really happened this way. A meeting was called in Malacañan to discuss matters in which the Chamber was interested in. He arrived late, and as he was going up the stairs, he met Don Leopoldo Aguinaldo who was just leaving. Don Leopoldo, a director of the Chamber, was another big merchant and a good friend of the Japanese. Madrigal asked him why he was leaving. He answered that Confesor, before the meeting, stated that he will not sit in any place where there are collaborators, referring to Don Leopoldo. Don Leopoldo thought at first that Confesor meant it as a joke, but was told otherwise. When Madrigal heard what had happened to Aguinaldo, he naturally did not proceed to the meeting anymore. Aguinaldo sent a letter to Confesor asking in what way he had collaborated with the Japanese. Confesor did not reply.

Another incident involving Confesor was told to us. A former subordinate of Confesor, former Director Balmaceda, went to pay his respects to Confesor. Upon seeing Balmaceda, Confesor became very angry and insulted him for being a collaborator. He told Balmaceda that he had the nerve to show his face to him and that he ought to be ashamed of himself. This incident was confimed by Don Vicente.

These incidents lead us to believe that Confesor, as Secretary of the Interior, has something to do with our detention. It is part of his policy of persecution of alleged collaborators. I do not believe the people will approve of the attitude of Confesor. At any rate, it is highly prejudicial to the interest and future of our country. Now and after the war, our problems will be very serious. There is the work of reconstruction of our devastated cities and towns. There is the problem of rehabilitation. Food must be provided and our industry, commerce and agriculture be restored. The economic development of our country must be started and pushed with vigor, our currency made stable. These problems are so great that the cooperation and energy of all the Filipinos will be needed. The policy of Confesor will divide us and thus the concerted effort of all the Filipinos to solve said problems cannot be assured.

Don Vicente Madrigal talked also of Gen. Carlos P. Romulo. He said that Romulo is even rougher and more uncompromising than Confesor and Secretary Cabili. One day he saw copies of the Philippines Herald being sold in the streets. He learned that the newspaper’s daily publication started a week before. Romulo appears as Chief Editor. Don Vicente sent word to Romulo stating that he was glad that the Philippines Herald was already being published. It must be remembered that Don Vicente is practically the owner of the Philippines Herald as he owns the majority of the stocks. Romulo offered his regrets and apology to Don Vicente for not having informed him. Romulo added that the publication of the Herald would have to be suspended as Gen. MacArthur did not want any of the old newspapers to begin publication. Later the Free Philippines began its publication.

When Romulo arrived from the U.S., he did not visit Madrigal nor offer any help to him. Madrigal considers Romulo the most ungrateful man he has ever known. He bought the Herald upon the entreaty of Romulo who did not want the Herald to fall into the hands of the Roceses. He made Romulo the Editor. Romulo wanted to go to Chunking and other places in the Orient to be able to write on the conditions in those places. He had no money, however. Don Vicente granted him an unlimited credit that allowed Romulo to visit many places in the Orient and write a series of articles. These made him very famous in the literary world. The articles earned him the Pulitzer Prize, which also brought in some cash. After all he has done for Romulo, as Mr. Madrigal puts it, Romulo’s attitude of indifference towards him was the height of ingratitude.

On account of the expected visit of MacArthur, we decided to prepare a memorandum. We thought of doing this long before we knew that MacArthur’s visit. The memorandum was drafted by a Committee composed of Yulo, Recto and Paredes. It was later submitted to a general meeting, where we discussed it freely and each made suggestions.

May 17, 1945 Thursday

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.

May 11, 1945 Friday

Three officers, a Colonel, a Lieutenant Colonel, and Major arrived. We thought that they came to investigate our respective cases. We soon learned that they were here to inspect our quarters. They went all around and seemed to be satisfied with the sanitary conditions. The Major, however, began asking questions. We did not know his purpose. He asked me whether we were comfortable. I answered that for a prisoner, we were comfortable. He asked next whether we were happy. I of course had to answer him in the negative.

From the very beginning I was not happy as I do not like the implications of my detention. It implies treason to my country. This is far from the truth. I served my country and my people and no other country or people. There is also the implication that I was an anti-American. Given any antecedents and my connection, I can not possibly be anti-American. Finally, there is the implication that we constitute a menace to war security. Would I help the Japanese, especially after the death of my daughter at their hands? Considering these injustices, I cannot possibly be happy.

At 11 this morning, we were surprised to see Don Vicente Madrigal, the millionaire, coming. Everybody was glad to see him as we were all hungry for news from Manila. He said he was arrested two days previously, detained at Quezon City, and later brought by plane via Leyte. He told us about the destruction of Manila and the killing of countless Filipinos, including some very prominent people, by the Japanese, by American bombing and shelling, and the street fighting between the Americans and the Japanese. Asked about the attitude of the people towards us, he said that not only was there no bitterness, but that the public reaction was favorable. He also said that his feelings towards the present government is not that of enthusiasm. The head, Mr. Tomas Confesor, is dividing our people by going after those who held any kind of important position under the Japanese. Many reacted angrily to this. For instance, Macario Peralta, the head of the guerrillas in Panay, said that Confesor was not a hero as he did nothing but hide in the mountains.

Don Vicente Madrigal said that Gen. MacArthur seems to be in favor of the holding of sessions of the Philippine Congress. He furnished facilities to bring to Manila the Senators and Representatives. President Osmeña, however, answering an inquiry, wired against the sessions, saying that the policy with reference to the collaborationists must first be defined. To do otherwise may imperil our independence, the progress of rehabilitation and also the commercial treaties that we may want to enter into.

Madrigal also informed us that the economic condition in Manila is not satisfactory. Money was scarce and so were commodities. This was a surprise to me. I am sure it will be a disappointment to many who thought that upon the arrival of the Americans, money and commodities would be plentiful.

Asked about the cause of our detention, he answered that he had good reasons to believe that it was the result of pressure on the part of Filipinos who are now in power, like Confesor. I commented that such an attitude was regrettable. The financial and economic problems are very serious and all the Filipinos are needed in the solution of those problems. I made it clear, however, that in so far as I was concerned, I do not want to hold any more positions in the government.

May 10, 1945 Thursday

Everything was routine up to today. The classification had not yet arrived. An insinuation was made that we would be classified as officers and that we would be put together in one wing of one of the buildings in the same premises.

Upon the request of Paredes and myself a meeting was held this evening around the bed of Chief Justice Yulo. All the 14 men originally confined in Quezon City were present. Paredes suggested that we send a memorandum to President Osmeña and Gen. MacArthur explaining our case and protestations against our detention. I seconded him. He explained that our silence might be considered conformity or acquiescence to our situation. We have not been given an opportunity to defend ourselves. In fact, we were not even notified of the charges against us. The memoranda submitted to Mr. Stanford in Quezon City were unofficial according to him. Besides, they were not answers to specific charges. Furthermore, at about the time we submitted our memos we were turned over to the Army and the C.I.C. ceased to have jurisdiction over us.

I also think that we should ask for a clarification of Gen. MacArthur’s statement that we would be held during the duration of the war as a matter of war security. Does it mean that we constitute a menace to the war effort? If so, we would be willing to show that we do not. Some Ministers opposed the submission of any memorandum on the ground that it is unnecessary and might even be prejudicial. It was decided to draft the memorandum and decide what to do later. A committee for the purpose was appointed composed of Chief Justice Yulo, as Chairman and Messrs. Recto and Paredes, as members. Messrs. Abello and Sebastian were designated as assistants.

April 29, 1945

The Headquarters of General MacArthur announced today the entry of his troops in Baguio, after wiping out the Japanese defenses. It took the liberators four months at the cost of a great number of men and materials to scale the mountain, blow up machine gun nests, seal thousands of caves and exterminate their defenders, and take possession of this city. Like mountain cats, the remaining Japanese continue fighting in the eastern slopes and from the top of Mt. Sto. Tomas which overlook the zigzag. An important nucleus of resistance is the Cagayan Valley. The two Ilocos regions, La Union and part of the Mountain Province, have been liberated by guerilla forces.

Thousands of residents of this summer city had been infiltrating through Japanese defenses until they reached American lines, guided by Igorots who are as loyal as they were experts in avoiding Japanese attention, in climbing rocks and jumping over precipices. Many had died in the bombings of Baguio, others succumbed to the hardship of two months of wanderings in caves and mountains or a week on the road until they reached Tubao where they were picked up by American troops.

Recto, Alunan, Paredes, Sison and De las Alas, the ex-ministers of the short-lived Republic had been captured and detained. Manuel Roxas was liberated. Laurel, Osías and Aquino fled to Japan. We could not tell whether on their own volition or forced by Yamashita. Part of those liberated had been brought to Manila and many of them are quartered in the University of Santo Tomas. They had lost their homes in Baguio and their old houses in Manila had been destroyed.

The Army in Baguio did not commit the same systematic abuses and massacre as what was planned and executed in Manila, Laguna, Rizal, Batangas, Tayabas and in other provinces. Either they did not receive the order or they simply failed to implement it. Of course, it was easier for the victims to evade their henchmen and elude their herodian plans in the thicknesses and ruggedness of the mountains. However, at the last hour, the wriggling tail of the dying dragon killed numerous groups of unsuspecting persons, the incapacitated, the helpless who could not save themselves in time. Hundreds, or perhaps thousands of innocent lives were sacrificed.

A number of Japanese civilians and soldiers have passed over to the American lines. Among them are Mr. Yokoyama, the Japanese consul in Baguio; Mr. Okano, the head of the Religious Section of the Army and a good Catholic who had given not a few favors to the American prisoners and to the members of religious congregations; Mr. Matsuda, a professor of Nippongo, and somebody else whose surrender or capture we are not sure about.

April 29, 1945 Sunday

It was 3 o’clock in the morning; the boat started to move. We could not see anything; it was pitch black. Destination unknown.

In the dark, the events of the past days came back to me.

We left Irisan, a town about six kilometers from Baguio on April 12, 1945 headed towards Agoo, an American-captured territory in the Province of La Union. After walking four days and four nights across mountains, we arrived at Pitugan, La Union. Across the river which bordered the U.S.-liberated province, we saw our first sight of our American liberators, a group of soldiers led by a Capt. Linguist. Our happiness at seeing the Americans was such that tears streamed down our faces. “Here are our liberators!” we exclaimed.

The Captain was tall. He might not have been a handsome man but to us he was the embodiment of perfection. He shook hands with Manuel Roxas first, with Jose Yulo next, and then with me. I had shaken hands with presidents (including Roosevelt), emperors (Hirohito and Pu Yi), and princes (Prince of Wales), but I had never taken a hand with more gusto than when I shook the hand of the Captain.

Capt. Linguist was very kind and nice to us. He gave orders left and right, doing everything he could for us. The Americans helped us across the river and, although we were already in the safety zone, the Captain took all the necessary precautions; soldiers with sub-machine-guns were posted around us throughout the night while we slept before proceeding towards the town of Tubao.

Deep in our hearts we felt an unbounded feeling of gratitude. Not for a moment did it enter our minds that our liberators, for whose return we prayed fervently everyday, were going to be our incarcerators.

At 7 a.m., we started for Tubao. When we reached the town of Rizal, we were met by a military truck driven by an American. We boarded the truck and reached Tubao about 10 a.m. Here in Tubao, we saw the place where the shelling of Baguio came from. That same morning, we were taken to Aringay, to the U.S. Army Headquarters. The Americans served us lunch. For the first time since the war, we had a real American dinner with bread and butter, ham, coffee, iced tea, etc. Here we were introduced to the head of the Army operating around Baguio, Major General Carlson.

We were photographed with the General and his staff. The Filipino group was composed of Gen. Manuel Roxas, Chief Justice Jose Yulo, Minister Rafael Alunan, Minister Teofilo Sison, Minister Quintin Paredes, and myself. We were also introduced to Lt. Col. Arcing Arvey. We were asked many questions, one of which was what we thought about the postponement of Philippine independence. As the senior in our party, Mr. Yulo answered for the group—that we were opposed to the proposition. Col. Arvey asked whether we did not need time for economic readjustment. He answered, “There is no incompatibility between the two. We can have independence and economic readjustment with the help of America.”

I was elated at his response as this represented my own thoughts and sentiments. We have heard rumors that the Imperialists had sent men here—Army officers, and men in the C.I.C.—to work for the withdrawal of the independence plan. It was their plan to work through the Filipinos: they want the Filipinos themselves to petition for the postponement of independence. They cannot do it directly in America as the majority of the Americans are against imperialism. As a matter of fact, I was present in the U.S. Congress when they voted down a large appropriation for the fortification of Guam. They argued that America should pull out of the Orient. But the Imperialists want to be able to show that the Filipinos themselves do not want independence. They are absolutely wrong if they think the Filipinos will give up their lifelong desire for independence.

We stayed three days in Tubao. We were given plenty of K-rations to eat. On the morning of April 19, a car driven by an American came for us. We thought we were going to be taken to San Fabian as we were made to understand. But before we started the trip, a Capt. Donahue explained to us that we would be brought to San Fernando where he hoped we would not stay long. He was very nice and apologetic.

We were shown the April 18, 1945 issue of the Free Philippines which stated that Gen. MacArthur had announced that American liberation forces “captured four members of the collaborationists cabinet”. The article continues: “The puppet officials who fell into American hands were Jose Yulo, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Antonio de las Alas, Minister of Finance, Teofilo Sison, Minister of the Interior, and Quintin Paredes, Minister of Justice, in the quisling Laurel Cabinet.” It also quoted from the American General, “They will be confined for the duration of the war as a matter of military security and then turned over to the government of the Philippines for trial and judgment.”

We were all dumbfounded. We never expected it.

On the way to San Fernando, we passed through San Fabian, a very busy port. All roads were improved, even widened and asphalted. The roads were jammed with military vehicles, including amphibian trucks. We arrived in San Fernando and proceeded directly to the U.S. Army Headquarters. At about 3 p.m., we were told to proceed to Manila. We were not able to say goodbye to our families.

We arrived in Manila at sundown. We drove around to different places, including offices in the Government Insurance Building and the Singian house just below the Ayala Bridge. It seemed like they didn’t know where to take us. Finally, we were taken to a house in Quezon City, arriving there about 7 p.m. Since may daughter Lily, Mrs. Ambrosio Padilla, lived nearby in the San Miguel district, I asked permission to be allowed to visit her. I was rather surprised when my request was denied.

When we arrived in Quezon City, we were joined by Pedro Sabido, F. Baybay, Jose Sanvictores, Francisco Zulueta, Sergio Bayan and Proceso Sebastian. Zulueta sympathized with me; he too could not understand why I was not allowed to see Lily, especially since we spent several days in Quezon City. On April 21, Zulueta was taken ill and had to be brought to a hospital.

We expected to see Gen. Manuel Roxas who was not brought with us to Manila, but he was not among those who arrived. It is said that he was also detained but given a certain degree of freedom.

In the morning of the 24th, Ministers Claro M. Recto, Rafael Alunan and Emilio Abello, and Gen. Guillermo Francisco arrived from Baguio. Recto and Gen. Francisco were very indignant. Recto said that if he had known what was in store for him, he would have preferred to have stayed in Baguio.

Next day, Wednesday, April 25th, we were all photographed and fingerprinted. I felt humiliated. We were all bitter, and we broke into tears. Generally, however, we thought that even this forced detention was better than our situation in Baguio where we were virtual prisoners subject to the dangers of bombing, shelling, and above all massacre by the Japanese Armed Forces.

In the afternoon, we were fingerprinted and photographed again, Gen. Francisco included. The morning photographed and fingerprinting session was for the Military Policy Command; the afternoon session, for the Counter Intelligence Corps.

When we arrived in the house in Quezon City, I was interrogated by two gentlemen, a Mr. Stanford and a Mr. Hendricks. I was questioned not only about myself, but also about others in the party, and other persons. I was asked about Secretary Kalaw, Mayor Guinto, Vice Mayor Figueroa, Vicente Madrigal, Leopoldo Aguinaldo, Sergio and Nicasio Osmeña, Fiscal Mabanag and Camino Moncado. I tried to make a correct and just appraisal of them.

In the following days, from April 25 to the 27th, I was questioned repeatedly. I was asked by Mr. Hendricks and Mr. Stanford about the Philippine currency taken from banks. I prepared a statement in reply to all their questions. In my report I also mentioned about the seizure by the Japanese authorities of the Philippine National Bank funds in Baguio.

After a week of separation, I received for the first time letters from my wife and other members of my family. They arrived in Manila last Sunday, April 22. My son-in-law, Ambrosio Padilla (Paddy), and my brother-in-law, Jose Lontoc, drove all the way from Manila to Tubao to get them. My family is now staying in an “entresuelo” in the grand old house owned by Paddy’s mother located in Rodriguez Arias St. In the letter, my wife wrote that on the way to Manila, they passed by Paniqui, Tarlac, to the house of my other son-in-law, Ramon Cojuangco. Ramon confirmed the death of my daughter, Natividad (Neny). I became almost desperate. When we were taken to the U.S. Headquarters in La Union we met some friends from Manila who were officers of the USAFFE. One of them was Major Nakpil who told me of Neny’s death. Before this, I refused to believe it.

My eldest daughter, Lily, and her family were all in good health. I have a new grandson, born during the battle for liberation of Manila. I have two grandchildren now, the other being Josie.

I also learned about the burning of all our houses. But we would have preferred to lose all if only Neny could have been saved.

Mr. Stanford is a very friendly and understanding gentleman. He promised to do all he could for us. He is a Republican and freely expressed his opinion. Naturally, he opposed many of Roosevelt’s policies. Among other things, he said that all allied nations must be made to defray the expenses of the war.

The next morning, we were all happy, having heard from our families and knowing that they were back safely in Manila. At about 11 a.m., an American Lieutenant came to advise that we were leaving at 12:30 p.m. All of us became very sad. We did not know our destination. I tried to get permission to be allowed to go to the house of the Padillas because it was just nearby. My request was denied. At 1 o’clock, a harsh looking Captain came in a big truck. We were ordered to board the truck. The Captain followed us in a jeep. We were escorted by American guards with rifles. We were told not to talk to anybody.

The truck headed for Quezon Boulevard, and when it turned right on Azcarraga St., we all thought we were being taken to the Bilibid Prison. But we drove by the Bilibid Prison and went straight along Azcarraga St. to the North Port. We heard the Captain asking for directions to Pier 8. We were lost for a while; we even went beyond Tondo Church. Finally, we got to Pier 8.

We were left in the open truck for two hours with the sun blazing down on us. We could have been allowed to leave the truck to be in a shady place since the whole place was under the control of the Army. Here we got an inkling of what kind of treatment was in store for us. The Filipinos around who apparently recognized us, looked at us with sympathetic eyes. Apparently, the delay was due to the fact that we waited for the four trucks loaded with prisoners from Bilibid Prison. Among the prisoners we recognized Gov. S. Aquino of the 3rd District, Gov. Urquico of Tarlac, Hilario Camino Moncado and Francisco C. de la Rama. Later, we found out that the two leaders of the Hukbalahap, Luis Taruc and Casto Alejandrino, were also with them.

At about 3 o’clock, we were ordered to board a landing barge. Gov. P. Sebastian had a heavy load, so I helped him. The barge took us to a boat of 7,000 tons capacity named Lewis Morris. We were ordered to go down to the hold of the ship. It was here where we found out that there were many other detainees, about a hundred of us. We were herded in a place too small for us—crammed in the boat’s hold, about 20 by 20 meters. It was hot. We howled in protest. Overhead, someone removed the wooden trapdoor. It became a little cooler. We were all very thirsty. Moncado saved the situation by managing to go up on deck. How he did it is still a mystery to us. I surmised that he used a human pyramid to reach the opening. He was away for a very long time and we feared that he had been caught. To our surprise and jubilation, he appeared and handed down buckets of water to us.

All expressed indignation. We did not deserve such a treatment. Recto said if he was assured that his family would be taken care of, he would rather die. Gen. Francisco said that after having served the Philippines and America, he could not understand why he was being thus treated. Yulo, the coolest headed among us, said, “I will never allow an American to cross the threshold of my house.”

Later, we learned unofficially that we were going to the Iwahig Penal Colony.

We were served breakfast at 9 a.m. At about 11 a.m., the boat stopped. We were allowed to go up on deck. The air was very refreshing. We saw a convoy of over 50 ships.

We were only allowed on deck for one hour after breakfast. Lunchtime came; we were very hungry. No lunch. After 2 o’clock we were told that we were to be given only two meals a day. Then at 4 o’clock, we were told we could go up on deck again for one hour. Finally, at 5 o’clock, they served us our supper of canned salmon. It was abundant.

22nd March 1945

In a communique dated noon yesterday imperial general headquarters announced the loss of Yiojima. The announcement quoted the last telegram from the garrison: “All the officers and men with the supreme commander at the head launched a dauntless general attack at midnight of March 17, praying for Japan’s sure victory as well as the tranquillity of the imperial land.”

Prior to this last report the supreme commander, Lieutenant-General Tadamichi Kuribayashi, sent the following farewell message: “The war situation has finally reached the last stage. At midnight of March 17, I, your humble officer, at the head all those under my personal direction, shall carry out a final general attack, praying for the sure victory and welfare of the empire. I am satisfied that the Japanese forces have kept up their defense against the enemy offensives from the land, sea, and air, with numerical superiority beyond imagination since their landing. The brave fighting of the officers and men under my command is worthy enough to make even the gods dumbfounded. However our fighting men have fallen one after another before the persistent enemy attacks. I am extremely sorry that circumstances have caused us to let this key position fall into enemy’s hands, for which I offer my thousand apologies. Thinking especially of the fact that the imperial land shall not be placed in a peaceful situation without taking back this island, we expect that we ourselves, though dead, shall herald the coming back of the imperial troops to this island. All our bullets are gone now and no supply of water can be had. One the eve of conducting the last assault by the entire body of men we cannot but be reminded of the gracious imperial benevolence. With this in mind we shall never regret having done our utmost for the cause of the empire. With loud and respectful banzai for the imperial eternity, I, together with the officers and men, offer my last farewell. I hasten to present for your inspection some 31-syllable Japanese poems I have found time to compose:

“1. It grieves me that I have to die, having used up my supply of bullets, it having not been my lot to perform the function I had to the country.

“2. I will not decay on the plain without taking revenge. I will take up arms each of the seven times I come into the world.

“3. My sole thought is about the course of my country at the time when unsightly plants have covered the island.

Lieutenant-General Kuribayashi”

What a fantastic compost of arrogance, humility, incompetence, heroism, pettiness, and greatness, is this farewell message, which combines military advice with poetic sentiment, boasts that the gods have been dumbfounded and then prostrates itself with a thousand apologies. Yet, to take the poems as an instance, one can see through the quaint conceits and unfamiliar metaphors the workings of the essential military spirit, the gleam and fierce splendor of an ageless armored ghost. Churchill would have said “blight” or “fell disease” for “unsightly plants”: MacArthur said “I shall return” instead of “I will not decay”; in every language spoken by man, in every war that has been fought, soldiers have regretted that they had only one life to give for their country, have grieved to leave the job undone, have called for remembrance and revenge. Kuribayashi on Yiojima might have been ten thousand other defeated captains letting out one last angry yell to life.

Meantime in a radiocast to the nation last night Koiso, while admitting that the loss of Yiojima meant that for the first time an integral part of the homeland had been invaded, denied that the defeat was a defeat of Japan’s “spiritual power” by material power. “In taking that small island of about 23 square kilometers, the enemy had not only to bomb it for 70 days but also to concentrate his entire fleet of 800-odd vessels, three divisions and 900 tanks and pour several thousands of tons, of shells from the sea and from the air. When I consider this fact,” said Koiso, “as well as the losses inflicted on the enemy, I cannot but take pride and feel exhilareted at the peerless strength of the spiritual power of the Japanese forces.” But Yiojima fell. And the government itself is making less spectral preparations for the next stage of the campaign.

In addition to a supplementary budget calling for four and a half billion yen, a special military measures bill has been submitted to the diet. According to the official explanation released simultaneously, it provides that “land, buildings, other structures and objects, as well as people, juridical persons, and other public bodies may be mobilized to execute plans for fortifications, fill military needs, and effectuate the other strategic purposes to be designated by imperial ordinance. In other words the government asks authority to take over anyone and anything for war purposes and the official statement blandly grants that this is “likely to affect the constitutional rights of Japanese subjects”.

It is doubtful however if it will lead to anything. Comparing notes with a Spanish diplomat, we agreed on the incomprehensible waste of time, manpower and materials in Japan. The precautions against air-raids had all been eminently futile, the Spaniard complained. They had compelled him, for instance, to build a concrete water-tank in his garden that was never used and failed to save his house. They had conscripted, his servants and cook once a week to dig trench-shelters that probably killed as many people as they saved. He had seen other sighs of disorganization. In spite of an all-embracing mobilization law, the trams and subways were chock-full of able-bodied young men — during working hours. The big munitions companies were still operating on a strictly private basis, producing what they wanted when they wanted, even planes that did not fly. An insane bureaucratic jealousy paralyzed every official measure —- the home office ignored the foreign office and the army sneered at both while the different police bodies cut each other’s throats. The Spaniard was a man with a grudge but every foreign diplomat in Tokyo, without exception, agrees that the “most disciplined” country in the world is the most inefficient and disorganized.

The most dramatic instance of Japanese inefficiency can be found in the heaps of scrap-iron rusting on the streets. More than a year ago all the radiators were torn from homes and offices in a frenzy of enthusiasm; they are still on the sidewalks. Often even the buildings from which they were taken have since burned down and the rusty masses of old steel files, radiators, safes, rot in front of newer heaps of tin and galvanized iron, quickly turning from the fresh bright orange of yesterday’s fire to the older more somber crimson of today’s ruin and desolation. The authorities talk loudly of “powerful” plans and strong measures. But apparently no one can stoop to the details of clearing the debris and shipping off the scrap iron or no one has thought of it. The Japanese have fallen under the baleful spell of their own propaganda on spiritual power. They think they can squat on straw mat, stomach sucked in, fists at their hips, “the soul of the sword” before them, and just stare down a B-29.

February 18, 1945

The evenings are a nightmare. They bring a rosary of shocks produced by powerful guns which, from New Manila and Grace Park, strike at Ermita and Intramuros, shaking the air, the earth, the doors and the nerves. Projectiles fly over our heads, whistling their funereal song of destruction. We cannot look at them: we can only follow their trajectory with our ears. Mortars from the Far Eastern University and the Osmeña Park batter the eardrums with metallic poundings. Machine guns, crackling like coffee grinders –Tac, Tac, Tac, Tac, Tac! rattle in, from behind, at the sides, in search of Japanese snipers. The fires from the Japanese side which reach our vicinity add to the confusion. A mortar hit the tower of the main building where the Americans had set up an observation post, and from which General MacArthur observed enemy lines this morning. Others fell on the Education building and on the intern’s garden. However, there were no casualties.

But more shattering than the dissonant harmony of war engines is the news about the tragedies suffered by survivors who escaped from the southern part of the city. The accounts are so terrifying and so macabre that my spirit was filled with infinite bitterness, and I wept with tears of pain and indignation. From the sadness and sympathy arose an impotent anger against the infernal forces which vented its desperation and hate among the civilian populace. So many families of acquaintances and friends exterminated. So many mutilated. So many who escaped the Japanese hell lost everything but their lives. The hospitals –the few old ones which still remain, and a number of improvised ones– are filled with the wounded, whose hands or feet or body are perforated with bullets or shrapnels. Many are searching desperately for their lost loved ones. Manila is a picture of sadness impossible to describe.

The Japanese plan of attack against the defenseless Manilans is as diabolic as it is organized. Its defense strategy consists in positioning themselves behind the civilian residents, and as the conquerors advance within a dangerous distance, they flee or burn the buildings and retreat a few blocks backwards. They machinegun the residents who attempt to put out the fire or run for their lives. The only way to save themselves is to jump into a ditch and stay there. Anyone who raises his head is fired at. They stay for four to eight days without eating or drinking, tortured by a rabid thirst. I was told of cases where persons, dying of thirst, drank human blood mixed with mud.

In many cases, the soldiers would approach the ditches and kill the occupants with bayonets. That was how they killed the De La Salle Brothers –Irish and Germans–, the Padres Paules of San Marcelino among whom were Fr. Visitator Tejada and Fr. José Fernández, and Irish Fathers of Malate, together with the evacuees in their buildings. The same fate fell on fifty others, almost all of whom were Spanish, who took shelter in the Spanish consulate. Aside from being attacked with bayonets, they were also attacked with hand grenades. Only a little girl escaped alive.

Another way of liquidating the people is by herding them into a house and setting fire to it, at the same time hurling hand grenades inside. Anyone who attempts to escape is shot.

There were frequent cases where soldiers threw hand grenades into the ditches or air raid shelters, and those who attempted to escape were hunted like animals. In order to economize on bullets, the assassins usually would tie entire families to post or pillars and kill them with bayonets. It was not rare that a hundred or more persons were lined up and machinegunned.

In the shelter at the German Club, some four hundred persons of different nationalities were attacked and massacred by drunken soldiers. Only about half a dozen escaped. The young Enrique Miranda, son of Telesforo Miranda Sampedro, told me that his mother and five brothers were taken by the Japanese. He did not know what happened to them. We learned later that their bodies were found mangled –those of his two brothers, in the street. Enrique said that he was made to kneel down and they hit him on his neck. He lost consciousness. He came to his senses when a soldier was prickling him with the point of his bayonet to find out if he was already dead. He tried to bear the pain and feigned death. The soldier covered him with earth. He was able to bore a hole through which he breathed. Later, he squeezed himself out and, bleeding all over, he hid among the stones until he was found by the Americans.

In Singalong, the Japanese marines gathered the men to send them on forced labor. The men were made to line up and were herded on groups of ten into houses where their heads were cut off. As those who were in the streets could not hear anything, they entered the houses confidently, believing they were only to register their names. A son of Mr. Ynchausti, among others, escaped, but was badly wounded.

It was providential that in almost all cases, someone among the victims was able to escape and was able to relate the fate of his companions.

The Japanese installed machineguns on the towers of the Paco and Singalong churches, not to counterattack the approaching Americans but to mow down the residents –men, women and children– who might attempt to flee. The Remedios Hospital and the San Andres agricultural school, where thousands of escapees had taken shelter, were shelled with mortars and even Japanese anti- aircraft guns. Many, however, were also killed by American bombs.

Very few persons escaped unscathed from the southern xone. There were countless wounded and it was almost impossible to attend to them all in spite of the fact that the doctors and nurses, both Americans and Filipinos, worked beyond their limits. The suicidal and homicidal plan of the Japanese, according to superior orders, was to exterminate the whole population and annihilate themselves. Survivors attributed their survival to a miracle and to a special favor of Providence. Many promises and vows were made and each escapee had his heartrending tragedy to tell.

The savagery displayed by the Imperial Army is as brutal as it was unexpected or, better still, it is doubly brutal for being unexpected. There were fears, and it was expected, that the Japanese would not hand over the city on a silver platter, but we could not believe that their ferocity would reach such a point of diabolic savagery.

The phantom of hunger not only hovers over the people. It holds the people captive in their claws. There is nothing to buy in stores and marketplaces. And where there are goods, there is no money with which to buy them. The occupation money has been reduced to what it is –scratch paper. The new Victory bills which the U.S. Army brought along, are still hardly in circulation. Those fortunate ones who live in the liberated zone have exhausted the supplies of rice and mongo. Parents and friends of escapees from the Japanese hell who were given refuge by those in the north are creating problems of food supply.

The American Red Cross, the PCAU and the soldiers themselves try to assist the hungry people, but there are so many of them and here is just not enough supply for all. I met a number of friends whom I hardly remembered, especially those who escaped from the claws of the Japanese and who had been reduced to skin and bones. There were also those who had been wounded or mutilated. The liberating troops, as they advance step by step, house by house, perform the dual function of combatants and Samaritan, gathering the survivors, assisting them with their own rations and transporting them to the rearguard. The wounded are transported by the Red Cross, the officers of the chaplains to improvised hospitals at the north of the Pasig. The able bodied travel in the way they could, searching for the members of their families who were separated in fleeing from Japanese fire and vandalism. Hungry and thirsty, they roam the streets as souls in agony, broken and ragged, pale and sweating under the heat of the sun, looking for people they know, and recounting their own horrors and those of others.