August 27, 1942

Since my release as a POW last Aug 10, I’ve appreciated my freedom and Jap benevolence, the only tangible among numerous rhetorics. Our people can not forget the plunder and atrocities as slappings of civilians by Jap soldiers continue. Filipinos remain loyal to USA. My thoughts are with our American comrades still POWs in Cabanatuan and elsewhere for a long duration. To date, the Japs have occupied virtually all the western Pacific area up to the approaches of Australia.

I doubt that even with the vaunted industrial might of America if we can be liberated in a year from now — meaning, by Aug. ’43. However, our people are hopeful with all their fate in MacArthur’s promise to return.

Two days ago, the Mayor of Plaridel gave a testimonial lunch for all her USAFFE sons that survived Capas. Gov. Rustia, Judge Roldan, Mrs. Cuenca and the Flor Cruz sisters all from Malolos were there that added sentimentality to the gathering. I cited them for their invaluable assistance when we were POWs in Malolos.

June 30,1942

Per my request, Mrs. Cristina M. Cuenca, Malolos Women’s Club President, asked Bulacan Gov. Rustia to find out from the Japanese Adm. if the Malolos POWs are not included in the announced “benevolent Filipino Sick POWs Release Policy”.

Early this morning, Gov. Rustia and Mrs. Cuenca visited Malolos POW Camp to inform us of his findings. He said that, according to the Japanese Adm., all Filipino sick POW releases will be done only in Capas and the first batch is scheduled today. He, therefore, suggested that if we want to take advantage of the release policy, that we request for transfer to Capas.

Because even our friend, Mrs. Cuenca, agreed with the suggestion of our good governor, as the senior officer of our group and on their behalf, I requested that we be transferred to Capas, Tarlac where the rest of our POW comrades are being held. The governor promised to transmit our request for transfer to the Japanese Authorities concerned.

June 25,1942

Today I got good and bad news. The good news from Mrs. Cristina Magsaysay Cuenca is that according to reliable information from the Japanese Adm., with their new policy to get the good side of our people, will begin releasing sick Filipino POWs at Capas by the end of this month. I requested her to ask Gov. Rustia to inquire if we are not included in this release policy as we also have ‘several sick’ POWs in Malolos Camp and she promised to do that.

The bad news is from the underground “Free Phil.” latest issue saying that after the fall of Tobruk in Africa, the British Forces were badly beaten and pushed 60 miles from Libya to Egypt by German Forces under Gen. Rommel with 25,000 British taken POWs. This news is, however, offset by the announcement that Maj. Gen. Eisenhower has assumed command of the US Forces in the European Theater of operation signaling a decision to open a second front in Europe.

June 20, 1942

Today, being a Saturday, Bulacan Gov. Emilio Rustia attended the weekend evening Mass with us at POW Camp Malolos. After the services by Fr. Lipana, I invited him in my office to express my gratitude for his medical officers effort taking good care of our sick. There are no casualties so far in this POW Camp, we even increased in number by three since our arrival last April 10.

I had a most enlightening private conversation with the governor about Realism and Idealism. He started saying peace and order in Bulacan have virtually returned to normalcy and this is confirmed by reports of my relatives in Plaridel. He had recommended to Japanese Authorities for the opening of classes in all schools. He said, after a secret meeting of all elected municipal and provincial officials early last Jan., they unanimously decided to collaborate with the new masters as a realistic strategy to serve our people because if they did not, the Japanese would have appointed other individuals who were not elected, inexperienced in public service with selfish ends. He claims their collective strategy appears working as they have good rapport with the Japanese and obtaining conditions in Bulacan looks good. For one thing, we have nothing to complain about as POWs.

Gov. Rustia cited the case of the island of Panay, particularly the province of Iloilo whose elected Gov. Tomas Confesor and his Municipal Mayors chose the Idealistic Strategy of not collaborating to appear patriotic and courageous by trying to fight back. The Japanese appointed a medical doctor Fermin Caram as Governor and his followers who were not duly elected as Municipal Mayors with the result that the Japanese landed thousands of troops to hunt down Confesor and his followers and the entire island still in turmoil. Gov. Rustia believes Confesor’s decision to be idealistic does not serve the good of his people due to lack of logistics and trained military of his own. When Pres. Quezon designated his Exec. Sec. Jorge Vargas to head a group to collaborate with the Japanese before he moved to Corregidor, that was realism.

I thank the governor for that enlightening conversation and after he left, it occurred to me that I also committed the same idealistic notion as Gov. Confesor when I threw my PMA Class Ring at sea (a foolish thing I did) when I was surrounded by the enemy and realized I was a POW. How I longed for that ring that gave me inner strength when I wore it.

February 14, 1942

Asked an old man of eighty years which regime he prefers: Spanish, American or Japanese?

The old man thought for a moment. Then he answered and there was a sparkle in his eyes: “The best regime is our own regime. A Filipino regime!”

There is much wisdom in the old man’s answer. A foreign regime, no matter how benevolent, cannot be preferred. A master is always a master. Spain may have given us Christianity; America, democracy; and Japan, racial dignity. But only we can give ourselves national sovereignty. It is useless to await the fulfillment of promises of independence. Independence is not given. It is always there, sometimes completely suppressed, sometimes partly chained. And it is up to the people to declare themselves independent and to make that independence a reality. Words do not make it. Only actions.

Meeting of rice-producers at the Bureau of Plant Industry. Present were Sanvictores, Silayan, Juan and Jose Cojuangco, Alzate, Mrs. Rustia, Mrs. de Leon, Belmonte, Cajucom, Alfredo Santos, L. de Leon, Virgilio Rodriguez, Quisumbing, Balmaceda, Gabaldon and myself. Supervisor Noya presented the plan of the NARIC regarding the purchase of the harvest. The producers were told how much they would be paid for their rice. While their opinion was sounded, the final decision rested on the NARIC. The price fixed by the NARIC took into account both the ability of the consumers to pay and a reasonable profit for the producers. The NARIC is the neutral body standing between consumers and producers. If someday the producers control the rice industry and they are the ones to dictate the price of rice, the industry will collapse because the balance maintained presently by the NARIC will be removed. The determination of the price of rice must always be placed in the hands of a disinterested body.

Two Japanese soldiers were knocking at the door of my friend’s house. Since they were asleep, because it was midnight, they were not able to open the door immediately. When they finally opened the door, the Japanese were very angry. They slapped my friend and threatened him with Fort Santiago. He came to me this morning complaining. He wants to know how he can obtain redress for grievances.

“In these days,” I told him, “patience is better.”

Fire can be extinguished by water.

June 16, 1936

Called on T. Wolff at his office to discuss his memorandum on the new cedula tax law. Finished the draft of Landlord & Tenant Bill.

In the p.m., the Survey Board had its weekly meeting; they are framing a plan for the standardization of salaries in the Government. One of the marked characteristics of round-table conferences of Filipinos is their sense of humour. Unson, Trinidad, Paez, Rustia and Occuña were there.

Went to the Legislative Building to hear the message of the President to the Assembly. Gratings were locked on the doors. I pushed through the crowd, got a policeman to open the door and was met by Chief of Police Antonio Torres who said the city had been “under arms” since the night before; the only people in the galleries were his secret service men. Communists were supposed to have threatened a bomb.

Sat with the Alcalde and the Chief of Police. Quezon read a forty minute message of “progressive conservatism”–really an excellent program for the development and relief of the country. Acoustics of the hall are so bad, I could hardly catch his words. Torres says this building was designed for the National Library and 3000 pesos have just been spent to improve the acoustics of the hall, but with no success;–he said it must be air-conditioned and hung with tapestries. Quezon’s voice is too strong and oratorical for the loud speaker. If he proposes to broadcast, I have advised him to study the matter of his voice.

Bridge with Gordon, Jollye and Sinclair at the Manila Club. When I was home at dinner Quezon called me on the telephone to ask if I had read his message. He said he was very tired–had only begun it yesterday morning and had been up all last night over it. Quezon called attention to his reference to the Irish Land Laws.

Will analyse his message after reading it in the morning papers.