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.

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.