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 7, 1942

Reign of terror.

Shades of the Inquisition, the “Red-purge,” Jan Valtin’s “Out of the Night.”

Sison has disappeared. He fled to the mountains. The Japanese Military Police is looking for him.

Stories have crept out of Fort Santiago. Men are being tortured. Several have died because of the “water-cure.” Blows, lashings, chains, hysterical screams.

Tanco ate with me. Related the manner of his investigation. “I spoke out the truth,” he stated. He was nervous, agitated. I don’t blame him. Tanco told me he admitted to the Military Police that he saw a copy of U.S. News through Pagulayan.

Stories of men tied upside down for days, without food nor water. Stories of men under whose finger nails sharp sticks were inserted. Stories of men clubbed with bats on the back, the shoulders and then the head.

Found this note on my desk. It speaks for itself.

March 7, 1942

7:40 a.m.

My dear Doctor,

I am going to Fort Santiago this morning, as per Mr. Nakashima’s instructions yesterday, with a clear conscience, as I know that I have not done anything inimical to the interest of the Army of Occupation. In fact, I have done my bit in suppressing not only among my fellow-employees but among my friends outside any talk not only against the Japanese but also about war in all its controversial aspects. This is not to say that there has been much talk against the Japanese in our office; far from it. But I have tried to help guard against any undesirable rumors of whatever nature. Some even insinuated that I am pro-Japan.

I am grateful, doctor, and deeply so, for your kind words for me in front of Mr. Nakashima yesterday. I shall treasure your generous commendation. Whatever happens, doctor, I trust I can always count on your magnanimous help to me and all of us, your men in the office. If worse comes to worst in my particular case today, I shall pray God that you may not, as in the past, neglect your servant. I have tried to be worthy of your confidence, and you know it, Sir. Now that I am in the cross-roads of my life, I will continue to hold on to your bigheartedness. I have (and my family has too) always prayed for my immediate chief, Mr. Pagu, for his safety. May God hear my prayers, the prayers of all his friends including yours, Doctor, even in the dark future, I shall also be praying for you.

Ferrer

Ferrer was allowed to return home late in the afternoon. There were several contusions on his body and he had a black eye.

Read the Bushido. Impressed by one of its tenets: kindness and fair treatment towards the enemy. It emphasizes chivalry.

Every time a Japanese manhandles a Filipino, anti-Japanese hatred increases. Fort Santiago is the most powerful propaganda arm of the United States.

March 6, 1942

At about 2 p.m. Mr. Nakashima informed me that Mr. Ferrer, chief clerk, and Mr. G. Sison, secretary to the Food Administrator, were wanted at Fort Santiago.

“Maybe it isn’t very serious.” explained Nakashima. “because they are not being taken. but called.”

I notified Ferrer immediately. No need describing his reaction. I sympathize with him.

Sison was not in the office, so I sent a messenger to his none to notify him. He was not there.

Somebody released from Fort Santiago said he saw Pagu. ‘‘His hands and feet were shackled and there was blood on his shirt,’’ the man whispered.

That is why there are revolutions. There is more than just oratory to Patrick Henry’s “Liberty or Death!”

October 16, 1941

The 1st Q-Boat Squadron had been training since last March and after six months tactical exercises in various scenarios, it is  confident of performing anticipated missions.  Our Joint Training with PT Ron 3, USN, bolstered not only our morale but also the number of our torpedo boats to a total of nine, a potent number to reckon with.

Yesterday, Oct. 15 Class ’40 Officers at OSP celebrated its 18th month after graduation from PMA March 15,1940 at our officers club.  We talked about  other classmates in the other branches and noted that of the total 79 members, 17 had married the cream of society in their respective communities leaving 62 of us bachelors.

Among those married are (Mistah’s last name and wife’s 1st name) Mayo & Pet; Navarro & Fe; Estrada & Trining; Perez & Virginia; Lising & Loudes; Orias & Toyang; Esguerra & Rosal; Velasco & Soty; Sebastian & Hilda; Santos & Pepay; Piccio & Llaning; Soliman & Aurora; Picar & Betty; De Leon & Marion; Yap & Betty; Iway & Lourdes; Bocalbos & Josie: The brides came from nationally known families like Guidote, Ilano, Rosales, Marino, Sison, Celi, Mendoza, Uvaz, Arrizabal, etc.

PMA graduates then had a scent of glamor and were in demand…

And so, as war clouds continue to gather, I decided to be the 18th member of the class to get married quietly this afternoon to my sweetheart, Lucille Johnson of LA.  In tune with the time, the civil ceremony was performed by JP C. Navarro at 1543 San Jorge, Manila with only close members of our family in attendance followed by dinner reception at the Johnson residence at Tennessee St.  The only non-members of the family in that dinner was Lt. Abraham Campo, my ExO and the five crew members of Q-112.  I was given a week honeymoon leave spent in Baguio City and during my absence, Lt. Campo was Actg, CO, Q-112.

Manila news report German troops took Odessa on the Black Sea.  In France, the Vichy Gov’t. sentenced Leon Blum, Edouard Deladier, Georges Mandel, Paul Reynard and Maurice Gamelin to life imprisonment