Ruthless retribution unleashed

BACK in Kiangan, the Deputy Governor was practically confined for days at the Japanese garrison and interrogated "with unnecessary questions" as a result of the ambush; and when allowed to go out he was closely watched and his movements meticulously monitored.

"I learned that reinforcement rushed to Mayaoyao but found nobody in the villages leading to the abandoned town. They burned the villages nearby the trails and every native house they could see in Mayaoyao proper. The Japanese did not encounter (allied) soldiers because they retreated to Bunhian and Damag, the HQ of Captain Manalo and Lt. Tomaliwan. They did not know the places and they could not capture any native to guide them around.

"They returned to Banaue after burying their dead. After which, the Japanese soldiers began to be cruel again to the people by unnecessary slapping and kicking."

Outside the encounter in Mayaoyao, only two civilians were killed by the Japanese in the entire sub-province, noted my father. One was Guinid Coyahon of Toplac barrio in Kiangan who was drunk and threatened the women and children in houses at the edge of town. He was shot dead by Japanese guards for brandishing an iron crowbar. The other was the Banaue native who severed and took the head of Lt. Takakora after he suffered spear wounds, shot, and died.

Japanese reinforcement arrive

After the Mayaoyao skirmish, Lt. Kawano was temporarily assigned back in Kiangan. He included Mr. Paredes' family and the Deputy Governor's under close watch. He returned back to Banaue upon the arrival of a new garrison commander.

"On October 20, Lt. Watanabe with 80 soldiers arrived to reinforce the garrison. On October 31, he called for me for a conference which stated from 7:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. I was very hungry indeed. It was good for him because his soldiers brought his lunch without offering me even a piece of banana to satisfy my hunger.

"The conference was all about the situation in the sub-province and as before, like his predecessors, questioned me again and again about the presence of 'bandits.' His conduct of investigation using logic in asking questions was very poor. Consequently, I knew what he wanted to dig up before he finishes his questions and was always prepared with the answers.

"There were times when he growled at me whenever he suspected my reasons and responses as lies. I convinced him that since my surrender, I was always in town because the former commanders always wanted me to remain under their watch. Hence (I lied), I do not know the exact situations in the sub-province especially the presence of 'bandits' as they call our soldiers.

"Before he dismissed me, he dictated to me his letter to Captain Manriquez (son in-law of Mr. Paredes), and requesting me to correct or straighten his English. He also directed Mr. Paredes to write a letter to be enclosed with his letter. Crecencio, eldest son of Mr. Paredes was ordered to deliver the pouch.

"Lt. Watanabe, by the way, spoke good English with poor use of prepositions and verbs, otherwise he could be well understood by anybody. He writes his letters and speeches, and then usually made me do the corrections of his sentences and grammar.

Guileful approach to extract intel reports

"On November 1, l942, Lt. Watanabe tried a new trick on us with the mayor of Kiangan.

"He invited us for lunch with him and his staff leading to a drinking spree. We detected that his soldiers were so serviceable to us giving the wine 'saki' which I respectfully refused preferring beer. Still they would force upon us cup after cup in a round contest against each one of them. I immediately cautioned Mayor Dulinayan to be extra careful and reserve.

"The Japanese soldiers themselves began to be drunk and sometimes came around to hug us. We pretended to be drunk too. Unknowing to our hosts, Mayor Dulinayan and I were filling our glasses with water from a container conveniently near us, and called for more drinking contest.

Drinking continued through the night.

"In between toasts, Lt. Watanabe would demand from us the location of our allied soldiers, referred to as 'bandits', but the mayor and I would pretend innocence of their whereabouts. At about half past 12 at midnight, I had to plead going home and two soldiers conducted us to our respective houses.

"We met the next day again at the commander's office and the same questions were asked, telling us that during the night while we were drinking, we confessed the hiding places of the 'bandits'. He mentioned to us: Golun near Hapid in Lamut, Obao, Tinoc and Cawayan.

"The mayor and I looked at each other, for we were sober, more than sober to have confessed any places of 'bandits'. We frankly told him that we did not tell him any of such places ... that our minds were clear enough to know what we were doing.

Caught in the attempt to deceive the two civilian officers, the garrison commander scolded his soldiers for sloppy kitchen duties to cover up his apparent embarrassment. In subsequent invitations for drinking sessions, the Deputy Governor refused to accept the 'toasting business' with the soldiers and maintained formal stance which was dutifully respected by Lt. Watanabe. My father noted that in future parties, the Japanese soldiers would brag of the superiority of their military.

And he wrote: "We honestly felt haughty telling them loudly in our own language: 'Ogge ni an nagiboy papat-te ot damana an mun an-anla kayo aduani, te tuway algop yo'. It meant: ' the war is not yet over, and you can have all the enjoyments now for your day of reckoning will soon come.'

"Such were the tactics of the Japanese on us in any of their drinking parties wherein they invited us," he added.

To be continued.


Note: The narrator is the youngest son of the late Luis I. Pawid of Kiangan, Ifugao and Angeline Laoyan of La Trinidad, Benguet. He is a journalist by profession, former town Mayor of La Trinidad, Benguet, and former Executive Director of the defunct Cordillera Executive Board, Cordillera Administrative Region. He now resides in New Jersey, USA.