11th of a series

Attempts to use cops as spies

UNDUE harassment seems to be the daily ritual suffered by the Deputy Governor in the hands of the Japanese. He continued:

“On November 3rd, at night I was called to the garrison telling me to send spies to Hapid because reports from Lamut told them of the presence of ‘bandits’. Capt. Briones was mentioned with Lts. Estralla and Gonzales. I told them I had no one to send since he (Lt. Watanabe) sent out all my policemen.

“He asked me if I knew Lts. Gonzales, Briones, and Estralla. I replied I know Estralla but not the two. He centered his interrogation on Estralla and I told him that his predecessors had been taking notes of my statements about Lt. Estralla and he may look them up in his files. As it is, I never heard of Lt. Estralla since he left this place.

Mayor Dulinayan too was asked to send local policemen but none were available as they were directed to call people to render road repairs. The mayor was directed to join the Japanese patrol early the next day.

“Mayor Dulinayan later told me that he did not sleep that night for fear he was going to be shot the next day.”

The mayor joined the Japanese patrol which was reinforced by soldiers from Nueva Vizcaya leading to the capture of Mrs. Estralla.

My father was experiencing a bout of terrible colds and was excused from joining the patrol. Instead he was ordered “to call all civilians and officials to attend the Nipongo classes which will open on November 4.”

Mayaoyao folks feast in war dance

After the devastating ambush at Mayaoyao, Japanese patrols threat were halted as the people held war dances and feasting in celebration of their victory.

“The natives in every sitio where a Japanese head was brought danced and danced the war dance. The Japanese surely fear to go there without preparations for they learned from Isabela side that there are plenty of allied soldiers in the area; from Obao, Butigi, Natonin, Barlig, Damag, and then Mayaoyao under Col. Green, Captain Manalo, and several other Pilipino officers.

“In fact the Japanese were always careful not to mention any skirmish especially that encounter at Cal-lang during the months of July and August. It was in that battle where General Narra was killed after he left Kiangan on July 10. We learned of these events through the ‘grape-vine telegrams.’”

Guerilla officer in controversy

Towards the end of November, the Japanese garrison centered its search for Capt. Dunuan of Kiangan who was reported to be active in the Isabela, Mayaoyao and eastern Bontoc areas. His wife Pelagia, a native of Kalinga, was arrested and imprisoned while his brother Manuel was ordered to find his elder brother and convince him to surrender.

The younger Dunuan went to Mayaoyao and back without finding his brother. But the Deputy Governor took the opportunity to secretly send a message to Captain Manalo who likewise wanted to hold a personal conference.

The meeting did not happen for the failure of the Guerilla officer to indicate the place. Nevertheless, he gave instructions in writing “to do everything possible to protect him from any harm or danger from the natives.”

My father “replied that as much as practicable and possible his safety from the Japanese will be assured for we will try to inform him in case of patrols going there, as we always did at the beginning. I could not however, assure his safety from the natives for I do not understand why the natives would harm him and his family since he is the supreme commander in that area.

“I later found out that some of his own soldiers were displeased with his activities, for one: selfishness. He would send patrols to gather food stuff from the people ... for the subsistence of the soldiers. Yet the soldiers were always hungry and had to go home to eat. There was nothing to eat in their camps despite their collection of camotes, rice, chicken, eggs, pigs, or hunted deer meat.

“It was found out that most of these (food stuff) were for his family and those close to him.”

In the Banaue side, “Mayor Apilis verbally reported to me that Captain Manalo prevented Mayaoyao people to come out of their district, and also would confine anyone from Banaue who goes to Mayaoyao to buy rice and food stuff. He even ordered his soldiers to shoot at sight Mayor Apilis and Chief of Police Leopoldo Culhi.

Captain Manalo never replied to the Deputy Governor when confronted on his order to shoot the mayor and his chief of police.

“I found out deeper facts about his relations with Apilis. During the arrival of the Japanese in Banaue, Captain Manalo on retreat demanded cargadores from the mayor who willingly delivered men on four occasions. The men were never paid for their services.

“But Captain Manalo, again and again, demanded cargadoes to move his personal things and his family from camp to camp in their escape from the notice of the Japanese. Mayor Apilis and his men got tired and further refused to help the family of the Captain. Col. Green was never informed or learned of the situation.”

Bontoc Deputy Governor killed

“On December 11, Deputy Governor of Bontoc, George Arciso, who went with the Japanese patrol to Barlig was killed by the hiding soldiers.

My father later learned from reliable sources that “his (Mr. Arciso) going there with the Japanese was not his own volition but upon orders of the garrison commander at Bontoc. He was accused of “denying the presence of ‘bandits’ in Barlig, Natonin and Butigi, under his jurisdiction.”

In reaction to the killing of Deputy Governor Arciso, “... Japanese troops in Bontoc, Ifugao, Isabela and Cagayan moved together against Mayaoyao, Obao, Natonin, Barlig, Butigi and further north. Encounters between Japanese patrol with our soldiers and guerilla units became more frequent.

“At Butigi, Captain Dunuan and his men gave the enemy a total annihilation that (in retaliation) the Japanese became more harsh and stern to the imprisoned Mrs. Dunuan, his family, brothers, and parents.

“I was included in the lists of persons conniving with the ‘bandits’. They could not however, get any evidence against me ...”

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.