July 23, 2018, 2:04 am
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Two steps behind

WHAT does it mean to live under martial law (Japanese-style)?

“In 1942, when I was 17, I was riding my bike and I passed by a Japanese sentry. I was halted for only bowing my head, versus stopping, getting off my bike, and bowing to him. He slapped me hard in the face several times and I was punched with fists by the other guards, poked with bayonets, and made to bow over and over again. I had tears running down my cheeks from the humiliation of bowing and bowing while the Japanese soldiers continued laughing as they shouted at me to bend countless times.”

Testimony of Miguel Perez-Rubio who then vowed “that I would join the guerrillas to fight the Japanese.”

Which he did two years later. “A few days before Christmas of 1944, Johnny Ysmael and I arrived in Baguio and planned the escape of Manuel Roxas to guerrilla occupied territory. On January 3, 1945, Johnny Ysmael was arrested by the Japanese Kempeitai. And from February 3 to March 3, 1945, I also became a prisoner of the Japanese in Baguio. The Kempeitai was known as the military police of the Japanese Imperial Army. At the Kempeitai prison, I was tortured, interrogated, and sentenced for execution. Thankfully, Claro M. Recto interceded, as did President Jose P Laurel, for our release.”

Back home in Manila, the Perez-Rubio clan was awaiting Liberation, with the Hunters-ROTC guerrillas and the 11th Airborne of the United States Army tangling against Hirohito’s marines. Miguel’s family ran out of time. The horde invaded their home: “My brother Javier, and Dencio, another houseboy, found themselves in the garden running toward the fence. Dencio saw a Japanese marine stab a baby with his bayonet and while baby was still alive, he held it over his head in his bayonet. As they jumped the fence, Dencio saw a marine thrust a bayonet in Javier’s back, while he, Dencio, jumped to the other side and hid in the cogon grass.”

This testimony of Miguel Perez-Rubio was relayed by his son, Carlos, in San Francisco last September 9, 2017: “Today, the remains of my family, my parents, are in Mount Carmel Church in New Manila; Teria, my yaya, is in the same niche as my sister Lupe. The name of my brother Carlos is engraved in the same niche where Javier’s remains are. God only knows where Carlos and the McMickings’ remains repose. Like so many thousands of civilians that were killed during the Battle of Manila, they became entrenched with the rubble of the completely destroyed City of Manila.”

The Perez-Rubio presentation was the climax of the Third Conference on WWII in the Philippines, which was sponsored by the Bataan Legacy Historical Society, Memorare Manila 1945 and the Philippine Studies Program of the University of San Francisco. The testimony is helping American teachers make lesson plans in implementation of California’s U.S. history curriculum framework for Grade 11.

Here in the Philippines, the Memorare Manila 1945 Foundation, along with allied groups like the Hunters-ROTC Historical Society, expects the Department of Education, the CHED, even the constitutional Commission on Human Rights, to demonstrate a parallel dedication of correcting textbooks and other school materials in order to reflect socio-historical truths like the Rape of Manila in 1945.

Military rule, or martial law (Japanese-style), also resulted in the Lipa Massacre, Rape of Mapanique, involuntary disappearances like Josefa Llanes Escoda, and other war crimes. It was January 3, 1942 when Lieutenant General Masaharu Homma, the Commander-in-Chief of the Japanese Imperial Army in the Philippines, issued a proclamation declaring the complete termination of the sovereignty of the United States over the Philippines, the implementation of martial law over all areas occupied by the Japanese Imperial Army and the establishment of a Japanese military administration for the Philippines.

Should a militaristic regime be imposed upon the law-abiding and God-loving citizens of Rizal’s homeland, then not only will the tragedy be replicated, it will also be a farce.

Homma, Yamashita and other officers were purportedly governed by the Code of Bushido yet their commands led to the Bataan Death March and other war crimes. Incidentally, the pro-Japanese Makapili organization was officially launched in the Philippines and its Tandis (Supreme Head) declared their loyalty to General Yamashita, the Commander-in-Chief of the Japanese Imperial Army in the Philippines, on 08 December 1944 – the third anniversary of the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor and Hirohito’s proclamation of his “sacred” war. 

In 1946, Yamashita was executed in Los Baños, Laguna for war crimes, bringing to his grave the real story behind the so-called Yamashita Treasure. “It was widely reputed in the Philippines that Yamashita, the last commander of the Japanese Imperial forces in the Philippines, buried a lot of treasures which he had looted from Burma, Malaya and Singapore before he surrendered to American forces.” One man supposedly admitted that his alleged ill-gotten wealth had stemmed from his discovery of the treasure of Yamashita. [Primitivo Mijares, The Conjugal Dictatorship of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, 1976, p. 218]

Other matters of interest this day:

(1) As the Association of Southeast Asian Nations celebrates its 50th year of existence, the region faces a human rights crisis and the future of democracy is as risk, the Asean Parliamentarians for Human Rights said in Manila last September 19. In particular, Malaysian MP Tian Chua said: “In many cases, our institutions are broken. Parliaments don’t respond to the needs of the people, and political parties are captured by elites and fail to promote policies that strengthen democracy and guard against human rights abuses. We need to break the cycle and work to regain public trust and strengthen accountability mechanisms.”

(2) There’s a big spike in Google searches related to World War II. Unusually popular search terms include “Reichstag fire” and “Kristallnacht.” [https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2017/02/theres-a-big-spik...

(3) Schließ Aug und Ohr für eine Weil (Die Weisse Rose): “Shut your eyes and ears for a while / from the uproar of the times. / You will not mend it and won’t be saved / although your heart reaches wide.” 

“The hour will come when they’ll need you / and, for that, you have prepared / throw yourself in the fire that smokes / as the final kindling without fear.” [https://belliresearchinstitute.com/2017/07/17/songs-of-the-edelweiss-pir...
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