[Keywords: Lipa City, Barrio Cumba, Makapili, Treason, World War II]
⚬ “During the night of December 31, 1944, some twenty persons including some boys were caught in a surprise raid. They were taken to the Japanese Army camps. Only a few managed to escape. The rest were killed.
⚬ “The mass raid in Sampalucan, a sitio of the barrio, occurred in the early morning of February 19, 1945. About sixty innocent persons, mostly old and weak, were killed in this raid. They were tied and stabbed with bayonets.”
“by a patrol of Japanese soldiers and other Filipino followers and on that occasion apprehended fifteen persons and brought them to barrio Mataas-na-Kahoy4 of the same municipality.
“ Fidel Hernandez testified that at about 10 o’clock a.m. of February 27, 1945, he saw the accused and companion, with rags and gasoline, burn his (Fidel Hernandez’s) house, and that of Crisanto Mendoza, Julian Sara and Enrique Sara. Remigia Lorzano stated that at about 6:30 a.m. of the same day she saw the accused igniting a piece of rag and setting her house, as well as the houses of her brother-in-law and her two cousins, on fire. The last witness, Marcelo Peña, testified that at about 9 o'clock a.m., he saw the accused and companion pour gasoline on the houses of Asuncion Hernandez, Benito Hernandez, Sofia Katigbak and Melquiades Garin and burn said houses afterwards.”
⚬ While thirteen of the fifteen people who were apprehended from Barrio Cumba and then taken to Mataasnakahoy on New Year’s Eve 1944 were in most likelihood killed because they were never again seen, there was no evidence to indicate that Gonzales had actively participated in the killing.
⚬ Citing a precedent (People v Adriano), while in most likelihood Gonzales set fire to the houses as mentioned in the testimonies of Hernandez, Lorzano and Peña, there was only one witness to each burning incident. From the precedent, the Supreme Court wrote: “It is necessary to produce two direct witnesses to the whole overt act. It may be possible to piece bits together of the same overt act; but, if so, each bit must have the support of two oaths.”
2 Most of the details of this article were taken from “People of the Philippines vs Leandro Gonzales,” online at the LawPhil Project.
3 “Makapili,” Wikipedia.
4 The reference to Mataasnakahoy as a “barrio” is, of course, erroneous. It formally separated from Lipa in 1932 to be a distinct municipality. “Mataasnakahoy, Batangas,” Wikipedia.