Report on the Licopa Guerrilla Unit - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore Report on the Licopa Guerrilla Unit - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Report on the Licopa Guerrilla Unit

The Licopa Guerrilla Unit was a guerrilla outfit under the command of one Luis Licopa and operated out of Lemery, Batangas. In this document1, Captain Stephen C. Buchanan and Lt. Raul Diaz de Rivera reported their findings on the guerrilla outfit.

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Guerrilla Files

Report on the Licopa Guerrilla Unit (Glint)

1. Capt. S. C. Buchanan and Lt. Raul Diaz de Rivera on 7 May 1947 proceeded to Taal and Lemery, Batangas, to reinvestigate the Licopa Unit (Glint).

2. ALLEGED HISTORY: (See attached file)


a. This unit was previously investigated by Lts Aubuchon and Sta Romana, Maj Vincent Coates and Lt G. E. Kemper. The findings are a compilation of these investigations. The following named persons were interviewed and their statements are reflected in the findings:
Capt Luis Licopa, CO of Licopa Unit
Pedro Tordecilla, 1stLt, Licopa Unit
Jose Banaag, 2nd Lt, Licopa Unit
Gregorio Betanil, 2nd Lt, Licopa Unit
Col Jaime Ferrer, S-1, Batangas Guerrilla Hq
Lt Col Emmanuel Ocampo, CO, Ocampo Bn, Hunters
Col E. Adevoso, CO, Hunters Guerrillas
Fr Mariano de la Rosa, Parish Priest, Taal
Col Vicente Umali, CO, PQOG
Col Quintin Gellidon, FAIT
Dominador Encarnado, CO of McKinley Regt in Lemery, Batangas
Dr Gregorio Noche, civilian, Taal, Batangas
Lt Lazaro Malabanan, Exec O, Gagalac Unit
Capt Marcelino de la Rosa, CO, Canluran Combat Bn
Capt Rafael Zagala, Hunters Unit in Lemery

b. Record of service was substantiated by sufficient acceptable evidence. No evidence is in the form of statements from US Army and Navy officers who were in contact with the unit and interviews with other guerrilla leaders and disinterested civilians. As stated in Lt Aubuchon’s report, the unit was organized in 1942 by Licopa and Gagalac. In 1944, Licopa and Gagalac split but they both had their own areas of operation. However, both units continued to cooperate with each other. As stated by Lt Aubuchon, the unit was primarily organized as a home guard unit to protect the people of eastern and central Batangas from Cavite bandits. The encounters with Jap patrols were secondary and only occurred when they were unavoidable throughout most of the occupation.

c. The unit was maintained satisfactorily in the field

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in opposition to the Japanese beginning about the early part of October 1944. It was at this time that Licopa and some of his men went to Mindoro, contacted Commander Rowe and brought back weapons for the unit. They then began to concentrate on activities in opposition to the Japanese. People who were interviewed in the area, and who know of the activities of the guerrilla units in South Central Batangas, stated that this unit and the Gagalac Unit were the most active units operating against the Japanese in Batangas.

d. The performance of this unit indicated excellent control by its commanding officer. The unit was small and compact and its leader was able to hold it together will all its arms throughout the Japanese occupation in spite of extreme Japanese pressure. In October 1944, the unit was in contact with Cmdr Rowe’s headquarters in Mindoro and the unit began operating an extensive intelligence network. Mr. Jose Manzano, a property owner in Balayan, Batangas was contacted and he stated that when he visited Licopa and Gagalac in their CP at Bayuyugan Mt in April 1944, he figured that these men had around 500 guerrillas with them. Mr. Manzano prepared a study (see inclosure #1) on Western Batangas Guerrillas which was submitted to Lt Aubuchon. This study was later used by Lt Aubuchon in his report entitled “Summary of Information Obtained on the Guerrilla Movement in South Central Portion of Batangas” (see inclosure # 2). It is the belief of Mr. Manzano and Col Adevoso of the Hunters Guerrillas, former Chief of Staff in Major Vanderpool’s Batangas Guerilla Headquarters, that the proposed additional recognition of this unit and the Gagalac Unit would, to a certain extent, offset the ill-feeling created by the recognition of alleged non-deserving “guerrillas” in Batangas province.

e. The unit maintained constant activity throughout the occupation and Liberation periods. Up until Oct 1944, its primary purpose being to maintain patrols in conjunction with the Gagalac Unit for protection against infiltration of bandit gangs from Cavite and Laguna. From 1944 on, the unit changed its tactics and concentrated on anti-Japanese activities until the American Forces landed. They were then attached to the 11thAB Div and 158thRCT and worked with them throughout the Liberation period. One company of 61 men (1st Co, Licopa Unit [Glint]) was officially recognized by the 6thArmy but leaders of other units attached to the 11thAB Div and the S-1 of Major Vanderpool’s Staff state that the Licopa Unit had approximately one company working for and with the 11th AB Div, but were left out of the processing because they were not on the spot during the actual processing. Leaders of other units and disinterested civilians also claim that the subject unit had from 200 to 250 men active and on a full time basis during the occupation and liberation, but the rest were home-

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guards, reserves and supply units.

f. That a definite organization was maintained and established by this unit as attested to by various guerrilla leaders who operated in the Batangas area. Col Adevoso, CO, Hunters Guerrillas and former C of S in Maj Vanderpool’s Batangas Guerrilla Headquarters, was interviewed. He stated that:

(1) he heard of the organization in Oct 1944.

(2) he knew of their participation during the Liberation.

(3) he believes that not all attached guerrillas were recognized; that mistakes and omissions were made either on account of untrained guerrilla S-1 personnel or by the US Army Liaison Officers themselves. Col Quintin Gellidon, Guerrilla Coordinator, highly praised the combat efficiency and assistance of the unit under Licopa to the 11thAB Div. He further stated that it is just and deserving that both Licopa and Gagalac should get additional recognition.

g. The records of the unit are rather scattered; consisting of notes from Licopa to his men, and records of a few activities until the latter part of 1944 when the unit maintained rosters of not only the combat men but of the rest of the unit as well. Capt Licopa states that the unit maintained records but that they were all burned when the Japs raided and burned his CP in mid 1944. Maj Kramer made contact with Licopa in June 1942 and stayed with Licopa and Gagalac unit until Jan 1944. He stated that it was well organized, active and maintained itself all during the occupation. (See inclosure # 3)

h. Members of the combat units devoted their full time to the unit in the field patrolling and having skirmishes with the enemy.

i. The unit maintained reserve forces which stayed at home and aided the combat units in procuring food, supplies and money. However, the unit maintained at least 200 men in the field at all times. Fr. de la Rosa, Catholic Priest in Taal, states that he made a trip to Licopa’s hideout in late 1944 to celebrate mass and at that time, there were about 250 men in camp.

j. The tenor of Lt. Aubuchon’s report is very favorable to the unit, (see inclosure # 7). His recommendation for the recognition of 61 men is seemingly based upon a statement from Commander Rowe. (See inclosure # 4). Yet, in the very same statement, Rowe avers that Licopa could have had 300 or more men on

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on duty if their work was carried out on a rotational basis.

k. Lts. Kemper and Sta. Romana, members of the Guerrilla Affairs Branch, and both having been on previous investigations of the Licopa Unit, state that, in their opinion, the subject unit merited additional recognition.

l. In the supporting evidence are handwritten notes sent to Licopa by Major Vanderpool and Capt. Shommers. (See inclosures #5 and #6). These papers are, in the opinion of the undersigned officers, definitely authentic.

m. From the evidence and facts learned during the investigation, the contact team is convinced that the unit maintained at least 200 men in the field at all times.

This unit does not appear to have any political affiliations or aspirations.
It is recommended that the Licopa Unit (Glint) be favorably considered for recognition in additional strength of 139 officers and men from the period 5 Oct 1944 to 30 June 1945. The terminal date 30 June 1945 was arrived at from the statements made by Col Jaime Ferrer, S-1 of Maj Vanderpool, and Lt E. de Ocampo, Hunters Guerrillas, that the unit was active in mopping up operations with US Army forces throughout that month. The previous recognition of 61 men by the 6thArmy terminated 30 June 1945. Dates of recognition cover the entire period of constructive service to the Armed Forces of the United States and no further revision is recommended.
2nd Lt, FA (PA)
Capt, CAC
Notes and references:
1File Number 50, Licopa Unit (GLINT), downloaded from Philippine Veteran Association Office.
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