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December 30, 2017

Reconsideration Report on the GHQ Batangas Force FAIT

The Fil-American Irregular Troops (FAIT) was a large guerrilla organization that operated in Luzon during the Japanese occupation during World War II up to the liberation of the Philippines. The organization was founded by the retired American Army officer Hugh Straughn and had units in many localities in Luzon, including Batangas. The GHQ Batangas Force, purportedly founded by one Jorge Espina, who was subsequently killed by the Japanese, was one of the units who sought recognition as an element of the Philippine Army in the service of the United States Armed Forces. In this document1 is contained a report filed by one 2nd Lt. Raul Diaz de Rivera on the guerrilla unit, already denied recognition but re-investigated after request.

[p. 1]

RECONSIDERATION REPORT ON GHQ, BATANGAS FORCE, FAIT

1. RECAPITULATION:

On 20 February 1947, 1st Lt George E Kemper and 2d Lt Richard R. Roth, unit investigators of the Guerrilla Affairs Division, G-3, PHILRYCOM, investigated the General Headquarters, Batangas Force, FAIT, and recommended that the unit not be favorably considered (See Tab A).

On 3 March 1947, Mr. I. R. Medrano, Ex O of the Ibaan Regiment, and Adjutant, General Headquarters, Batangas Force, FAIT, was informed by letter of the decision (See Tab B).

On 24 April, 1947, Mr. Medrano requested reconsideration (See Tab C).

Mr. Medrano’s request for reconsideration was granted on 7 May 1947 (See Tab D).

On 7 October 1947, 2nd Lt Raul Diaz de Rivera, upon verbal orders of the Chief of the Reconsideration Section, undertook the reconsideration of the GHQ, Batangas Force, FAIT. A field investigation was deemed unnecessary after a complete and thorough study of the unit file and other pertinent papers.

2. FINDINGS:

a. The commanding officer was requested, in the letter granting the subject unit reconsideration (7 May 1947), to submit to this office any additional evidence not previously submitted which he felt would support his claim. Four months have elapsed since then. This period of time is considered adequate to enable Mr. Medrano to comply with this request and, since no additional evidence has been forthcoming, it is concluded that there nothing further to substantiate the case.

b. Guerrilla units in Batangas Province allegedly owe the origin and existence to the GHQ, Batangas Force, FAIT. However, no evidence, verbal or documentary, has been presented to substantiate the above claim.

c. The subject unit was never an active guerrilla organization. In the report of the initial investigation of Lts Kemper and Roth, it is stated that:

“The roster (submitted) was found to be a supplement to the supplemental rosters submitted by the Batangas Guerrilla Headquarters, the Luansing Company, the Guerra Company, and the Batangas Town Guerrillas. These individuals on this roster were not included in any of the above units when they applied for recognition of additional personnel.

[p. 2]

“There was no organization in this unit as the roster is merely a supplement composed of individuals never placed on a roster and was set up in unit form, principally to conform, as closely as possible, to the tables of organization. The unit did not actually exist as a guerrilla unit nor does it make any pretext of functioning as such.”

d. In the letter requesting reconsideration, Mr. Medrano stated that, “a more careful checking of records in this headquarters will reveal that many officers of recognized units were originally members of this unit, a fact that this unit, far from lacking continuity of activities, has expanded and branched out to give rise to many other units that later on were recognized by this headquarters separately.”

The undersigned is familiar with most of the guerrilla units in the Batangas area. Most of the guerrilla units in the Batangas Province dissolved under pressure of the Japanese military in 1943, and were never effectively reorganized. The subject unit ceased to function effectively after the capture of one Jorge Espina, Unit CO. It can be stated with certainty that the unit ceased to exist and, having ceased to function, lacked continuity of activity. Most of the units, allegedly under the control of the GHQ, Batangas Force, FAIT, acted independently and had only insignificant contacts with each other.

Even the activities of these units were not a planned, controlled group of operations in a military sense, but the result of individual spontaneous action which does not in any way tie up with the GHQ, Batangas Force, FAIT.

The foregoing statements are corroborated by 2nd Lt Leonard J Aubuchon, FA, a former investigator of the Guerrilla Affairs Branch, AFWESPAC, who made a study of the Guerrilla Movement in the South Central portion of Batangas Province. Lt Aubuchon’s report contains the following statements and is considered authoritative:

“In 1942, after the fall of Bataan and Corregidor, certain ex-USAFFE men and Constabulary members began to organize units to operate in an underground movement against the Japanese. The leaders of these units instilled in the members great hope that it would only be a matter of a few months before the Americans would return to the Philippines. These organizations had very few arms and little or no equipment and had to confine their activities to those of a passive nature. Most of them did good work in protecting the barrios from banditry and helped greatly to alleviate the suffering of the civilian population. These units also carried on a determined campaign of propaganda against the Japs and were responsible for a general policy of non-cooperation in the province. By late 1943, the organization had gained a great many members but due to lack of arms and constant patrolling by the Japs, the members were not able to assemble as a unit, so that there was lack of control and consequently very loose organization.

[p. 3]

“During 1943, several happenings occurred which caused the disintegration of the major units and forced all units to become on the whole inactive. About the middle of 1943, the Japs began an intensive campaign against the guerrillas, at first, one of encouraging them to surrender with the promise that they would not be harmed. When this was found to be ineffective, they began an active campaign against them and attempted to round up all the leaders. Early in 1943, Col Hugh Straughn, who is believed to have influenced the beginning of most of the guerrilla units in southern Luzon, was captured and executed by the Japs. The Batangas guerrillas then lost contact with the FAIT headquarters and the Japs captured and executed many of the leaders of the resistance movement, among them being ESPINA, Evangelista and Tuguigui.

“The pressure of the Japs, the loss of their leaders and a diminishing faith that the Americans would return caused the units to suspend operations as far as resistance to the Japs was concerned. Some small groups continued to operate as home guards in keeping peace and order in their home communities.”

e. Attention is invited to the fact that the evidence pertaining to this unit was the same as that of the Headquarters, Batangas Guerrillas, the Luansing Company, the Guerra Company, and the Batangas Town Unit, when these units submitted supplementary rosters for recognition. The rosters submitted by all these units, including the subject unit, were made to follow, more closely, existing tables of organization. The original members of the above-mentioned units were recognized by the 11th AB Division in the following strengths:

Batangas Guerrilla Headquarters
Luansing Co
Guerra Co
Batangas Town Unit
98
91
101
121

All subsequent requests for recognition of supplementary rosters of these same units were not favorably considered.

f. Some staff officers of this defunct unit are either carried in the rosters of [the] above named units or in the casualty rosters submitted. Mr. Medrano, who initiated the request for recognition of the subject unit, is carried as the Exec O of the Ibaan Regiment, a supplement to the Guerra Company, recognized in the strength of 101 members. Mr. Medrano also appears as the Adjutant of the GHQ, Batangas Force, FAIT. Mr. Medrano could not have possibly occupied his time with two positions, since the nature of both the designated tasks is demanding of full attention.

g. It is therefore concluded that there is no definite basis for any favorable consideration of the unit’s claim for recognition.

3. POLITICAL ASPECTS: The unit does not appear to have any political affiliations or aspirations.

[p. 4]

4. RECOMMENDATIONS:

That the original decision of this headquarters, dated 3 March 1947, not favorably considering for recognition the GHQ, Batangas Force FAIT unit, be sustained.

No casualty roster has been submitted. It is recommended that no individual casualty claims be favorably considered.

That all individual non-casualty claims be withdrawn and not favorably considered.

That this report constitute the final action by this headquarters the GHQ, Batangas Force, FAIT.

[Sgd.] RAUL DIAZ DE RIVERA
2d Lt., FA


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Notes and references:

1 “GHQ, Batangas Force, FAIT,” File No. 110-3, downloaded from PVAO.


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