Miscellaneous Batangas Guerrilla Communications
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 page are contained several communications1 between members of the guerrilla unit, with writers and addressees in code.
Notes and references:
1 “GHQ, Batangas Force, FAIT,” File No. 110-3, downloaded from PVAO.
Oct. 21, ’43
1. Rec’d your note dated 20th today. Regarding pardon for those men you mentioned, I am of the opinion they will be included among those to be pardoned in accordance with [the] proclamation of Pres as approved by [the] National Assembly. However, I will also write PK2 about that. It may be delayed as nobody will go to Manila for the present.
2. Gov not yet here. He is [in] Manila attending session of Nat. Ass. He will be back by next week. And I will relay [to] him your message.
3. D-6 was here and would like to inform you that their sector for the present is clean of spies and sends his best wishes to you.
4. Have already made arrangements for coming over of Tom Meyers. Hope it clicks.
5. Have not heard from D-5 for a long time now. Last week, B-52 contacted me and gave his list of officers, but incomplete. Told him to rush up things.
6. V-2 says he is sorry he could not stop his boss from proceeding with his raids on you. But the boys are not for it. In fact, they just go out to patrol, not expecting to do any harm. However, I am of the opinion that if matters have turned to worse, the inevitable comes — give them some atis for preliminary and little fireworks that might keep them away. But this has got to be the last resort.
7. The Jap garrison has a circular letter addressed to you and Umali asking you to surrender, guaranteeing your lives.
8. Can’t contact Pabling yet. He is not in town. However, sent him word.
9. B-11 is now with the municipality, he is working there as a clerk. He just sits most of the time.
10. Was informed Berto was apprehended by Veloncio in Mindoro and held under suspicion. You might have heard of this already.
11. Had sent you two notes before this one, I wonder if you read them. Pls verify and tell your runner to drop message at Central and not give it to any member of my family in the streets. They do not have to look for me.
Regards and prayers for victory,
Dear V - 8:
1. To date, there are already about 300 that turned in. Deadline for surrender is indefinite. Monday parade and oathtaking postponed indefinitely, too.
2. Resulting effects of Italy debacle: Portugal and Spain are likely to join Allied ranks soon; Russia might be asked to open war on Japs along Siberia border. Local effect is readily seen: Mr. Wada yesterday went around all prov. gov’t offices and informed employees that it was good Italy did surrender and is definitely out of Axis ranks as she is only a liability and a “buisit.” Japs here are jittery and looks like they are packing things to go out of town.
3. High School list of Gs being swelled everyday as many singing birds are being called to garrison daily. Maraming “cantores” dine ngayon. Those who were nagpapasikat before are the ones who are mahihina ang loob. They cannot be. Anak ng tupa, ganon lamang pala ay tukbuhan [takbuhan?] siguro lalo na kung may putukan na.
4. We should give more attention to disciplining our men first of all. Men should be told that they cannot do anything without their respective commanders knowing it and be responsible therefore. That is the only way we can avoid getting into future trouble and headaches. Please note that only 10,000 bucks were paid for the information of Col. Straughn’s whereabouts and the one who gave that information was very close to the old man. Can you beat that? I am telling you this, so that you can be on guard. You worry me more than anything else. Kaya ikaw na ang bahala sa akin dine, pag ako ay nadakot dine ng Japon, ikaw na ang bahalang gumawa ng milagro kung may dapat kang gawin. O.K. take good care of yourself and that lady of yours too. I do not know her but I think she should be your concern beside yourself.
5. I am beginning to hate a lot of people I meet on the streets. They keep on asking me whether I turned in already or not and telling them no, they are not satisfied and keep on asking why, to which questions I am already deaf. These people become insolent. They don’t like to mind their own business. Now that they are allowed to surrender individually and not as a unit, they would like to draw in people who [are] holding on. How do you like my attitude. I do not say I am matigas, but here, as long as I can hold on, I will and I think I could.
6. My best of regards to your HER and the rest of the gang there. Say please reserve a very good 45 pistol for me. Just in case I need it, I [will] have it handy. Check.
Prayers for victory,
P.S.: All the Jap M.P. gang left for San Pablo this 1:30p.
This msg delivered to msgr at 4:00p. - 9-11-43
9:00 a.m. 9-9-43
1. How is everything? I only hope very fine. I have not been out for a long time and am still weak and cannot afford to go very far.
2. D-5 is ok. His list of officers will be submitted later. I already have list of offs. for D-6. I’ll send it to you later after I have made all orders for people concerned. I’ll let Nanigot do the signing for you ‘cause if I have to send it to you, it will take time and will be too bulky.
3. For your information, a lot of the local boys have turned in including our good fren Mario. Surprisingly, most of the boys are those who do not even appear in the shadow of any dim light of activity in the organization. I am not making a finished statement, but I don’t expect to turn in. I am expecting to make a good play this time.
4. The gov. sent me word to relay to you that if you would like to turn in, he personally guarantees that you will not be penalized, because he said if you will be, he will be in hiding himself to join you. Well, think about that.
5. The racket of our local boys is being unearthed. The gov. altho in Manila is alarmed by the acts of some very pretentious men of ours of trying to do a racket in the guise of being on behalf of our organization. I refer to that case of 200 sacks of rice bought by V-4 supposedly for the organization but turned out to be found being sold in the market at very exhorbitant price and, therefore, a cause for the rapid rise of [the] cost of rice which is to the prejudice of the buying public. That is why I told you that I made a letter to Mr. Buñag signed by you that V-4 is no longer authorized to act for the organization with regard to rice. This was also the reason why I made that letter to V-4 signed by you. Remember. Now, these people are being questioned.
6. D-1 explained to me that his turning in was because of circumstances. He would like to please his compadre, at any rate, he said his surrender does not change his ideas. He and I think right in that respect. And I agreed with him that only those wanteds and those undisciplined characters be asked to surrender and no more, just to please everybody.
7. What is happening now with our unit will [give] us a chance to re-organize our outfit into a regular one. You know we will be able to know how to proceed. It will give us an opportunity to select and get the best crop we have. What do you think of that?
8. News flash: Nips admit landing in southern Italy, but it was a mass landing effect on Sept. 3 followed by bombing with high explosives. Last Sat. Sec. Stimson declared that he regrets to state that [the] next battleground will be P.I. Small Is. around Guam retaken. Solomons offensive being reinforced. Laiya people report that Jap officers request barrio people to feed and give shelter to any Jap soldier that might be driven ashore. Looks like they expect some wounded round that place. Well, think about those things. Naples has fallen. New Guinea evacuated completely by Japs. Biggest convoy coming this way, altho exact destination unknown.
9. Picto Montalbo hijacked by Japanese yesterday, now being shanghai-ed in High School.
10. Regarding plans for coming Independence, will send to you later after careful deliberation. Cannot think well just now. My empty mind is still in a fog as usual. However, I have many things in conception about it which WE must accomplish.
11. Prayers for your victor, regards,
V - 3
September 14, 1943
In Tanauan this noon, and glad to inform you that D-4 is swell. Encounter was staged in Br. Boot by our men. One J got hit in the breast, but unluckily, one of the men was hit by a hand grenade. Anyway, he is alright. Conditions over there are still gloomy. D-4 is doing nice. A matter of a few days only and everything is OK.
Men of the “4” are extending their best regards and wishes. Happy for the greetings you swing.
Officers’ roster will soon follow.
Hey! What is the NEWS that you will turn in? I am indeed so sorry because that will spoil everything — don’t get MAD about that commissionship. BLUFFS... BLUFFS kill the cat. Never separate Cetang from you... Don’t be too confidential to anybody. Use your brain, coz Col. Straughn never used his brain that was the way he got lost.
“4” will lay in the expectation that you will never TURN in. They, too, will be as you are.
Car load of sweet regards and 3 cheers for the FALL of ITALY. Long live the famous FAIT. K E E P ‘E M F L Y I N G .
Swiss... Swiss never mind the Independence. FAIT will remain dear.
[Handwritten addendum.] Major Manalo got mad again. Up for you —
1. Katigbak (3B) came to me and introduced himself with a signed note from you on a 5-centavo currency note. He told me about their plan to raid Tinga and Sorosoro and [the] Ibaan vicinity as per order of Maj Manalo. Well, be advised accordingly and make the necessary transmittal to units concerned.
2. Diding already married to Ester on Independence day. This was a surprise to all of us here. We knew of it hours after the ceremony.
3. Sent your note to V-1 (via Katigbak). Told him to take charge.
4. Flash: Rec’d report that Japanese troops in Borneo are being gradually evacuated. So, with their troops stationed in Guam, Admiral Nimitz of [the] U.S. Navy issued challenge to Jap Navy for a sea battle anywhere in [the] Pacific.
5. Have not been able to go out after Independence program as I am having a bad cough. Expect to [be] without it in the next few days.
6. Careful with the men you have there. I told 3B to keep close watch of people going in and out of Manalo’s as anyone of them may be giving information about you and selling you out. I think it would be better for you to contact Gomez and see how good his place is and for you to stay there this time.
Regards and prayers for V.
Rec’d your undated note this day and will send note to PK2 for prisoners’ pardon.
2. Balayan appointments all sent to D-6 and Maj. Bahia has been informed accordingly.
3. Jap letter will be furnished to you after it is recopied.
4. Have accomplished Farol’s Bn appts and sent them to you yesterday already.
5. V-2 regrets burning even Salud who was with that PC unit tried his best to prevent it but no avail. It was the Hernandez brad who was insistent.
6. Have constant contact with D. Cantos. He is O.K. but held him in abeyance with his local mission as PC searching party is well spread in town. They took the necessary precaution — avoided them. He told he rec’d your order to return, so he left this 2:00 p.
7. Bool is ready now. He is waiting for your arms via Kulot. I have defined sector of Bool and Kulot to avoid future misunderstanding and assured them that sectorial integrity will be respected at all times.
8. V-2 requests you to be patient with Manalo as he is not staying long and at any rate, what orders he gives V-2 always gives the disadvantage hint and tries to delay things and conducts whispering campaign with men against the proper execution of whatever orders given. V-2 wishes to inform you that Manalo has a spy with you now, he is certain Roberto Macalalad. This fellow he sees conferring with Major at times. If he is with you, check him. My advices is that whoever knows where you are, don’t give him a chance to get out of your sight unless you are sure of him, otherwise he will sell you out. Pls be cautious.
9. If you see B-11, he will tell you what should your answer be in case you are asked to give up, that is if you [are] really willing not to turn in. You can tell Gov in a nice way that you have orders from high Hq. of Panay that you have to be ready anytime and that you expect to attend conference of commanders sometime next
month and that you will be out of this province and that you expect to keep quiet and low all the time and that whatever arms you have were signed for by you from Panay QM. You have to do a lot of playing with Gov. to avoid his misunderstanding your mission. That is, of course, divulging a secret to him of operations.
10. Flash: Allied offensive in Burma gaining momentum and being progressive alright. Hawaii debacle already vindicated when about 30 vessels off Java sea of Japs were sent to the bottom. Japs are bombing our Panay stronghold in an attempt to make the people there surrender but to no avail as yet. A naval patrol of about 4 vessels sighted 300 miles south of Mindanao by some Moro vintas. Rec’d information that Japs might try to encircle Rosario trying to pick you up, so with Laiya. Advise Buhocan accordingly.
11. Will beginning now have a new name in signing orders as a means of prevention. Will let you know of new name.
Regards and prayers.
P.S. Contact in my absence will be with Nanigot. He has complete details of set and is well informed.
1. Rec’d your note yesterday. Thanks for your receipt.
2. Bauan reported being zoned. San Jose almost zoned had it not [been] for surrender of some Gs there.
3. Request you write direct to V-2 advising him on what to do on things relevant to organization. What do you think of that?
4. Have you complete list of D-6? Expects to receive list of D-5 soon. Will issue corresponding orders in your name.
5. Pls take care of yourself. I am worried about you. Be careful with the men you have there. You know we cannot always be sure of ourselves. Talino was again investigated by high school and later released because Japs could not get anything from him. Again, be cautious with the way you do things. Be on the safe side all the time. Take good care of your wifey.
6. Independence day is still [an] uncertain date. It may be Oct. 1, 3rd, or 15th. But one thing sure, it will not be later than the end of Oct. The Pres. is being elected today in Manila. Looks like Laurel is Pres., Vargas is ambassador to Japan. That is the rumored line-up. At any rate, we are going to stay as we are — low and quiet — unless they disturb us. We are going to be the watchdogs of the people’s welfare to the extent that if those heading the gov’t abuse, we go out in the open in defiance of such atrocities. What do you think of that?
7. FLASH: Singapore has, for the last 3 days, been receiving a good ration of Am bombs. Tokyo, too, to the extent that civilians are being evacuated. Naples has been evacuated by German troops and execute the scorched-earth tactics to the extent of slaughtering women and children. Allied command issued ultimatum for Mussolini to surrender, otherwise they get a good ration of explosives. Japan has recently issued to conscript the middle-aged males and also mobilized their women for their factories, etc. Chiang Kaishek has assumed the offensive. Russian gains pile up daily. Burma front improved on Allied side. Well, prayers and regards.
9-24-43, 11:00 am
1. Avocadoes, yes, but don’t make them your reason for abuse of a good charity of your wifey. I can afford to send you some more if you send somebody to get them.
2. On Sunday, there will be a meeting here at the plaza for independence preparation. Yours truly will be one of the spoilers.
3. Was informed that air-raid practice is being conducted at the former Camp Nichols and also at Lipa.
4. Japs in town are having daily combat practice. Looks like they [are] getting prepared for something. Let them have it.
5. FLASH: Russians within 29 miles of Smolensk, and 9 miless off the Ukraine sector, the East front covers 800 miles with 1,100 villages and towns in Soviet hands. German troops in Italy have withdrawn to better positions to meet Allied advancing units. All Italian islands are in Allied hands. Gen Eisenhower issued ultimatum on German Command to evacuate all German-occupied areas in Italy within 72 hours or else they get the most tonnage of iron. Berlin and other industrial cities of Germany with cities of Northern France being bombed heavily daily. Japanese-occupied islands at Solomons bombed daily. Japs maintain only small garrisons in some insignificant islands. Chiang Kai Shek has advanced his units already and recovered more towns. The Burma affair is getting too hot for the Japs. Roosevelt announced [the] U.S. will have 5 million men overseas by 1944 and [the] Navy 10 times as much as that of 1941. Think of these things and they all spell VICTORY.
Regards and prayers,
Notes and references:
1 “GHQ, Batangas Force, FAIT,” File No. 110-3, downloaded from PVAO.