Report on the Suicide Battalion - FAIT - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Report on the Suicide Battalion - FAIT

The Suicide Battalion was purportedly a guerrilla outfit organized in the barrio of Santor in Tanauan by one Crispulo Tambauan, who would himself become its commander, and later set up its headquarters in Wawa, same municipality. This unit was supposedly affiliated by the Col. Hugh Straughn group called Fil-American Irregular Troops (FAIT). It failed to obtain official recognition as an element of the Philippine Army in the service of the United States Armed Forces, with some notable guerrilla figures stating that they had never heard of either Tambauan or his alleged guerrilla outfit. The documents about this unit are nonetheless included for posterity and for the benefit of researchers about World War II in Batangas. In this particular document1, Lt. George Kemper of the Adjutant General’s Office of the Philippines-Ryukyus Command of the United States Army, assigned to invesigate the Suicide Battalion, filed his report.

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Guerrilla Files jpeg
Report on the “Suicide Bn., 3rd Inf. Regt., Fil-Amerian Guerrillas”

1. 1st Lt George E Kemper and 2nd Lt Richard R Roth proceeded in 18 February 1947 to Tanauan, Batangas to investigate the Suicide Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, Fil-American Guerrillas.

2. ALLEGED HISTORY: (See attached unit file)

3. FINDINGS

a. The following persons were interviewed and their statements are reflected in the findings.

Capt Crispulo Tambauan — CO Suicide Bn
1st Lt Matias M. Merado — Exec Suicide Bn
1st Lt Demetrio Mercado — Pltn Ldr Suicide Bn
1st Lt Pedro Mercado — Pltn Ldr Suicide Bn
2nd Lt Calalino Javier — Pltn Ldr Suicide Bn
1st Sgt Severino Ongjoco — Hqs Co Suicide Bn
M/Sgt Bernardino Mercado Pltn Ldr Suicide Bn
S/Sgt Juan Punzalan — Bn Hq Supply
T/Sgt Proceso Mercado — Asst Pltn Ldr
2nd Lt Pedro Aquino — Recognized member, Hunters-ROTC Lipa Unit
Major I. R. Medrano — Exec. Off. Ibaan Regt. Present status 1st Lt MPC
Colonel Quintin Gellidon — Guerrilla Coordinator for 11th Airborne Division

b. The record of service was not substantiated by sufficient acceptable evidence. It contains a short resume of the commanding officer’s personal activities and in addition, an account of widely separated acts of sabotage on the part of a few men, but in no way does it establish the whereabouts and activities of the majority of the members of the unit.

c. The unit was not maintained satisfactorily in the field in opposition to the enemy because the area was dominated by recognized guerrilla units of Marking, of Hunters-ROTC and of PQOG. Colonel Gellidon, when questioned about the Suicide Battalion, stated that he had never heard of Captain Tambauan nor of the subject unit. He recommended that the investigating team contact Pedro Aquino, a recognized guerrilla who operated in this area as a member of

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Hunters-ROTC. Aquino stated that he knew of the existence and activities of a Marking unit and a PQOG unit in this area but that he had never heard of the Suicide Battalion nor of its commanding officer.

d. A definite organization was not established by this unit because the members lived at home and pursued normal civilian occupations. The unit was not a well organized infantry battalion because of the insufficient arms. Although the unit claims a strength of approximately 800 officers and enlisted men in 1944, it possessed only 11 Enfield rifles and 8 pistols.

e. Performance of the unit did not indicate control by its commanding officer because, during 1943 and 1944, some 500 members left the unit to join other organizations. Capt Tambauan maintained slight contact with his unit as is evidenced by an admitted lack of transportation and communication coupled with his claimed widespread individual activities in Pagsanjan, Laguna; Tanauan, Batangas; and Manila. During the liberation period, approximately 72 men of this organization, of their own volition, joined with some 40 PQOG guerrillas to fight with the 8th Cavalry in Tanauan and Lipa. At this time, the commanding officer was in Manila.

f. The unit did not show satisfactory continuity of activity and organization because claims, made in signed statements by unit officers, indicate only widely separated general activities.

g. The unit made no effort to contact other guerrilla organizations operating in this area. The only knowledge it had of another unit was gained through a Marking guerrilla who was a personal friend of one of the officers.

h. The unit claims to have been attached to the 11th Airborne Division and later to the 8th Cavalry Regiment, however, this claim could not be substantiated by acceptable evidence.

i. The unit claims to have maintained 150 men in its headquarters in barrio Wawa, Tanauan. This barrio is located approximately 4 kilometers from a former Japanese garrison of over 1000 men in Tanauan. The unit chose to remain passive for fear of Japanese reprisals against the civilian population of Tanauan proper. If the claimed 150 men operated as a headquarters within suc a distance of a large garrison, detection of any organized or active resistance would have been inevitable.

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j. The unit commanding officer, when questioned as to the whereabouts and organization of the other battalions of the 3rd Infantry Regiment, stated that there were no other higher headquarters. It was further learned during the investigation that this unit was not affiliated in any way with the Folsom Fil-American Guerrillas as inferred in the unit’s alleged history. Captain Tambauan claims he was authorized to form the unit by Dr. Benigno Macam. Dr. Macam, alias General of the Batobalani, alias Colonel Macam, left for Leyte in 1942 and returned to Luzon in 1946.

k. No useful purpose will be accomplished by further investigation of this unit.

4. POLITICAL ASPECTS: This unit does not appear to have any political affiliations or aspirations.

5. RECOMMENDATIONS: It is recommended that the Suicide Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, Fil-American Guerrillas be not favorably considered for recognition.

[Sgd.] Richard R Roth
2nd Lt INF
[Sgd.] George E Kemper
1st Lt CAC


Notes and references:
1 “Suicide Bn., 3rd Inf Regt, FAG,” File No. 134, online at the United States National Archives.

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