Notes of Lt. Neubauer on the Santo Tomas Guerrilla Unit, October 1947

The Santo Tomas Guerrilla Unit was an outfit formed and operated out of northern Batangas, with its headquarters located on a hill in Mount Makiling near the town of Santo Tomas. The outfit was commanded by one former Captain in the USAFFE named Lorenzo Talatala and would later become affiliated with the President Quezon’s Own Guerrillas (PQOG), one of the large guerrilla organizations operating in Luzon. In this document1, one Lt. Kenneth Neubauer wrote down his notes on the Santo Tomas Guerrilla Unit in a memorandum addressed to one Capt. John Keider, relevant to the unit’s request for the revision of recognition dates.

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Guerrilla Files jpeg
HEADQUARTERS
PHILIPPINES-RYUKYU S COMMAND

CHECK SHEET

KHN/lag
Tel U 330
27 Oct 1947

SUBJECT: Request for Reconsideration for Revision of dates of the Santo Tomas Unit, I Corps, President Quezon’s Own Guerrillas (PQOG)


(1) FROM: Lt Kenneth H Neubauer          TO: Capt John O Keider

DISCUSSION:

1. Mr. Prisciliano Modelo (Ex O PQOG, Sto Tomas Unit) in his letter to the Commanding General, PHILRYCOM, dated 1 October 1947, requests that the Santo Tomas Unit, I Corps, President Quezon’s Own Guerrillas (PQOG), be granted reconsideration for revision of dates of recognition.

2. The Santo Tomas Unit, PQOG, in a strength of one hundred thirty four (134) was recognized by letter Hq USAFFE, dated 1 April 1945. The initial date of recognition was 1 March 1945; no terminal dates were designated. During the period 11 to 31 August 1947, all available records and supporting evidence of the Santo Tomas Unit, PQOG, were examined to determine whether or not the 134 members of the subject unit should be granted revision of their present date of recognition. The Santo Tomas Unit, I Corps, PQOG was not favorably considered for revision of recognition dates by letter Hq PHILRYCOM, dated 29 August 1947. The Santo Tomas Unit was investigated independently of the overall PQOG organization, and a separate report of investigation was rendered. The request for this special investigation of the Santo Tomas Unit, I Corps, PQOG, to be conducted apart from that of the I Corps, PQOG, was initiated by the unit commander, approved by the I Corps, PQOG overall commander, and accepted by this headquarters for the reason that the special intelligence activities and personal qualifications of the unit members afforded them recognition in rank above those authorized by the United States Army Tables of Organization. This fact necessitated a special study with regard to the possibility of the revision of the recognition date of this unit.

3. The Santo Tomas Unit, I Corps, PQOG, was organized in September 1942 by Lorenzo Talatala as an independent guerrilla unit. The organization claims to have reached the strength of one battalion armed with 33 old rifles and bolos. The period between September 1942 and January 1943 was directed toward or-

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ganizing the unit; slight activity was directed toward suppression of collaboration activities. During January 1943, the Santo Tomas Unit fused with the guerrilla organization of one Julio R Narvaez. During the “zonification” period in the middle of 1943, many members of the unit were interned by the Japanese. There is no evidence that these members were interned because of guerrilla activities. By November 1943, only 200 members of the claimed 500 remained with the organization, the remaining 300 took advantage of the Amnesty Proclamation. The unit disintegrated during this period as members returned home and continued with their normal civilian pursuits. In November 1944, the Santo Tomas Unit was absorbed into the President Quezon’s Own Guerrillas under Vicente S. Umali and was given the name PQOG, Santo Tomas Unit. The unit remained inactive until February 1945, at which time it proceeded to Tagaytay, Cavite to contact the 11th AB Division which was in that area. The month of February was spent in attempts by unit officers to attach the unit to a US Army unit. On 1 March 1945, the unit contacted the 511th Parachute Infantry, 11th Airborne Division, and was subsequently attached.

4. The total recognized strength of the Santo Tomas Unit is one hundred thirty four (134) members of which thirty seven (37) are officers in the following listed ranks:

Lt Col's
2
Maj's
3
Capt's
13
1st Lt's
9
2nd Lt's
9
3rd Lt's
1

Officer strength of this unit is much larger than allowed by the United States Army Tables of Organization; hence it is apparent why the unit CO requested a separate investigation for revision of dates. There does not appear to be any justification for the original recognition of this large group of officers within such a small unit. The claim advanced by the officers of the unit that their highly important work (intelligence), and superior educational attainments, warrant their recognition in higher ranks than authorized by the tables of organization, is without foundation. The organization served as combat troops during its period of attachment to US Forces; therefore, this organization does not deserve any more consideration than other guerrilla units.

5. During the investigation of the Santo Tomas Unit for revision of dates, the commanding officer on several occasions was requested to submit any evidence which would substantiate claims of activity by the organization during the occupation period. No additional evidence was submitted to the officer investigating the case. Since an unfavorable decision for revision of dates was rendered by this headquarters, the unit CO claims that he now has additional evidence to prove the unit’s activities during the occupation. Why this evidence was not

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submitted when requested by the investigation officer is unknown.

6. Evidence submitted by Pablo T Mendoza to substantiate the organization claims of activity during the occupation is included as Inclosures 1 through 16.

a. Incl’s 1 and 2 are a list of activities of the unit of which this division has a complete and thorough knowledge. It is noted that this list has been compiled as of 12 October 1947. It is apparent that up to this late date, the officers of this unit were not cognizant of activities participated in during the occupation period. The organization admits that during the period September 1942 to January 1943, the unit acted as a home guard organization (Incl 2, page 1). As indicated in the remainder of the history, the unit claims sabotage and intelligence activities. There has been insufficient evidence submitted which can substantiate the claim that the unit actually participated in these activities. Evidence has not been presented in proof that enemy intelligence was collected and submitted to a headquarters which might have made use of such alleged intelligence.

b. Incls 3-4 are letters of recommendation, Incl 5 is a communication signed by one Capt Luis P Morgan. It is noted that the letters of commendation are for the liberation period and are not indicative of the unit’s activities during the occupation. The order from Capt Morgan pertains to the assignment of military districts and therefore is valueless as far as the Santo Tomas Unit’s occupation activities are concerned.

c. Inclosures 6-8-9-10--11-12-13-14 are affidavits from various individuals who knew of the Santo Tomas Unit; there is nothing contained in them to substantiate the unit’s allegations of being active during the occupation years.

d. Inclosure 7 is a general order issued by Col Thorpe which has no bearing whatsoever on the activities of the Santo Tomas Unit.

e. Inclosure 15 is an address delivered during November 1943 by President Quezon to his countrymen. There is nothing therein that indicated that the Santo Tomas Unit was active as a guerrilla organization during the occupation.

f. Inclosure 16 is a set of Standing Operating Procedures published GHQ, SWPA. This SOP is for general information as to General MacArthur’s return to the Philippines, wage scales to be paid for laborers, and general information which pertains to [the] functioning of the civil government after the

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expulsion of the enemy. There is nothing in this SOP to indicate guerrilla activity by any organization.

7. From the additional evidence presented on this unit, it can be definitely stated that nothing has been contributed to reverse the original and unfavorable decision rendered by this headquarters on the revision [of] recognition dates of the Santo Tomas Unit, PQOG. The preponderance of evidence recently submitted is general information which could pertain to any guerrilla unit. All letters addressed to the Santo Tomas Unit refer to the unit’s activities during the liberation period. Other evidence presented has no bearing whatsoever to guerrilla activities.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

It is recommended that:

a. The Santo Tomas Unit, PQOG, be not granted reconsideration for revision of dates of recognition.

b. The attached letter, Tab “A” embodying the above recommendation be approved for signature of the Adjutant General and returned to this branch for dispatch.

[Sgd.] KENNETH H NEUBAUER
1st Lt., CAC

1 Incl:

Reply to Mr. Prisciliano Modelo


Notes and references:

1 “Sto Tomas Grla Unit, I Corps, PQOG,” File No. 271-29, online at the United States National Archives.

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