The Triumvirate Guerrillas was a purported guerrilla outfit that operated in Lemery, Taal and San Luis with its headquarters in the last town. The organization failed to gain official recognition from the United States Army and was even accused of being a fake organization. In this page1
is a transcription of a short history of the Triumvirate Guerrillas as submitted to the United States Army along with its application to gain official recognition.
UNITED STATES ARMY FORCES IN THE PHILIPPINES
HEADQUARTERS TRIUMVIRATE GUERRILLAS
HISTORY OF THE TRIUMVIRATE GUERRILLAS
I. Birth of the Organization.
The history of the Triumvirate Guerrillas is incomplete without the mention of certain events that occurred prior to the outbreak of the war. In November 1941, male inhabitants of Taal, Lemery, and San Luis, Batangas were organized into a labor pool to help the 86th FA Bn (Ps) under Captain Ervid Ericson, USNR and Lts. Clark and Soratorio in putting up military installations, digging foxholes, placing barbed wires and posts and other military defenses. When war broke out on December 8, 1941, the said labor pool was converted into the Bolo Battalion which, although not part of the USAFFE, worked side by side with the army, especially in inspection and patrol work, checking of suspicious persons, etc. When the USAFFE suddenly withdrew on Christmas Eve, the bolo battalion stayed in their posts after evacuating their families to the hills. When the Japs occupied Taal, Lemery, and San Luis, the bolo battalion discontinued its activities and maintained an attitude of watchful waiting. Municipal Mayor Captain Pedro B. Diokno, one of the leaders of the labor pool, kept out of [the] limelight and instructed his men to dedicate themselves to farm work and avoid contact with the enemy. Sometime in June 1942, Mayor Diokno was persuaded by the provincial governor and his followers to assume the mayoralty of San Luis in the interest of peace and order. He accepted this position subject to the condition that he could not be forced to take the oath of allegiance to Japan and that he could resign any time he deemed it necessary. But Mayor Diokno had another motive, and that was to initiate an underground movement with the Labor Pool as the nucleus.
By the end of June 1942, the TRIUMVIRATE GUERRILLAS had already been organized by Mayor Pedro B. Diokno, Lemery pre-war Vice-Mayor Vicente Salazar, pre-war Asst. Prov. Fiscal Leodegario B. Diokno and 1st Lt. Narciso Diokno, USA (Res), former Sgt-at-Arms of the House of Representatives. Since then, other people from the three sister towns of Taal, Lemery, and San Luis (the Triumvirate Towns), actually residing therein or in Manila and other places, joined the organization. The leaders of this unit did not surrender to the enemy their arms consisting of three pistols, one shotgun, one rifle, one revolver and two carbines. They listened to American radio broadcasts and kept the fires of democracy burning by spreading news from America. Such morale boosters as I SHALL RETURN and the PHILIPPINES WILL BE REDEEMED and other similar expressions helped strengthen the people’s faith in America.
II. SALIENT ACTIVITIES OF THE TRIUMVIRATE GUERIRLLAS
1. Morale Boosting.
The principal task of the Triumvirate Guerrillas immediately after its organization was that of boosting the morale of the civilian population and strengthening their faith in America’s plighted word.
2. Protection of Civilian Population.
The work of this organization in safeguarding the civilian population from the nefarious activities of the bandits and other bad elements masquerading as guerrillas has been highly praised by the inhabitants.
3. Home for Refuge Army Men.
Since the organization of this Unit, the work of protecting, hiding, and feeding the officers and men who did not surrender to the enemy – a work which was hitherto performed by several patriotic individuals – was intensified. To carry out this dangerous work, guerrillas were organized into
“Home Guards.” The Japs were led to believe that the Home Guards were created in order to protect the inhabitants from the attack of the enemies and bad elements. Capt. Enrique Jurado of the U.S. Navy, who fled from Corregidor, sought refuge under the Triumvirate Guerrillas in San Luis, where he stayed until June 1943 when he left to join the USAFFE under Col. Macario Peralta Jr. in Panay. The others who were kept, fed and protected by this unit in San Luis were Major Amando D. Ylagan and his family, Capt. Jose de la Rosa, Lt. Marcelino de la Rosa, and many enlisted men who escaped from Bataan after the surrender of the USAFFE. Prvts. Macario Hernandez, Marciano Villanueva and Leonardo Patolot and other enlisted men who fled from Corregidor and other places likewise found refuge under this unit in San Luis.
4. Intelligence Work – Contact with Other Units.
The Triumvirate Guerrillas had amassed a store of military information gathered by their operatives themselves or as a result of contact with other units. In Manila, contact was established with the Marking’s, Dan Barrion’s, and Ramsey’s guerrillas thru their Manila operatives. Vital information as to the enemy’s activities, movements and military installations thus gathered was relayed to the other guerrilla units and the Advanced Headquarters, Special Unit, SWPA, in Mindoro. Medicine, arms, ammunition and other supplies were received by this unit thru Mindoro. Col. Peralta’s Panay Guerrillas, Major Ruffy’s Mindoro Unit, were first contacted in Mindoro when Capts. Vicente Salazar and Amado Diokno of this unit, as early as 1 Sept. 1943, were sent to Abra de Ilog and Naujan, Mindoro. Proof of the contact with the Peralta guerrillas may be proven by the letter of Lt. R. Pio, one of Peralta’s men, to Capt. P. Diokno, part of which is quoted as follows:
“Have you made the necessary contacts with Alitagtag, Cuenca, Balayan, Calatagan, and other towns up to Nasugbu? If you have, who are and what are the names of the parties? Please furnish us names and addresses.”
The activities of this Unit in relation to the Advanced HQ, SWPA will be adverted to in a latter part.
5. Aid to other Guerrilla Units and American Army Men.
Besides offering its headquarters as a contact point of different resistance groups and furnishing intelligence reports to the SWPA, this Unit contributed in many other ways to the cause. In 1942, Capts. P. Diokno and A. Diokno and Lt. R. Badillo and their men helped in taking care of Americans who gave their names as Capt. George, Lt. Bob and gunner Pat who escaped from Corregidor after its fall and took refuge in Subic and Panghulan, Lemery, Batangas. Capt. A. Diokno, sometime in 1944, escorted these Americans to the sailboat which took them to Abra de Ilog, Mindoro where Capt. V. Salazar welcome them.
When Col. Ramsey and his party went to Lemery, Batangas, they were suspected as spies. Having had previous contact with Ramsey, Captain Amado Diokno rescued them. They were taken to San Luis and furnished transportation to Mindoro. Other guerrilla units, particularly Dan Barrion’s Division, succeeded in getting a radio transmitter, arms and ammunition from Mindoro through the help of the Triumvirate Guerrillas.
This Unit helped the Panay Guerrillas exchange Philippine Emergency notes with Japanese notes for the purpose of enabling them to buy their needs. As proof of this, Jose M. Ilagan of the Panay Guerrillas wrote to Capt. P. Diokno (20 Nov. 1945):
“If you were able to effect the exchange of the Philippine Emergency Circulating Notes that I left, to Japanese notes at the ratio of 1 to 8, please give the
bearer the equivalent sum of SIX HUNDRED PESOS (₱600.00) so that I may be able to buy our needs. Kindly sign the above receipt.”
Another proof of the help rendered by this Unit to other guerrillas may be found in the letter of Sgt. Urbano M. Delpon, ASN 3637447, USA, part of which is quoted as follows:
“That Mr. Diokno was also largely responsible for the sheltering and feeding of my party and I during my stay at his locality. That Mr. Diokno was one of the most active and reliable contact men of the guerrillas in the locality during the Japanese occupation. That Mr. Diokno’s services for the guerrilla movement had been very commendable.”
Another proof that this unit gave material aid to other units may be seen in the letter of Capt. B. E. Zarcal, AP, Special Detachment, from Mindoro guerrilla officers dated Oct. 13, 1944 stating in part:
“To: Lts. de la Torre (Agustin) or Apostol (Tiong):
The bearer, Orlando Diokno, is getting our palay for San Luis where I have been staying. Needless to say, where these palay are scheduled for, I’m here. I’m getting all the aid I need here. Please see to it that he does not find unnecessary obstacles in shipping same. Extend my kind regards to Major Ruffy.
(SGD) B. E. ZARCAL
As a result of the guerrilla activities of this Unit, Captain Amado Diokno, with eleven men, were imprisoned by the Japanese at the Lemery Garrison for several months. Luckily, however, they were released.
On the other hand, Lt. Rafael Diokno was not as lucky for he died while en route from Mindoro to San Luis, bringing with him arms, supplies and ammunition when the sailboat he was on capsized. Lt. Cmdr. George F. Rowe wrote to Captain Pedro B. Diokno expressing his regrets:
We were very much impressed with Rafael. It is, indeed, to be regretted that he lost his life while
en route from this HQ to Batangas on January 9, when the curicanan he was on overturned. However, eyewitnesses state that he died like a real soldier and to him all Filipinos who have given their lives for the cause we pay our humble tribute.
Lt. Narciso Salcedo was seriously wounded in the left knee joint which disabled him for about six months when the sailboat which this Unit was using in communicating with Mindoro was mistaken for a Jap sailboat and was staffed by U. S. planes on December 24, 1944 in San Luis, Batangas.
6. Other Activities.
The other activities of this Unit deal with the services rendered by its men to the Advanced HQ, Special Unit, SWPA, and to the part played by its heroic boys in the campaign for the liberation of the triumvirate towns.
III. PRE-LIBERATION CAMPAIGN.
After the landing of the American Forces in Leyte, the history of this unit had been solely linked with the Advanced Headquarters of the Special Unit SWPA under the command of Lt. Comdr. George F. Rowe, alias Nicholson.
The advanced Headquarters of the Special Unit SWPA under the command of Lt. Comdr. George F. Rowe, alias Nicholson, was contacted by Captain Vicente Salazar in August 1944. Soon after, Captain Salazar returned with instructions and morale boosters such as hand grenades, carbines, modern pistols, cigarettes, medicines, field rations and candies with the words “I SHALL RETURN MACARTHUR” on the wrappers. The instructions were transmitted by Major Leodegario B. Diokno to Lt. Col. Narciso Diokno, the more ranking officer of this Unit. Lt. Rafael Diokno was sent to San Luis, Batangas while the Colonel and Captain Rafael Salcedo and others were left in Manila to observe the movements of the enemy in the city. Capt. Vicente Salazar was assigned to stay until further notice in Abra de Ilog, Mindoro, so that the Triumvirate Guerrillas might be able to get more material aid it arms, ammunition and other supplies.
By September or 1944, every Commanding Officer had his men ready for any eventuality. From Balanga, Lemery to Ligpo, San Luis, every night, the coast was closely scanned for any SUBMARINE that was then expected to come up with aid. On or about the middle of January, 1945, a party of three American officers with Capt. Licopa (names not remembered) from either San Jose or Abre de Ilog, Mindoro, on a PT boat landed on the coast of Lemery, Batangas and met by Major L. B. Diokno and Capt. Pedro B. Diokno and other officers of other units. Major Diokno gave each of the American officers souvenirs, and on their return, Capt. Pedro B. Diokno furnished them a sailboat. If view of that visit, it was thought that a landing would be made in Lemery, but the landing was made at Nasugbu. Mayor Vicente Calingasan of Tuy, Batangas furnished Maj. L. B. Diokno and Captain Amadio Diokno transportation to Nasugbu and return.
The invaluable aid rendered by this unit to the Special Unit SWPA may be gleaned from the letter of Lt. Al Hernandez dated 3 November 1944, quoted as follows:
“Dear Mayor Diokno:
Pressure of duties has previously not permitted me to extend my appreciation (which I now hasten to do so) for the business-like and efficient manner in which you helped my party to reach our destination.
You will have received by this time an official acknowledgement from my Commanding Officer of your unstinted efforts in behalf of the cause.
In find pleasure in sending you herewith:
(Long list of supplies)
Kindly acknowledge receipt so I’ll know you received these items.
If your town should become infested with our enemies, I shall appreciate hearing from you so as not to endanger our operatives.
(SGD) AL HERNANDEZ”
While the Japs were mercilessly killing civilians and burning homes in the barrios of Taal, PT boats from the land-
ing forces in San Jose, Mindoro guided by Capt. Amado Diokno of this Unit and Lt. Aragon of the Advanced HQ, SWPA, strafed the villages of Anilao, Talaga, Culbo, Mainga, and Wawa, in Mabini and Batangas and destroyed around 200 suicide Japanese speed boats and killed around 300 Japanese.
There is also quoted hereunder the certificate of Comdr. Rowe (Nicholson) which is self-explanatory:
C E R T I F I C A T E
“I hereby certify that the Triumvirate Guerrillas of San Luis, Batangas were of great assistance to the Intelligence Unit in Mindoro Commanded by myself.
The Triumvirate Guerrillas were able to furnish my command much information relative to the enemy that proved of great value to the U. S. Forces. They acted as a central station for the various Intelligence Parties going to and from Manila.
At all times during the period of August 1944 to February 1945, I found them to be ready and willing to cooperate in any way possible.
(SGD) GEORGE F. ROWE”
IV. THE LIBERATION CAMPAIGN
In March, the much-awaited American Liberation Forces who were already in Nasugbu and who had not yet arrived in [the] Taal-Lemery-San Luis sector made the Japs more savage and brutal than before. Many people had evacuated to distant towns and barrios but those who were left were then between the wall and the sword, so to speak. Knowing that their downfall was imminent, the Japs devoted their time to plunder, pillage, and massacre – killing civilians as fast and as many as they could. Company commanders were then instructed to evacuate their families to safer places and their respective men to be on the alert for the enemy; to find out their strength, their positions, and their movements and report them to the Headquarters in San Luis.
In view of the precarious situation of the people at the hands of the brutal and revengeful Japanese, Maj. Diokno skipped
enemy lines and went to Nasugbu to report the matter to the Liberation Forces and if possible to hasten their advance to regions still in the hands of the Japs. On their way to Nasugbu, they were stopped at Balayan by the Rainbow Regiment, another guerrilla unit, with much hostility and suspicion. However, as soon as they were recognized, they were vehemently discouraged from proceeding further on account of the impossibility of crossing the enemy line. Furthermore, they were told that the 158th Regimental Combat Team were expected to come to Balayan the next day. The leader of the Rainbow Regiment persuaded them to join his outfit for the time being. With the arrival of the 158th R.C.T., 21 men of our unit under Capt. Amado Diokno, with the 158th R.C.T. participated in an encounter at Makokak on 5 March 1945. After the encounter, all of them returned unscathed, except two who were sent as advance guards with the Balayan Unit of the advancing party of the 158th R.C.T. They had another encounter at San Piro with the same outfit, 6 March 1945. Here, many casualties were recorded. Capt. Amado Diokno was also slightly wounded and was treated at the Emergency Hospital in Balayan. Those seriously wounded were sent to Leyte Field Hospital. The history of the Balayan Guerrillas may account for this little contribution of our unit in their sector.
While others were doing their bit in Balayan, our men in Taal, Lemery and San Luis were doing their part for the cause. On 6 March 1945, Capt. Pedro B. Diokno and Lt. Roman Badillo and their men engaged Japanese snipers in San Luis, killing two of them. When the 158th arrived in Lemery on 6 March 1945, our men in Taal, Lemery and San Luis joined and fought side by side with them until the three municipalities were liberated.
FRONTAL ENCOUNTERS OF THE
5 March ‘45 – Makokak, Balayan
6 March ’45 – San Piro, Balayan
6 March ’45 – Baloñgay, San Luis
7 March ’45 – Botong, Taal
8 March ’45 – Bagong Tubig, San Luis
10 March ’45 – Bagong Tubig, San Luis
10 March ’45 – Subic, Lemery
11 March ’45 – Bayuñgan, Lemery
12 March ’45 – Boboy, San Luis
12 March ’45 – Batangas, Batangas
13 March ’45 – San Isidro, Luis
16 March ’45 – Wawa, Balayan
17 March ’45 – Doroñgaw, San Luis
18 March ’45 – Balagtasin, San Luis
18 March ’45 – Bayuñgan, Lemery
19 March ’45 – Boboy, San Luis
20 March ’45 – Bonliw, San Luis
21 March ’45 – Taliba, San Luis
25 March ’45 – Abiacao, San Luis
26 March ’45 – Taliba, San Luis
27 March ’45 – Locloc, San Luis
28 March ’45 – Subic, Lemery
29 March ’45 – Balagtasin, San Luis
1 April ’45 – Balagtasin, San Luis
V. HONOR ROLL.
1. Lt. Narciso Salcedo, seriously wounded in San Luis, 24 Dec. 1944.
2. Capt. Amado Diokno, slightly wounded in San Piro, Balayan, 6 March 1945.
3. Lt. Constantino Diokno, seriously wounded in San Piro, Balayan, 6 March 1945.
4. Lt. Ernesto Diokno, seriously wounded in San Piro, Balayan, 6 March 1945.
5. Pfc Candido Cortez, seriously wounded in Balagtasin, San Luis, 13 March 1945.
6. Pfc Victorino Ilao, seriously wounded in Balagtasin, 13 March 1945 [handwritten: lost left arm]
7. Pfc Leon Hernandez, seriously wounded in Locloc, San Luis 25 March 1945
8. Sgt Agaton Moresos, seriously wounded in Balagtasin, San Luis 29 March 1945
9. Pfc Raymundo Hernandez, seriously wounded in Balagtasin, San Luis, 30 March 1945
K I L L E D
1. Pvt Engracio Razon, executed by Japs while on reconnaissance and found with a pistol.
2. Pvt Vicente Magsumbol, killed by Japs, February 1945 at Balakilong, Talisay, Batangas.
3. 1st Lt. Rafael Diokno, drowned en route to Batangas from Abra de Ilog, 8 January 1945.
4. Cpl Leon Patulot, killed in action at Balagtasin, 10 March 1945.
5. Cpl Martin Medina, killed in action at Duruñgao, San Luis, 17 March 1945.
6. Pvt Aquilino Cortez, killed in action at Balagtasin, San Luis, 1 April 1945.
7. Pvt Gregorio Carandang, killed in action at Boboy, San Luis 27 June 1945.
2 Japanese battle flags or regimental commanders.
5 officers’ sabers.
1 machine rifle.
1 anti-aircraft machine gun.
1 heavy Japanese machine gun.
Hand grenades, rifles, uniforms, supplies, bicycles.
Notes and references:
[Sgd.] LEO B. DIOKNO
[Sgd.] NARCISO DIOKNO
Lt. Col. Inf.
“Triumivate Guerrillas,” File No. 112, online at the United States National Archives.