Narciso Diokno's Request for Reconsideration of the Triumvirate Guerrillas, July 1946 - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Narciso Diokno's Request for Reconsideration of the Triumvirate Guerrillas, July 1946

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 request for reconsideration sent to the United States Army by one Narciso Diokno, purported commander of the Triumvirate Guerrillas, requesting reconsideration on an unfavorable decision rendered on its application for official recognition.
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San Luis, Batangas
20 July 1946

SUBJECT


TO
: Reconsideration of Decision Denying Recognition to
   Triumvirate Guerrillas, Request for.

: Commanding General, AFWESPAC, G-3 Section, APO 707, Manila.

1. Reference to letter of Col. W. P. Moore, Asst. Adj. Gen., to the undersigned stating that the Triumvirate Guerrilla Unit has not been favorably considered for recognition on the grounds that (a) the members thereof had not devoted their entire efforts to military activity or in opposition to the enemy; (b) activities claimed by said unit are not supported by factual evidence and (c) the members operated as “Home Guards” and had not contributed materially to the eventual defeat of the enemy.

2. The undersigned requests a reinvestigation with a view to ascertaining the real facts. Should this be impracticable, it is requested that the original decision be reconsidered on the grounds hereunder enumerated.

3 (a) Just what the decision means by “the members thereof had not devoted their entire efforts to military activities or in opposition to the enemy” is not clear. Suffice it to say that the members of this unit were among the most active guerrillas in Luzon during the occupation. While others who are lucky enough to have been recognized by the AFWESPAC were still lying low believing the time to move not yet propitious, the Triumvirate Guerrillas were already engaged in protecting and helping ex-USAFFE men, gathering military information, harassing the enemy, always poised to strike at the signal of the liberation forces. Their intelligence work, the help they rendered to effect contact between the underground and the SWPA and their other activities which were highly lauded by Lt. Comdr. Rowe of the Advanced Unit of the SWPA and other guerrilla leaders certainly were military activities which required their time and effort, often to the neglect of their families. Not one of the leaders or followers of this Unit engaged in the lucrative buy and sell business for they had neither the inclination nor the time. If the act of hiding firearms; aiding in the transshipment of transmitters, firearms, medicines from the SWPA forces to the Luzon guerrillas, helping other guerrillas, engaging in pitched battles alongside the 158 R.C.T. of the U. S. Army or in mopping up operations, and other activities, do not constitute opposition to the enemy, then there was no underground movement in the Philippines during the occupation and no guerrilla unit deserves recognition.

(b) The allegation that the activities claimed by this Unit are not supported by factual evidence does not seem to jibe with the real facts. Lt. Comdr. Rowe and Col. Barilea Dan Barrion, the former head of the Advanced Hq. of the SWPA in the Philippines during the occupation and the latter a noted guerrilla leader, are two of the best and most creditable witnesses who have certified to the reality of the existence of the Triumvirate Guerrillas and the extent and the value of the underground activities of their members. If the investigator of that Headquarters had interviewed them, there does not seem to be any reason why their testimonies should not be accorded the same value and weight as other forms of factual evidence needed by the AFWESPAC as a prerequisite to recognition.

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These two, and many others, are living witnesses to the unflinching courage, unshaken loyalty and unflagging devotion to duty of the Triumvirate Guerrilleros, many of whom suffered mental tortures and were incarcerated by the dreaded Jap Kempeitai, killed or wounded in line of duty during underground missions or during the battle for the liberation of Western Batangas. These two and many others have nothing to gain from the recognition of this Unit, yet they have voluntarily offered themselves as witnesses because they know that the non-recognition of the invaluable services of these guerrilleros would constitute an injustice.

In addition to the written statements of these two men, the papers in our possession, copies of which were attached to the original claim for recognition, were seen by the investigator. One of them is signed by a CIC officer Henry K. Lebbing, one of the 158 Regimental Combat Team and refers to our “Capt. Amado Diokno” who turned over to the CIC several captured Japanese equipment. Another document seen by the investigator, signed by Sgt. Henry A. Flechner and Cpl. E. F. Clark, APO 70, 183rd Q. M. Ldry. Det., states the appreciation of the said outfit for the help of “Pedro B. Diokno, Mayor of San Luis, and his organization” in retrieving stolen army property. The word “organization” obviously refers to the guerrilla unit known as “Triumvirate Guerrillas.” This unit did not secure a certificate of attachment from the 158 R.C.T. for we did not think at the time that it was necessary. The other papers disclose a continuous exchange of communications between the Triumvirate Guerrillas and the Advanced Hq of the SWPA, and other guerrilla organizations. Our boys captured many arms and equipment. Many of them still have the captured as well as Army firearms but they said that they will surrender them only when they are processed and recognized. Our most prized war trophy, a Japanese flag wrested from the enemy in one of the fiercest encounters, was given to the investigator as a souvenir of his visit to San Luis.

If the foregoing does not constitute sufficient “factual evidence” according to AFWESPAC standards, the undersigned offers the attached declarations under oath of several ex-USAFFE officers who will not be benefited directly or indirectly by the recognition of this Unit and yet of their own volition have offered themselves as witnesses when they learned that the said Unit has not been recognized. These ex-USAFFE officers, veterans of the Bataan campaigns and other battles, know whereof they speak, for they had been in the area or areas where the Triumvirate Guerrillas operated. They are:

1st Lt. Antonio M. Encarnacion, Inf. P.A., 0-34040, operation officer, Hq, Batangas Province, MPC, PA;
Capt. Serafin M. Montenegro, MC, PA, Medical Detachment, Hq, Bn, HPA, Manila;
Major Jose Y. de la Rosa, MC, PA, 1st Gen. Hospital, Mandaluyon, Rizal;
Major Climaco Pintoy, Inf. 0-1398, Mindanao Zone, Hq, MPC (PA), Del Monte, Bukidnon;
Major Ireneo Cabrera, Inf., 0-42501, R.P. Div., HPA;
Col. Mariano H. Cabarrubia, Inf., Guer, Rainbow Regiment, Blue Eagle (duly recognized guerrilla unit), Nasugbu, Batangas. Col. Cabarrubia was the commander of the Filipino guerrillas who participated in the Makokak and San Piro battles in Balayan, Batangas, side by side with the 158 R.C.T., United States Army;

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The above-named officers have held or are still holding responsible positions in the Philippine Army. It is unthinkable that all of them will make false declarations to favor the Triumvirate Guerrillas at the risk of being expelled from the Army and perhaps incurring criminal liability for perjury. All of them have personal knowledge that since the middle of 1942, there was an organized guerrilla unit in Taal, Lemery and San Luis, Batangas known as the Triumvirate Guerrillas or better known as the Diokno Guerrillas; that the said unit engaged in intelligence work during the occupation and had contact with the other guerrilla units and with the SWPA Advanced Unit in Mindoro; that these guerrillas gave invaluable aid, protection, information, etc., to other guerrillas and to the said SWPA; that they facilitated the transmission of vital military information between the underground and the United States Armed Forces, and the shipment of military supplies such as firearms, ammunition, transmitters, medicines, etc. to the Luzon guerrillas thru the Triumvirate Guerrilla headquarters in San Luis, Batangas; that these guerrillas resisted the Japs in many ways during the occupation; and that they participated actively in military campaigns against the enemy during the liberation campaigns.

(c) From the foregoing, it can be deduced that the undersigned and other officers and men constituting the Triumvirate Guerrillas cannot subscribe to the conclusion of the Commanding General that these guerrillas operated as “Home Guards” and had not contributed materially to the eventual defeat of the enemy. Many of them belong to the lower strata of society and hardly know how to read and write. Nevertheless, their patriotism and loyalty to the Philippines and America have been tested during the darkest days of the occupation and the bitterest campaigns of the liberation. Their simple minds cannot comprehend why the United States Army, the stalwart champion of democratic ideals, among which is that of equality, has classified them as mere “Home Guards” while it has granted recognition to other units which, to their information and belief, had not done more than they for the cause and certainly had suffered less, especially in the number of casualties. (This refers to other guerrilla units in the same sector.) They cannot understand why they are regarded as mere home guards when many of them had left their beloved ones at home unprotected to act as intelligence operatives in other regions to contact and work with the SWPA Hq (Advanced Unit) and with other guerrilla units in Mindoro and other places; to fight – and die, in some instances – side by side with the American soldiers in the liberation campaigns.

It is alleged that the members of this Unit had not contributed materially to the eventual defeat of the enemy. The declaration of Lt. Comdr. Rowe belies this assertion. For, in the words of the said officer, “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 control station for the various intelligence parties going to and from Manila.” (Underscoring ours.) The information referred to could not have proved of “great value to the U.S. Forces” if it had not contributed to the eventual downfall of the enemy. Such information and the active and direct support and help given by the Triumvirate Guerrillas during the occupation (such as accompanying the Americans in the PT boats, capturing Japs and other activities mentioned in the history of the organization) and during the liberation campaigns aided the American forces and were important factors

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that helped in bringing about the ultimate defeat of the foe.

Imagine the disillusionment of the members of this Unit! Seeing the fruits of their sacrifices unappreciated, their activities belittled, the widows and orphans or parents of their fallen comrades downhearted and unrewarded, they present a tragic picture of despair and dejectedness. The leaders of this organization are endeavoring their best to soothe the hurt feelings and pride of these brave little men and to keep their trust in the champions of democracy and the ideals for which they, too, fought and their brothers died. A recognition of their services as guerrillas would restore their faith in America’s sense of fairness and justice’ it will be a fitting reward to their sacrifices.

3. For all the foregoing considerations, it is respectfully prayed that the decision of the Commanding General on this matter be reconsidered and the TRIUMVIRATE GUERRILLAS be given due recognition.

[Sgd.] NARCISO DIOKNO
Lt. Col., Inf. (Guer.)
Commanding Officer, Triumvirate
Guerrillas

Incl: as stated



Notes and references:
1 “Triumivate Guerrillas,” File No. 112, online at the United States National Archives.

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