Affidavit of Captain Simeon Vega - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Affidavit of Captain Simeon Vega

[TRANSCRIPTION]

The Gold Area Unit was a guerrilla organization affiliated Free Luzon Intelligence Echelon of the 6th Military District on the island of Panay. This unit was ordered created in Bauan, Batangas by one Mariano A. Tibay, who would also be its commander. In this page is a transcription1 of an affidavit by one Captain Simeon Vega which, while not directly connected with the activities of the Gold Area Unit, is nonetheless included for the historical information it provides.
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UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
COMMONWEALTH OF THE PHILIPPINES
CITY OF MANILA

A F F I D A V I T

I, SIMEON D. VEGA, Captain, 6th Military District, Free Luzon Area, U. S. Army, G-2 Command, of legal age, single and residing at 1483 San Andres, Manila, after having been duly sworn on oath, hereby depose and say:

1. That on or about April 16, 1943, I was inducted by Major Jocson through Capt. Henry Diestro and Capt. “Tibay” Reyes to the Suicide and Sabotage Section, 6th Military District, Free Luzon Area;

2. That on or about June 1943, I met Captain Edith Paunell in my house at 1145 Dart St., Paco, together with Captain Diestro;

3. That since May of that year, and from time to time, a messenger named Poldo used to give me orders and instructions from Maj. Jocson and Col. Peralta;

4. On or about July 7, 1943, I was instructed to make a report of my activities. On or about July 15, 1943, I submitted a report to Captain Diestro to be forwaded to Maj. Jocson. This report contained data on concentration places of the Jap forces in Manila, their strength in such specified places, activities and movements;

5. Sometime in August of [the] same year, Captain Diestro took me to the Headquarters at Guipit Street where I met Maj. Jocson, Captain Britania, the executive officer, and many other members whom I presumed were from the provinces. At this meeting, Maj. Jocson made me read and translate some Japanese writings into English and told me to intensify my studies in the Japanese language as I would be very much needed;

6. By early week of October 1943, I was ordered and promoted as Staff Officer, Chief of the Interpreter Section;

7. On or about December 10, 1943, I gave the name of Severino Sagun, a radio operator in the telephone company of the Jap Bureau of Communications, for induction in our unit;

8. On or about December 20, Capt. Diestro instructed me to make a report as they were going to Batangas to meet a submarine. At the end of December, I submitted my report to Captain Diestro to be given to Maj. Jocson;

9. On the night of January 8, 1944, Capt. Diestro and Capt. “Tibay” slept in my house at Dart St., No. 1162, Paco, leaving at 4 o’clock in the morning. I gave them money, cigarettes, soap and identification papers in Japanese characters attesting that they were from Manila, and were good people going to Batangas for business purposes;

10. On or about January 18, Captain Diestro returned. He told me about their meeting with Maj. Phillips, and American, and the submarine, and the instructions given them. He further told me to present at the meeting of the staff officers at


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Lipa Street, Sampaloc in a small nipa house a little farther in front of Santo Tomas University on January 26th;

11. On January 26th, the meeting took place. I arrived at the place around 3 o’clock in the afternoon, I being the second to the last who arrived. The last to arrive was Dr. Manuel Barrera, nicknamed Adrian, who sat at my right. Upon my arrival, I was introduced to every officer present. Among those present were Capt. Barrera; Capt. Henry Diestro, who was instructed to head the sabotage section; Capt. Edith Paunell to head the Suicide Section; Capt. “Tibay” Reyes, who was transferred to Batangas; Lt. “Lichaucco,” who was made the adjutant; Captain Conrado Idrosa, who was made the Chief of the Planning Section, or S-3, he being an architect. There, I also met the S-1, S-2 and the S-4, whose names I cannot now recall. The meeting was presided [over] by Major Jocson, assisted by Capt. Britania. At the meeting, Maj. Jocson informed us about their meeting with Maj. Phillips, and indicated that Col. Peralta was sending us money. We were also shown genuine Philippine currency, and told that as staff officers, we were to be given such money after a week. However, we were given ₱100.00 in Jap notes; “Lucky” cigarettes, and shown carbine bullets and “Salt” magazine. We were also told that we staff officers would be given arms not later than 20 days. At the meeting, we agreed to buy carretelas to be posted every street corner; we also decided on a countersign, making the Advocate Book Supply at Azcarraga St. as a message center. At this place, we could meet the right person by saying, “Do you have Beau Geste?” If he answered, “Pocket Edition,” that meant he was the right person and things were talked over. Major Jocson, after talking things over, took me to the corner and told me to look for a good headquarters at whatever cost and wherever situation at my own discretion. The meeting adjourned at around 5 o’clock in the afternoon, we being the last to leave.

12. A week later, Capt. Diestro told me that they were going back to Batangas; so I again prepared the necessary papers of identification and recommendation in Japanese, food and money for them.

13. Early in the morning of February 19, 1944, a girl by the name of Purita living with Capt. Diestro came to my house and told me that Henry Diestro was taken to the Japanese Military Police and advised me to escape. I took this thing easy until February 26, at two o’clock in the morning, when three truckloads of Japanese Military Police broke into my house, passing through all openings and exits, believing that my house had plenty of arms. They did not find anything, but they took me to the Far Eastern University, Kempetai garrison, hogtied and blindfolded.

14. At the Far Eastern University, I was given only a handful of rice three times a day without water. After three days, I was investigated. Because I refused to divulge the names of my companions not yet arrested, I was tortured. I was given by a Jap officer the list of our staff officers and was told that they were all caught, except Edith Paunell and Capt. “Tibay” Reyes who were still at large. Refusing to tell the addresses of these officers, they threatened me with death. They threw me to the cement floor from over their shoulders, bludgeoned me with the butts of their rifles, boxed and kicked me. Refusing still to squeal, they stripped me of my clothing and was told to lie face up on a bench. I was tied and a gas mask was placed over my face and water pumped through the tube of the gas mask to my nose. But I refused to squeal even though death stared at me. Then, I lost consciousness. After about 5 minutes, as I heard from the Japanese, I regained consciousness and felt my face being covered with a sticky, milky substance coming from my innards or insides. I was very weak. But I was still dragged


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to cement floor and kicked and told many times that I would die if I still refused to reveal the names and addresses of my companions. Believing that I would die just the same, even if I divulged the names of my companions, and knowing tha they had already sentenced me to die, I knew it would not help me any even [if] I obeyed what they told me to do. I also knew that if they did not want me to die, they would not kill me even if I did not squeal on my companions. So, I [was] determined not to divulge, happen what might.

They took me back to my prison cell and after two days, they transferred me to Fort Santiago.

15. At Fort Santiago, I saw Maj. Jocson, Capt. Henry Diestro, Capt. Manuel Barrera, Capt. Britania, Capt. Ricardo Perez, Laurentino Quemel, Senator Jose Ozamiz, a brother of the Elizaldes, one Dalton and many more.

After two days, I began coughing and the milky and sticky substance from my insides kept coming out of my mouth. This developed and my coughing became continuous. The Jap guards, believing it was tuberculosis and fearing contamination, gagged my mouth. After a month at Fort Santiago, I vomited blood with bad smelly whitish substance. I knew I was dying. I could not sleep at night, the coughing was continuous, and my saliva had blood, and I was very thin. The food given to us consisted of a handful of rice and water lily salad as viand, three times a day. I was segregated at the corner of the cell, and nobody approached me, being tubercular, sitting always on the cover of the latrine which served as my pillow to sleep on at night. As the vomiting became more frequent and the bad smell became unendurable, the Jap guards, fearing I would die inside anytime as I could not walk anymore, called for a doctor – a Jap doctor. This doctor pronounced my case serious and told the Jap guards I should be released, or else I would die inside the cell. Three days later, I was released. That was on April 14, 1944.

16. At my house, my health deteriorated. I feared I was dying. My brother brought me to the San Juan de Dios Hospital in Intramuros and Dr. Flores of said hospital gave me medical attention. Not satisfied with the medical attention, I asked my brother to take me back to our house. At the house, Dr. Pedro Arenas, also a guerrilla, gave me medical care and attention and furnished me with underground news. From time to time, Dr. Torres of Pandacan, an expert on lung trouble, also gave me injections. I never recovered completely from this and was still weak when the American forces of liberation entered Manila.

17. In the middle of October 1945, I caused to be published in the Manila Post an announcement to the effect that all relatives of the deceased members and the living members of our organization report to me at my address 1483 San Andres as I was leaving for Iloilo to see Col. Peralta. I left by plane for Iloilo November 23, 1945, but returned on December 13th as Col. Peralta was already in Manila.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this 17th day of December, 1945 at Manila, Philippines.

[Sgd.] SIMEON VEGA
Capt., 6th M.D., FLA, USA

Notes and references:
1 “Gold Area Unit, Free Luzon Intelligence Echelon, 6th MD,” online at the United States National Archives.

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