The Dado Destreza Unit's Application for Recognition and the US Army Response - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

The Dado Destreza Unit's Application for Recognition and the US Army Response

[TRANSCRIPTION]

The Fil-American Guerrillas, Dado Destreza Unit was organized in Nasugbu in 1942 by one Sisenando “Dado” Destreza. Destreza would be captured and executed by the Japanese and command of the unit was allegedly assumed by the erstwhile executive officer, one Teodulo Botones. Although the unit carries the name “Fil-Americans,” it had no actual affiliation with the large guerrilla organization by that same name which was organized by Col. Hugh Straughn. In this page are transcriptions1 of the Dado Destreza Unit’s application for official recognition along with the United States Army’s subsequent response.
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[p. 1]

[Application for recognition.]

FIL-AMERICAN GUERRILLAS
Southern Luzon Area
(Advised by Major CHARLES W. FOLSOM)
“DADO DESTREZA UNIT”
Hq., Nasugbu, Batangas
----------

29 Jan 46

SUBJECT

T0
: GUERRILLA RECOGNITION, REQUEST FOR

: GUERRILLA AFFAIRS BRANCH
  PHILIPPINE ARMY DIVISION
  G-3 SECTION, AFWESPAC

Sir:

I have the honor to request that the “DADO DESTREZA UNIT” be recognized, on behalf of its members who served the underground movement since 1942, the organizer and leader SISENANDO DESTREZA and others who sacrificed their lives gloriously in pursuit of their ideals and for the cause of the country.

In the early days of the occupation, when most of the people were convinced by the collaborators, courageous DADO DESTREZA began his campaign to organize a force of all able-bodied Filipinos who were determined to fight and die for the sake of liberty. During those dark days, when the Filipinos feared much the Japanese soldiers and spies, it was hard to organize guerrillas. Yet, energetic DADO DESTREZA was able to enlist FOUR HUNDRED members who pledged to serve and [be] ready to suffer the consequences. He believed that aid from the United States would soon arrive with arms for the Filipinos, that was why he believed it to be our duty to organize a force and be prepared.

DADO DESTREZA’s ambition was fulfilled. His principles were carried [out] and executed. But, in November 1943, when our unit became popular in western Batangas, when our activities were highly esteemed by the people, DADO DESTREZA, our leader, was betrayed by his countrymen. On that day, the 14th of November 1943, the Japanese recorded “THREE GUERRILLAS WERE KILLED IN THE TOWN OF NASUGBU” by their Police and Special Police Force.

On November 14, 1945, a Requiem Mass was held in the local church for the eternal repose of our three companions. Wreaths were laid as the priest blessed their graves. Standing on the grave of DADO DESTREZA, I delivered a short talk on their behalf. After the commemoration, our men made a clamor for a brotherhood to perpetuate the organization founded by our beloved leader DADO DESTREZA.

While the clamor was being considered, I had the idea to request for recognition to give our men satisfaction and on behalf of those who died long before the liberation. Last week, when I happened to read the news under headline “G-RECOGNITION DEADLINE JAN. 31,” I began to prepare the necessary papers (HISTORY, ACTIVITIES and IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS attached) and would try to submit before the deadline.

Hoping for the GUERRILLA AFFAIRS’ favorable consideration, I am

Very respectfully yours,

[Sgd.] TEODULO S. BOTONES
Lt. Col. (Infantry G)
Battalion Comdr.

[p. 2]

[US Army’s official response]

HEADQUARTERS
UNITED STATES ARMY FORCES WESTERN PACIFIC
OFFICE OF THE COMMANDING GENERAL
APO 707

GSCPG 091 PI

Mr. Teodulo S. Botones
Nasugbu, Batangas

Dear Mr. Botones:

The Commanding General has directed that you be informed that the Fil-American Dado Destreza Unit, purporting to be a guerrilla organization under your nominal control, is not favorably considered for recognition as an element of the Philippine Army.

A set of general requirements for guerrilla recognition, established by General MacArthur during the liberation of the Philippines, has been used as a guide in considering the record of this unit. After careful investigation and full consideration of all substantiating records and testimony of witnesses having pertinent knowledge, recognition of this guerrilla unit is not deemed to be warranted because of the reasons mentioned below:

a. Adequate records were not maintained (names, ranks, dates of enlistment or joining, dates of promotions, and necessary related information).

b. Unit did not show satisfactory continuity of activity and organization.

c. Members of the unit did not devote their entire effort to military activities in the field to the exclusion of normal civilian occupation and family obligations.

d. Many members apparently lived at home, supporting their families by means of farming or other civilian pursuits, and assisted the guerrilla unit on a part time basis only.

e. Record of service was not substantiated by sufficient acceptable evidence.

It is requested that you comply with the provisions of Executive Order No. 68, by the President of the Philippines, dated 26 September 1945, copy attached.

Sincerely yours,

W. P. MOORE
Lt. Col., AGD
Ass’t Adj Gen

1 Incl:

Executive Order #68

[Over.]

[p. 3]

Lt. Col. Hugh L. Carnahan:

1. The “Fil-American Grlas, Dado Destreza Unit,” an independent grla unit, consisting of 400 members under the command of Lt. Col. Teodulo S. Botones, has not been favorably considered for recognition.

2. Basis for non-recognition:

a. This unit submitted a roster of 400 members but claims a membership of approximately 2,000.

b. The roster this unit submitted for recgn is merely an attempt to gather together a group of men for recgn purposes.

c. There was a Dado Destreza unit which lasted from the middle of 42 until Nov 43, and was organized and led by Dado Destreza. The activities of the unit under him consisted of recruiting, propaganda spreading, and laying low, waiting for the day when outside help might come. Destreza had to go very easy because he was closely watched by the Jap spies but he and two of his followers were captured in killed in Nasugbu, 13 Nov 43. Upon his death, the unit fell apart and actually ceased to exist.

d. All guerrilla activities by members of this unit during the liberation were done as members of the Blue Eagle Command of Batangas for which they received grla recgn. Teodulo S. Botones, unit CO, and Antonio A. Chuidian, unit Ex O., were recognized as members of the Blue Eagle Command with the ranks of 1st Lt and Maj., respectively. Of this unit’s alleged membership of 2,000, more than 1,000 were attached and recognized as members of the Blue Eagle Command of Batangas.

e. The members of this unit are peasants who work for Roxas & Co., owners of the plantations and the Don Pedro Sugar Mill near Nasugbu. Both the CO and Ex O of this unit hold good positions in the Roxas & Co. The leaders of the unit see grla recgn as one method of quieting down the grla unrest in and around their area, despite the fact that the present unrest is due to their economic servitude to the big landlords.

f. This unit claims Charles W. Folsom as an advisor because they contacted a unit of his in Indang, Cavite, in the middle of 42. But they do not claim to be under Folsom’s command. Col Constancio C. Crucena, now II Corps PQOG, but one-time G-3 of Folsom, says that he was a member of the Dado Destreza unit himself back in 42, but the unit died out after the death of Destreza.

g. Col Quintin Gellidon stated that he heard nothing about the activities of this unit all of the time he was in Cavite and Batangas, during and after the Japanese occupation.

h. Col Marking Agustin and Col Terry Adevoso stated that there was never any such unit in western Batangas.

2nd Lt. Grant S. Wilcox
Concurred in by Chief of Investigation Section (Maj. Douglas C. Murray)

Notes and references:
1 “Dado Destreza Unit FAIT,” File No. 110-24, online at the United States National Archives.

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