Complaint against Former Nasugbu Mayor Florencio Oliva, February 1945 - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Complaint against Former Nasugbu Mayor Florencio Oliva, February 1945

[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 is a transcription1 of a letter sent to the United States Army’s Counter-intelligence Corps (CIC) complaining about former Nasugbu Mayor Florencio E. Oliva.
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[p. 1]

Nasugbu, Batangas
February 13, 1945

SUBJECT

T0
: Complaint against the former Municipal Mayo
  Florencio E. Oliva of Nasugbu, Batangas
: CIC INVESTIGATION COMMITTEE
  Nasugbu, Batangas

On the night of November 13th, 1943 we, the undersigned, TEODULO S. BOTONES and MIGUEL COCHINGCO, with some of our guerrillas, were enjoying in this town as we had just eliminated all the Japanese spies, when we narrowly escaped death from many shots aimed at us while we two were walking at the crossroad of what are now the CHARLIE and FIFTH Streets. We two were able to save our lives by remaining low in one of the houses in town.

Early in the morning of the following day, November 14th, we found out that the house where we were was surrounded by the Constabulary Policemen, the Mayor and his Special Policemen with all their rifles pointing at the house and we were told to surrender. We surrendered to them for the sake of the inhabitants of the house. As soon as we went down the house, the Mayor met us smilingly, so we asked “Mayor, what wrong have we done?” In answer to our question, he said that we would know when we reached the Municipal Building.

When we arrived at the Municipal Building, we were surprised when we found three of our companions dead. They were the heads of our organization, SISENANDO DESTREZA, LUCAS RODRIGUEZ and EDUARDO TENORIO.

The Company Commander of the Constabulary, Capt. Mariano H. Cabarrubia, brought us to their headquarters at Palico. Upon arriving there, the good Captain told us that we were taken not as prisoners but that we would be retained for safety.

A few hours after our arrival, the Commander of the Japanese Garrison, with his interpreter, arrived at the office of Captain Cabarrubia of the Constabulary and inquired for us. The Japanese Captain wanted to bring us to the garrison, but Captain Cabarrubia was able to convince the Japanese that he would punish us accordingly and that he would use us in campaigning for the surrender of our companions.

We learned that after our surrender, Mayor Florencio Oliva proudly reported to the Commander of the Japanese garrison that “A NUMBER OF GUERRILLAS ENTERED THE TOWN DURING THE NIGHT AND THAT THEY WERE ABLE TO KILL THREE AND CAPTURE TWO.” We believe this was true because even Captain Cabarrubia was surprised to know that the Japs learned at once what happened, knew our names and called us GUERRILLAS.

During our stay at the Constabulary Headquarters, the Japs went there often and inquired for us, but Captain Cabarrubia insisted in keeping us. One time, we were asked to appear before the Japanese officer in the office of Capt. Cabarrubia, and we were investigated. All they asked for was the whereabouts of their missing spies, but we declared we were innocent, to save our lives.

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A few days after our stay at the Constabulary Headquarters, we two approached Captain Cabarrubia and said that we wanted to file charges against the murderers of our companions according to law. But Captain Cabarrubia told us that there was no need, because one of the victims, Eduardo Tenorio, confessed to the investigator that we were all GUERRILLAS before he died. So we remained calm, did not make any revenge and waited for the justice of the U.S. Army liberating forces.

We stayed at the Constabulary Headquarters for one and a half months. Before our release, a group of men, headed by one MIGUEL DAVID and FLORENCIO E. OLIVA, went to the headquarters to arrange peace with us. Of course, we arranged the case peacefully in the presence of Captain Cabarrubia. The spokesman was MIGUEL DAVID, who confessed that it was he and Mayor Oliva who acted as MASTERMINDS of the shooting and the murder of three of our companions on the night of November 13, 1943. Capatain Mariano H. Cabarrubia and Fermin Fronda (now Regimental Commander of the Rainbow Regiment, AUSA and S-2 of the Golden Regiment, AUSA, respectively), were present at the conference and that they can testify to the truth that MIGUEL DAVID pleaded guilty and apologized to avoid further reprisal on our part.

The brief story above is the bloodiest incident in the town during the Japanese occupation. The death of our three companions who sacrificed their lives with us in eliminating the Japanese spies were mourned by the townspeople. They are heroes of our cause.

Pleading to the CIC Investigation Committee for action on behalf of our guerrilla organization and [the] families of those who were murdered in particular, we are,

Very respectfully,

(Sgd.) TEODULO S. BOTONES

(Sgd.) MIGUEL COCHINGCO

TRUE COPY



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

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