Testimony of Jose Corona on Japanese Atrocities Committed in Tanauan, Batangas in 1945 - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore Testimony of Jose Corona on Japanese Atrocities Committed in Tanauan, Batangas in 1945 - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Testimony of Jose Corona on Japanese Atrocities Committed in Tanauan, Batangas in 1945

This page contains the testimony of one Jose Corona on Japanese atrocities committed in Tanauan, Batangas in 1945. The pages contained herein are now declassified and were part of compiled documentation1 of war crimes trials conducted by the United States Military Commission after the conclusion of World War II. This transcription has been corrected for grammar where necessary by Batangas History, Culture and Folklore. The pagination is as it was contained in the original document for citation purposes.

War Crimes Trial in Manila
Photo taken during the war crimes trials in Manila.  Image credit:  U.S. National Archives.

[p. 2198]


called as a witness on behalf of the Prosecution, being first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:


Q (By Captain Pace) What is your name, please?
A My name is Jose M. Corona.
Q Where do you live?
A Tanauan, Batangas
Q What is your position there?
A My position now is mayor of Tanauan, Batangas.
Q How long have you been mayor of Tanauan?
A Since April 10, 1945.
Q What is your occupation?

[p. 2199]

A Now I am mayor and a businessman at the same time.
Q Now, as mayor of Tanauan, Batangas, did you receive an order from the Governor of Batangas Province to investigate and report the number of persons killed by the Japanese and the number of houses burned by the Japanese in your municipality?
A Yes, sir, soon after the reorganization of our municipality, I received such an order from the government.
Q After receiving that order, did you conduct an investigation?
A Yes, through the police department and the barrio lieutenants.
Q Did you compile the information which was requested by the Governor of Batangas?
A Yes sir, I did.
CAPTAIN PACE: We would like to have this book marked as the next exhibit.

(A book or ledger was marked
Prosecution Exhibit No.
315 for identification.)

Q (By Captain Pace) Can you tell me what Prosecution Exhibit 315 is?
A That is the book where we keep the records of all the members massacred by the Japanese and the houses burned.
Q Is this an official record of the municipality of Tanauan, Batangas?
A Yes.
Q Are you responsible for the custody and keeping of this record?

[p. 2200]

A Yes, directly responsible.
Q How many names appear in this record?
A The number of persons massacred by the Japanese is 826.
Q How many houses burned?
A 1602.
CAPTAIN PACE: If the Commission please, at this time, I offer Exhibit 315 into evidence. It is the official record, and, therefore, I request permission to reproduce and withdraw the original record and substitute in the record a duplication of what is in that.
GENERAL REYNOLDS: In view of the size of this document, the Commission feels that the Prosecution should prepare the extract and submit the extract itself as an exhibit.
CAPTAIN PACE: Yes, sir. That does not mean the record is received in evidence, but you would desire an extract prepared as we have in the case of other records of that sort?
GENERAL REYNOLDS: That is correct.
CAPTAIN SANDBERG: May we see it, sir, before there is a ruling made on it?
GENERAL REYNOLDS: You may. It is the intention of the Commission to state that no ruling would be announced until we receive the extract.
CAPTAIN SANDBERG: In that event, we will wait until the extract is prepared.
Q (By Captain Pace) When did these deaths occur which

[p. 2201]

you have listed in your record?
A Well, a few of them, those who were killed by the Japanese occurred sometime before February 10th, 1945. Some of them occurred after February 10th 1945, but most of them were massacred on February 10th, 1945.
CAPTAIN PACE: You may cross examine.


Q (By Captain Sandberg) How long have you lived in Tanauan?
A I beg your pardon?
Q How long have you lived in Tanauan, Batangas?
A Since my birth.
Q Do you consider yourself well-acquainted with public affairs in that city?
A Yes, sir, I do.
Q We have had evidence this morning — this afternoon, rather — of a case in which members of the Marking’s guerrillas ambushed four Japanese soldiers. Are you familiar with that incident?
A No, sir.
Q Do you, as a man familiar with the affairs of Tanauan, know about the activities of the Marking’s guerrillas in and around Tanauan?
A I have often heard of guerrillas, but I don’t know if they are Marking’s guerrillas or not.
Q Were you yourself a guerrilla?
A No, sir, I was not.
Q Did you ever give any assistance to the guerrillas?
A I beg your pardon?

[p. 2202]

Q Did you ever give assistance to the guerrillas?
A In some cases; at that time I was keeping a radio with a short wave, and I was giving information to guerrillas, some information with regard to the development of work in some areas of the Pacific.
Q Now did you, as a man familiar with public affairs in Tanauan, ever hear of an incident in which a Japanese medical officer was ambushed by guerrillas and his head cut off?
A In Tanauan?
Q Yes.
A No, I did not hear anything about that, sir.
Q Was Tanauan subjected to an artillery barrage?
A When?
Q Before the arrival of the American forces?
A I do not know, because we were no longer in Tanauan after the massacre of February 10th.
Q When did you leave Tanauan?
A On February 9th, a day before the massacre.
Q Did you get advance information that the Japanese were coming to the town?
A No, sir, I did not. Otherwise, I would have taken my family, but my wife was also massacred by the Japanese, and also my 15 year old boy.


Q (By Captain Pace) When were those houses burned?
A When we were in the barrio that day already, that was on February 10th. After that time, we saw in the barrio

[p. 2203]

the burning of our houses in the town.
Q What day was that?
A After February 10th
Q Do you remember the date?
A I don’t remember the date, but on several occasions, we saw houses burning in the town, and in some places in the barrio, we saw the big fires.
CAPTAIN PACE: That is all, thank you very much.

(Witness excused.)

Notes and references:
1 “Excerpts from the Testimony of Jose M. Corona in U.S.A. v Tomoyuki Yamashita,” part of the U.S. Military Commission compilation of war crimes documentation, online at the Internet Archive.
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