|The burned house of one Dr. Luna of San Jose, Batangas in 1945. Image credit: United States National Archives.|
Q Please state your full name, age, address and nationality.
A Manuel Umali, 32 years old, Poblacion, San Jose, Batangas Province, P.I., Filipino.
Q What is your occupation?
A Municipal Secretary of San Jose, Batangas Province, P.I.
Q Do you intend to remain at your present address, and if not, how can your whereabouts in the future be ascertained?
A I intend to remain at my present address.
Q Will you please relate in your own words the events relating to the arrest of the mayor of this town, the parish priest, the chief of police and the clerk of court, in January 1945.
A On or about January 23, 1945, the bodega (warehouse) owned by Taiwan Takosoku (a Japanese cotton company) which was used by the Japanese Army as their bodega, was looted and burned by guerrillas and civilians.
On the 27the of January 1945, a group of Japanese soldiers, the exact number I do not remember, came and arrested men, women and children, herded them in the public plaza and questioned them regarding the burning and looting of the bodega. Unable to get from any of these people the necessary information, they arrested the town mayor, the parish priest, the chief of police and the clerk of court.
Since the time these four men were arrested, I never saw three of them again, and I presume they are now dead, the same being corroborated by the excavation of their bones by their close relatives and widows. These three were Venancio Remo, Mayor; Vicente Frande, parish priest; and Jose Talag, Clerk of Court. The Chief of Police, Nicomedes Luna, aged 50, Poblacion, San Jose, Batangas Province, was able to escape and is alive today.
Q I hand you these papers marked Exhibit “A” and ask you what they are.
A “Exhibit A” is an exact copy of the official list of Filipinos, all residents of the Municipality of San Jose, Batangas, P. I., who were killed by the Japanese in this municipality during the months of January, February and March, 1945. The original official list of dead in this municipality was prepared by myself at the direction of the Provincial Governor of Batangas, P. I., and I have checked this copy. “Exhibit A,” with the official list and find it true and correct, and I have placed my initials on the lower right hand corner of each page of “Exhibit A.”
Q At the time you were compiling this list of dead, did you make any survey of damage done to buildings and homes in your municipality?
A Yes, I did. I also compiled a list of homes and
buildings that the Japanese destroyed by fire in San Jose. The official survey made by me lists 58 homes and buildings, with contents, destroyed by fire, valued at an estimated 110,000 pesos, pre-war prices. I did not actually see the Japanese set fire to any of these homes, but during my survey, I naturally talked to many witnesses who did.
Q I hand you “Exhibit B” and ask you what it is.
A It is a picture of the ruins of the Municipal Building in San Jose, Batangas, P. I., which was burned by the Japanese on March 5, 1945.
Q I hand you “Exhibit C” and ask you what it is.
A It is a picture of the ruins of the home of Dr. Vitaliano Luna, on Taft Street, San Jose, Batangas, P.I. It was one of the first homes burned by the Japanese in San Jose. It was burned on January 27, 1945.
Q Do you know the names or units of any of the Japanese who were in San Jose during the months of January, February and March, 1945?
A No, I do not, nor can I give you any satisfactory description of them.
Q Have you anything further to add to your statement?
A Nothing that I can think of at this time.
/t/ MANUEL UMALI
COMMONWEALTH OF THE PHILIPPINES
PROVINCE OF BATANGAS
TOWN OF SAN JOSE
/t/ MANUEL UMALI
/t/ ALLEN H. PEOPLES
Investigating Officer, War Crimes
Municipal Bldg., San Jose,
Batangas Province, P.I.
/s/ Allen H. Peoples
/t/ ALLEN H. PEOPLES, Capt., CAC
|1st November 1945||
/s/ Charles C. Thompson
/t/ CHARLES C. THOMPSON, Capt., TC
1 “Documents Pertaining to the Testimony of Manuel Umali in U.S.A. v Tomoyuki Yamashita,” part of the U.S. Military Commission compilation of war crimes documentation, online at the Internet Archive.