A My name is Milagros Barrion.
Q Where did you reside in February 1945?
A Taal, Batangas.
Q Do you recall any unusual incident that occurred during that month?
Q What was the day of the month, if you know?
A February 16, 17 and 18.
Q What was the first thing you noticed unusual on February 16?
A There were shots and burning of houses.
Q And where were you at that time?
A We were in Ma-abut [More correctly, “Maabud,” in the present day part of San Nicolas rather than Taal. From this point on, the transcription will be corrected and Maabud will be used in place of Ma-abut.].
Q Were you in your home at that time?
A We were in Maabud, we evacuated there.
Q What place is Maabud?
A That is a barrio in Taal, Batangas.
Q But were you in a house?
Q And in whose house?
A Our close relatives’.
Q And what time of the day was this?
A About ten o’clock in the morning, we heard shots and we went down from the house and went to a nearby ravine.
A We went there with my family and some relatives and some friends.
Q Without naming them at this time, how many were there of your family?
A We were twelve.
Q And were there other people there also?
Q Approximately what number of people were there?
A I don’t know the exact number, but it was fifty, thirty to fifty. I don’t know the exact number of people who went there, but it was about thirty to fifty.
A A very deep ravine, like a gap.
Q How long were you in the ravine before anything happened?
A We went there about ten o’clock and the incident happened about twelve o’clock noon.
Q What was the first thing that you noticed about the incident?
A There were shots, the Japanese also threw hand grenades.
A No, I did not look at them.
Q After the firing and the hand-grenading, what did the Japanese do?
A They went down into the ravine, and they set the machine gun and started firing and they bayoneted people in the ravine.
Q Did they leave after that?
A After they killed the people, they left the place.
Q Were you, yourself, wounded at that time?
A No, I was not wounded.
Q At that time?
Q Did any of the members of your family die as a result of that shooting and hand-grenading at that time?
A Yes, five of them were killed. My mam, two brothers and two sisters.
Q I am now going to ask you to give their names.
A My mother, Catalina Perez de Barrion, and my two sisters, Alicia Barrion and Concordia Barrion, and two of my brothers, Bienvenido Barrion and Jaime Barrion.
Q Have you completed your answer?
Q Did the Japanese soldiers then leave?
A Yes, they left after they bayoneted the people.
Q And how long were you or did you remain in the ravine after the Japanese soldiers had left?
A The Japanese left about one o’clock and we went out of the ravine about six o’clock or seven o’clock.
A I think there were about thirty persons who were killed there.
Q When you left the ravine, where did you go?
A We went near the lake, under the mango tree.
Q And about what time did you arrive at the mango tree, approximately?
A About nine or ten o’clock.
Q Nine o’clock in the evening?
Q And what happened after you arrived there?
A Nothing happened there.
Q Then what did you do?
A February 17, the next day, my sister left with my wounded baby brother who was four months old.
Q When you say “your sister,” you are referring to Mrs. Juanita Barrion Castillo?
Q And after she had left, will you describe what happened then?
A Nothing happened on that day, but on February 18, about eleven o’clock, the Japanese came again and they threw hand grenades and they shot people again, they shot machine guns and bayoneted the people. First, they tied us and then after that, they burned the places.
Q How many of you were there at the time the Japanese came to that place?
A We were seventeen.
A With ropes, our hands, under the mango tree.
Q By your hands, or how, what part of you did they tie?
A They tied our hands.
Q Did any of the Japanese soldiers say anything to you at that time when you were tied or just before?
A They asked us why we were there.
Q Did anyone answer?
A Yes, we answered them.
Q What did you say?
A We told them that we evacuated there in Maabud and on February 16, they killed my mother and brothers and sisters and they wounded my father.
Q Did they say anything else after you told them that?
A No, they just laughed and they bayoneted me. I was the first one bayoneted.
Q Were you bayoneted more than once?
A I was bayoneted twice.
Q Did you also receive other wounds at that time?
A Yes, sir, from hand grenades and from fragments.
Q At the present time, how many scars or wounds do you carry?
A I have seventeen.
A They bayoneted me in my left arm, the bones protruded, burst. They also bayoneted me in the left breast.
Q How deep a wound was that last wound?
A In the breast?
A I don’t know how deep.
Q Will you show the Commission the wound on your arm?
MR. GUTHRIE: Let the record show a scar on the left elbow about an inch and a half by one inch in dimensions.
A Yes, I was conscious. They threw hand grenades. After that, I fell unconscious.
Q After you regained consciousness, what did you see or hear?
A It was around the first week of March when I regained complete consciousness.
Q Do you know if there were other members of your family who were killed at that time?
A Yes, all those other members of my family under the mango tree were killed.
Q Of the seventeen people, you are the only survivor?
Q What were the names of your family who were killed at
A My father, Vicente Barrion; my sister, Remedios Barrion, and two brothers, Eduardo and Enrico.
Q In your testimony, when you referred to Japanese, do you know whether or not those persons were soldiers?
A They were soldiers and the one who bayoneted me, I don’t know the rank, but I think he was a Captain.
MR. MORRISON: No questions.
A I don’t recognize any one of them.
Q Were any of these defendants who ones who mistreated you?
A I beg your pardon?
A Yes, in English.
Q And would you tell me again what their answer was?
A They just laughed and bayoneted me.
Q If you see him again, will you be able to recognize him?
A Yes, I think so. I cannot recognize all the Japanese because all Japanese have the same faces.
THE WITNESS: I can’t recognize them.
MR. MORRISON: No questions, sir.
MR. GUTHRIE: You may be excused, Miss Barrion. Thank you very much.
|Photo taken during the war crimes trials in Manila. Image credit: U.S. National Archives.|
1 “Excerpts from the Testimony of Milagros Barrion in U.S.A. v Shumpei Hagino, et al.,” part of the U.S. Military Commission compilation of war crimes documentation, online at the Internet Archive.