Testimony of Casimiro Garcia on Japanese Atrocities Committed in Taal, Batangas in 1945
A Casimiro Garcia
Q Where to you live?
A Carsuche. [Carasuche]
Q Where did you live on February 16, 1945?
A February 16th, I was at the barrio Luntal.
A The Japanese arrived; they burned the houses; they killed two persons and bayoneted them.
Q Where were you when this happened?
A I was at the barrio, one side.
Q And then, did you go and hide?
A I was hiding.
Q Did you return to the barrio on the 18th day of February?
A Yes, sir; I returned.
Q Where did you go in the barrio?
A I went to the barrio where there was an oven.
Q You mean sugar mill?
Q (By Captain Pace) Did you go to the sugar mill at Barrio Luntal on the 18th of February?
A Yes, sir.
Q How many people were at the sugar mill?
Q Did anything happen that morning?
A Yes, sir, something happened.
Q What was it?
A The Japanese returned and fired machine guns at them and those who ran were shot at.
CAPTAIN SANDBERG: I would like to inquire if the witness didn’t use the word “guerrilla.”
THE INTERPRETER: The word?
CAPTAIN SANDBERG: Did he use the word “guerrilla?”
(Whereupon, the Interpreter asked the question of the witness.)
THE WITNESS (Through the Interpreter): No, sir.
A (Through the Interpreter) After killing the persons, they burned them.
Q How did they kill the persons?
A They were bayoneted.
A I don’t know. They were bayoneted.
Q Were any of them shot?
A Yes, they were shot.
Q Out of the 68 people who you testified were at the sugar mill, how many of them were killed?
A They killed 63 of them.
Q How many people survived?
A Five, sir.
Q You were one of the five?
A Yes, sir.
Q You were at the barrio a lieutenant; is that right?
A That’s right.
Q And it was your duty to count the people killed; is that also correct?
A Yes, sir. To report to the mayor the number.
A When I went home, no; it was not when I went home. I was there in Luntal.
Q Where is Luntal — is that the name of it? Luntal?
A I was at the barrio on that day, February 16th
Q But where at the barrio?
A Somewhere on the east side.
A Outside, sir.
Q And what was the very first thing that you noticed that was unusual?
A The Japanese were burning the houses.
Q When did you see the Japanese?
A When I saw them, it was on the 16th.
Q Yes. But did you see them before you saw any smoke or fire?
A Yes, sir.
Q And what were they doing when you first saw the Japanese?
A They were walking. The approached the homes, burned them and walked again.
Q And did you stand on the street and watch them burning those homes?
CAPTAIN REEL: Excuse me, sir, but I don’t think he said anything about it. I am trying to find out what happened.
CAPTAIN PACE: I think the record is clear as to what happened.
GENERAL REYNOLDS: The objection is not sustained. We will hear the answer to this question.
CAPTAIN REEL: Will the reporter read the question to the interpreter?
THE WITNESS (Through the Interpreter): I was behind
Q (By Captain Reel) Where were you hiding?
A On the east side of the barrio.
Q What sort of hiding place did you have?
A There was a grassy spot, and I laid there very flat.
Q And did you lay down in this grassy spot the minute you saw the Japanese coming?
A Yes, sir.
Q You had seen Japanese soldiers many times during the two or three years before this?
A Yes. I used to see them before this burning incident.
Q Yes. And when you saw them before, did you always fall in the long grass and hide?
A No, sir. I used not to hide; only at that time when I knew that they were killing.
Q In other words, on the 16th of February, for the first time, you hid when you saw Japanese soldiers, because you thought the people would be killed?
A Yes, sir.
Q And that was because you had heard that the guerrillas would be in town on the 16th of February; is that correct?
GENERAL REYNOLDS: The objection is sustained. It has been repeated several times. The Commission has no objection to your seeking an answer to that particular question, but it does object to that manner of approach. There are statements in the question that you stated which are quite at variance with the witness’ testimony.
GENERAL REYNOLDS: I think, perhaps, it would be better if you can state it more simply. I know we will get better results from this witness.
CAPTAIN REEL: Yes, sir.
A Yes, sir; because we heard from refugees from Bolboc, Cultihan and other towns that the Japanese were killing people.
Q Did you hear from the refugees from other towns that there were battles or fights between the Japanese and guerrillas?
A There was no fighting, but the news was that the Japanese were killing the persons.
Q Did you get news that the American forces had landed some time previously and were close by?
A We had not heard yet about the Americans.
Q There was no talk about the American forces in Luntal at all; is that right?
A No, sir.
Q How long did you lay in this long grass that you have described?
A More or less two hours.
Q And where did you go from there?
Q And why did you go to the oven for making sugar?
A In order to hide because I knew that the Japanese were killing.
Q Was it light or dark when you went from the long grass to the oven for making sugar?
A The time that day, more or less around 4 o’clock.
Q So that at 4 o’clock on that afternoon, daylight, you left one hiding place to go to another; is that correct?
A I went only as far as the oven for making sugar.
CAPTAIN PACE: 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 Casimiro Garcia in U.S.A. v Tomoyuki Yamashita,” part of the U.S. Military Commission compilation of war crimes documentation, online at the Internet Archive.