[The name above is most likely “Lualhati” and will be spelled correctly from this point on.]
A My name is Mrs. Conchita Alas Lualhati.
Q Where do you live?
A I live in Taal, Batangas.
Q Do you live in the town of Taal, or in the barrio of Taal?
A I live in the town of Taal, but we evacuated to a barrio named Cubamba.
Q You mean on the 16th of February, you were an evacuee to the barrio of Cubamba?
A Not on that date. Before that date, we evacuated to that place.
Q You were in Cubamba on the 16th of February?
A On the 16th, I was in Cubamba, with the rest of the family.
Q What happened in the morning —
A Shall I —?
Q I will withdraw that. Now, how far is the town of Cambamba (Cubamba) from the town of Taal?
A It is about seven kilometers from the town.
Q Seven kilometers northeast of Taal?
Q Will you describe what happened in the morning of February 16, 1945, in Cubamba?
Q Where did you run to, Mrs. Lualhati?
GENERAL REYNOLDS: Will the reporter read the question and answer?
(Question and answer referred to read by the reporter as above recorded.)
A We ran to a neighboring sugar plantation that was about 10 meters from the place where we were.
Q What did you do there?
A We tried to hide ourselves.
Q What happened, then?
A Then, we found out that we were nearer to the place where the Japanese went, and we could hear the screaming of women, children, and men, so what we did was to wait for sometime. But then, bullets could be seen near our side already, so what we did was to transfer again to
A We waited there for about an hour, then we could hear the same thing, the cracking of bamboos; we could see smoke and [hear] the screaming of women, and children.
Q Where did you go, then?
A Then [we] prayed, and asked God to help us, but then my husband got my baby from me, and when he stood up, he saw that the sugar plantation near us was burning already.
A Of course, my husband told us to get away from the place. We saw at a distance tall grasses, bushes, so we ran there. I was the first one. My husband could not run because he had my youngest child on his arm and hanging to the child on his knee, clinging to his knee.
Q Did you run to the tall grass?
A I went, I ran in, and I found myself to slide down into a deep ravine. When I was already down, I looked up and asked my husband to jump, but he was pointing at the baby and said, “He might get hurt.” But then, I saw him turn to the right, then I heard shots and the scream of my child. Of course, I could not go up, because I could hear the voices of the Japanese laughing —
Q Your husband [and] child were on top of the ravine, is that right?
A They did not drop into the ravine —
Q They were on top?
A Yes, they were on top and I was down.
Q You had gotten inside of the ravine?
Q And what happened then?
A Then, I waited for sometime. I could not go up, because I could hear still the trampling of the feet, the laughing of those Japanese men, and shots after shots, and the cracking of bamboos, because they were burning the village. It was already afternoon when I was able to go up, and my child, who was seven years old, came to me and said, “My father was killed by a Japanese, and also my sister” — the little sister, one year old. And I went to the dead body of my husband, and I saw him dead, half burned, and my child with [a] broken head and broken neck.
Q Mrs. Lualhati, did you see any more dead people in or around the ravine in which you were hiding?
A In the ravine where I hid, I did not see, but as I was looking around to look for someone to help us, because we were all girls — I could not find any men at all — and at a distance, I saw some dead bodies lying down, and there were some that were wounded.
Q How many?
A We were helpless.
Q How many dead and wounded did you see?
A I cannot give you exactly the number, but I can calculate that it was more than 50 or more, just near our place.
Q More than 50, you say?
A Yes, but in the distance, there could be more.
Q How many people did you see dead there that you could identify?
A I couldn’t recognize even 20 of them, because most of
Q About how many of them did you recognize?
A I could not recognize more than 20 of them.
Q I see.
A There was an old man who could not go down, so his two arms were cut and then his body was burned.
Q And your husband and baby were both killed, is that right?
A Yes, and my other child was wounded in her right ear, and I saw blood, of course, gushing and gushing out from her ear. We were helpless. We stayed in the place for about 56 hours without food, without water, without anything. All our things were burned, and they made us very poor. Our belongings were burned.
CAPTAIN REEL: Will you read the question?
Q (By Captain Reel) How long after that was it that you first saw American troops?
A The Americans arrived in our place on March 6th.
Q March 6th 1945?
Q What is the name of the town that you were in?
A Taal, Batangas.
CAPTAIN PACE: Cubamba is — I don’t have the coordinates on this map. If you will follow the main road east from Taal, about 5 or 6 kilometers to a town of Mojon, there is an intersection with the highway running north, and follow that highway north about 3 kilometers, you will come to the barrio of Cubamba, about 2 kilometers from the lake.
CAPTAIN REEL: Oh, Cubamba?
CAPTAIN PACE: Yes, sir.
CAPTAIN REEL: Can you spell that?
CAPTAIN PACE: C-u-b-a-m-b-a.
GENERAL REYNOLDS: You have found it?
CAPTAIN REEL: Yes, sir.
A Yes, sir.
Q And then somebody said that the neighboring barrio was burning?
A Yes, sir.
Q Then people ran and men shouted, “Japs! Japs! Japanese!” is that right?
A Yes, sir.
Q Did you see any soldiers?
A I did not see, but I could hear.
A I saw, of course, when we were in the town.
A I did not see exactly, but I knew that they were coming. I was not looking back anymore, because I knew that the Japanese were coming, from the trampling of their feet, with their voices, because they were speaking the Japanese language.
Q And you heard some shooting, is that right?
A Yes, shots after shots.
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 Conchita Alas Lualhati in U.S.A. v Tomoyuki Yamashita,” part of the U.S. Military Commission compilation of war crimes documentation, online at the Internet Archive.