Testimony of Francisco Manigbas on Japanese Atrocities Committed in Bauan, Batangas in 1945 - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore Testimony of Francisco Manigbas on Japanese Atrocities Committed in Bauan, Batangas in 1945 - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Testimony of Francisco Manigbas on Japanese Atrocities Committed in Bauan, Batangas in 1945

This page contains the testimony of Dr. Francisco Manigbas of Bauan, Batangas atrocities committed by the Japanese in his town 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. 1775]


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


Q (By Captain Pace) Give your name, please.
A Francisco Manigbas
Q Where to you live, Doctor Manigbas?
A Bauan, Batangas.
Q What is your profession?
A I am a physician.
Q Doctor, did you live in Bauan, Batangas on the 28th of February, 1945?
A Yes, sir, I lived in Bauan on February 28, 1945.
Q On that day, were you taken to the church with the rest of the people in the town?
A I beg your pardon?
Q Were you taken to the church on that day with the rest of the people in the town?
A Yes, sir, I was.
Q And will you describe what happened at the church?
A On February 28, 1945, while we were taking our breakfast — < br / Q (Interrupting) Wait a minute. Start at the church at tell what happened.
A We went to church around 9:30 in the morning. When we were in the church, a Japanese sentry told us that the women and children were excused; they could go home. Then

[p. 1776]

we were told to stand up and we were searched for weapons and money, Mickey Mouse money, and other things.

The Japanese sentries took the watches of the people and their money, also. Then, we were told to go eight persons on each pew. Then, afterwards, a Japanese, I don’t know whether he was an officer, asked our Mayor how many pews there were and the Mayor, our then Mayor, told us or told him that there were 41 pews. Then, they counted all in all and they said they had in the church 328 men.

Around, I think, around 1 o’clock, we were told that we were going home. The first sentry told us — the first hundred was told to go out and the second hundred was told to follow, in which I was one of them.

To my surprise, we were going this way, which was not the way to my home, and I was surprised. We found right there at the door a Japanese sentry. We were already there when the last hundred came and later on, we heard the Japanese on the steps upstairs. They were walking to and fro and later on a Japanese shouted very loudly and then —

Q (Interrupting) Excuse me, Doctor. Were all the people in the church under the house at this time?
A Yes.
Q You were in the second group?
A I was, yes.
Q And another group came after that, did they?
A Yes, that is right.
Q Then, a Japanese upstairs shouted very loudly, is that right?

[p. 1777]

A Yes, he shouted very loudly. Then, there was an explosion; I heard and explosion followed by another explosion.
Q Two explosions?
A Yes. After the second explosion, I found myself lying on my back and then, I managed to get up and get out of the building. I went out of the building without meeting any Japanese sentries, and that is the reason why I was lucky to be saved.
Q Now, when you went out of the building, did you see the condition of things inside it before you left?
A I just found out that the flooring and fallen already down and a fire was starting already.
Q What happened to the people in the building? Did you see the people that were in there?
A Somebody was lying down already; I don’t know if they were dead or alive.
Q Were many people lying down on the floor?
A Yes, sir.
Q Did you go back to that house on the 20th of March?
A The 28th of March?
Q Well, did you go back later on?
A No, sir. I went about three kilometers from that place later on.
Q Several days later, did you go back?
A Yes, sir.
Q When was that?
A It was on March — I think it was on March 28th, sir, when I was appointed by an American Colonel to bury the dead persons.

[p. 1778]

Q How many dead persons did you find when you went back on the 20th of March?
A I think about 250 were buried.
Q Can you give the names of some of the people that were killed there?
A I can give you the names, yes, sir.
Q Give the names of some of them.
A There were three Filipino priests, I know: Monsignor Cirilo Castillo, Padre Estanislao Gran, and Padre Segundo Isipin.

Some of the civilians were: Gregorio Contreras, Mr. Castillo, Anselmo Cordero, Sotero Marquez, Pablo Panopio, Severino Brual —

Q (Interrupting) That is enough, Doctor.

You may cross-examine.


Q (By Captain Reel) Now, Doctor, in this church that you were in, as I understand it, the women and children were sent out, is that right?
A Yes, sir.
Q And did the men just stay where they had been right at their pews?
A Yes, sir.
Q Didn’t move around in the church, did they?
A They could go out with the permission of the sentry if they were going.
Q They didn’t move around in the church, did they?
A No, sir, they stayed on their pews.
Q I think you said each pew holds eight people, is that

[p. 1779]

A Yes, sir.
Q That is all that can sit on a pew, is it?
A I beg your pardon?
Q All that can sit on one pew was eight people?
A Yes, sir.
Q And no more than that?
A No more than that.
Q At least half of the people in the church during the service were women and children, weren’t they?
A Yes, sir.
Q Weren’t more than half the people in the church women and children?
A I think so, yes.
Q And when the women and children went out, that left less than eight persons to a pew, did it not?
A Before we were to sit eight on a pew, the women and children were sent out already.
Q After they were gone, there were less than eight persons in a pew, is that right?
A Yes.
Q And there were 41 pews, is that right?
A Yes, sir.
Q Now, how many groups went to this house? How many groups of 100 went to this house?
A Three groups, sir.
Q You are absolutely sure that there were three groups of 100?
A Yes, sir.

[p. 1780]

Q One more thing, Doctor: were you helping the guerrillas?
A Pardon, sir?
Q Were you helping the guerrillas?
A The guerrillas?
Q Yes.
A In our town?
Q Any place.
A In our town, there were no guerrillas.
Q Just answer the question. Did you help the guerrillas?
A No, sir, I did not help the guerrillas.
Q Why did the Mayor pick you out to go to Bautista’s house?
A I do not understand you.
Q Do you know why the puppet Mayor picked you out to go to Bautista’s house with the others?
A It was from the order by the high Japanese command.
Q Did you ever talk to the puppet Mayor?
A He told us that high-ranking officers or a high-ranking officer would be coming so we must go to church for a meeting.
Q That is all he said?
A Yes, sir.
Q Was he later killed by the guerrillas? Was the puppet Mayor later killed by the guerrillas?
A No sir.

CAPTAIN REEL: That is all.


Q (By Captain Pace) You just testified on cross-examination that after the women and children left, there

[p. 1781]

were not eight people in each pew, is that right?
A Yes.
Q You mean that each pew wasn’t full, then?
A Before?
Q At the time you were taken from the church, how many men were in each pew?
A Eight men, sir.
Q Each of the 41 pews, did they have eight men in them?
A In the back of the church, there were more, there were no more pews there and there were probably more than eight men back there, but in our group, there they were counted by eight; eight in each pew.
Q How many people do you say were there?
A There were around 328 altogether.
Q Now, you referred to the “Japs,” do you mean the Japanese soldiers?
A Yes, sir.

CAPTAIN PACE: We have no further questions.

CAPTAIN REEL: No further questions.

CAPTAIN PACE: Thank you very much.

(Witness excused.)

Notes and references:
1 “Excerpts from the Testimony of Francisco Manigbas 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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