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

Testimony of Godofredo Brual on Japanese Atrocities Committed Committed in Bauan, Batangas in 1945

This page contains the testimony of Godofredo Brual 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. 1782]


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 Godofredo Brual.
Q Where do you live?
A Bauan, Batangas.
Q What is your occupation, Mr. Brual?
A Before the war, I was a lawyer. Now, at present, I am the Municipal Mayor.
Q You are the Mayor of the Municipality of Batangas?
A Yes, sir, of Bauan.
Q I beg your pardon. How long have you been Mayor of Bauan?
A I was elected in the year 1940, and then in the Japanese occupation, I was appointed Mayor last December 4, 1943, and three months thereafter, I resigned.
Q Yes. When did you become Mayor this time?
A I was appointed by the Philippine Civil Affairs Unit on April 11, and confirmed by the Commonwealth Government on the same date.
Q Now, pursuant to your duties as Mayor, and instructions which you received from the Governor of the Province of Batangas, have you made an investigation of the incidents which took place in the City of Bauan on February 28, 1945?
A Yes, sir. We made a census of deaths which resulted from the Japanese brutalities in our town.
Q This census, what period does it cover?

[p. 1783]

A It covers from April — I don’t know the exact date, but it was [among] the last days of April, we made the census.

(A list of names was marked
Prosecution Exhibit No. 279
for identification.)

Q (By Captain Pace) Did you investigate and determine the names of the people who had died in Batangas?
A Yes, sir, we did, but I could not remember all of them.
Q Well, what day did this people die on, that you compiled the list on?
A I beg pardon, sir?
Q What period does this list cover?
A The list covers the deaths which resulted from the dynamite blasting and bayoneting outside the town.
Q You compiled a list of names, is that right?
A Yes, sir.
Q On what day did those people die?
A February 28, 1945.
Q Will you look at Prosecution’s Exhibit No. 279 for identification and see if you can identify it?
A (After examining exhibit) Yes sir; this is the one made by us.
Q That list contains the names of people who died on February 28, is that right?
A Yes, sir.
Q Is this an official city record of the Municipality of Bauan?
A Yes, sir.

CAPTAIN PACE: At this time, I offer Exhibit No. 279 in evidence.

[p. 1784]

If the Commission please, I just got this last night, so we have no copies. If we may offer it now and withdraw it and have it photostated at a later date —

GENERAL REYNOLDS: Is this the same as the photostat?

CAPTAIN PACE: No, sir, this is an older list that you have. The later one is now being offered.

CAPTAIN REEL: Do we have the latest list?

CAPTAIN PACE: No, you will have to look at this one after the Commission has finished.

CAPTAIN REEL: Sir, our objection to this exhibit is addressed to the same matter as previous similar exhibits, namely, the statement as to the cause of death. We wrote in the statement presented to the Commission, as different from the statements previously handed to us, there is added a date when the deaths occurred. We feel that that has not been established, and we object to that as well.

MAJOR KERR: If the Commission please, the testimony of this witness shows that this is an official document of a city government. Therefore, it would be admissible even in a court of law, and I submit, sir, that without including that part of the official record or document or report which specifies the cause and date of death, the document would, of course, be meaningless.

I submit, sir, that it should be admitted in evidence by the Commission, and I submit that it does have high probative value.

CAPTAIN REEL: We take the position, sir, that there is no magic in the word “official;” almost anything can be called official. We believe there is actually nothing

[p. 1785]

official about this list, and we will attempt to point that out in cross-examination, as we have in previous cases.

MAJOR KERR: As far as that is concerned, sir, the document is identified as an official record of the city.

GENERAL REYNOLDS: The objection of counsel as to the date, which I believe, is 28 February 1945, is not sustained.

As I understand it, the remainder of your objection is to the words “by the Japanese soldiers” in the caption of the document, page 1, that is correct?


GENERAL REYNOLDS: The words “by the Japanese soldiers” are stricken, which will cause the caption to read “Record of deaths in the Municipality of Bauan, Province of Batangas,” and below it in parentheses, “February 28, 1945.”

Subject to those changes, the document is accepted in evidence.

(Prosecution Exhibit No. 279
for identification was
received in evidence.)

Q (By Captain Pace) Mr. Brual, was there any fighting going on in Bauan on February 28, 1945?
A I could not tell you, sir, because I was not in Bauan.
Q What is the normal death rate in Bauan?
A As I understand, during the rainy season, there are about four deaths to none a day.

CAPTAIN PACE: You may cross-examine.

[p. 1786]


Q (By Captain Reel) Did you say “four deaths to none?”
A Yes, sir.
Q And what do you mean by “none?” No births?
A Some days, there are no deaths.
Q Oh, I see. You mean the deaths run as high as four a day?
A Yes.
Q And some days nobody will die?
A Yes, sir.
Q Well, how about the dry season?
A The dry season, sometimes there are deaths, but so far as I remember, there are no four deaths a day in Bauan.
Q How many are there?
A Maybe one, two, as many as that.
Q One or two a day in the dry season?
A Yes, sir.
Q And up to four a day during the rainy season?
(The witness nodded affirmatively.)
Q Now, this investigation that you have made, as I understand it, you were appointed Mayor on 11 April, 1945?
A Yes, sir.
Q And then, you were told to have an investigation made of the number of deaths in the city, were you not?
A Yes, sir.
Q Did you personally go out and count the bodies?
A Yes, sir, we and the doctor appointed by the Colonel of the 11th Airborne and myself and other laborers, precisely buried the dead bodies that were dynamited by the Japanese.

[p 1787]

Q You yourself went out and counted these bodies?
A We did not — we counted — we did not count the number of deaths — the number of bodies we found, but we learned from the widows and orphans of the deceased the number of deaths in Bauan.
Q So that your testimony as to the number of deaths is based on what widows and orphans told you, is that right?
A I believe — yes, sir.
Q And based on what widows and orphans told you, you made a so-called official report to the Governor of Batangas, is that correct?
A Yes, sir.

CAPTAIN PACE: I object to the form of that question. It is not a “so-called” official report. The witness testified that it is an official report.

CAPTAIN REEL: I have no objection to the words “so-called” being withdrawn, if that makes any difference, sir.


Q (By Captain Reel) Now, how many people went out with you to count these bodies?
A The officials who were with me, were myself, the Doctor, the Chief of Police, and two policemen, and then the laborers, which I could not remember how many were they.
Q Well, about how many laborers?
A About ten of them.
Q So that these people and ten laborers came in with a compilation of the number of bodies that they found, is that right?

[p. 1788]

A Yes, sir.
Q They told me what that was and you put that into your report, is that correct?
A As I have said before, the orphans and widows who went to our office told them of the deaths of their beloved ones, from reports of those people, we based our report, because we could not recognize these dead bodies there.
Q I see. Incidentally, there was an artillery barrage of the town when the Americans came?
A There was none, sir.
Q Was there any fighting in the town?
A There was none, sir.
Q Where were you in the town?
A I was in Mindoro, in the evacuation to Mindoro Island.
Q You weren’t at or near the town?
A I was in the island of Mindoro; we evacuated.
Q I just wanted to make that clear on the record. And do you have any record of the number of people who died as the result of any fighting that there might have been in the town?
A We don’t have, sir.
Q Do you have any record of the number of people who might have died from natural causes during the Japanese occupation?

[p. 1789]

A We don’t have, sir.
Q Do you have any record of the number of people who might have died from natural causes between the end of the Japanese occupation and the 11th of April, 1945?
A Will you please repeat the question, sir?
Q Do you have a record of the number of people who died from natural causes between the end of the Japanese occupation and the 11th day of April, 1945, when you were appointed Mayor?
A Oh, it is the duty of the District Health Officer in Bauan to have that record.
Q Yes, and during that period from 11 April 1945, was there such an officer?
A There was, sir.
Q When was he appointed?
A The same date as myself.
Q 11 April 1945?
A Yes, sir.
Q What was the population of Bauan in February, 1945, early February?
A I could not tell, sir.
Q Can you give me approximately the population?
A I could not give you any number, sir, because before the war, we made a census, that is, the census ordered by the Central Government, and we had 47,000.
Q 47,000?
A Before the war.
Q That is, men, women and children?
A Yes, sir.

[p. 1780]

Q Now, I think you said that you were Mayor for a short time in 1943?
A Yes, sir.
Q What was the population of Bauan when you were Mayor in 1943?
A I don’t know, sir. That is what I could not tell.
Q Well, I don’t want the exact figure. Give us an approximation.
A I could not tell you because there were many soldiers of the Philippine Army who were killed in Bataan and other battlefronts, and there were also soldiers from our place who died at the concentration camp.
Q I think you told us that you were may–or for six months in 1943?
A Yes, sir.
Q Now, as Mayor for six months in 1943, didn’t you have some idea of what the population of the town was?
A As I have told you, I could not answer your question. I could not give an approximate number, because I could not remember how many soldiers that were inducted into the Philippine Army, and many of them died on the battlefronts, many of them died in the concentration camps.

GENERAL REYNOLDS: The Commission interrupts to say that unless Defense can give some real reason for pursuing this line of questioning, it will have to be stopped. It is completely foreign to the purpose for which we are assembled.

CAPTAIN REEL: Sir, the testimony in this case was that 300 and some odd — I forget the number on this exhibit — were found dead. Now, if the population of the town is

[p. 1791]

considerably larger, as apparently it was 47,000 before the war, it would stand to reason, sir, that if any count of the bodies was made, that any information on that count would be based purely on hearsay and not on actual count; in addition to which, there were previous witnesses who testified the whole adult male population of the town, namely, 400, was involved in this incident. Now, we think it is material if the adult male population of the town was approximately one half of 47,000, that that is considerably more than 400, of which there has been testimony

CAPTAIN PACE: If the Commission permits Defense to go further into this matter, I believe some of the confusion would be avoided if a distinction was made between the Municipality of Bauan and the town of Bauan itself. There is probably a great difference in the population of those two places.

GENERAL REYNOLDS: The Commission does not understand that this line of questioning is material to the issue and, subject to objection by any member of the Commission, this line of cross-examination will be terminated.

CAPTAIN REEL: That, then, in turn ends the cross-examination. I wish to state that I neglected to add, in my previous statement, that of course another basis of it is the credibility of the witness, who said he was Mayor and doesn’t know the population.

CAPTAIN PACE: Thank you very much, Mr. Brual.

(Witness excused.)

Notes and references:
1 “Excerpts from the Testimony of Godofredo Brual 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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