Testimony of Placido Chavez on Japanese Atrocities Committed in Cuenca, Batangas in 1945 - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore Testimony of Placido Chavez on Japanese Atrocities Committed in Cuenca, Batangas in 1945 - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Testimony of Placido Chavez on Japanese Atrocities Committed in Cuenca, Batangas in 1945

This page contains the testimony of Placido Chavez on Japanese atrocities committed in the town of Cuenca, Batangas 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.

[p. 1739]


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


Q (By Captain Pace) Will you give your name, please?
A (Through Interpreter Gojunco) Placido Chavez.
Q Where do you live?
A Sitio of Longos, Barrio of San Felipe, [Cuenca] Batangas.
Q Did you live in San Felipe on February 19, 1945?
A Yes, sir.
Q Tell what happened in the evening of February 19.
A [The] Japanese came and killed the people in the houses and then burned the houses.
Q Will you describe more in detail what you saw the Japanese do, please?
A What the Japanese did was to kill and burn.
Q Where were you at the time?
A Behind the house.
Q When did you go back into your house?

[p. 1740]

A The next morning.
Q What did you find when you went back in?
A I saw eight dead bodies and burned houses?
Q Who were those bodies?
A One of them was my mother, the other was brother-in-law, and the others were my brothers and sisters.
Q How old was your brother?
A I cannot say how old they were.
Q Tell me approximately how old your brother was when he was killed.
A Perhaps, five years old.
Q Approximately how old were your five sisters?
A They were, respectively, one year old, three years old, six years old, ten years old, twelve years old, and fifteen years old.

CAPTAIN PACE: You may cross examine.


Q (By Captain Sandberg) Did the Japanese burn every house in San Felipe?
A No.
Q How many houses did they burn?
A What I know, was two.
Q Do you have any knowledge of why they picked those two houses to burn?
A I don’t know.
Q How many Japanese soldiers were there?
A I could not tell the number.
Q Did you see them?
A No.

[p. 1741]

Q You didn’t see the Japanese burn the houses?
A I did not see, because I was hiding behind the house.



Q (By Captain Pace) What did you hear while you were hiding behind the house?
A I heard [the] shouting of people, and then I saw houses burning.
Q Did you hear anything else?
A Nothing more.
Q Had you seen the Japanese earlier that day?
A No.
Q You don’t know who came to your barrio that evening?
A No.
Q Who burned the houses there?
A The Japanese.
Q How do you know?

CAPTAIN SANDBERG: If the Commission, please, the witness has already testified that he didn’t see who burned the houses. I think that is objectionable.

GENERAL REYNOLDS: The objection is not sustained. Proceed.

Q (By Captain Pace) How do you know the Japanese burned the houses in your barrio?
A (Through Interpreter Gojunco) I heard their voices when they were in the houses.
Q What did you hear when you heard voices?
A They were shouting.

[p. 1742]

Q Did you recognize these voices as speaking Japanese?
A Yes, sir.
Q Was this the same time you heard people screaming inside the houses?
A Yes, sir.

CAPTAIN PACE: I have no further questions.

(Witness excused.)

Manila War Crimes Trial US Army
Photo taken during the war crimes trials in Manila.  Image credit:  U.S. National Archives.

Notes and references:
1 “Excerpts from the Testimony of Placido Chavez 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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