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

Testimony of Galicano Cordova on Japanese Atrocities Committed in Bauan, Batangas in 1945

This page contains the testimony of Galicano Cordova on Japanese atrocities committed in the town of Bauan, Batangas in 1945. This particular transcription is from his testimony in U.S.A. v Shumpei Hagino, et. al. 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. 129]


witness for the prosecution, having been first duly sworn, testified as follows:



Q Will you state your name?
A Galicano Cordova.
Q Do you prefer to testify with an interpreter or can you testify in English?
A I prefer to testify in English.
Q Do you recall the date of February 28, 1945? Do you remember that date?
A Yes, sir.
Q Where were you on that date?
A On that date, I was in my house.
Q And where did you reside at that time?
A During that time, when I woke up, I heard from the town crier that there was a meeting.
Q Where were you living on February 28, 1945?
A I lived in the town of Bauan.
Q And at that time, did you occupy any official position in the city government of Bauan?
A During that time, I was the Chief of Police.
Q Were you present in the Catholic church of Bauan that morning?
A Yes, I was present.
Q What time did you leave the Catholic church?
A I left the Catholic church about seven o’clock.

[p. 130]

Q What time did you go away from the church after you had been there?
A About nine o’clock.
Q In going to church?

MR. GUTHRIE: (To the interpreter.) Will you ask the question in Tagalog?

A Where?

MR. GUTHRIE: Alright. I’ll ask another question.

Q Who was in the church when you were there?

(Interpreter Campomanes interpreted to the witness.)

Q Who was in the church when you were there?
A Many civilians.
Q Were there any other persons there?
A Many persons were present there.
Q Were there any Japanese present?
A At present, or at first, there was no Japanese present.

MR. MORRISON: Objection, counsel has been leading this witness for some time. Will counsel ask who was present at the time instead of saying, “Were there any Japanese present?”

COLONEL HAMBY: The Law Member will rule.

COLONEL POBLETE: Objection sustained.

Q You stated that there were many civilians present in the church —
A Yes.
Q (Continuing) — Were there any soldiers present in the church?
A At first, there were no soldiers in the church.

[p. 131]

Q During the time you were there, did you see any soldiers?
A I seen [saw] soldiers after a time.
Q What kind of soldiers were they?
A About ten o’clock when they were having lunch.

MR. GUTHRIE: With the Commission’s permission, I believe I will use the interpreter on this witness; obviously, he doesn’t understand the question.

COLONEL HAMBY: Proceed in English.

[The rest of this page was blank in the source document.]

[p. 132]

Q Did you see any Japanese officers in the church?

MR. MORRISON: We object to counsel leading the witness.

COLONEL HAMBY: The Law Member will rule.

COLONEL POBLETE: Objection sustained.

Q Tell us who you saw in the church in the morning of February 28, 1945, during all the time you were there.
A Early in the morning, I heard from the town crier that there was a meeting in the church. So, I dressed myself and went to the mayor to ask for the purpose of the meeting. I met Hagino and Watanabe. I asked Hagino what was the purpose of the meeting and Watanabe answered that a high officer, Colonel Fujishige, was having the meeting. So, Watanabe told me that you must go to the church. They prepared six chairs for the officers. Before going to church, I went home to visit my family. When I arrived home, I did not see my family, it [they] were not there, so I went to the church to wait for the arrival of the officers. When I was there, I met the mayor. I told the mayor to prepare six chairs for the officers. When we were conversing, many Japanese soldiers arrived and about eight officers and between thirty and forty soldiers with them. With their arrival, Hagino and the mayor were talking. So, I asked the mayor, where was the colonel and he told me there was none. Hagino and Watanabe were the ones talking so Watanabe introduced to the Mayor that all women and children could go out. Men only would stay. So, we entered in

[p. 133]

the church. While we were in the church, Hagino introduced to the mayor that all men were to be searched of weapons and money. After the searching of them, the soldiers could not find any weapons. So, the mayor told the people to sit by eight in the church. The mayor counted that there were about three hundred thirty-eight persons in the church. Hagino and Watanabe were always in the church. For a short time, Watanabe and Hagino went out. After an hour, he arrived again. Watanabe told to the mayor there were guerrillas, that guerrillas entered last night, that was why all the soldiers were searching all the houses in town. And at the same time, there were soldiers in the church guarding the persons in the church. Then, when it was about one o’clock, a high officer arrived and Hagino and that officer talked. Then, the mayor told to the people to stand by hundreds to go out. The people went to the house of Mr. Bautista. I and the mayor were the last men in the line. While I was nearing the house of Mr. Bautista, the mayor, followed by Hagino, were also walking to the house, so I entered the house of Mr. Bautista. Before entering the house of Mr. Bautista, I saw Salvador Dimayuga, who was about three years old, with his father. The father asked the guard or the soldiers that his children must go to his home. The soldiers denied and said, “Go, go inside.” While we were inside, Watanabe entered to arrange the people in the house. After arranging the people, he told them after five minutes they could go out for the mayor was only to be investigated.

[p. 134]

So, he closed the door and locked it. Afterwards, I saw a light and then two successive dynamite blasts. I found out then that the house, doors and walls were broken. So, with the walls inward, I climbed up over and dropped so I could get out. After my jumping, I saw an officer and six soldiers with their revolvers pointing at us, so we ran. As we were running, one of my friends in front of me fell down, so I at once took the trail in the house churchyard, and I still heard the sounds of the revolver, so I ran until I reached Barrio San Antonio.
Q Mr. Cordova, you stated you prepared six chairs for the Japanese.
A Yes.
Q Do you know who occupied those chairs?
A I believe that a high officer would arrive there to proceed. I prepared, the mayor prepared six chairs for the officers for there was a meeting in the church.
Q And did the mayor occupy one of the seats?
A He did not start occupying.
Q Who did?
A Just only we prepared six chairs.

MR. GUTHRIE: I see, alright.

Q Will you step down from the witness stand and scrutinize the persons in this room and tell us if you can recognize any persons who were, other persons who were present at the time you have just described?

(Witness complied.)

MR. GUTHRIE: Just point to him.

[p. 135]

(Let the record show that the witness has pointed to the Accused Hagino in this case.)

Q Will you now see if there are any other persons present that you now recognize?
A This was the man when we were about going to church, those waiting to get by Hagino, and this man told Hagino —

MR. GUTHRIE: Will you name the accused for the record?

A Mogami.


A (Continuing) — that old people could go out, go home.
Q Are you finished?
A Finished.

MR. GUTHRIE: You may take the stand.

No further direct examination.



Q You stated that you were told the purpose of this meeting was due to guerrilla activity, is that true?
A What, I cannot understand.
Q You were told that the purpose or that the people were ordered to assemble in the church [was] because of guerrilla activity?
A Yes.
Q Were you a member of the guerrillas?
A There were no guerrillas.
Q Were you a member of the guerrillas?
A No, sir, I was not a member.

[p. 136]

Q Do you know of any guerrilla activities in the neighboring barrios of Bauan?
A There were no guerrillas in the neighboring barrios of Bauan.
Q Did you hear anything of an attempted landing by the American troops in the Batangas the latter part of January 1945?
A I did not hear.
Q Do you know Lieutenant Takemoto?
A No, I do not.
Q How many officers were in the church.
A Eight officers.
Q What were the officers doing?
A They were conversing.
Q What was your job or occupation at the time of the Japanese occupation, particularly on the 28th of February 1945?
A I was the Chief of Police during that time.
Q You were the Chief of Police during the Japanese occupation?
A No, not all, afterwards when, you see, I was a merchant, but when it was about January 1945, I was appointed as Chief of Police.
Q By the Japanese?
A By the Japanese.
Q You stated that there were no guerrilla activities in or around Bauan, is that correct?
A Yes, sir.
Q If official records should show that there was such

[p. 137]

guerrilla activities in and around Bauan, would you change your answer? If you knew there were official records which indicated much guerrilla activity in and around Bauan —
A No, there was none.
Q — (Continuing) would you change your story?
A There were no guerrillas in our town.
Q What about the neighboring barrios?
A There was none also.
Q Do you think there might have been guerrilla activity without your knowledge?
A I did not know of anything.

MR. MORRISON: If the Commission, please, I would like to recall this witness for cross-examination at a later date after we have introduced records of guerrilla activities.

COLONEL HAMBY: Do you want to call him as a witness for the defense?

MR. MORRISON: We wish to resume cross-examination of this witness at a later date. We can introduce records showing a great deal of guerrilla activities or have live witnesses to testify to such guerrilla activities who were in a position to know.

MR. BONDA: This witness’ official position as Chief of Police, he should have known, or at least have had the means of knowing the conditions, what the conditions were in the town at that time. We request that we be permitted to recall him for further cross-examination

[p. 138]

after we have gotten the official record that will show there were guerrilla activities in the town and by reason of his official position as Chief of Police, he should know about them or did know about them. Inasmuch as these witnesses are put on the stand without our having any idea of what they are going to testify, I don’t think it is fair and we should be allowed to call him for further cross-examination at the close of the prosecution’s case.

MR. GUTHRIE: I don’t see the purpose of this request. If they have such documents and such testimony and they care to put it in this case, I don’t see why this witness should be recalled. If it contradicts the testimony of this witness, that is one thing, but I cannot see why the cross-examination cannot be concluded at this time. It is very irregular to examine a witness piece-meal, a little today and a little tomorrow and a little the next day. The proper procedure is to conclude your cross-examination at the close of the direct examination.

MR. BONDA: It is not irregular. It is quite common if there is some testimony that comes in that is a surprise, although you can’t really claim it is a surprise except the fact that he says he doesn’t know about it which denial is a surprise and for the purposes of impeaching him, we can introduced the evidence we have in mind and we should have an opportunity to have him explain when he says he doesn’t know of those guerrilla activities after we have brought the documents in. It is not an irregular procedure, it has been done by the Commissions here as it is done every day in the States in civil cases.

[p. 139]

We request that he be held here so we can call him for further cross-examination. It is entirely discretionary with the Commission.

COLONEL HAMBY: The Law Member will rule.

COLONEL POBLETE: The defense can call this witness later as a witness for the defense. For cross-examination, it will end now if the defense does not have any further questions. If the defense would like to discredit the testimony of the witness, they can take it up in the closing arguments. Motion denied.

MR. MORRISON: No further questions at this time, sir.

[The rest of the page in the source document is blank.]

[p. 140]



Q Mr. Cordova, you identified one of these accused over here?
A Yes.
Q Do you know that man’s name?
A I do not know his name.
Q How do you remember his face?
A I often saw him in our town.
Q What did that man do on February 28, 1945?
A He killed many persons and burned all the houses in our town.
Q How do you know that?
A Because when we were put in the house of Mr. Bautista, all the people in the house were dynamite blasted. So many people died during that time. After our escaping, when we were in the barrio of San Antonio, I saw that our town burned.
Q But what did that man do?
A That man, before going to the house of Mr. Bautista, he was the one who entered the church and spoke to Hagino before we went out.

COLONEL HAMBY: Any questions by the Commission? At this time, the Commission will take a short recess.

(Short recess.)

COLONEL HAMBY: The Commission is in session.

MR. GUTHRIE: May the record indicate that during his examination, this witness pointed to a person

[p. 141]

in the courtroom whose name is Kato, who is one of the accused named in Specification I, but who is not named in Specification II.

MR. MORRISON: May the record further indicate that specification II embraces the incident allegedly committed in Bauan on February 28, 1945, concerning which the witness has been testifying.



Q Do you know why Hagino saluted this man that you pointed out, as you stated before?

MR. GUTHRIE: I object to that, your honor, there is no such testimony that this witness has given which indicated that Hagino saluted any person.

MR. MORRISON: I beg your pardon, sir, I believe there is. We request that the record at this time be read to determine whether the witness did state that Hagino saluted the man whom the witness pointed out.

MR. GUTHRIE: In the interest of saving time, I will withdraw the objection.

MR. MORRISON: Will the reporter please read the question back to the witness?

(Question read by the reporter.)

A Yes, Hagino saluted that man.



Q You don’t know whether he was rendering a salute or returning a salute?

[p. 142]

MR. MORRISON: Objected to. That is a leading question, if the court please, and I think it is highly improper on counsel’s part.

COLONEL HAMBY: The Law Member will rule.

COLONEL POBLETE: Objection sustained.

Q In your testimony, you referred several times to Hagino and you had pointed him out in this courtroom. How long before February 28 did you know Hagino?
A About three months.
Q And approximately how many times had you seen him?
A I often see him. I cannot count.
Q And you know him and you did know him very well?
A I know him very well.

MR. GUTHRIE: That is all.

MR. MORRISON: No further questions, sir.

COLONEL HAMBY: The witness is excused.

(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 Galicano Cordova in U.S.A. v Shumpei Hagino, et al.,” part of the U.S. Military Commission compilation of war crimes documentation, online at the Internet Archive.
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