THE JAPANESE OCCUPATION AND THE SECOND (LAUREL) REPUBLIC

 

 

Like other provinces in the country, Cavite had either a governor duly elected during the Commonwealth period but allowed to continue in office under the Japanese Military Administration, or a temporary appointive governor.  Elected in 1940.  Luis Y. Ferrer, Jr. of General Trias continued as governor during the early part of the Japanese occupation until May 2, 1944, when he was replaced by Col. Mariano N. Castañeda, who had fought in Bataan but was released from the Capas concentration camp on June 29, 1942, along with other prisoners of war.

Castañeda was virtually pressured by the Japanese into accepting the post of Cavite governor.  He tried to avoid holding any government position during the enemy occupation.  Shortly after his release he began laying the groundwork of a resistance organization in Cavite, and by October 15 he had already set up the General and Special Staffs of the Fil-American Cavite Guerilla Force (FACGF), consisting of the fourteen regiments.

Unable to resist the Japanese pressure, Castañeda finally accepted the governorship so as to camouflage his secret guerilla activities, and whenever the situation permitted, to use the position to further the resistance movement.  But his job was getting “too hot” for him, as Japanese surveillance intensified in proportion tot their worsening military situation, and after seven months in office Castañeda slipped away and joined his comrades in the field.

President Jose P. Laurel of the Japanese-sponsored Second Republic appointed Dominador M. Camerino acting governor of Cavite after Castañeda’s sudden departure.  However, Camerino served in that capacity for only three months, November 1944 to February 7, 1945, three days after the liberation of Cavite from the Japanese.

On February 13 Castañeda was appointed acting governor by Major General Swing, commander of the U.S. 11th Airborne Division.  He held the job until Rafael F. Trias was appointed governor upon the reestablishment of the Commonwealth government.

Two Caviteños served in the National Assembly during the Second Republic.  The first was Emiliano Tria Tirona, who became the floor leader for several months under Speaker Benigno Aquino, Sr. Tirona was later appointed minister of welfare in the Laurel cabinet.  His place in the Assembly was taken over by Carlos T. Viniega, a prominent lawyer of Noveleta, who remained in this position until the reestablishment of the Commonwealth in 1945.

 

* * *

 

One historic event that occurred in Cavite but is not known by millions of Filipinos was the establishment of the Iglesia Filipina Catolica (Philippine Catholic Church) in Maragondon in early 1900, about two years ahead of the Philippine Independent of Aglipayan Church.

Technically speaking, the IFC was the first Philippine independent church to be established by Catholic Riego de Dios, a general of the Philippine Revolution, set up the IFC after the Archbishop of Manila failed to heed the public clamor for the removal of an anti-Filipino priest assigned in Maragondon.

To this day, the IFC survivors as a testimonial to the religious devotion of the Riego de Dios family and others in Maragondon; but it shed its purely Catholic identity when it affiliated with the Philippine Independent Church founded by Isabelo de los Reyes and Fr. Gregorio Aglipay.

 announcement of the withdrawal of the Japanese Military Administration; the president of the PCPI (Preparatory Commission for the Philippine Independence) reading the declaration of Philippines independence; congratulatory remarks by the commander in chief of the Japanese Imperial Army in the Philippines, the hoist of the Filipino flag and the playing of the national anthem, hitherto both verboten; and President Laurel reading his inaugural address.

The war situation was quite fluid, and the Japanese, encountering difficulties and setbacks in their military operations in other sectors, intensified their surveillance of subversive activity with help of the Sakdals and some ambitious collaborators.  After Castañeda had served about six months in the governor’s office, the Japanese struck in Imus, his hometown and rounded up all USAFFE officers.  Fortunately, Castañeda, a veteran in intelligence work, slipped through the Japanese dragnet in November 1944, only a few months before D-day in Cavite.

In fact, the noose was steadily tightening around the Japanese in the Philippines.  On August 9, American carrier planes bombed Japanese military objectives in Davao, the first American air attack since the fall of the Philippines two years before.  The attack expectedly kindled the flickering hope of the Filipinos after waiting for the long-delayed redemption from Japanese colonialism.  Waves of American planes raided the Visayas a few days later.  Finally, on September 21 huge droves of American fighters and bombers appeared on the horizon, literally causing the late-morning sky to darken.  They swooped down on Japanese naval installations in the Manila Bay and airstrips around the city.  Ironically, the Japanese, then engaged in air-raid drill practice, were caught with their pants down, running away helter-skelter in all directions.  The surprise raid caused universal jubilation among the Filipinos.  There was no doubt that General Mac Arthur, the ousted American military commander whose parting words in Mindanao in mid-March 1942, en route to Australia, were “I shall return,” had come back to redeem his pledge.

On the day of his successful escape from the Japanese raid to join his comrades in the field, Castañeda issued Proclamation No. 1 virtually declaring war on the Japanese Imperial Forces.  At the same time he defined the role of the true guerrilero as follows:

 

To become a soldier of freedom, a true guerrilla has to make self-sacrifices, forgetting the comforts of life, which he can enjoy.  A true patriot may be found not only in the mountain or forest where he is hiding, but also in the city, town, or barrio where he is efficiently shouldering the position entrusted to him for public welfare, and at the same time working cleverly for the country’s cause under the very nose of the enemy . . . The place does not matter.  Every true Filipino can perform his patriotic duty wherever he is… (Placing) our country’s cause above self-interest and personal aggrandizement.

 

            Thanks to Castañeda’s organizational skill and that of his staff, the fourteen infantry regiments and assorted battalions and services group had been transformed into a compact fighting force ready to battle the Japanese and their collaborators, the Sakdals and Makapilis.  Having an aggregate total of 16,608 men, many of them former Bataan veterans and patriotic civilians, who could no longer endure Japanese oppression, the FACGF consisted of the following:

1st Infantry Regiment, Col. Lorenzo Saulog, commanding officer, based in Imus, 97 officers and 1271 enlisted men; 2nd Infantry Regiment, Col. Francisco Guerero, CO, Bacoor, 96 Officers and 1915 enlisted men; 3rd Infantry Regiment, Col. Dominador Kiansom, CO, Silang, 72 officers and 527 enlisted men; 4th Infantry Regiment, Col. Estanilao Carungcong, CO, Dasmariñas, 67 officers and 658 enlisted men; 5th Infantry Regiment, Col. Raymundo Paredes, CO, Anabu, Imus, 104 officers and 1567 enlisted men; 6th Infantry Regiment, Col. Amado Soriano, CO, Cavite City, 99 authorized officers, 327 noncommissioned officers, and 1420 enlisted men; 7th Infantry Regiment, Col. Angeles Hernandez, CO, Alfonzo, 205 officers and 2485 enlisted men; 8th Infantry Regiment, Col. Emilio Arenas, CO, Naik, 99 authorized officers, 327 noncommissioned officers, and 1420 enlisted men;

9th Infantry Regiment, Col. Maximo Rodrigo, CO, Mendez, 57 officers and 472 enlisted men; 10th Infantry Regiment, Col. Hugo Vidal, CO, Kawit, 65 officers and 644 enlisted men; 11th Infantry Regiment, Col. Maximo Reyes, CO, Imus, 95 officers and 1159 enlisted men; 12th Infantry Regiment, Col. Daniel Mediran, CO, Amadeo, 56 officers and 1459 enlisted men; 13th Infantry Regiment, Col. Ambrosio Salud, CO, Rosario, 86 officers and 1292 enlisted men; 14th Infantry Regiment, Col. Emiliano dela Cruz, CO, Dasmariñas, 87officers and 1213 enlisted men;

The various other units attached to the FACGF were the following:

“Bakay” Battalion, Major Fidel A. Cuenca, CO, Binakayan, Kawit, 24 officers and 494 enlisted men; Alapan Unit, Capt. Lucio Camposagrado, CO, Alapan, Imus, 5 officers and 76 enlisted men; Medical Battalion, Major Nery Y. Ramirez, CO, Imus, 3 officers and 9 noncommissioned officers; Division Headquarters Company, CO, not identified, 2 officers and 58 enlisted men; Field Hospital Unit, Major Ricardo Rigor Gacula, CO, Bacoor, 11 officers and 46 enlisted men; FACGF Hospital Unit, CO not identified, 14 officers and 16 enlisted men.

Col. Ramirez reported that not all regiments had the full complement of officers and men, as per table of organization because the chief officers failed to submit their complete rosters on time.

On December 26, 1944 Castañeda conferred with Major Folson of the U.S. Army regarding the unification of all guerrilla units in Cavite.  Castañeda succeeded insofar as the 14 infantry regiments cited above were concerned, but failed to get any positive response from such guerrilla groups as the Hunter-ROTC Guerrilla’s, Marking, Ramsey, PQOG (President Quezon’s Own Guerrillas), Mag-Irog (under Col. Magno Irogin), Emi, TANIB (Tagapagtanggol ng Inang Bayan), and Liberators, the latter headed by Col. Mariano B. Villanueva, a noted lawyer-educator of Naik, who later became twice acting governor of Cavite (1949 and 1952) and founder of a string of local colleges starting with the Western College of Naik, Cavite.

Folson had brought along a short-range transmitter, which he turned over to the FACGF headquarters.  With the hand-operated generator of this transmitter FACGF signal officers improvised a radio receiving set.  As a result of the Castañeda-Folson conference, Sergeant Carlos Udani, of the Filipino regiment in the U.S. Army based in New Guinea, was detailed with the FACGF.  Three days later, on December 20, Castañeda’s staff officers, Cols. Diosdado Rodriguez and Macario Asistio, accompanied Folson to Cutad, Batangas, and then proceeded to Mindoro to contact more guerrilla forces there.

 

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            Closely following this meeting with Major Folson was another conference had by Castañeda with Major Jan. V. Vanderpool, a representative of GHO, SWPA (Southwest Pacific Area), on January 16, 1945, in Buenavista, Cavite.  From his headquarters in Neneng, Dasmariñas, Castañeda dispatched T/Sgt. Raymundo A. Reyes, Privates Lucio Melo and David Perez, and unidentified enlisted men to fetch Vanderpool from his secret communication center in Pico de Loro, Nasugbu, Batangas.  As a result of this conference the FAGCF was able to send intelligence reports to GHO, SWPA.

            The first FACGF encounter with Japanese took place in barrio Anabu, Imus, on January 15, the day before the Castaneda-Vanderpool conference, when local guerrillas wiped out nine Japanese soldiers inside a jitney.  The next day, January 16, Japanese soldiers retaliated by firing indiscriminately on the townspeople of Dasmariñas.

The situation was quite explosive. The following day, January 17, Castañeda designated the towns of Kawit, Bacoor, Imus, Dasmariñas, Carmona, Silang, Mendez, Alfonso, and Bailen, and barrio Sto. Domingo within the battle sector of FACGF.  The sector covered the national highway from Tagaytay to Alfonso, and from Silang to Zapote, extending 3,000 meters from both sides of the highway.  On the same day Major Vanderpool issued a similar mobilization order.  Thus the FACGF was ready for action when the American forces, notably the 11th Airborne on February 1 issued his Field Orders No. 1 detailing the battle situation.

 

The enemy from their movements and activities, says Castañeda, may defend the Philippines in mountainous regions along the Carballo and the Sierra Madre mountains.  The American Sixth army landed in Lingayen Gulf, along the coastline of the Ilocos provinces, on January 9.  The American Eighth army, on the other hand, landed on the Zambales west coast on January 30.  The following day, January 31 another American force landed in Nasugbu, Batangas.  All landed American forces are now driving with great speed toward Manila and will be within our sector any time now.

           

            In the same order Castañeda clearly defined the sector of the fourteen-infantry regiments under his command in order to avoid possible duplication and conflict.  He ordered them to “liberate not only the towns assigned to them but also to attack and destroy all enemies therein or those coming from the east and south.

            Close on the heels of the order was Field Orders No. 2, issued on February 3, ordering the FACGF regiments to attack the Japanese troops within Cavite.  Consequently, they routed the enemy in different towns, capturing their means of transportation, machine gun emplacements, etc.

The first FACGF unit to render valuable cooperation to the Allied landing forces was the 7th Infantry Regiment under Col. Hernandez in Alfonso.  Originally assigned for combat intelligent in the sector, the 7th Infantry Regiment met the advance and Caerilao and promptly gave them combat intelligence report and a situation map.  The regiment was later assigned as flank guard for the protection of the road being used as supply line.  Its valuable work was commended in a letter from Lt. Col. Maller, intelligence officer of the 11th Airborne Division.

 

            While the towns within the Fil-American sector were being liberated, paratroopers of the 11 airborne Division landed in the vicinity of Tagaytay in the morning of February 3.  The next day February 4, Imus was agog with the news that liberation forces had arrived in force.  After eliminating the Japanese soldiers in a truck in Pala-Pala with help of the 1st Infantry Regiment under Col. Saulog, the 11th airborne units proceeded to Highway No. 17 going in the direction of Imus.  At 4:00 in the morning of that day, Castaneda and his staff officers proceeded to Dasmariñas to meet the commander of the advance patrol of the American paratroopers.

Castañeda ordered Cols. Saulog and Reyes of the 11th Infantry Regiment to guard the highway to Imus but to withhold the attack against the enemy in that town until 10:00 in the morning.  By mutual agreement, the FACGF and American forces stormed the Imus garrison stationed in an old Spanish fort.  The enemy had eight machine guns and sufficient ammunition.  The approximately 110 enemy troops composing the garrison put up a gallant fight, but unable to withstand the combined Fil-American assault, they retreated in a disorderly fashion.  Some 64 Japanese soldiers were killed in this encounter, while the remainders, retreating the Salinas (Rosario), were eventually wiped out in a mopping-up operation.

The town of Imus was left under FACFG control while the American forces speed toward Paranaque, Rizal province.  It can be said here, says the Ramirez account, that the province of Cavite had been liberated as of February 4, 1945, with the exception of the coastal town of Ternate to which the Japanese had fled with the guerrilla forces in hot pursuit.  The Americans suffered negligible losses in the entire operations in Cavite.  With the FACGF troops guarding the national highway, the 11th Airborne Division was able to reach Las Piñas and Paranaque, about 60 kilometers from Tagaytay, in the record time less than five hours.

Col. Raymundo L. Paredes, commander of the 5th Infantry Regiment, had a slightly different version of the last few days prior to the liberation of Cavite.  On February 1, 1945, he says the 5th and 7th infantry regiments, under Field Orders No. 1 were assigned as reserve units of the FACGF with bivouacs in Imus.  To the surprise of everybody, the American troops with full supplies and equipment landed ashore in Nasugbu, Batangas, some 30 minutes drive from Tagaytay City.

At 4:00 in the morning of February 4 the 511th Parachutist Regiment of the 11th airborne division dropped on a prearranged area in Tagaytay City.  At this juncture motor vehicles arrived from Nasugbu, for the use of the parachutist forces.  At exactly 8:00 the motorized pointer of the 2nd Battalion of the parachutist regiment entered Silang, Cavite, and sped northward, reaching Dasmariñas one and a half-hours later.  At 11:00 they arrived in the vicinity of Imus, and shortly thereafter they reinforced the 5th and 11th infantry regiments of the FACFG stationed there.

The Paredes account further says that on February 4 all units of the FACGF simultaneously attacked the enemy concentrations.  The 1st, 5th, 11th Infantry regiments of the FACGF, assisted by the 2nd Battalions of the 511th Parachutist Regiments, captured the Japanese garrison in Imus, accounting for 62 Japanese killed, against one guerrilla soldiers captain.  Enrique Diaz of the 5th Infantry Regiment wounded, and no casualty whatsoever on the American side.  Flame thrown of the U.S. forces finished the enemy holdout in the heavily fortified Imus barracks.

            The 3rd Infantry Regiment suffered only one casualty in a pre-landing encounter in barrio Lalaan, Silang, but they killed all the enemy forced in that area.  The 7th Infantry regiments, meanwhile, captured the entire Japanese detachment in Kaylaway, Alfonso.  The 10th Infantry Regiment under Col. Vidal killed about 16 Japanese holed up in Kawit.  The 2nd Infantry Regiment also blocked and killed more than seven Japanese in Bacoor, while the 6th and 8th Infantry Regiments in Cavite and Naik, respectively, also destroyed a bigger number of enemy forces.

In a matter of 48 hours, the eastern part of Cavite province was completely liberated, according to the Paredes report.  After the liberation of Cavite, the 511th Parachutist Regiment sped northward to the neighboring province of Rizal and to Manila south of the Pasig River.

At this juncture Castaneda ordered col. Paredes of the 5th Infantry Regiment to lead a special FACGF battalion attached to the 511th Parachutist Regiment in the liberation of Southern Manila.  This special battalion was composed of two companies from Parede’s own 5th Infantry Regiment and one company each from the 11th, 10th, 2nd, and 4th infantry regiments.

Some 700 assorted arms were issued by the U.S. Army for the use of the FACGF, Special Battalion.  Paredes was instructed to coordinate with Col. Eduard Lathi of the 511th Parachutist regiment to secure maximum efficiency and effectiveness in their combined operation against the enemy.  They performed mopping-up operations in Paranaque, Pasay, and Makati, especially in the vicinity of Fort McKinley (now Fort Bonifacio).  Later they were assigned to Southern Manila, particularly Intramuros, the American Embassy, Rizal Memorial Stadium that had been converted into a Japanese depot, La Salle College, and St. Scholastica College.  The Paredes battalion lost only four men, killed in the mopping-up operations.

 

            On February 25 the Paredes battalion was relieved of its assignment in Southern Manila and ordered to join U.S. forces in liberating American internees, or civilian prisoners of war, at College, Los Baños, Laguna.  Again the FACGF forces acquitted themselves quite admirable in their assigned task.

Incidentally, the head of this FACFG special Battalion, Col. Paredes, a graduate of the SRC (School for Reserve Commission), class of 1938, had seen action in Bataan, with the 42nd Infantry Regiment, 41st Infantry Division of the Philippine Army attached to the USAFFE.  Promoted to second lieutenant in Bataan on April 3, 1942, he was wounded in action.  Becoming a prisoner of war after the Fall of Bataan on April 9, 1942, he escaped the “Death March” to Capas, Tarlac, on April 15, eventually reaching his hometown of Imus, Cavite.

But there was no rest for a heroic fighter under an oppressive alien regime.  In October be joined the TANIB (Tagapagtanggol ng Inang Bayan), a guerrilla organization in Kawit.  However his TANIB unit in Imus was absorbed by Castaneda’s original Cavite Guerrilla Force (CGF) in March 1943, and was eventually designated 5th Infantry Regiment of the reconstituted FAFCG.  Paredes was the recipient of 61 war medals, ribbons, commendations, plaques, and letters of appreciation.  He died in late 1983 in his home, 78 Camino Real, Pilar Village, Las Piñas, Metro Manila.

            On February 7, 1945, three days after the liberation of the province, Dominador M. Camerino, deputy military governor of Cavite, surrendered the provincial government to Col. Castaneda, representing the Filipino-American forces, and turned over to him the administration and control of the province.  Consequently, on February 13 Castaneda was appointed acting governor of the province by Major General Swing, commander of the 11th airborne division.  It was in this new capacity that Castaneda on February 16 issued Proclamation No. 2 which greatly increased the morale of Caviteños.  The proclamation reads:

 

The Province of Cavite has been liberated.  It was the joint success of the American liberating forces and the Philippine guerrilla forces…

            pine guerrillas forces…

Labor is needed everywhere, on the airfields, in the supply dumps, in the roads mined by our enemy, and in the clearing of debris left by the wonton enemy destruction of buildings and houses.  

The life of the community must not stop.  Food production must be increases.  This work must be accomplished by those who cannot join the active forces . . . The price-ceiling list issued by President Sergio Osmeña of the Commonwealth must be enforced.  Make your stocks available and dispose of it at the marked prices.

I call upon my people and fellow countrymen of Cavite to unite to work and to share out luck.

                        Long lives our Free Philippines!

 

            On March 15, Major Vanderpool wrote Castañeda congratulation him and his men for the outstanding manner of their performance of duty displayed during the recent battles south of Manila and for the complete cooperation given to the United States Army forces in this area.  On the same day Castañeda announced that the mission of the FACFG to liberate the province having been accomplished, the members of the unit not in any way attached to the 11th airborne Division must be demobilized.

 

A resume of the FACFG units formally recognized follows:

1.                  Alliado Detachment, recognized as of February 15, 1945;

2.                  First Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, commanded by Major Fidel Rosanes, recognized as of February 3.

3.                  5th Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Infantry regiment, recognized February 15;

4.                  Reyes Regiment: 1st Battalion, Headquarters Co., commanded by Lt. Col. Remigio Reyes; Reform Company commanded by Capt. Jacinto Reyes; Company A commanded by Capt. Zosimo Tabing; Company B commanded by Capt. Epifacio Alindog; and Company C commanded by Capt. Maximo Reyes, all recognized on April 17; and Service Company recognized May 7; and

5.                  Hernaiz Regiment: HQ Company of the 7th Infantry Regiment commanded by Col. Hernaiz of Alfonso; Company A and Company D, commanded by Capt. Antonio Dilag, all recognized on February 2.

 

A total of 5,769 officers and enlisted men of the FACGF were recognized as of January 9,1945, according to a letter or recognition dated December 12,1945 from the commanding general, AFWESPAC (American Forced Western Pacific). The rosters of the remaining members of the FACGI were also submitted to AFWESPAC before January 31,1945 and their recognition after the proper investigation was set for April 1946.

On March 15,1945, Castaneda issued General Orders No. 2 information all units of the FACGF that all our records, accomplishments and exploits were sent to General Headquarters, SWPA (Southwest Pacific Area) as well as to the Philippine Commonwealth government. Whatever consideration they may take in the premises, ours has not been fruitless. We have shown our allegiance and loyalty to the governments of the United States and the Philippines not in words but in deeds. Our work will add another chapter in the history of our country for the perusal of the generations to come."

On the same day Major Vanderpool, guerrilla affairs officer, S.U Army, Acknowledge that he had received from Col. Modesto Gozun, G-1 FACGF, the organization report, to wit:

 

a.                  Roster of officers and men of FACGF attached to the 11th Airborne Division

b.                  Complete roster of all units by division, regiment, battalion, and company

c.                  Narrative chronological history of the organization

d.                  Names of men killed in action prior to January 31,1945

e.                  Names of men wounded in action prior to January 31,1945

f.                    Enemy forces killed in action prior to January 31,1945

g.                  G. Chronological report of combat actions etc.

h.                  Names of men killed in action from January 31, to date of attachment to the 11th Airborne Division

i.                    Names of men wounded in action from January 31 to date of attachment to the 11th Airborne Division

j.                     Names of prisoner of war captured and turned over to the U.S Army

k.                  Sabotage mission accomplished to January 31, 1945

l.                     Names of officers and men whose outstanding performance of duty merits official recognition, etc.

 

At this point it will be interest to reveal a certain facet of guerrilla history in Cavite. On September 10, 1945, Manuel A. Roxas newly elected president of the Philippines Senate, wrote Col. James D. Taylor, CGC, U.S. Army Training Group, asking the latter's assistance in the speedy recognition of the FACGF under Col. Castaneda.

This force" Roxas told Taylor, "as you may know, was under my command. There were fourteen regiments in this unit, nut only four have been contacted and recommended for recognition and indication. I am greatly concerned in the case of these 6,000 officers and men who at present are standing by and cannot respond to any call to serve, pending the recognition of their previous services. It is their hope that if they are not called again to any further service in the Army they may at least secure the recognition that is their past services against the Japanese and during the liberation of the province of Cavite and other places."

The FACGF, said Roxas was under his command. In fact all information gathered by the FACGF intelligence units had been forwarded to General Roxas " for the purpose of transmission to proper authorities. This was done for some time until it was stopped due o the presence of Japanese MPs in his resident"

This fact affirms the close association between Roxas and Castañeda not only in Bataan and Corregidor but also after their release from the concentration camp. It also explains why Castaneda in 1947 was appointed by President Roxas as chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines with the rank of major general.

On March 10,1947, on the eve of the national plebiscite on the controversial Parity Amendment to the Philippines Constitution, General Castañeda saved Roxas from assassination when he kicked away a hand garnered   hurled on the stage in Plaza Miranda, Quiapo, Immediately after Roxas had delivered speech in favor of the amendment. The grenade rolled over and fell outside the stage killing an innocent onlooker and wounding others. The would-be assassin, Julio C. Guillen, was arrested, tried, and convicted. He was executed in the electric chair of the national penitentiary in Muntinlupa on April 16,1950.

Of the fourteen infantry regiments, several battalion and special units comprising the FACGF, only three regiments submitted complete rosters of officers and men, and two have complete histories.  In a letter dated February 10, 1982, Col. Ramirez, adjutant general, says that Cols. Amado Soriano and Emilio Arenas, commanders of the 6th and 8th infantry regiments, respectively, “failed to submit the rosters of their respective commands; and considering that they have long been dead, I doubt very much if these records can still be secured from the men under them.”  Ramirez adds that “Cols. Saulog, Carungcong, Hernaiz, Rodrigo, Reyes, Salud and dela Cruz, commanders of the 1st, 4th, 7th, 9th, 11th, 13th and 14th infantry regiments, respectively and Capt. Lucio Camposagrado of the Alapan Unit died a long time ago.”

The 10th Infantry Regiment headed by Col. Vidal not only has a complete report on its casualties, and a roster of missing persons (killed or arrested by the Japanese military police, constabulary, and Manila police), thanks to Major Liberato C. Jimenez, S-2 officer, law graduate, and local historian of Kawit.

The headquarters staff of the 10th Infantry regiments was composed of the following: Col. Hugo Q. Vidal, CO; Lt. Col. Miguel Aguinaldo, executive officer; major Leberato C. Jimenez, S-2; Major Alfredo Abueg, S-3; capt. Jose Familiar, S-1; 1st Lt. Alberto Jimenez, 1st Lt. Benjamin Legaspi, and 1st Lt. Avelino Aguinaldo, liaison officers.

Incidentally, the roots of the 10th Infantry regiment may be traced back to the TANIB (Tagapagtanggol ng Inang Bayan) or Defender of the Motherland, founded by three former Bataan veterans, Captains Modesto S. Dayrit and Hugo Q. Vidal, and Corporal Alberto B. Jimenez, all members of the USAFFE, who had escaped the Death March from Bataan to Capas, Tarlac.  On the night of November 1, 1942, the trio met in the house of Capt. Dayrit near the Catholic cemetery of Wakas, Kawit, and there they decided to form the TANIB.  It was Dayrit who initiated the meeting having previously received an order from higher USAFFEE officers to recruit men for the resistance movement.  The original officers to recruit men for the assistance movement.  The original officers of the TANIB were Capt. Dayrit, commanding officer, capt. Vidal, deputy commander, and Alberto B. Jimenez, who later headed the Barangay Kaingen.

Known as the “ten Original Initiators, the members of Balangay Kaingen were inducted on the inauguration day of the TANIB.  They were Honorio Calme, Pedro Magadia, Alberto Ocsena, Leberato Reynante, Agapito Victa, Alfredo Loyola, Julian Gamat, Alfredo Nusol, and Rodolfo Courne.  The frequent “zoning” of the barrios numerous arrests of innocent civilians, tortures and other repressive acts of the Japanese and their native minions, the Sakdals and Makapilis, caused the TANIB membership to increase by leaps and bounds.

Through their numerous spies the Japanese police learned of the establishment of the TANIB, and on November 19, 1943 they raided the homes of Dayrit and Vidal.  Fortunately, the two top officers escaped.  They hastily left the TANIB command to Jimenez.  Shortly thereafter the Japanese raided a house in Kaingen, Kawit where Jimenez was staying but not finding him there, they arrested his uncle, Buenaventura Jimenez; his brother, Emiliano Jimenez and a cousin-in-law, Honorato Vales.  The trio were hogtied and brought to Japanese Headquarters in Cavite.  They were released later upon the intervention of Dominador Camerino, acting governor of the province.

On December 21, 1943, Vidal, while hiding in the residence of Mrs. Eleuteria Magsarili in Pasay, Rizal, was visited by Dayrit more than a month after their sudden separation as a result of the enemy raid in Kawit.  Dayrit invited Vidal to join him in the Sierra Madre Mountains, which appeared to be a safer hiding place, but the latter demurred, preferring to stay among the followers in Kawit.  Dayrit and Vidal had a disagreement over organizational matters.  This disagreement was exacerbated when Vidal asked Dayrit where he could be contacted should the need arise, but the latter refused to reveal his hideout.  At this, juncture Vidal suspected lack of trust on the part of Dayrit, and so the two TANIB organizers parted ways.

            Under Proclamation No. 1 issued on September 20, 1944, the TANIB was absorbed by the Cavite Guerrilla Force, which was later named Fil-American Cavite Guerrillas Force (FACGF), Castaneda Unit.  This TANIB unit eventually became the 10th Infantry Regiment under Col. Vidal.  On the other hand, a small unit of the original TANIB remained loyal to Dayrit.

            Vidal’s headquarters located in Tinubunan, Imus, was raided and razed to the ground by the Japanese.  The enemy also captured two guerrillas, Col. Ernesto delos Santos and Magdaleno Amoroso.  Vidal and his staff the retreated to Neneng, Dasmariñas, the general headquarters of the FACGF.  Then on February 2, 1945, they returned to Kawit, capturing one Japanese truck and killing the driver who was a member of the enemy demolition squad.  The next day Vidal’s men captured three more Japanese soldiers who had taken refuge in General Emilio Aguinaldo’s residence in Kaingen.  On the same day they killed one Japanese in an encounter in barrio Marulas, near Binakayan.  One guerrilla officer, Lt. Gregorio Deano, was shot in the leg.  In an encounter at the Balsahan Bridge on the boundary of Binakayan and Bacoor, on February 4, seven retreating Japanese were killed by Kawit guerillas.  On the Filipino side Capt. Antonio Tirona and 1st Lt. Federico Samot were wounded.

Capt. Dayrit and his men occupied the municipality of Kawit, but soon left it under the care of Lt. Alberto Jimenez and his men. At about 5:00 P.M. Col. Vidal arrived at the head of his 10th Infantry Regiment.  They were hailed by the townspeople as liberators.  They marched around the town with the regimental band.  Converting the municipal building into their headquarters, the 10th Infantry regiment began the government of Kawit on February 4 until they were disbanded in April 1945.

For purposes of historical record, eleven sons of Binakayan, Kawit died in the internment camp in Capas, Tarlac, following the infamous Samala, Capt. Simplicio Congbalay, Sr., Lt. Vicente Marquez, Jr., Sgt. Daniel Matro, Cpls. Gaudencio Samoy, Bayani Legaspi, and Simplicio Realica, and Pvts. Servilliano Danti, Paulino Gonzaga, and Delfin Bayan.

Lt. Marquez was son of Vicente Marquez, Sr., Worshipful Brother of Primera Luz Filipina Lodge No. 69, and recipient of the “50 year Brother” medal.  The younger Marquez was a mechanical engineering student of the University of the Philippines (1936 – 1938) and a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy, 1941.

The 2nd Infantry Regiment headed by Col. Francisco G. Guerrero had its suspicious beginning at a secret conference held on August 15, 1942, in a secluded lot owned by Antero Guererro near the seashore of Bacoor, Cavite.  Through contacts made by Col. Guerrero many former USAFFE officers and men attended the conference, Col. Guerrero, who presided over the meeting saw to it that the guiding principles of the organization were fully discussed and accepted by all those present.  Among these principles were the following:

1.      The main objective of the organization was to “restore the true essence of democracy” in the Philippines.

2.      All members are duty bound to obey orders coming from their highest commander.

3.      No member would squeal on his companions in the organization regardless of the situation he may be in; otherwise, his companions would have the “right to execute him and members of his family, or his close relatives.”

4.      Every member, regardless of his social standing and educational qualifications, is expected to do his utmost to recruit new members for the purpose of raising a full regiment.

5.      All members have the following common task: (a) to detect and report at once the presence of any Sakdal, Ganap or Makapili in their territory; (b) to undertake sabotage work whenever possible; and (c) to reports the movement(s) of enemy troops.       

 

Among the prominent members who attended the initial conference were the following: Majors Teodoro A. Buhain, Aurelio Ocampo, Patronicio F. Landas, Pedro Aragon, Dominador C. Lazaro, Leonido Guinto, Clemente C. Guerrero, Vicente Alhambra, Gerardo Dominguez, and Moises Buhain; Capts. Marcelo R. Landas, Lucido Guinto, Bernanrdino O. Monzon, Socrates Monzon, Julian Ocampo, Santiago Yangwas, Fortunato Espiritu, Dionisio Espiritu, Jesus A. Escobar, and Felix Gavino; 1st Lieutenants Francisco Pagusan, Rodolfo Ruiz, and Benjamin Samoy; and 2nd Leiutenants, Saturnino Enriquez, Conrado Garcia, Epifanio Garcia, Emilio Guzman, and Maximillian Tolentino.

The poor members of the organization were given rice rations from the Imus Rice Mill through arrangements made by Col. Castañeda, overall commander of the FACGF.  A total of 480 families of former USAFFE members received rice rations from September 1942 to the latter part of 1944.

As great care was taken to prevent its discovery by the Japanese, the organization held its conferences/meetings in different places, usually in the homes of trusted president of Bacoor, including Andres Ignacio, Antonio Ignacio, Hilarion de Guzman, Epifanio Mata, Roberto Narvaez, Santiago Yangwas, Juan Guinto, Dominador G. Lazaro, Patronicio Bautista, Artemio de la Cruz, Andres Cristobal, Antero Guerrero, Leoncio gaudier, Anselmo Jimenez, Santiago Pagtakhan, Vicente Alhambra, and Tranquilino Calara.

Col. Guerrero recalls that during the height of Japanese repression, when the FACGF field hospital was in great need of food and medical supplies for 178 patients and 69 members of the hospital staff, the Procurement Committee which he had created received enthusiastic response from many civic spirited citizens of Bacoor.  The committee was composed of the following:

Judge Buenaventura Ocapo, chairman: Atty. Manuel O. Chan, secretary and liaison officer; and Atty. Ambrosio Umale, Atty. Higino de Guia, Simeon de Jesus, Cesareo Gawaran, Aquilino Reyes, Pedro Jimenez, Ricardo Sarino, Lucio Ildenfonso, Epifanio Malinis, Alipio Bernardo, and Antonio Lun Thai, members.

The staff of the 2nd Infantry regiment was composed of the following: Col. Francisco G. Guerrero, commanding officer; Pedro Agagon, executive officer until February 22, 1945; he was succeeded by Lt. Col. Teodoro R. Buhain; Moises J. Buhain, S-1; Marcelo R. Landas, S-2 Clemente G. Guerrero, S-3; Aurelio Ocampo, S-4; Patronicio R. Landas, CO HQ, Bn.; and Dominador G. Lazaro, Judge Advocate Service.

 

 

 

 

 

 

TAPARAN FIGHTERS

 

 

 

Not attached to the FACGF (Castañeda Unit) but to the 2nd Infantry Division, Fil-American Irregular Troops, under Col. Hugh Straughn of the U.S. Army, the Taparan Guerilla Unit was another infantry regiment that helped in the liberation of Cavite from the Japanese.  It was named after Lt. Col. Esteban Taparan of Barrio Halang, Naik, Cavite who met heroic death in the Battle of Ternate about mid-February 1945.

The organization of the Taparan Unit may be traced back to a secret meeting in the early part of June 1942 in barrio Halang, which was called by Mayor Emilio Arenas, assisted by Major Pio T. Capili, a former USAFFE officer.  Present at the meeting were Esteban Taparan, Melencio Oliver, Meliton Wakas, Pio Hernandez and Genaro Hernandez, all from Halang, Benito Roma of Malainen Bago; and Prudencia and Jose Arenas. Twin sister-brother of the Naik mayor.

Ever since the arrival of the Japanese in Naik on January 8, 1942, mayor Arenas entertained no illusions about them.  He reluctantly extended to them some forms of cooperation merely to soften the harsh reality of enemy’s occupation, characterized by slapping incidents involving innocent civilians and other forms of brutalities.  About the end of the month the local Ganaps or pro-Japanese elements caused the arrest of Mayor Arenas for once having had under his custody a certain American citizen, Leonard Heberele, a technician in the U.S. Army Signal Corps and his wife.  This was before the outbreak of the war.  Since then the American and his family had never returned to Naik.

Mayor Arenas was taken by the Japanese military police to Tanza, Cavite, where he was grilled at gunpoint.  Since he had absolutely no knowledge of the whereabouts of the American couple, Arenas was later released, but only after receiving further maltreatment at the hands of the Japanese.  In the mayo’s heart was born a burning hatred of the new organizers.  He began seriously considering the idea considering a resistance force.

The straw that broke the camel’s back, as f0r as Mayor Arenas was concerned was the beheading by the Japanese of four Naik residents who were pointed to by Ganap spies as having smuggled firearms from Bataan.  They were Cornelio Baytan, Bernabe de los Santos, and two unidentified companions.  This incident prompted Arenas to call the secret meeting in Halang.

 

For the second time Arenas was arrested in early October 1943 when the Japanese ordered the detention of all male residents from 18 to 50 years old in the Naik cockpit and in several school buildings.  The Japanese claimed the existence of a great number of firearms in the hands of the townspeople.  The detainees were not allowed to receive food and water from anybody, and so they grew weak day by day.  The mayor was taken to Manila where was interrogated and tortured.  Unable to get any vital information from him, the Japanese released him, but no sooner had he returned to his hometown than he was arrested for the third time.  With the barrel of a handgun thrust into his mouth, his hand tied behind his back, Arenas was forced to cooperate by trying to induce the detainees to surrender whatever firearms they had in their possession.  Forty pieces of assorted weapons, mostly air rifles and paltiks, were surrendered.  Modified, the Japanese released the detainees on October 11, 1943, after eight days of confinement without food and water.

The war outside the Philippines had reached a turning point.  The Japanese were losing battle after battle in other sector of the war.  The enemy garrison in Naik was suddenly transferred to an unknown place.  The Ganaps were evacuating Cavite City.  Meanwhile, recruitment of men for his guerilla unit was stepped up by Mayor Arenas with the help of his right-hand man, Esteban Taparan.  In a few days about 400 pieces of firearms, including seven machine guns, were assembled, and membership of the guerilla unit rose to about 1,000 officers and men.

In response to the mobilization order issued January 17, 1945, by Major Vanderpool of the General Staff Corps, U.S. Army, the Taparan Unit headed by mayor Arenas intensified intelligence work and organized sabotage missions.  On February 4, the guerillas encountered the Japanese at Pasong Malainen, killing several enemy troops.  The next day they again engaged the enemy in heavy fighting in the same vicinity, accounting for about 20 Japanese soldiers killed.

Retreating to ternate, Arenas’ men pursued the fleeing enemy.  Feeling that his unit might not be to tackle the big Japanese force, Arenas sought outside help.  At this point Col. Castañeda, overall commander of the FACGF, sent 400 men from the 7th Infantry regiment to reinforce the Arenas Unit.  It was during the height of the fighting for Ternate that Lt. Col. Esteban Taparan was killed in action.  He was given full military honors.  Major Schommer, representing the 11th Airborne Division, U.S. Army, lauded Taparan for his bravery and the noble cause for which he paid his life.  Major Vanderpool said that Taparan “fell while fighting for an ideal that he valued above his life.  May we be worthy of his example!”

 

 

 

BATTLE OF BACOOR ROTONDA

 

 

 

The liberation of Cavite from the Japanese cannot be complete without mentioning the Battle of the Bacoor Rotonda, on the Aguinaldo Highway.  In the early morning of February 4, 1945.

A contingent of 15 guerillas riding on a weapons carrier and armed with machine guns and rifles, had left Tagaytay City after the landing of the 11th Airborne Division, U.S. Army, followed by about 10 jeeps and trucks filled with American troops.  The Filipino was headed by Capt. Jacinto S. Diaz of the 5th Infantry Regiment, FACGF, headed by Col. Raymundo Paredes and based in Anabu, Imus.

Passing through barrios Buho and Lalaan of Tagaytay City, and the towns of Silang and Dasmariñas, the combined Filipino and American striking force encountered a large group of Japanese soldiers from the Imus garrison.  In the ensuing firefight many enemy troops were killed, and the remainders were forced to retreat in disorderly fashion, scattering themselves in the nearby barrios of Anabu, Malagasang and Salinas.  Those who retreated to Binakayan, Kawit were eventually wiped out by units of the 10th Infantry Regiment headed by Col. Vidal and Major Leberato C. Jimenez, regimental adjutant, and by elements of the 2nd Infantry Regiment commanded by Col. Guerrero of Bacoor, Cavite.

From Imus the Diaz unit, followed by a strong American force, sped northward but later slowed down and finally came to a halt about 30 yards from the Bacoor, Rotonda.  They alighted from their vehicles and crouched on both sides of the Aguinaldo Highway.  About half an hour later a large force of Japanese soldiers arrived, but before they could jump from their trucks the Fil-American combat unit opened fire, killing all enemies troops, with not a single casualty on their side.  After the smoke of battle had cleared away, the morning stillness was broken by shouts of “Mabuhay! Long live the Fil-American liberators of our country!”

Capt. Diaz, is a sworn statement executed on September 24, 1980, takes occasion to pay tribute to the gallant fighters of the FACGF in the Battle of the Bacoor Rotonda, including Cpl. Raymundo A. Ilano, Daniel Barva, Angel Sarmiento, Hilario Francisco, and Agapito Sarasa of the Diaz Company: Col. Maximo (Tinting Imong) Reyes and his son, Lt. Col. Regimio Reyes, and the 11th Infantry regiment based in Imus.

In the Balsahan Bridge encounter in Binakayan, Kawit, in the early afternoon of February 4, and the 1st and 2nd companies of the Bakay Battalion commanded by major Fidel A. Cuenca, assisted by elements of the 10th Infantry regiment under Col. Vidal and Maj. Jimenez, completely routed the enemy.  About 20 Japanese rifles, including samurai sabers, were captured.  Unfortunately, the Filipinos suffered three casualties (wounded), including Major Cuenca, Capt. Antonio Tirona, and Lt. Federico A. Samot.

 

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