Japanese Occupation of Iloilo – the horrible reality

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This is the record of a court case in which Pedro T. Villanueva was charged with treason for collaborating with Japanese authorities in identifying, torturing, and murdering Filipinos suspected of anti-Japanese activities during WW II.  The extent of brutality in these small Panay Island communities brings home the horrible realities of the Japanese occupation.

Beheadings in the Philippine countryside

Beheadings in the Philippine countryside

G.R. No. L-9529             August 30, 1958

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
PEDRO T. VILLANUEVA, defendant-appellant.

Count No. 6. Anent this Count, the amended information recites:

6. That on or about June 10, 1943, at the barrios of Baroc and Atabayan, municipality of Tigbauan, Iloilo, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Court, the above-named accused, Pedro T. Villanueva, with intent to adhere as he did adhere to the enemy, and with treasonable intent to give as he did give said enemy aid and comfort, in his capacity as agent, informer and spy of the Detective Force, Imperial Japanese Army, and in company with other Filipino spies and several Japanese soldiers, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully, feloniously and treasonably arrest Vicente Garrido, Juan Tatlonghari, Clodovio Trieco, Melchor Trieco, Cosme Tobias, Leoncio Tumamudtamud, Quirino Toranto, Napoleon Luceno, Modesto Torremoro and Dionisio Belandrez on the charge that they were guerrilla soldiers and/or sympathizers and did investigate, maltreat and torture them; that subsequently the persons above-mentioned were taken away and were not seen or heard of since then; that on the occasion of the aforementioned patrol, the above-named accused and his companions, with intent of gain and without consent of the owners thereof, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously loot the house of Jose T. Belandrez, taking therefrom genuine Philippine currency in the amount of P300; emergency notes in the amount of P1,200; jewelry value at P500; clothing valued at P200; and other personal effects; and from the house of Toribia Taleon, jewelry, watches, clothing and other personal effects with a total value of P160 more or less.

Jose T. Belandrez, Salvador Toranto, Toribia Taleon and Maria Mendoza, corroborating one another, testified that at dawn of June 10, 1943, appellant, accompanied by some Filipinos and Japanese soldiers, went to the house of Jose T. Belandrez situated at Tigbauan, Iloilo, and took therefrom P1,200 in cash, jewelry worth P300, and clothing valued at P200; that they also arrested Dionisio Belandrez, Modesto Torremoro and Napoleon Luceno, members of the Bolo Battalion, an auxiliary unit of the guerrillas; that since that fateful day, the said three members of the Bolo Battalion never returned.

Count No. 7. The amended information respecting this Count, reads as follows:

7. That on or about the 9th and 10th day of August, 1943, in the municipality of Tigbauan, Iloilo, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Court, the above-named accused, Pedro T. Villanueva, with intent to adhere as he did adhere to the enemy, and with treasonable intent to give, as he did give said enemy, aid and comfort, in his capacity as agent, informer and spy of the Detective Force, Imperial Japanese Army, and in company with other Filipino spies and Japanese soldiers, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully, feloniously and treasonably arrest and apprehend several persons suspected of guerrilla activities, among whom were Federico Tinamisan, Eustaquio Doga, Roque Tiologo, Salvador Tedor, Tomas Trompeta, Agapito Trompeta, Andres Tayo, Victorio Tuante, Manuel Teano, Matias Tirante, Rufo Tolate, Celedonio Tupino, Alfredo Trompeta, Hilarion Toga and several others, who were gathered in the Chapel at barrio Napnapan, where the persons aforesaid were investigated, maltreated and tortured, as a consequence of which Salvador Tedor died of the beating and torture inflicted upon him by the herein accused and his companions; that the following morning about thirty-seven persons were taken to the yard of Valentina Amandoron’s house, where Jesus Astrologo, Carlos Palma, Filipino co-spies of the accused, and the Japanese killed by beheading Andres Tai, Victorio Tuante, Roque Tiologo, Manuel Teano, Matias Tirania, Pufo Tulato, Agapito Trompeta, Tomas Trompeta, Celedonio Tupino, Simeon Ledesma, Hermenegildo Taleon, Marcelo Turid, Magdaleno Turid, Enrique Turid, Jose Tamon, Cornelio Taghap, Eustaquio Doga, Eugenio (LNU), Francisco (LNU) Lucio (LNU), Juan (LNU), Casimiro (LNU), Gorteo (LNU), and several others whose names are unknown, while Alfredo Trompeta and Hilarion Toga were struck and wounded on their necks but miraculously escaped death.

Six witnesses testified on this Count, namely, Severa Gua, Natividad Duga, Alfredo Trompeta, Hilario Taghap and Valentina Amandoron who, corroborating one another, stated that on August 9 or 10, 1943, which was a Monday, at about six o’clock in the evening, while Eustaquio Duga and his family were at their home in Tigbauan, Iloilo, he saw Japanese soldiers and some Filipinos approaching their house; that Eustaquio Duga notified his wife and they immediately started to flee; that unfortunately, they were overtaken by the Japanese soldiers, and Eustaquio Duga was arrested by herein appellant who was in company with said Japanese soldiers; that Eustaquio Duga was taken to the nearby barrio of Napnapan; that sometime later, Severa Gua found the dead body of Eustaquio Duga, with his head almost severed, among other corpses in the yard of the house of Valentina Amandoron.

On the same day, while Alfredo Trompeta and his companion Roque Teologo were walking in a barrio road in Napnapan, Tigbauan, Iloilo, they were arrested by Japanese soldiers who were with the appellant; that Trompeta and Teologo were taken to the barrio of Ermita, of the same municipality, where they were investigated together with about thirty persons who were suspected as guerrillas; thence they were brought to the house of Valentina Amandoron where appellant and his companions killed in cold blood Trompeta’s companions as well as these persons who were brought there earlier. Among the twenty-five persons killed on that occasion, were Andres Tayo, Tomas Trompeta, Rufo Tolato, Roque Teologo, Jose Taucon and Matias Tiranea.

Count No. 8. The information equally recites:

8. That on or about August 12, 1943, in the municipality of Leon, Iloilo, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Court, the above-named accused, Pedro T. Villanueva, with intent to adhere as he did adhere to the enemy, and with treasonable intent to give as he did give said enemy aid and comfort, in his capacity as agent, informer and spy of the Detective Force, Imperial Japanese Army; and in company with other Filipino spies and Japanese soldiers, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully, feloniously and treasonably arrest Cosme Calacasan, Nazario Calimutan, Alberto Caborique, Nazario Calacasan, Marcos Sobrevega, Jose Canillas, Aurelio Calacasan, Graciano (LNU), Juan (LNU), and three others, names unknown, on the charge that the persons aforesaid were guerrilla soldiers or guerrilla sympathizers; that thereafter these persons were taken to barrio Taal, municipality of San Miguel, where the accused and his companions set fire to and burned several houses in the aforesaid barrio; and later to barrio Baguingin, municipality of Leon, where the above-named accused and his companions investigated, maltreated and tortured them; that the above-named accused further adhering to the enemy did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully, feloniously and treasonably, and with evident premeditation and treachery, bayonetted to death Cosme Calacasan, while tied to a tree with hands tied behind his back; while Nazario Calimutan was bayonetted and killed in the same manner by Jesus Astrologo, Filipino co-spy of the herein accused; while Graciano (LNU) and Juan (LNU) and two others (names unknown) were bayonetted to death by the Filipino and Japanese companions of the accused; that after the killing of the aforesaid persons, the above-named accused and his companions did gather the corpses of their victims in the house of Juan Caya and thereafter did set fire to and burn that house the dead bodies inside.

Aurelio Calacasan and Jose Canillas, corroborating each other, testified that at about eight o’clock in the morning of August 12, 1943, while Aurelio Calacasan, Cosme Calacasan, Anazario Calimutan, Alberto Caborique, Nazario Calacasan, Marcos Sobrevieja and Jose Canillas and several others were in the barrio of Anonang, Leon, Iloilo, they were arrested by Japanese soldiers and taken to the barrio of Taal, of the same municipality, where they saw appellant and his companions. After setting afire the houses in said barrio, appellant and his companions brought the prisoners to barrio Agboy, of the same municipality, where they were investigated regarding their guerilla activities or connections; that during the investigations, appellant stabbed to death Cosme Calacasan who was a member of the Bolo Battalion, an auxiliary unit of the guerrillas; that after several prisoners were killed, their corpses were gathered and placed in a house which was set on fire.

Count No. 9. Concerning this Count, the amended information recites:

9. That on or about August 12, 1943, in the municipality of Leon, Iloilo, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Court, the above-named accused, Pedro T. Villanueva, with intent to adhere as he did adhere to the enemy and with treasonable intent to give as he did give said enemy aid and comfort, in his capacity as agent, informer, spy of the Detective Force, Imperial Japanese Army, and in company with other Filipino spies and Japanese soldiers, did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully, feloniously and treasonably conduct and carry out a raid against and mass arrest of persons suspected as guerrilla soldiers and sympathizers, as a consequence of which, about eighty persons, male and female, both young and old were arrested and gathered in a schoolhouse and chapel in the barrio of Buenavista, and thereat investigated, maltreated and tortured by the herein accused and his companions; that subsequently about thirty persons including women and children were taken to the house of Aquilino Sales, where about fourteen persons were bayonetted and killed by Japanese soldiers, namely, Julia Cabilitasan, Mercedes Calopez, Andrea Cahipo, Eustaquia Cabilinga, Isabel Canag, Rosalia Calopez, Luz Caldito, Estelita Camorahan, Roman Cabilinga, Tomas Canag, Luis Cabalfin, Juan Cabalfin, Macario Cabilitasan and Aurelio Caldito; while Paulina Cantara, Alejandro Calsona and Bienvenido Cabankalan received and sustained bayonet wounds but survived and were able to escape after the house of aforesaid Aquilino Sales was set on fire and burned by said patrol of Filipino spies and Japanese soldiers.

Aquilina Cabilitasan, Bienvenido Cabankalan, Alejandro Calsena and Perpetua Canag, who testified for the prosecution, corroborating one another, stated that at about eight o’clock in the morning of August 12, 1943, several residents of barrio, Buenavista, Leon, Iloilo, were arrested by the appellant, who was armed with revolver and bayonet, and his companions consisting of Filipinos and Japanese soldiers; that said barrio residents were brought to the barrio schoolhouse where they were investigated. During the investigation, Julia Cabilitasan was singled out by the appellant who tied her hands behind her back and brought her under a “doldol” (kapok) tree, near a chapel, where she was stripped of all her clothings until she was naked. Appellant investigated her regarding the whereabouts of her husband who was a USAFFE soldier. Appellant, after severely beating Julia Cabilitasan, brought her to the house of Aquilino Sales where there were other Filipino prisoners. Shortly thereafter, appellant and his companions started the massacre of the prisoners. Appellant stabbed Julia Cabilitasan three times with a bayonet. In that massacre, fourteen persons including women and children were killed. Among those killed were Julia Cabilitasan, Macario Cabilitasan, Roman Cabelenga, Andrea Cahipos and Julia Calpit. Later, said house was set on fire.

Count No. 10. Lastly, the amended information regarding this Count, recites:

10. That on or about March 18, 1944, in the municipalities of Guimbal and Tubuñgan, Iloilo, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Court, the above-named accused, Pedro T. Villanueva, with intent to adhere as he did adhere to the enemy, and with treasonable intent to give as he did give said enemy aid and comfort, in his capacity as agent, informer and spy of the Detective Force, Imperial Japanese Army, and in company with other Filipino spies, Bureau of Constabulary and Japanese soldiers, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully, feloniously and treasonably arrest Rosalio Tambirao, Joaquin Escorido, Carolina Escorido, Romero Escorido, Edgardo Escorido, Editha Escorido, Sofia Tambiras, Raul Tabanda, Nestor Tabanda, Elena Gierza, Natividad Gersalino, Jovita Gersalino, Ernesto Tambirao, Ruly Tambirao, Jesusa Jimenez, Eustaquio Tortugalete, Paz Tabora, Basilisa Taborete, Gloria Escorido, Ciriaco Gierza and several others with unknown names on the charge that the persons aforesaid were either guerrilla soldiers, sympathizers and supporters; that the aforesaid persons were then taken to the house of Jacinto Toborete, where the herein accused, did then and their investigate, maltreat, or otherwise torture Basilisa Taborete, Gloria Escorido and Eustaquia Tortugalete in an effort to make them confess as to their connection with the guerrilla movement and the whereabouts of the guerrilla soldiers; that subsequently the herein accused further adhering to the enemy did deliver to a Japanese executioner Juan Gelario, Felipe Tanato, David Garnica, Juana Tabacoran, Jesusa Jimenez and Luz Tabiana, who were all executed and kill one after another; that the killing of Juana Tabacoran, Jesusa Jimenez and Luz Tabiana took place shortly after they were abused and raped by the Japanese and BC soldiers in the house of Jacinto Taborete; that while this was going on, Jovita Gersalino and Lourdes Tabanda were taken to another house by the herein accused, Filemon Palacios, Jr., Vicente Tolosa and a Japanese soldier, where they were abused and raped; that subsequently the persons gathered were asked who of them were relatives of Tranquilino Geonanga for they would be released and when an old woman answered that they were all relatives of Tranquilino Geonanga, the Japanese soldiers at once started to inflict and deliver bayonet thrusts on the persons gathered and as a consequence of which about thirty of them were killed and several were wounded: that subsequently, the herein accused and his companions proceeded to barrio Buluañgan, where one Saturnino (LNU) was arrested, investigated, maltreated and tortured by the herein accused and later killed by the Japanese.

Gloria Escorido, Basilisa Gierza and Ciriaco Gierza, testifying in support of this Count, and corroborating one another, stated that at about seven o’clock in the morning of March 16, 1944, while the appellant and several Japanese soldiers were on a punitive expedition in the barrio of Miadan, Guimbal, Iloilo, they arrested the barrio residents who fled to the Dalihi creek in Tubongan, Iloilo; that the barrio residents, who were about fifty persons, were brought to the barrio of Laguna, Tubongan, Iloilo, were they were investigated and maltreated; that during the investigation, appellant tied the feet of Gloria Escorido, hanged her with her head downward and beat her with the branch of an “aguho” tree; that appellant likewise brought to the house of Jacinto Batorete three females, namely, Luz Tabiana, Jesusa Jimenez and Juana Tabiana where the said girls were abused by the appellant and his companions; that appellant also bayoneted to death Sofia Tambirao for the simple reason that she was the cousin of Tranquilino Geonanga, an officer of the guerrillas; that appellant and his companions massacred on that occasion around thirty persons, among whom were Jovita Gersalino, Carolina Escorido, Romero Escorido, Sofia Tambirao, and Edgardo Escorido.

We have, therefore, that appellant not only participated actively in the punitive raids made by the Japanese soldiers and in arresting and killing Filipino Guerrillas, but personally manhandled Gloria Escorido, a girl barely 16 years of age at the time (Count 10), and killed in cold blood Cosme Calacasan by bayoneting him three times (Count 8), Julia Cabilitasan by likewise bayoneting her three times, with the added ignominy of stripping her stark naked moments before killing her (Count 9), and Sofia Tambirao (Count 10.) These specific overt acts of appellant as testified to by eyewitnesses who have survived the harrowing massacres, speak eloquently that his adherence to the enemy in giving it aid and comfort, was accompanied by cruelty and ruthlessness, in wanton disregard of the feelings and decency of his fellow citizens.

http://www.lawphil.net/judjuris/juri1958/aug1958/gr_l-9529_1958.html

Comments (2) Write a comment

  1. I would suggest that anyone interested in the Japanese occupation (and the American occupation) to read In Our Image by Stanley Karnow.

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