Report on collaboration
by Teodoro M. Locsin
Re-examine of Issue, Prospect and Expediency of Amnesty, Forecast of Outcome of Collaboration Cases
August 3, 1946–THERE is no end to the argument. It is impossible to decide whether these men did right or wrong as to establish which came first, the chicken or the egg. It is all very well to say that errors of the mind should be forgiven but errors of the heart? How nay a man’s sincerity be defined? Who can look into a man’s heart and say this one was true to the cause and that one false.
“I would do it over again,” Laurel declares. He announces his readiness to die: “I would not want to live if my people believed that I betrayed them…”
Surely the last thing one could accuse Laurel of, is insincerity. At the same time, it is difficult to overlook the fact that while the Japanese robbed, murdered and raped, he called them friend, he went further and wrote and published a book commending the Japanese way of life, “bushido,” as against democracy. It may be argued that Laurel made those anti-American utterances, sent the Constabulary after the guerrillas, etc., to appease the Japanese and cushion the shock of the occupation. But must he write a book?
Laurel is a courageous man, and he seems to have the admiration and respect of the President. When Roxas came down from Baguio last year, he called Laurel, in the presence of newspapermen, a hero. Thinking the man thus, it can only be with pain that he would see him sentenced to prison for life, for treasonable collaboration with the enemy. Surely he would feel he must so something about it.
Of course, the People’s Court may clear Laurel. In this connection, it may be noted that the counts against Laurel are more than 100 against Alvero’s 22.
But did Laurel—did the rest of those accused of political collaboration really do wrong? Who will answer that? There is the People’s Court—established precisely for that purpose, to decide these men’s innocence or guilt. That would seem to be the correct procedure. Let the People’s Court decide. Let Laurel and other officials of his regime submit to its jurisdiction as does the humblest, lowliest citizen of this Republic, now before the court on charge of being a Japanese spy. There is either a crime of treason of there is none. Treason is either punished or it is condoned. There is either one law for all, or no law at all.
Policy of administration
The Administration has indicated that its purpose is to let the People’s Court continue its burdensome but necessary work—but, it is added, there will be “reinvestigations.” There are many cases, it is explained, in which reinvestigation would show that the accused is plainly innocent, that he need not be tried at all.
Again, that is correct. That is legal and just. But how will it workout? This year is not last year, and the men in power are not the same. How fair would the reinvestigations be? How much political pressure would be brought to bear on the reinvestigators? Would politics decide the outcome, or would strict justice rule? Would not amnesty, after all—would not amnesty be the open, forthright thing?
But if the big ones go, should not the small ones be let free, too? The Makapili, taking them at their word, collaborated with the enemy. Did not the Republic enter into a pact of alliance with the Japanese? Why should he not fight for them? As you can see, the questions are endless.
Let us go into the probable outcome. Laurel and company will either be tried by the People’s Court or there will be an amnesty. If they are tried by the People’s Court, they will either be declared innocent or found guilty. The decision in the Sison case give us a hint on the probable outcome of these cases.
Study In Detection
If, however, they are declared innocent, Laurel and his association will be set free and will take their place, a high and honored one, in society. Perhaps, in the government itself. If found guilty, they will appeal to the Supreme Court which may rule more favorably. If found still guilty by that court—there will be an amnesty in a year or two, and they will be free, anyway.
If there is an amnesty, it will not cover the economic collaborators and the lowly Makapili and uninfluential Japanese spy. Only the big ones will go free. If I am proved wrong—write me.
This, as you need not be told, is a study in detection, an attempt at pure deductive reasoning. I am shooting in the dark, I am guessing, but it is my guess that, no matter what happens, some way or another Laurel and his colleagues will be free. If the courts do not set them free, an amnesty will.
After all, in the last election the majority of the Filipino people decided that Roxas, far from being a traitor as some in the opposition claimed, was a patriot and a great man. Roxas occupied a responsible position in Laurel’s government, and was mainly responsible for the drafting of the Constitution. If Roxas, in the conviction of most Filipinos, is not a collaborator, instead deserving of the Presidency—let Laurel and company free. There will be not great outcry. Let the whole bunch free, close the book—what has it got to do with you and me?
There will be an acute rice shortage in the Philippines beginning August, and the islands will be largely dependent on imported rice until the end of November, it has been announced by the Department of Agriculture,
In Washington the agriculture department estimated that millions would die of starvation in the Far East, particularly in China, due to transportation shortage.
The United States spent at least $2,000,000 to bring the body of the late President Manuel L. Quezon to the Philippines, according to the ordinance officer of the aircraft carrier Princeton IV which brought the remains of Quezon home.