As Japanese flags went up in front of Fort Santiago, the High Commissioner’s residence, and Malacanang, officers of the Imperial Army began canvassing Manila for American and British citizens. An order went out for people to report to designated places for registration or else; but instead of simply recording names, they detained them in an attempt to create an Asiatic Asia. Very soon, however, it became apparent that the Japanese sabotaged this objective by interning so many enemy civilians. In fact, they were astounded and irked by the loyalty and affection Filipinos showed the so-called American oppressors.
Among the crowds that formed just outside the iron picket fence of Santa Tomas Internment Camp, in the heart of Manila, stood young Ramos. Determined to hear of his former teacher and mentor, he wasted no time getting there. He brought bedding and food and shouted out Mr. Miles’ name, which was permitted at first because the guards didn’t seem to know how to stop it. He later went inside, in through the front gate with packages, but couldn’t find his former teacher.
Continuing his search then he volunteered for the Philippine Red Cross, one of hundreds of volunteers needed to supply various camps. Soon he found himself in the cab of one of five trucks loaded with medical and surgical supplies heading for the mountain town of Baguio. Out of all these supplies, some of it donated by the American Red Cross, none was allotted to the camps. A few however went to camp hospitals and were labeled with tags proclaiming Japanese benevolence.
By the time Ramos found Mr. Miles at Camp Holmes and tried to pass him a note, communication between people inside and outside of the camps had been suspended. The volunteers were cautioned not to talk to the internees; and anyone caught breaking the rule was arrested. When caught, Ramos said, “I couldn’t ignore my old teacher. And now that I’m at you’re mercy; you can’t make me regret it.” The Japanese subsequently stuck Ramos in a tiny cage in Fort Santiago for passing this note to Mr. Miles: “In the last few months, you’ll be pleased to hear that we’ve had a socialist marriage and various baptismals. Unfortunately the ceremonies were sparsely attended but the authorities must’ve known about them because they have spies everywhere. I helped out where I could.”
Moved to Fort Santiago and housed with four others in one of eighteen cages in a completely darkened hanger-like building, suddenly Ramos was treated as a traitor. He spent five months there eating a daily diet of a handful of rice with a fish head thrown in every once and while. He survived by quoting passages from Hamilton and Jefferson, Thomas Paine and Patrick Henry to Lincoln, especially Lincoln.
And when was the quantum leap to Marxism made? When did Ramos memorize the following quote? “If a man is simply a worker, and as a worker his human qualities only exist for the sake of capital, what is his value? If he exists only as a worker and not as a human being, he might as well let himself be buried and starved.”
As he was taken into a large underground chamber, illuminated by one hanging light bulb, and interrogated and tortured, Ramos wisely said nothing. Make the little Filipino traitor confess and get what he deserved. He was hung by his thumbs and repeatedly flogged. Indispensable was this continued torture, without it the criminal would forget that refusing to speak was in itself a crime. Now the Japanese knew that most communists joined the guerrillas who were responsible for most of the resistance in the provinces.
Delirious, Ramos saw his friend Mr. Miles everywhere. The teacher might’ve already been killed because of the student’s stupidity and his trying to gain a few extra points.
Regarding the torture administered by a more and more exasperated colonel, it couldn’t have been more expertly done. The colonel was a professional. He had no equal and became more and more savage before he became convinced that the inmate knew nothing of importance. For a crime that seemed more serious than it was, Ramos received a broken nose, a cracked skull and blood filled his mouth. But his spirit was never broken. Why were the Japanese so relentless? Nothing was exact about their logic except the certainty of their suppression. Ramos rarely talked about his war experiences. He saw escape as impossible, so he tried to convince his jailers that they needed his cell for a far more valuable criminal.
Anna’s intense, romantic and sentimental passion for Jack was theoretically permissible after he took hold of her hand. Seen was a rare sense of bliss, and that was likely to continue for as long as she lived.
Jack wanted to make the best possible impression, so that when Dr. Ramos asked him about the direction and the speed of ocean currents, he felt intimidated when couldn’t spout off an answer. Anna watched her father challenge Jack about dead reckoning. T he professor gloated over how little his future son-in-law knew about reading charts and gather data on currents, winds, clouds, waves, temperature, etc.
Anna felt shamed by her father’s prejudicial manner. When it came to showing off his intelligence, he seemed relentless. This conduct continued, except for frank and fearless discussions about America. She listened with intense interest and was fully aware of the putdowns. Frustrated with her father and perplexed by Jack’s amicable acceptance of the humiliation, at times she thought she’d surely go nuts. Anger fostered more anger and naturally cast a shadow over an otherwise happy period. Had Jack known what was going on, he might’ve offered: “Nothing is settled by side stepping an issue.” But all unpleasantness evaporated whenever Jack had Anna to himself. They rode jeepneys all over the place and drank tuba from coconut shells. In many ways their courtship was no different from any other. After discovering the Manila Hotel, they’d frequently hang out there, for it offered a dark bar where they could drink and smooch. A fter kissing her there was no possible escape for Jack. The woman knew before the man that they were heading for matrimony. Nevertheless when he asked her it surprised her.
The Philippine Constabulary gave the Huks two choices: unconditional surrender or annihilation. With the end of amnesty, Jo-Jo (identified by authorities as an American and quickly recognized as a threat) found himself in the thick of a battle. Jo-Jo pledged loyalty to his childhood friends, that in return for their continued friendship he shared their fate.
His parents were known as kindhearted and honorable, for they’d been Methodist missionaries in Pampanga for as long as anyone could remember. When he joined the rebels, he told his parents not to be disappointed in him, hoping that they’d respect his decision. He talked to them about social justice, giving examples of how Philippine Independence hadn’t rid the country of injustice. This only scared his mother. The last time he was at home, they talked about the violence in the province. They agreed that both sides were guilty of it. On the whole, while his parents never liked their son’s Communist connection, they conceded that something had to be done for the barrio people they knew and loved.
A long and bitter struggle now lay ahead. As government interdiction increased, the Huks had to strengthen discipline and improve and maintain their influence over a wavering population. Those who sat on the fence often received handouts from both sides. In the mountains, in key areas where they had support, the rebels established camps and, whenever fighting was unavoidable, put up a good defense.
Jo-Jo thought he could help the most by supervising educational and propaganda work, which he took over once he reached Mr. Arayat. Once there he renewed old friendships. Why was he there? He wanted to serve mankind, as Christ commanded. He had to act, and anything less wouldn’t have been like him. Remember the emergency policy, those main links and key tasks? Even though it may have been too little too late.