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Randy Ford Author- OUT OF THE LAND OF OZ Snapshot of history 2nd Installment

      His sister Margo, more than anything else, wanted to tell him how she felt about Nam, but he knew where she stood from the peace buttons she wore.   The whole time Jack wished he were back in Vientiane, where over a good meal, he could complain to his buddies about the dangers on the ground and in the air.   But then this was not the Jack his family knew.   It wasn’t the Jack of Richmond, the boy who ran away.   As his buddies knew, he complained about everything, just loved to complain.   He had that right, as long as he avoided strangers, particularly journalist or anyone who could blow his cover.

      Attached to the embassy, they were all there to develop and save Laos.   Inside the embassy or outside it, the goals were the same; but the risks were not the same.   They varied; and so was the length of time people stayed in the country.  Those who wore Rolex and Secko watches and gold heavy chains usually stayed longer than military personal.

       Meanwhile, Jack never apologized.   He accepted the fact that he lived in a world in which human life was cheap.   He still missed his wife.   He never saw his daughter.   He and his wife had been an unlikely couple, an American and a Philippine revolutionary.   Their love transcended ideology.   Margo couldn’t have understood this.

       His mother didn’t want to talk right them.   All that mattered to her was that both of her kids were finally home, and she didn’t want to say anything to spoil it.   Her husband had considered Richmond the perfect place to raise a family and never considered himself stuck.   If Jack hadn’t run off, he probably would’ve shared the same feelings.

       The Indiana Jack remembered was Indiana before the monotony of the interstate, when US 40 was two lanes, went through towns, and up and down hills.   He didn’t think the same as his father, nor had he his mechanical ability.   At least his father had a place where he belonged, and no one could deny him that.   People could tell where he was from by the way he talked.   Surprisingly, both were romantics, both had the Philippines in common and both had strong patriotic sentiments.   The spitting image of his father, hardly, but Jack wondered about what all they shared.   Or if his father hadn’t been given a chance, would he also have been wayward?   Jack felt regret and sorrow when he least expected it.   Did he love his old man, who once wielded a stick with the vengeance of a despot?

       So much feeling came, came as a shock, culminating with more tears…real tears.   For once, principles didn’t matter.   Tears seemed to erase the pain, as words came slowly.   Short phrases…about the body…questions about dad…consoling…remembering…paying tribute, with everyone talking at once.   “A friend’s soul has ascended into heaven.   Nothing we know stood in the way.”

       The purpose of the service was not only to console but also to instruct.   But to the siblings, the service sounded familiar and too much like a sermon.   They had heard it all before.   None of it consoled them.     They placed their father in the finest hardwood casket, decorated it with the Tree of Life, a forgiveness symbol.   It illustrated affection.   Nothing else would’ve satisfied their mother.

       Now the family followed a pattern of covering over their doubts and frustration.   They gave the appearance of harmony and greeted each other with hugs and kisses.   Friends brought food to the home, casseroles and pies, etc.   It also was important that they drop by and pay their respects.   Jack’s tendency was to run and hide, which for once was impossible.   As he listened to others talk about his father, Jack remembered the scripture that referred to heaven having many mansions.   If that were true, he thought, there surely was a gas station up there for his father to run, which brought a smile on Jack’s face.

      Randy Ford

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Randy Ford Author- THE SMUGGLER, A Snapshot of History 6th Installment

      By 1920 Sim had slipped into Sulu.   The Tausug, and not the Gypsies, still lived in bamboo houses reached by a maze of shaky walkways built over the sea.   Sim descended on these people with his small boat.   He was determined to raise their standard of living and make a profit for himself.   With a pox Americana, the Tausug, by and large, accepted American rule.   Along with the boat people they enjoyed a prosperity that they hadn’t seen before.   As well as capturing firearms, collecting taxes, and branding cattle, America introduced paper money proving how ready people of Sulu were for Sim and his bargains.   With a variety of goods to sale he always departed a richer man than he came.   His ability to move around safely proved that he had the right connections.

       Sin Ah Lah never lost sight of his obligations and employed his brothers.   With one brother in Sandakan, and another one in Jesselton, he control his costs and maintained a personally link with a region-wide system of trade.   This was how he became very rich and powerful.

       He realized God had been very good to him.   He started with one boat filled with chintz, chinaware, tea, drugs, and many other things; next a bigger boat and then many boats; and finally the monopoly of Crockett’s day.   Above all he furnished the inhabitants of Sulu with many things they thought they needed.

       Immediately after the war, with the availability of modern weapons and violence on the rise again, he had to hire a security force.   In spite of a good relationship with the constabulary and most datus, he always had to be on the alert for pirates.   Hence Sin learned battle tactics and expected to see bloodshed.   Some of them attacked in broad daylight and highjacked ships because they were afraid of nothing.   Sin had to sail through a no-man’s land, where only guns and powder spoke.   However this situation proved beneficial, because the Tausug respected a show of force and believed that killing was a legitimate way of avenging shame.

       It was considered bad to seek revenge, but also bad to suffer shame.   Unless a man sought revenge, he suffered shame, so either way it wasn’t a simple matter.   Many hot liverish feuds existed to this day.   Accepted by Allah, friends were always a step away from becoming enemies.   Members of rival families, having been allies and once close, in an instance one of them shamed, for which the other was held accountable.   The affront often was small.   Something blown entirely out of proportion.   Then pressure from the community would build until someone got killed.

       Crockett was accepted into Sim’s Sandakan family and then passed a series of tests that gave him an edge.   Just when the British were giving up their territory in South East Asia, he took over the Sin family business in Jolo and lived the life of a true White Rajah.   This may have been an exaggeration; but it was fair to say that he lived quite well.   Back in Sandakar, Sim thought he could trust him.   He had become an adopted son.

       In spite of discrimination, the Sims became respected members of the community.   In spite of having left Amoy with almost nothing, they accepted the difficulties they faced and never expected to fail.   They knew if they stumbled, they could get up.   They had a community they could go to for financial assistance, and that was true for all of the Chinese.   Crockett met all of the relatives, who frequently visited him, when he never knew any of his own relatives.

       Smuggling got the better of the law.   Crockett’s first taste of it came from riding over the sea in fast speedboats.   For his education, he would race full throttle towards Sitangkai or Tawi Tawi.   He rarely slept nights.   Sometimes making two runs before the sun came up, his boat would be full of contraband.

       Both sides looked out for each other; and each side considered darkness a friend.   However the Constabulary had to sometimes recover some of the goods.   This everyone knew; but the boats for some reason were never confiscated.   Sim personally knew all of the Philippine brass and knew that some of his runs had to be intercepted or else heads would roll.   The recovered contraband also helped grease palms.   For looking the other way, Naval officers were only too happy to accepted cartons of fresh American cigarettes.   For a long time this had been a routine.

       This was Crockett’s inauguration into a life of crime.   Here crime was considered legitimate, and everyone accepted smuggling as a necessary evil.   And it was a rather large business; yes by any reckoning, it was difficult to know exactly what was not smuggled in.   Take an ordinary recipe for meat sauce.   There would always be one or two ingredients that only could be obtained from smugglers.

       Three hours out, through monsoon waters, following engine problems, which Crockett and Sim’s son Chu could do nothing about, anxious to recover lost ground, the two young men were surprised by pirates.   They weren’t particularly smart.   Chu recognized the distant sputter of a panboat and should’ve known that that type of outrigger was the favorite of pirates.   At first Crockett thought that they were about to be rescued.   Only after seeing their bodyguards’ reaction did he sense how ominous their situation was.   Before that evening ended Crockett learned how to use a machine gun.

       This brief engagement raised Crockett’s stock with his adopted family.   It gave him another reason for perfecting the hide-and-seek game of smuggling.   By then he had a grasp of the territory, which stretched from North Borneo to Zamboanga, with the ports of call at Sitangkai, Isabela, Bongao, Siasi, and Jolo.   By then Jolo had one of the best harbors in southern Philippines.   Then without applying for them, Crockett had a number of different passports from a number of different countries and used a number of different aliases.

       When he traveled as a tourist to Singapore, Manila, and back, he ran into difficulty over carrying too much currency.   It was something he learned the hard way.   It was better to be hanged for something such as that than thrown into jail for smuggling dope.   Without knowing his real name, which might have embarrassed his father, a magistrate locked Crockett up for a week, a lesson he never forgot.   Later when his legal difficulties grew, he thanked all the loopholes in the law.   This only happened outside of his domain. In the Sulus, he and Sim’s family held a position above the law.

       Their success was so great while admittedly corrupt that they were envied.   Often shots rang out.   And shouts of “Chinaman go home!   Foreigners!   Foreigners!” showed how their neighbors felt about them.   Malays armed with krises more than once chased the Sim family into their compound and threatened their lives.   Though respected but hated, they never went anywhere without bodyguards.   This animosity spread throughout Sandakan.   It came from small but vocal groups.   Because of bad PR, Sim used Crockett more and more as a go-between.

       Finally martial law had to be imposed.   Fearing a widespread revolt the police cracked down, and a curfew was set.   Unfortunately this tough stance hurt most the very people it was designed to protect.

       Shouting the Royal tongue as he went, Crockett shuffled between the two camps.   He reminded the Malays that the British and not the Chinese had colonized them.   “Why speak of the Yellow Peril? Before you ever saw a Union Jack, Chinamen came with the goods you desired and never tried to change you.   They became your neighbors.   They also keep their shops for you open all the time.   They brought you cloth, salt, kerosene and biscuits way before Sandakan was a beautiful city.   You have the advantage of a superior religion and have a sultan.   So favored, what do you have to fear?   You own the land and to have a little land is everything.”

       Out of gratitude, Sim gave Crockett control over Jolo Island.   His house was constructed of white coral; and those of his employee also were nice.   With hardwood floors and imported furniture, these houses were built to impress even a datu.

      Randy Ford   

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Randy Ford Author- THE HUKS A Snapshot of History 8th Installment

      While the constabulary and the police followed every lead, Jack began his own inquiry.   For him, it was cathartic and part of the healing process.   So full of rage, he wanted to catch the killers himself.   The constabulary and the police seemed too slow to him.

       The jeeps that carried the gunmen were found abandoned near the scene.   Fingerprints didn’t match any known criminal.   It seemed silly to dust for prints, when the attack had obviously been meticulous planned.   Even petty crooks knew not to leave prints.   Any fair person would’ve been perplexed by the arrest, by a rough count, of some 800 suspects.   Though as passions cooled, most of them were later released.

       Secret memos and documents in the U.S embassy revealed who orchestrated such a huge roundup, which made it clear that the killings were more than a murder holdup.   For the first time, one was faced with an admission that Jack, or the victims (or someone close to them) were valuable assets of the U.S government.   Now it was at this point that the constabulary and the police were given patriotic reasons for using their authority to the fullest.

       On page three, of the trial transcript, case number 02125212, the record showed that the police picked up empty cartridge shells and spent bullets from the pavement near the victims’ vehicle.   Forensic experts matched them with guns taken during a raid of a safe house.   Other incriminating items were seized there too.   The transcript then went on to say, “but the prime suspects were long gone.”   It was remarkable that the constabulary and the police had information that led them to the correct house.

       Brick by brick, the case was built.   Once caught, the mastermind was shown no mercy, nor were any of the others who took part in the crime.   No doubt they were brave men.   But they had to face the consequences.   Yet the constabulary and the police showed an affinity for them.   The assassins wanted to make people believe that they would’ve rather spent more time with their families, but trying to make themselves seem more human didn’t help them.   Whether they had families or not was immaterial.

       Even before any arrests were made, the police prepared a list of seventy-eight witnesses.   Hearsay was certainly admissible; but with a busy street as the crime scene finding evidence was difficult.

      Could the suspects be identified?   Would their confessions stand up?   Mistakes were obviously made, but none of the mistakes made a difference.   Perfection was impossible, and the truth could only be approximated.   But the main problem with so many mistakes was the loss of time, and the more time lost, the more the trail to the killers cooled.

       Suppose the ten men wearing jungle green uniforms had randomly chosen their victims with high-jacking the vehicle in mind, how does that jive with Dr. Ramos’ connections with the Huks?   How well known were his activities?   Was there a conspiracy?   How many people were involved?   There were men posted with radios in front of the professor’s house who gave the triggermen last minute instructions.   They weren’t worried about how they would stop a moving vehicle.   Why didn’t they strike at the professor’s home?   Obviously, they were after headlines and intentionally killed the innocent along with the guilty.

      They raised the anti by striking in the heart of the capital.   Before then traitors were quietly executed.

       The public demanded revenge.   No one accused the constabulary and the police of mistreating the witnesses.   They humbled the party by detaining so many people and forced some of them to confess.   The long interrogations gave each suspect ample opportunity to confess.   There weren’t many discrepancies.   The constabulary and the police were able to crack the conspirators.   Honor and a fidelity oath had sealed their lips, which made their confessions seemed inconceivable.   The success of the investigations depended upon a tremendous amount of trickery, which the Americans had taught their Filipino associates.

       It was hard to imagine a more desperate group.   To assassinate, to gun down, to decapitate, to stab, in other words exterminate their enemies, inside or outside their organization, to mitigate with vengeance all the wrongs of the past, was a tall order.   The very principles of the Huk struggle (not merely their words or deeds but their heart and soul) gave them strength.   Yet they reportedly begged for mercy.

       Most of the contagion in Greater Manila could be found within the colleges and the universities.   In them professors and students engaged in doctrinal disputes.   They often pretended a connection with Maoism.   Being at odds with authority was attractive, but don’t mistakenly call them leaders of the movement.   With the assassination of a respected colleague and friend, many of them were arrested and their loyalty was put in question.   Weak, ineffectual, squeamish, stripped of their slogans, and altogether disillusioned by the sudden turn of events, some of them subsequently betrayed his or her comrades.

       There were breaks in the case that led to the arrest of the tall man and the short one, who witnesses pegged as leaders.   With Jack’s help, the constabulary and the police seized important exhibits: as mentioned, weapons and then disguises traced to a specific market vendor.   The immeasurable grief and pain from the loss had the blinding effect of galvanizing Jack even more, and he couldn’t have stood the ordeal had he simply sat idly by.   He couldn’t disguise the bitterness and the hatred that he shared with mothers and wives, fathers and husbands, brothers and sisters, and orphaned children who had also suffered the loss of love ones.   He couldn’t cry.   He would if he could; only he couldn’t.   Given his grief, the opposing forces within him weren’t surprising.

       In the middle of the rainy season, Jack trooped through Kandala swamp and up Mount Arayat.   He knew his picture had been printed on leaflets and distributed throughout the region.   Similar notices spread falsehood about Jo-Jo, who pleaded his case to his parents in a letter.   He told them that he finally decided to surrender.   He said he hadn’t foreseen the rash of crimes that followed in the wake of Jack’s appearance, and damaged the movement beyond repair.   Why couldn’t they stop the hemorrhaging?   On a long list of crimes, betrayal ranked high; and given the chance, both sides practiced it.

       Given the confusion and the passions following the assassinations, the blame couldn’t be placed squarely on anyone. Jo-Jo never supported the policies of his country, far less her imperialistic agents.   Therefore, his betrayal was based purely on an emotional response.

       Enduring foul weather and trudging barefooted through knee-deep mud, the two friends were drenched and with each step their feet became heavier.   In the mud, discouragement came easily.  In the mud, Jo-Jo realized his reputation had been destroyed.   In all of his life, Jack had never seen so much rain, slanting down, causing mould, mush, rust, and mildew and then, revulsion.   A few days of rain would be followed by several hours of steam.   Nothing escaped the ooze.   On the other side…. scolding, cursing, and threatening to kill one another….there were men stalking the two Americans who were thoroughly at home in the swamp.   The highest ranking rebel leader, Jose de Leon, offered a thousand pesos for their capture.   The Secretariat then held an emergency meeting and more than doubled that.   A peso equaled a half a dollar, which would’ve been the preferred currency.   In those days a thousand dollars represented a small fortune.   Many men tried to cash in.   During their trek through the Candaba Swamp, had he had anything to give, and without hesitation, Jack would’ve given his friend anything.   All they had to swap were stories about growing up.

      Surrender then!   It was made possible; and surrender to Jack’s horror led to the maximum sentence for his friend.   No one was going to let the crimes go unpunished.   Even though Jo-Jo helped solve Dr. Ramos’ and his daughter’s murders, they insisted that he plead guilty and told him that his conviction was just a formality.   They evidently didn’t appreciate the sacrifice he made for a friend.   He had expected too much; and even so, he had few regrets.

       After his surrender, for security sake, Jo-Jo was placed in a solitary cell with a heavy steel door.   He was sent to the New Bilibid Prison in Rizal, some miles outside of Manila.   It was a tough place.   Murder and riot were common.   Here was incarcerated a son of a couple, who lived with the Huks, and taught them and never acted unkind, or expected special treatment.   Recently returning from fighting, these peasants loved Jo-Jo’s parents as if they were family.   Their boy now couldn’t go home.   In order to protect him, Jack was frequently moved around, but officially the U.S. embassy never helped him.

       The two friends sadly joked about squandering their lives away for filthy politics.   Nothing seemed right except the status quo.   Fighting for democracy where even the birds and bees voted seemed to require repression and toughness.   All the king’s men couldn’t fully explain why these two boys ever chose sides.

      Jesting seemed to have taken over.   They searched for something embarrassing to say about each other.   The last thing they did together was to sit and wait, as their time ran out.   Braving the flies and the mosquitoes, they sat on the seawall that night with two smiling women.   In particularly Jack displayed mute anguish.   The murderers were caught; but with the confusion in the country, some of them were soon set free.

       Both of them lived to regret Jo-Jo’s surrender.   In order to publicize the impending collapse of Communism, the right wing press widely covered the American’s duplicity, while the left wing denounced him as a traitor and a class enemy.   For the sake of peace, national unity, and reconstruction, Jo-Jo was promised amnesty but was instead given a life sentence by a court influenced by a skeptical public.   (See court documents for the judge’s rationale.)

      Randy Ford

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Randy Ford Author- THE HUKS A Snapshot of History 7th Installment

      It was unknown how many people died as a result of Jack’s activities.   The deaths of Capadocia in Panay, Nick Pamintyan in Manila, and a whole group of commanders who were undergoing training in a cadet school, probably none of these deaths could’ve been attributed to him.   For the role he played in his wife’s death, Jack felt riddled with more guilt than he’d ever admitted.   One thing was for sure though: counterrevolutionary work was messy.

      Did Jack acquire and turn over to his handlers documents from the Secretariat?   And did he give the names of his father-in-law’s frequent guests, as members of the Politburo came and went?   Some of these members were already preparing themselves to become governors, mayors, councilors, and chiefs of police and so on.   And did he do all he did without the Huks catching on?   And when did Dr. Ramos start to realize that many of his guest and comrades were dramatically and unfortunately captured within a few weeks after visiting his home?

       But there was more. Jack’s wife, so practical and smart, who through all of the conversations cordially sat next to her husband, would remember who said what, and always afterwards helped her spouse reconstruct it all.   If she ever suspected Jack, she never let on.   She knew her role.   Whenever they had guests, she and her mother were expected to be gracious hostesses.

       On the other hand, many of the guests promoted themselves and tried to impress and talk big and were obsessed with power, taking to heart the Chinese Communist maxim that said “the people are water and we are the fish.”   Jack listened as they planned to simultaneously attack all the major installations in the city: the folly of that idea, thinking that they could catch everyone sleeping.   Certainly, they were inspired by the victorious revolution of their comrades in China.   They used quotations from Lenin and Stalin.   To the Marxists sitting in Dr. Ramos’ living room, the revolutionary crisis had certainly arrived, but the big question was were they ready to lead?   Had Dr. Ramos known of the duplicity of his son-in-law, probably he would’ve turned him over to the party’s discipline committee.

       Unfortunately, instead of Jack, Dr. Ramos attracted the attention.   His opponents began to realize that he was one of the few ideologues in Manila to have charted a mainstream course and survived.   By having done so, he made enemies, who were suspicious, and many of them characterized him as a “villain with a smile.”   And there were those who also worshipped guns.

      The assassin team struck without warning.   Tommy-guns and Sten-guns were fired at Anna even after she appeared dead.   Her father remained conscious but was unable to speak.   On the assumption that they would be mistaken for government solders, the assassins were dressed in green khaki.   On the street, witnesses got the number plates of the get-away jeeps.   These, it was true, belonged to the army but had been stolen.   The police had already been looking for them.

       A break in the case soon came.   It was an important one, an essential lead that came out of the blue.   From an unexpected source, it was also a break that the investigating team couldn’t have come up with on their own.   Such breaks the police count on to solve most major crimes.   But don’t belittle their efforts.   Cases of this magnitude were often complex, and the people involved…. the police, the judges, the witnesses, and the accused….all become involved in high drama.   And the press doing its job, printing the facts and publishing photographs, they but echoed the clamor of the public for answers.   Then the public decided the guilt or innocence, based on the role of each assassin and accomplice, both on and off the record, the cumulative picture drawn from the evidence and corroborated by various witnesses.

       That same day, after the dead were transferred to the morgue and the next-of-kin were notified, Jack found himself tormented with grief.   No one knew what he was going through, how he was involved, or how he felt.   Or the unfairness of the tragedy, or that he bore any blame for it.

       To right the wrong, Jack had to find the killers himself and turned to Jo-Jo.   Together, among antagonist, they represented a modest link between foes, a link that otherwise wouldn’t have existed.   But given the circumstances, was it treason or heroism?   If caught, either one of them could’ve anticipated death.   As it was, they both struggled; but regardless of their differences, they would help each other.   Friendship overrode other obligations.   However framed or worded, it was paramount even to men who fought on opposite sides of the war.   Each of them paid a terrible price, and even more so as events unfolded.

      Around noon, on February 12, 1952, the murders occurred on Roxas Boulevard, near the Rizal Monument and not far from where Rizal died.   Newspapers ran the story on the front page.   “Murder Hold-Up” screamed one headline; and accordingly all of them, except the respectable Manila Times, published the presumption that the murders were the work of a gang of hoods.   Fiction seemed real; facts were deliberately distorted.   What the Philippine public hungered for was a mixture of exaggeration and fact.   In keeping with this tradition, photographs of the bodies took precedent over the printed text; and the number of wounds (13) Anna received greater play than descriptions of the assailants.   Government involvement would’ve been less sensational then, because of daily arrests and killings associated with the protracted rebellion.

       Facts challenged the publicized version. None of them would ever forget that morning or the spray of bullets that shattered the windshield.   No one would say whether or not guerrillas were suspected.   All the witnesses, however, said all the killers wore bush hats.   They remembered the hats but not the jungle green uniforms.   A young Filipina lay dead in the front seat, not some whore, but a person of good repute.   The gray-headed man behind the steering wheel was wounded, but all of his injuries weren’t apparent yet.   This was wrong, all wrong, and not right; and it tied up traffic for a long while, as honking intensified and became almost unbearable.   It was stop and go all the way down Roxas Boulevard, but that was nothing when compared with the violence hundreds of people saw that day.

Randy Ford

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Randy Ford Author- THE HUKS A Snapshot of History 6th Installment

      Jo-Jo’s eulogy could’ve been repeated for every friend he lost.   “Our cause is so deeply compromised and our struggle so far from over that the Philippines might’ve been better off if we’d simply loved one another.”

      “Are you aware of the plight of the peasant?   The victim of oppression?   Of a system, in which only nine percent of the land is owned by the people who work it?   Of a people who have to borrow from their landlord rice that they planted and harvested in order to feed their families?   It had to have been bad for them to abandon a legal, parliamentary struggle.   President Roxas relied on an iron fist policy.”

       “Then came the insults, and at the same time the US played a role.   And meanwhile, this idealist who some call a fool sits in a maximum security cell and is aware for his crimes, if convicted, whether he’s judged fairly or not, he could be sentenced to death.”

       “But how would you know, if you weren’t there, seeing friends suffer and die…. the indignity of a mass grave…. and summoned to this…. back to our camp and the fresh grave of a lover, of those who never had a chance once we abandoned them…. will anything I say ease the pain?   The real injury was, that some people interpreted my dissention and my hostility to mean that I embraced Communism, worshipped as an idol Marx, but nothing could’ve been further from the truth.”

       “We needed to keep close track of our enemy’s movements.   We were in the middle of the darkest days of our struggle.   More than anything else the support of the people kept us going.   What were the mistakes that led to the loss of friends and orphaned children?

       “My girl’s death was only one of many deaths.   Filomena died during a fierce fight in a sugarcane field.   Even before the full impact of the loss hit me, I had had enough.   And yet, “I didn’t dare surrender.   To give teeth to discipline, before I could surrender, I would’ve been shot.

       “As things stood, we had to compromise people who weren’t directly involved.   While hiding in a barrio, they gave us a dance and entertainment, which was impossible to conceal.   We bought bread and other things and paid the poor for all the rice, the vegetables and the fruits we could carry.   We knew we exposed law-abiding and peaceful citizens.   It not only cost them their freedom but crops, houses, and property, and too often also their lives.   It was a policy of madness that led to an all out war.”

      “As an American (since I still describe myself as one), I can be critical of my country.   Long ago I stopped being an observer. I’ve seen human heads bobbing in rivers.   Sirs, many of my comrades were shot in the back.   The government, while impertinently announcing that I was dead, kept looking for us and warned people not to aid any bandit without risking execution.”

       “Evidence at the camp confirmed what we heard on the radio.   We found, however, little evidence of the resistance we all expected.   We dug the graves by hand. I grieved as I dug. I was knocked off my feet by the outrage.   After burying the remains, we said a few words and sang the Filipino national anthem as a commemoration.”

       “Oh my love, hear my cry, without thee….”

       Instead of complaining, Jack accepted his bride.   He came to adore Anna for her beauty and poise.   He thought he could make a good husband; and with emancipation, Anna blossomed.   She wore a veil and a long white dress with a train ten yards long.

       Now that she could do what she wanted, Anna set out to prove that her husband couldn’t tie her down either.   She felt equal to him.   The dowry Jack paid the bride’s mother, as usual, was smaller than what he gave her father.   He compensated them both for raising Anna.

       Jack never wanted to make trouble for his wife and her family.   “I can’t bare to think that I could’ve been even partially responsible.”

      Letters written to his parents in 1957 describe the tiny love of Jack’s life.   He also wrote about Filipinos in connection with himself.   “The more I’m with Filipinos the more aware of my own arrogance I become.   To a great extent they’re too docile and imitate us too much.   Nothing beneficial can come from it.”   And he always wrote about keeping busy but omitted most of the details.   ” I know you’ve talked to God about me. Mother, if I didn’t like the people here, I wouldn’t stay.   So don’t worry about me.”

       His hope was, “that the impossible was indeed possible: not that the world would ever be really ready for even a distorted expression of universal fairness.   That will never occur until ample assurances are given that all men and women will receive the dignity they deserve.”   And his letters would end with an emphatic plea for understanding and are just as poignant today as they were then.

       Who would’ve thought Jack would’ve taken such a stand?   It was pretty clear that he never sided with the masses; but how could he have betrayed his father-in-law?   There came a point when he had to act; but did he afterwards hold himself accountable.   Jack definitely bought into democracy.   How could he have opposed his country then?   Neither Jo-Jo nor Dr. Ramos could indoctrinate him.

       During the time they spent on the mountain together, Jack and Jo-Jo became close friends.   They had more in common than they expected.   A shared love for basketball was one important factor.   Everybody knew that come March nothing stopped a runny-nosed kid from Indiana from shooting baskets and getting all juiced up over someday playing for the U.   Suppose Jo-Jo had lived on the margins of society in the Midwest and owned a motorcycle he loved to ride or suppose Jack grew up under the thumb of missionary parents in the Philippines, how different were they really?

       So thoroughly they shared experiences, life in Indiana on one hand, in Central Luzon on the other that barriers that might’ve existed broke down.   Sharing assured their friendship.   Not a Huk, but a fellow American was what Jack saw, when he allowed himself to forget where he was.   A welcoming smile helped him almost forget that he had entered the enemy’s lair.

      But how could you compare Indianapolis with Cabanatuam?   Paved streets to dusty, dirt ones?   The Indy 500 was not just an automobile race, not just speed and danger, but a huge television event.   Jo-Jo couldn’t have known how it felt to be a spectator and become tearful when thirty-three amazing machines battled for position going into the first turn.

      Talking about General Douglas MacArthur, as to why he personally sailed with the fleet during the entire Inchan invasion: he never intended to let his six sitting-duck destroyers retreat.   “If not victory, yet still hopeful; if not absolutely defeated, yet realistic, and counting the days….” this was how Jo-Jo tried to explain how he felt.   He said that he wouldn’t give up.   He could yet bask in his idealism.   Ideas often dismissed as rhetoric kept hope alive.   His stubbornness, from the “pacto de retroventa” to the dispossessed peasants wasn’t bullshit to him.   But the great discussions the two had pointed them in opposite directions.

       Jo-Jo’s keen interest in the United States and Jack’s incessant questions about Communism and the Huks seemed inconsistent with each of their orientation.   It illustrated confusion that too often led to mistakes.   While foraging for food in torrential rain, what did Jo-Jo want to talk about?   “From where does Marlon Brando get the courage to play a role without a script?   ‘On the Waterfront’ (another example)…. tense and tough….in that story lurks a overbearing sense of wrong.”   Conversations that were for Jo-Jo essential.

       The crackle of popcorn and the smack of bubble gum, as part of movie going, had long ago reached the bigger cities of the Philippines.   Hollywood shaped many of Jo-Jo’s ideas about America, and checking them out became an obsession for him.

      In the Paramount picture “The Lawless,” a mob wrecks Carly’s presses.”   For both of them, this journey was never completed; nor did they ever have a coherent picture of each other.

      Randy Ford

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Randy Ford Author- THE HUKS A Snapshot of History 5th Installment

      Welcome appalling difficulties.   He proved he could take it.   They called it a first installment.   But here’s how they were tested; how Jo-Jo was tested.   To use Stalin’s words, “Communist are people of a different mold.”   During sessions of criticism and self-criticism, each person was subjected to a roasting and had to confess their weaknesses.   Then having been condemned and severely criticized, they’d often weep and express their shame in an acceptable way.   The long discussions gave an opportunity to ferret-out potential opportunist, or actual traitors, some of whom were executed for crimes against the revolution.

       They all knew the need for revolution and the problems with living the old way.   Jo-Jo used riddles and questions to challenge fellow comrades.   “What would happen if American capitalists no longer made a profit?”   The tiger shark symbolized the American capitalistic imperialist.   This analogy served its purpose but never totally worked, anymore than totally embracing Marxism did.   But formalities broke down when old friends recognized each other. Indoctrination was put on hold.

       Jo-Jo liked to sit on the high ridges of Mount Arayat, which dominated Central Luzon.   It gave him a view of busy Clark Air Base.   From these heights, he also saw rice and sugar-cane fields, a vast sea of green broken only by a network of roads and towns.   The American airplanes that came and went fascinated him; but he knew that neither the planes nor the base assured peace to the only home he ever knew.

       His parents were the ones who gave him a social conscience.   His mother took him with her throughout Pampanga as she called on the sick and delivered babies as a midwife.   Faith helped them survive the war and the political seesaw that followed.

       In the mountainous forest, Jo-Jo collected edible ferns for meals.   It was almost impossible to imagine the hunger and the other hardships they endured.   Some rebels died from fighting among themselves, the same as children over rats and snails.   Everyone was weak and numb to the bone.   The rain made for a night of misery.   Tom fools in the rain and always wet, stabbed by thorns and bitten by leeches, their feet were raw and swollen.   Faced with attacks, often backed by air raids, they were always on the move. T  he forest didn’t offer them a sanctuary.   It became the same as a sieve, and government troops pour in at will, and the government had its informers.

       The sheer will power it took to survive, the unexpected capacity to endure, this test gave them the strength to hang on.   It took more than courage.   It was tenacity and the knowledge of having made it before.   The struggle kept the revolt going.   In swashbuckling fashion, they clambered up huge boulders and this was the same for them as joining the people of China in their fight against capitalist dogs.   The truth emerged when they looked at America, touted as a showcase, and saw how America masqueraded as a benevolent society.   Most Huk cadres would say “cut an American down to size and what’s left is a Conquistador in jockey shorts.”

       Huks had their most precious possessions…. life, honor, children and wives….wantonly desecrated.   The government should’ve anticipated a reaction.   Its scorched-earth policy of looting and burning created hatred and drove effected peasants into the arms of the rebels.   The Huks organized barrios in an area of over 40,000 square kilometers, which extended across the borders of four provinces.   People pretended loyalty to the government while they secretly worked for the liberation movement.

       Fighters attacked from the mountains and slipped around during the night.   Villagers were willing to take considerable risks, and close friendships often emerged.   Of course, no leader could stop their men from having love affairs with local women.   None really tried, though they knew carelessness men died needlessly.

       Jo-Jo asked nothing in return for his participation.   He didn’t want to be treated differently than anyone else.   Had he not objected, his friends would’ve made his life easier.   He, who should’ve been rejected, soon was given rank.   Determined not to shirk his load, he picked up a rifle, but it shouldn’t be assumed then that he shot Americans.   He unavoidably, however, became entangle in precisely the cruelty and the ruthlessness he deplored.   The ruthless demands of the struggle hardened him.   Rotten to an extent, it was glorious in other ways.

       Jo-Jo made the Huk struggle his war.   He wouldn’t be able to extricate himself from it, nor did he ever repudiate his socialist convictions.   His flirting with Communism was his way of grappling with the problems he saw.   Friends of his since childhood had clearly been victimized, and he saw and understood that, understood imperialism from the Filipino perspective.   He hated imperialism and saw how it effected everyone.

      The army used trench mortars and 75-mm. guns to soften the resistance. S  helling peasant houses preceded each assault, which largely accounted for the strength of the enemy.   They covered up their mistakes and blamed the looting and the burning on the Huks, or the villages were caught in the crossfire.   Even before they entered an area, people knew what to expect from them.   Therefore, few people stuck around; and the army rarely captured anyone.

       There was panic everywhere.   Generally guerrillas couldn’t easily be identified.   Peasants and the very poor (who never had enough for themselves) supplied the army with rice, vegetables, and cigarettes, and so on, hoping then wrongfully that they would be left alone.   Whether they called this stealing or called it taxing, confiscating or contributing, it amounted to the same thing: highway robbery.   Such was the army’s method.

      The success of the spectacular attack of San Pablo City gave the Huks the feeling that the tide had turned in their favor.   They felt as if they had the government on the run.   But soon victory would lead to defeat, because Manila was busy engineering a dazzling coup.   The revolution would soon suffer many setbacks.   Many Huks would be killed.

       Jo-Jo never understood their defeats.   To fight discouragement, he told the men the Russians or the Chinese were coming.   No one really believed him.   Instead, the peasants were all anxious that their landlords wouldn’t let them back on the land.   As the uneasiness grew, many of them obtained permission to return to their families.   So to avoid shame, no request was denied. Had they asked for the moon, they probably would’ve gotten it.

       Containing Jo-Jo’s group to Mount Arayat, government troops controlled all the water holes.   Water had to be collected drop by drop from stems and vines. With artillery, armored cars, and foxholes, the ring of steel of the government left few gaps.   Clashes were inevitable. Jo-Jo insulated himself from this misery by falling for a communist gal.

       Facilitating the flow of intelligence between Manila and the mountain, this aristocratic beauty served as a courier.   Intelligence gathering required freedom of movement, so her responsibilities kept her on the move.   Faced with the ever-present danger of sudden death, Jo-Jo’s communist girl was perfectly willing to have sex with him.   Following revolutionary concepts, she engaged in sex without attachment or love.   But Jo-Jo with his Christian upbringing had a problem with that.   As his conscience and sense of decency got in the way, he had a hard time.   Rather than just accept human nature, poor Jo-Jo became angry when she gave herself to several other men.   Yet he believed in the Communist dictum concerning women, which said only class enemies try to mold women into preconceived niches and a profession of love often is a form of slavery.

       Jo-Jo slowly moved forward with the men.   They broke camp before daybreak. Intuition or premonition was all they had to go on.   The decision seemed risky, but they stuck to the plan.   Danger was ever present.   No one balked. In hopes of somehow breaking through, they left the hills behind, hoping to cause enough pandemonium for success.   What they knew about war they learned from experience.   There was no rhyme or reason why, regardless of caution or skill, one person died and another lived.   One could never explain why he or she was spared when a grenade exploded a few feet away and blew away a comrade or two, or why some lived only to surrender and spend ten years in prison.

      Randy Ford      

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Randy Ford Author- THE HUKS A Snapshot of History 4th Installment

      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.

      Randy Ford

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