Previous posts in this discussion:
PostMonetary Shenanigans in Philippines (David Duggan, USA, 07/30/14 1:02 pm)
Bienvenido Macario's comments (30 July) on the Filipino aristocracy's spiriting out of their country of billions of dollars calls to mind a well-oiled conversation I had with him at last October's WAIS conference regarding the importance of those islands in the run-up to US involvement in World War II. Without giving away the store as to the premise suggested by my former professor and colleague, Anthony D'Amato, WAISers may be interested to know that the current political divide in the Philippines is a reprise of the World War II divide between the collaborators with the Japanese and the American loyalists. That the oligarchs have access to untold billions should surprise no one who is familiar with the Philippines' extractive industry, and the well-founded rumor that the Japanese shipped tons of looted gold from China and buried it in a vault somewhere on the archipelago (known as Yamashita's gold; he was executed for war crimes in early 1946, so he isn't telling its whereabouts).
While Prof. D'Amato and I were preparing our suit claiming war crimes by the Japanese empire during World War II, we learned lots of details about this trove: that the Japanese had executed those Filipino laborers who had constructed the vault (à la the fate of those who built the Taj Mahal, although for less "noble" reasons); that Gen. Douglas MacArthur had found it, perhaps using enhanced interrogation techniques (which enabled him to live according to the style to which he was accustomed in the Waldorf Towers on the same floor with Cole Porter--not exactly retired military digs); and that various "internationalist" interests in the United States had access to this stash (some of it supposedly wound up in Richard Nixon's suitcase in 1964 when he went to Vietnam to visit his 1960 running mate, Henry Cabot Lodge, then the American ambassador, which Nixon then used to pay for the release of several prisoners of war held by the Vietcong [note--not the North Vietnamese]). Some of this may have been folkloric, but there was a civil suit filed in Hawaii against the Marcos's by Rogelio Roxas, claiming that the Marcos's had interfered with his right to extract this booty conferred on him by a Marcos relative. Roxas won an eight-figure judgment against Imelda (reduced from $22 billion after an appeal and remand). Good luck collecting that, however. Manolo Blahniks and Jimmy Choos are worth only so much.JE comments: When it comes to pilfered gold, we've focused so much on Spain, that we haven't looked enough towards Asia. A fascinating comment from David Duggan. There's enough intrigue here to fill a week's worth of WAISing.
Philippines and Yamashita's Gold
(Bienvenido Macario, USA
07/31/14 12:29 AM)
I'm so glad David Duggan brought up our discussion in Adrian last fall about the post-war Philippines. (See David's post of 30 July.) It's true the political division in the Philippines was between "pro-Japanese" oligarch-traitors and American loyalists. But when Pres. Ramon Magsaysay died, the American loyalists were wiped out. After 1957 the division was between the two factions of oligarch-traitors: the ethnic Spaniards and the ethnic Chinese.
Being well-known Japanese collaborators, Marcos, Aquino, Roxas and even Diosdado Macapagal, who worked as legal assistant for JP Laurel, the Japanese-appointed president of WWII Philippines, could not claim the gold or even the so-called Yamashita's gold.
It was the Chinese group that promoted the story that Yamashita looted the gold in China and brought it over to the Philippines to justify their stealing gold from the natives of the Philippines.
Chiang Kai-shek brought China's gold with him when he and his Kuomintang army fled for their lives to Formosa. Chiang stole the whole group of islands from the natives who mainly spoke Tagalog. Again, the US government was well aware of the genocide of the Austronesians on Formosa but didn't do anything.
Rogelio Roxas is related to Manuel A. Roxas, Sr., from whom he got the information about Yamashita's gold. There were three locations Yamashita was said to bury gold on his way to Baguio. While Marcos indeed fought in Bataan and was on that infamous Death March, his father Mariano Marcos was a Japanese collaborator. He also knew about Yamashita's gold, among others.
Yamashita's gold belong to my people. And I am hereby claiming the same in their name.
In 1935 after the disastrous dispersal of the Bonus Army marchers, whose demands were responsible for the creation of the Veterans' Administration, Gen. Douglas MacArthur retired and accepted Manuel L. Quezon's job offer to be the Philippine Commonwealth's military adviser with a salary equal to 1/4 of 1% of the total defense budget of the Philippine commonwealth plus expense account and accommodations. He lived in the penthouse of the historic Manila Hotel. He also asked for the title "Field Marshall" of a still-to-be-formed army. Then he worked with FDR to have Col. Dwight Eisenhower named as his aide-de-camp.
Then America entered WWII and on January 3, 1942 while trapped in Corregidor, the Commonwealth Pres. Quezon issued an executive order to transfer $500,000.00 from the Philippine treasury's account in New York to Douglas MacArthur's Chase Manhattan bank account.
Gen. Douglas MacArthur received his bank's confirmation that the funds were transferred on February 19, 1942. MacArthur's party left Corregidor for Australia on March 11, 1942. He never saw a penny of that $500,000 until he went back to the US mainland in April 1951.
In fact when Pres. Quezon was in Washington DC, he sought out Gen. Dwight Eisenhower and offered to pay the future president a bonus salary for helping the Commonwealth build an army. Gen. Eisenhower politely declined, saying he could not accept additional pay as he was still in active service, unlike Gen. Douglas MacArthur who from 1935 to 1942 was retired from the US service. He was recalled by FDR, remember?
By the way I'm sure of the amount of $32 billion that Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo tried to deposit in March 2001.
My question to David Duggan: What was the nationality of the natives of the Philippines before July 4, 1946?
JE comments: I'm still confused: where is Yamashita's gold presently? Somewhere in the United States? Buried at an undisclosed location in the Philippines? Or on the bottom of Manila Bay?
Philippines and Yamashita's Gold
(Eugenio Battaglia, Italy
07/31/14 5:00 PM)
I was fascinated by the posts from Bienvenido Macario (30 and 31 July)
and David Duggan (31 July). Unfortunately, in spite of all my efforts, I
remain mostly Western-centric with my information, which is problematic.
Therefore I have a couple of questions for each of them.
Bienvenido Macario, I would like to ask why he seems to be against the
independentist Filipinos collaborating with the Japanese Army to defeat
the occupying American colonial forces.
Generally I assume that
for the Filipinos, as for any other nation, it was much better to be
independent even if within the structure of the "Asiatic Cooperation,"
rather than be dominated by a far-away Western country.
Duggan, I would like to ask if when preparing the lawsuit claiming war
crimes by the Japanese, he ever had the thought that if it was correct
to punish the war crimes of the losing "Yellow Monkeys" (remember the
movies of good old Marine John Wayne and the democratic war
propaganda?), shouldn't it also be appropriate to punish the (numerous)
war crimes of the winners?
JE comments: Eugenio Battaglia often
forces me to challenge my historic assumptions. I know that the
better off under US domination than as part of the brutal "Co-Prosperity
Sphere," but should I be so certain? Those who Bienvenido Macario calls
"loyalists" to the US could also be labeled as "collaborators."
Philippines and Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere
(Francisco Ramirez, USA
08/02/14 12:14 AM)
The historical reality is that Filipinos rejected the Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere project. This is not about what ought to be the case, but what in fact was the case. Despite Eugenio Battaglia's assumption (1 August), geographical proximity did not breed solidarity.
To this day there is more anti-Japanese than anti-American sentiment in the Philippines. This is true despite the fact that much of the destruction of Manila was due to less-than-precise American bombing.
Before Pearl Harbor there was a Commonwealth in the Philippines and a degree of self-government that included elections of both the legislative and executive branches. There was an agreement that the Philippines would become independent by 1945. One can argue that it was not in the best interests of the Philippines to become independent. But there were no mass demonstrations in favor of remaining a colony or becoming a USA territory. That is why I have never accepted the abandonment thesis of my kababayan, Bienvenido Macario. I do agree with him that rule by oligarchy has severely damaged "La Perla del Oriente, Nuestro Perdido Edén" (from José Rizal's "Mi Último Adiós").
Regarding collaboration, the standard defense for someone like Jose Laurel (president during the Japanese occupation era) is that his collaboration prevented Japan from drafting Filipinos into the Japanese army, as many Koreans were. After World War II, Laurel was elected to the Senate repeatedly. These elections are national, not provincial. So, either most people did not know how bad his government was or did not share the negative judgment of its critics. My guess is that people distinguish between collaborators who personally gained from the collaboration and those who did not. Of course, people could be dead wrong in making this assessment of motive.
JE comments: Except for a Quisling or two who benefited directly from Japanese rule, I don't know of anywhere in Asia where "Co-Prosperity" was received with enthusiasm. A parallel question about the Philippines in WWII: were there significant numbers of Filipino "volunteers" who fought for Japan?
- Citizenship of Filipinos Pre-1946 (David Duggan, USA 08/01/14 2:02 AM)
Bienvenido Macario (31 July) asked as to Filipino citizenship before its 1946 independence from the United States, and while I am not well-versed in the law of citizenship, so far as I can tell, Filipinos were not US citizens during either the time that the US administered the islands as a territory, nor in the period when the Philippines were a "commonwealth" created by US law in 1935, with its own legislature and court system. This would not have been unusual at the time the Americans "acquired" the Philippines following the Spanish-American War: the French had a similar system in Algeria after colonizing the country in the late 1800s. "White" inhabitants were deemed citizens of France (though called "pied noirs") while "les Arabes" had to apply for citizenship (they were deemed "subjects"). In doing so, they had to renounce their allegiance to sharia law. Unsurprisingly, as of 1930, only 2,500 had done so. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pied-Noir
The 1940 US Nationality Act did not name Filipino natives as having US citizenship, although citizens of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, among others, were so granted. The inference to be drawn is that Filipinos were not US citizens, although they assisted greatly in the war effort against the Japanese two years later. In 1952, citizenship was conferred on inhabitants of Guam.
- Citizenship of Filipinos Pre-1946 (David Duggan, USA 08/01/14 2:02 AM)
- Philippines and Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere (Francisco Ramirez, USA 08/02/14 12:14 AM)
- Philippines and Yamashita's Gold (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy 07/31/14 5:00 PM)