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Jun 03rd
Home Sections Filipino-Veterans' Lobby FilVet Escapes Bataan Death March Under Woman’s Skirt, Court Told
FilVet Escapes Bataan Death March Under Woman’s Skirt, Court Told PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Filipino-Veterans' Lobby
Written by Joseph G. Lariosa   
Wednesday, 16 June 2010 06:01



(Journal Group Link International)

Filipino Veteran Escapes Bataan Death March Under Woman’s Skirt, Court Told


C HICAGO (JGLi) – As incredible war escapes go, this saga of a Filipino World War II boy soldier is cut out for a movie: he broke away from the hellish Bataan Death March by crawling under the big skirt of an elderly woman.


Lawyers of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) have not yet asked PFC Bienvenido A. Arcilla to demonstrate how he escaped the atrocious Bataan Death March as they pore over documents he filed before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims in Washington, D.C., to compel the DVA to pay him his veterans benefits.


Arcilla has until June 19 within which to file his brief.


Arcilla’s only problem is that he has no lawyer to help him. He is assisted, though, by a veteran advocate, Fr. Prisco Entines of Los Angeles, California, who has previously filed several cases, seeking veterans’ benefits that have all been dismissed for violation of statute of limitation.


“I am hopeful that the court is going to take cognizance of this case as Mr. Arcilla is among the hundreds of veterans being deprived of their benefits under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 signed by President Barack Obama because his name is not in the Missouri list,” according to Father Entines, an orphan of a veteran and a Catholic priest on leave pursuing his veterans advocacy.




T he Missouri list refers to the records of over 400,000 USAFEE (United States Armed Forces of the Far East), USAFEE Guerillas and Guerillas being kept at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri.


Father Entines said he is filing a “motion to stay” on Arcilla’s case.


However, if the court dismisses Arcilla’s case “for lack of records from ‘me sorry’ (Missouri), instead of filing an “Appellate Brief,” he is:

1. Preparing a letter with the needed probative documents requesting for a (Re)Construction of his probably lost record that are not attributable as fault of the Veteran.


2. Filing claims for War-earned Benefits based on an alternative  "document" that very clearly proves the Veteran had "active" duty status during the War. He said a veteran, who could prove that he was in the service for a "Day" only, he qualifies as a veteran and could claim for VA benefits.


Besides, excerpt of a 1942 Amendment of the September 16, 1940, ACT, reducing the 21 year old “Conscriptible Age” to 18, whereby Mr. Arcilla was subjected to the "death penalty" for a possible "desertion" when he reached 18 years of age on September 1942, his War-Conscription service was valid from the date of his 18th birthday. His August 1945 work with the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force were not mere civilian employment but also employment as "Active" War service. And

3. Filing Veterans Claims for a possible judicial consideration as "valid" basis for claims including but not limited to his entitlement to arrears in pay at the very least from the re-opening of the claim, sometime in 1996.




F ather Entines said if the Court will dismiss the case, he will file an appeal for “Declaratory Relief” to the Federal Circuit Court, seeking to empanel a 'petit' jury for a better chance of scrutiny on the issues of U.S. National status towards instant U.S. Citizenship, equal Pay and VA and SSS benefits as a War-Conscriptee and as a Civilian Federal U.S. Employee in the U.S. Air Force with legal entitlement to SSS benefits concurrent with Federal Compensation and Pension from the Federal Government.


In his personal account as told to and illustrated by Daniel H. Dizon, Arcilla said he was a third-year student at the Tarlac High School and had just turned 16 when Japan attacked Fort Stotsenberg and Clark Air Base.


When his Bamban, Tarlac, town came under fire, he was forced to go to nearby 26th Cavalry Regiment of the U.S. Army headquarters at Fort Stotsenberg, where a Private Martinez recruited him as a soldier in the presence of Lt. Gen. Douglas MacArthur and Maj. Gen. Jonathan Wainwright.


He was inducted on Dec. 11, 1941 as a member of the Old Philippine Scouts of the U.S. Army and assigned as an orderly of Lt. Col. Joshua A. Stansell of the GHQ Signal Company. He pretended as an 18-year-old recruit.


It was Lt. Colonel Stansell, who issued him G.I. dog tags that consisted of two aluminum plates “as big as our peso coins with serial number imprinted on them that started with "1030" but he could not recall the rest of the other four digits.”


When the U.S. Forces surrendered on April 9, 1942, Arcilla was one of the thousands who were ordered to walk to Mariveles, Bataan.


On the sixth day of the march when the marchers were told to squat on a pavement of a narrow road beside a big house with the sign, “Lubao Iron Works – Lubao, Pampanga,” he went for a drink.


When the Japanese guards were looking the other way, because there were “large crowds of curios civilians,” Arcilla’s heart “pounded faster when I saw the great possibility of escape.”




As a group of bystanders commented loudly “that I was merely a boy,” he exclaimed “I am Pampangan.” With this information, the group summoned an old woman, who was standing a few paces away from him. With a gallon-sized goiter swinging under her wrinkled neck, the woman, wearing the wide and long skirt, looked very apprehensive about his tender age and pathetic condition.


The woman (now deceased) was later identified by her husband Lino Lugue  of Barrio Sto. Tomas, Lubao, Pampanga, as Victorina Manalese Lugue.


“She immediately asked me if I could quickly crawl under her skirt and escape with her.” Arcilla said.


When Arcilla saw his Japanese guard with bayoneted long rifle scanning “our location but was turning his head in a semi-circle and was about 20 yards away and his head turned to the forward direction,” Arcilla darted away from the marchers’ column and crawled quickly under the old woman’s skirt.


“For a few minutes, she stayed put while I heard many footsteps converging in front of her. Afterwards, she slowly turned around and started to walk into the interior. Under her wide and long skirt, I followed her walk as I crawled underneath on all fours between her wrinkled legs.”


After he gained freedom, townsfolk provided him new clothings and food. But his worn-out clothes were not returned to him, including his dog tags that were his only pieces of identity as a U.S. military soldier.


The missing dog tags deprived him to receive his wartime benefits, despite affidavits of USAF Lt. Col. W. H. Waterous and U.S. Army retiree Santiago A. Rigor, who both testified that they saw Arcilla “on duty with the First Philippine Corps, Signal Battalion (during the war) and up to the surrender of Bataan.”


Arcilla, whose last known residence in the Philippines is Angeles, Pampanga, is now a resident of Los Angeles, California. He is now living with his son, who is a doctor. Mr. Arcilla became a naturalized U.S. citizen as a “Special Immigrant,” having been a retired U.S. Federal Employee with the U.S. Air Force from Aug. 1945 to May 1978.


Arcilla has been filing VA claims since 1950. # # #


Editor’s Notes: To contact the author, please e-mail him at:  (



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Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 June 2010 06:06
Comments (1)
posting here a useful article by the late Col Quesda


BALITANG BETERANO: MANILA, May 29, 2004 (STAR) By Col (Ret) Frank B. Quesada

Gen. Carlos P. Romulo, was in the general staff of Gen McArthur in the USAFFE, and later became the first Secretary General of the United Nations. name does not appear in the roster of Fil-Am World War II veterans. (See: Roster of Veterans) … I was Senate Committee Secretary of the Senate Committee on Veterans and Military Pensions, I discovered and noted that Gen. Romulo was not listed in the roster of veterans of the USAFFE, and was a “deleted” war veteran - along with genuine Filipino WW-II veterans like Gen. Ernesto Mata, who held the island of Negros for almost four years as guerrilla leader against the Japanese invaders.Unbelievably, there are thousands of Filipino heroes of WW-II who were also victims of the army’s carelessness and differentiation like former ambassadors, namely: Amelito Mutuc, Oscar Ledesma, Salvador P. Lopez who wrote world-renown master-piece, “Bataan Has Fallen” in the humid tunnel of Corregidor shortly before the American surrender of Bataan. Other ambassadors deleted from the roster were:Ambassadors: Agustin Mangila, Emilio Bejasa, Pacifico Evangelista, and Roberto Benedicto. They all fought with honor but disgraced by the omission. ( See: RRGR).There were also two associate justices of the Supreme Court whose names were also barefacedly deleted: Querube Macalintal, and Fred Ruiz Castro. And one senator, Gerardo Roxas. All of them were bonafide U.S. servicemen but whose honorable military service in WW-II in the Philippines were recklessly unrecognized. They are only a minute fraction of the total number of 404,796 veterans unrecognized after they honorably rendered military service in the U.S. Army. And there were 121,000 names of these heroes unjustly deleted in the roster of the Army by the AFWESPAC

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