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Home Columns JGL Eye Seventy Years of Deception
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Columns - JGL Eye
Friday, 22 July 2011 15:40

 

JGL Eye Column

By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA

(© 2011 Journal Group Link International)

  

Filipino World-War II Veterans Experience 70 Years (and Counting) of Deception

 

I would like to see the government admit that they were wrong and do something about it so this will never happen again to any American citizen of any race, creed, or color. If anyone should do any pardoning, I should be the one pardoning the government for what they did to the Japanese-American people. -- Fred Toyosaburo Korematsu, a U.S. civil-rights advocate

 

C HICAGO (jGLi) – Seventy years ago on July 26, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued a Military Order, calling into service and placing under the command of “the armed forces of the United States for the period of the existing emergency… all organized military forces of the Government of the Commonwealth of the Philippines.”

 

Unknown to Filipinos, who responded to the compulsory mobilization, they were bound by the Military Laws of the U.S. that provide among others that in case of desertion or “attempt to desert the service of the United States, if the offense” is committed in time of war, they will “suffer death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct.”

 

Other violations of Articles of War whose punitive punishment calls for death in time of war during that time were advising or aiding another deserter, misbehaving before an enemy, relieving, corresponding with or aiding the enemy, spying and committing murder or rape.

 

I would not have minded if the order called into service the old “Philippine Scouts,” a small elite troop which the United States treated as part of its Regular Army.

 

But because the U.S. was going to face a well-trained, well-armed and more numerous Japanese Army that would attack Pearl Harbor four months later, Roosevelt conscripted an ill-trained and under-armed Commonwealth and other militia (guerilla) forces that could face death in the hands of the U.S. military if they violated some Articles of War or their Japanese enemies.

 

I have yet to talk to a Filipino veteran if the U.S. Articles of War were read before them like a Miranda warning before enlisting during the war.

 

ARTICLES OF WAR TO BE READ AT ENLISTMENT

 

A ccording to “Article of War 110,” Articles 1,2, and 29, 54 to 96 (punitive articles), inclusive, and 104, 109, inclusive shall be read and explained to every soldier at the time of his enlistment or muster in, or within six days thereafter, and shall be read and explained once every six months.”

 

I’m sure if the ill-prepared Filipino soldiers knew that they have no way out from enlistment, they would have staged a riot like the Draft Week in 1863 when violent disturbance broke out in New York City after U.S. Congress passed a new law that would conscript them to join the American Civil War.

 

It would become the largest civil insurrection in American history when the rioters, mostly working class, resented it that they were being drafted while sparing wealthy men. It left 120 civilian deaths.

 

But one very telling article is “Art. 109.” Before a Filipino soldier would be enlisted, he had to take the following oath or affirmation: “I _____ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the U.S.A.; that I will serve them honestly and faithfully against all their enemies whomsoever; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the US and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to Rules and Articles of War.” This oath or affirmation may be taken before any officer.

 

It is very clear in this article of war that the Filipino soldiers were pledging their allegiance not to the Philippine Commonwealth government but to the United States of America!

 

So, those narrow-minded members of U.S. Congress, who passed the Rescission Act of 1946 that deprived the Filipino soldiers the same benefits enjoyed by their American counterparts and the other allied soldiers from 66 other countries that made up the U.S. Armed Forces of the Far East (USAFFE) discriminated against the Filipino soldiers.

 

This discrimination reared its ugly head anew when the same Congress passed in 2009 the Stimulus law creating two classes of Filipino veterans – U.S. Citizens, who were entitled to one-time $15,000 and non-U.S. Citizens that were given lump sum of $9,000.

 

H. R. 210 TO OVERTURN RECESSION ACT

 

A lthough Filipino soldiers were promised to be naturalized, the U.S. Consul accepting their immigration applications in Manila after the war was suddenly recalled, leaving behind many applicants holding an empty bag.

 

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA-12th) has introduced H.R.210 – Filipino Veterans Fairness Act of 2011 that will try to overturn the Rescission Act of 1946 that will “deem certain service in the organized military forces of the Philippines and the (New) Philippine Scouts to be active service” while urging the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to “take into account any alternative documentation regarding such service, other than the Missouri List, that the Secretary determines relevant.” The bill has now 45 co-sponsors.

 

Meanwhile, a Filipino priest on-leave, Fr. Prisco Entines , a son of a Filipino veteran, is still keeping his finger crossed that his class action suit that will naturalize en masse Filipinos born in the Philippines during the Commonwealth Period will get its day in court.

 

He hopes to use as precedent the Sabangan v. Collin Powell (2004) that declared as instant U.S. Citizens all natives of the Commonwealth of Northern Marianas Islands in his case.

 

Father Entines was inspired by Fred Toyosaburo Korematsu, a U.S.-born of Japanese descent, who turned fugitive when he was being brought to internment camp during World War II. Although the internment was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, Mr. Korematsu’s conviction was overturned decades later after a disclosure that Solicitor General of the United States Charles Fahy deliberately suppressed reports from the FBI and military intelligence, which concluded that Japanese-American citizens posed no security risk.

 

In awarding Korematsu the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States in 1998, President Bill Clinton said, "In the long history of our country's constant search for justice, some names of ordinary citizens stand for millions of souls. Plessy, Brown, Parks ... to that distinguished list, today we add the name of Fred Korematsu.". # # #

 

Editor’s Note: To contact the author, please e-mail him at: (lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net)

 

 


Last Updated on Friday, 22 July 2011 15:45
 

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