Oral History with Luis Taruc, 1974 (Excerpt)

Oral History Interview with Luis Taruc, Filipino Revolutionary at the Bentley Historical Library, tape 6 of 6. Q & A and panel discussions. Panelists include Fairla McKeel, Science Dept; Mila Guerrero, Sociology Dept.; Bruce Nussbaum, Graduate Student, Political Science; Moderator – Norman G. Owen, History Dept. Faculty.

Recorded,May 30, 1974. Very slight edits have been made, which can be seen as italicized underlined text.

Taruc Interview 6 of 6 [Side 1]

 …It was then my most serious self-examination. Should I smear my conscience and my hands with their blood? Because they are out to openly or surreptitiously hurt me or kill me. Should I retaliate in kind? I asked myself, so I decided I will negotiate alone on my own responsibility. I will send for Ninoy Aquino and Manahan, whoever will come and getting a definite promise from him or from the two of them that Magsaysay will honor his promise of an amnesty and the socioeconomic policies that he promised when he was a candidate. If he will repeat that on the panel without any written contract, I will sacrifice myself. I met Aquino, he brought me to Manila on a promise of amnesty to bring me to Magsaysay and tell Magsaysay that I agree to submit to the Constitution and the laws of the land and I ask only one thing for Magsaysay to give an amnesty based on the conditions we agreed before as brought about by Aquino and I came down so that I will not smear my hand and my conscience with the blood of my own comrades and I did and that was it. As to the question of Miss Merkel, yes. The accidental and mistaken identity of the group or delegation of Mrs. Quezon who’s companion was Mayor Ponciano Bernardo sitting beside him, very obvious and evident from those who are looking from the outside, sitting beside him was General Jalandoni the intelligence agents of Commander Viernes of that regiment under Viernes Nueva Ecija who were in camp near the highway going to Bongabon and Baler, Quezon near the Pacific where Mrs. Quezon’s party was to pass by, reported to Commander Viernes that President Quirino is coming in about 10 minutes time so hurriedly they positioned themselves on a hill overlooking the highway and ambush them. The best capitalize on that very sorry and sad accident and said it was my order and the order of the GHQ that condemn us to be bloodthirsty, unreasoning criminals who are not really liberators but plain bloodthirsty enemies of the people, of people like Dona Aurora Quezon. Dona Aurora Quezon was our close friend. He was sending us medicines every month. He was training nurses for our mountain camps two at the time who are not wanted who are going to the hills after their one-month training. Aurora Quezon hid Alejandrino before he went to the hills for two weeks enjoying her home and her swimming pool, swimming with Nini Quezon and [B]aby Aurora Quezon in their homes, meeting as a part of the family. We will not do the crazy order to let our men ambush Dona Aurora, who was our friends. In fact, Dona Aurora, on the order of President Quezon, gave their hacienda 10 pesos or 15 pesos per hectare to her tenants whom they treated like sons and daughters. And I crazy to order the ambush of Mrs. Quezon with such long standing friendship so when I met Nonong Quezon the remaining son and Nini Quezon Avancena the widow of Felipe Buencamino, who was one of those who died in that ambush, immediately they said do not apologize even before you open your lips we did not believe what you are about to say. We look up at you as our old friends so do not apologize because we do not believe the news that was spread by the army when our mother, sister, brother, and my husband was killed in that ambush. Thank you I said with tears in my eyes with Quezon, Nonong Quezon, and Nini before me, I stood up, held their hands, embraced Nonong I was with Monsignor Francisco Avendano, their family Chaplain as a witness in that conversation and confrontation I impose on myself. I asked Monsignor Avendano to bring me to Nini and to Nonong Quezon in the old mansion of Nonong Quezon who was still single then at that Marikina promontory in front of the Good Shepherd Convent, where I now live at the compound of the Good Shepherd Convent, 100 meters away.

Luis Taruc
Author: Luis Taruc

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