The Search for Juan: The Constabulary School, Part 1

Juan Anderson Hernandez is my great-grandfather and one of the “dead ends” in my genealogy study. I penned an article about him in 2005, documenting all I had been told of his colorful life.

Copyright E. Murray Bruner Family

Among the details I have been trying to look into is my dad’s memory of him being a Superintendent or Commandant of the Philippine Constabulary School, the precursor of the Philippine Military Academy, headquartered at the Cuartel De Santa Lucia (Santa Lucia Barracks) in Intramuros, during the Japanese occupation.  My dad remembers how his father, Segundino Magno, was given a job as a school cook by his father-in-law Juan.  There is a sense of family pride in the lore that Segundino unlocked the armory at night for the guerillas to loot — his tiny contribution to the war effort.  On the flip side, Juan was supposedly tried after the war, together with Laurel and other leaders, for his complicity to the Japanese invaders.  So much data to verify!  I need materials that will collaborate the oral histories.  So off I went to the National Library of the Philippines in TM Kalaw St. Manila today.

In reference to the PMA’s transfer to the Baguio Campus, I found this communique from the American administrators in 1908:

Bureau of Constabulary
Manila, PI
August 1, 1908
General Orders No. 24

1. The following named officers of the class graduated July 31, 1908, at the Constabulary School, having been recommended by the school staff and superintendent for their conduct, application, and proficiency in the course of study, are announced as honor graduates:

Third Lieutenant Bernabe Nicolas.
Third Lieutenant Jose V. Agdamag.
Third Lieutenant Maxon S. Lough.
Third Lieutenant Oliver Soow.

2. The station of the Constabulary School is changed from Santa Lucia Barracks, Manila to Baguio, Benguet.  Santa Lucia Barracks will be used as a station for general service companies and band, quarters for unmarried officers on duty in the city, and casuals.  Detachments from the provinces heretofore directed to report to the adjustant of the Constabulary School will hereafter be ordered to report to the commanding officerm Santa Lucia Barracks, Manila.  The supply officer and supply sergeant of the Constabulary School is discontinued.  Such supplies and property pertains to the school as are considered necessary by the Chief Supply Officer will be shipped to Baguio in time to be available for the term beginning September 1, 1908.  Upon completion of business pertaining to this transfer, officers and employees of the school will proceed by first available transportation to Baguio for duty.  The travel enjoined is necessary for public service (21808-G).

By order of Colonel Harbord:
Acting Executive Inspector

From this, I confirmed what is written on the historial marker at the ruins of the Sta. Lucia Barracks — that the precursor of the PMA moved to Baguio in 1908, a good 35 years before World War II.  Combine this tidbit and the confirmation from PMA that Juan’s name does not appear on the list of PMA superintendents, of Corps of Professors and of Commandants of Cadets, I am ready to disprove one of the family myths and conclude that Juan was never part of that organization.

So, what was the Santa Lucia Barracks used for during the war? My dad remembers it as the Constabulary School; but with the PMA fully transferred to Baguio, who were training there?  This excerpt from the memoirs of an American who served in the Philippine Guerilla Movement clarifies a lot:

In an effort to deal with the guerillas, who were passing from nuisance to menace, the Japanese organized a new Philippine Constabulary. This body should not be confused with the old prewar Constabulary which, along with the Philippine army and Philippine Scouts, had been closely linked to the American army. The new Constabulary was composed, in part, of civilian volunteers and of men who simply needed jobs to feed their families. The core of it, though, consisted of Filipino prisoners taken after the fall of Bataan and Corregidor. These men were gradually released by the Japanese with the proviso that they join the new Constabulary. Nominally, there were then to perform ordinary police duties. Actually, the Japanese planned to train them to become a new army to help defend the Philippines against a possible future American attack. The commander of the new Constabulary was General Guillermo Francisco, a Filipino officer who had served in Bataan and whom the Japanese put though a de-Americanization program before his “promotion”.

So, it seems that my great-grandfather’s Constabulary was Japanese-run and was not part of the Philippine military.   My search for details on Juan continues.

Family History Research Notes

1. Bruner, E Murray.  “Southeast Asian Images and Texts“.  Wisconsin Philippines Image Collection, 1906-1910.  Date accessed: 24 March 2011.
2. Magsino, Florencio F. and Lumabas, Rogelio.  “Men of PMA”.  1978.
3. The Historical Marker Database.  Published: 07 December 2009.  Accessed:  15 March 2011.
4. Pacific Wrecks.  Published:  23 February 2011.  Accessed:  15 March 2011.
5.  Hunt, Ray C. and Norling, Bernard.  “Behind Japanese Lines: An American Guerrilla in the Philippines“.  University Press of Kentucky. 2000.  Accessed:  16 March 2011.

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