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LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, June 29, 2004, By Col.(Ret) Frank B. Quesada, Former Senate Committee Secretary Veterans and Military Pensions, Associate, PMA Class ‘44  -  Very little have been said about the Filipino-Chinese freedom fighters in the Philippines during World War II. Without them, history would not be complete how the war was also fought by a Filipino minority – who have acquitted themselves in the resistance movement during the war of the United States against Japan that involved both Filipinos and Chinese-Filipinos. (Chilipinos).

When the Japanese Imperial Forces landed in the Philippines in 1941 – Chilipinos, were also suspects. They were not respected by the enemy. As a matter of fact, they were maltreated by the Japanese, like their kin in mainland China.

A Distinguished Unit.

This particular story accounts for one guerrilla organization that have distinguished itself in the struggle for freedom and democracy in Luzon, which this author can account for from first-hand knowledge.

I am referring to heroic group that started as an effective and simple intelligence and combat unit called the “Ampaw Unit” of the famed Marking’s Fil-American Guerrilla.

The Marking’s originally operated in Eastern Manila. more particularly in Rizal and Laguna provinces. Since the Japanese landed and pursued its quest for the USAFFE ni Bataan and Corregidor – a

patriotic resistance group earned its name as “Ampaw Unit” – posing as “puff rice” vendors, highly disciplined and trained intelligence operatives, with its own combat unit.

Leak in Enemy Secrets

The Japanese military forces in Manila, Rizal and Laguna were at a loss how so much of their vital military secrets could leak into the hands of Marking’s guerrillas.

From Manila and adjacent provinces the Japanese Kempai Tai (military police) was in a great quandary and could not figure out how the resistance movement could secure well-kept secrets from the Japanese occupation forces.

And as far as the Japanese forces are concerned, they have been quite careful in enforcement of security procedures. The enemy were quite strict in containing movements of civilian population everywhere.

Enemy Security Measures

Identification passes were issued to civilians and checkpoints were established n strategic areas n Manila city and the suburbs as well. They though they have the Capital City well-sealed and under control.

Nevertheless, guerrillas have been aggressively harassing the Japanese from the rear inflicting heavy losses. Little did the Japanese know that there was an effective network of underground chain of guerrilla intelligence operating under their nose.

Japanese movements and strength were easily and always known to the guerrillas, which posed as threat to the Japanese military troops. They never suspected civilian vendors were in reality an intelligence unit of the Marking;s guerrilla that relayed enemy vital information to guerrillas.

Impeccable Spies

They have roamed around Greater Manila area selling puff rice, however, in reality were covert collectors of information pertinent to any Japanese movement and destination.

The “Ampaw Unit” have disguised themselves as “puff rice” vendors all over the city and greater Manila area – with a relay system that fed the guerrillas when and where the Japanese troops would be going. Puff rice was a popular snack among Filipinos being sold on a house-to- house basis by these well-disguised vendors.

During my guerrilla days in the area as coordinating intelligence officer for the resistance movement – I came to comer across a very succinct unit of Filipino-Chinese dedicated to furnish Marking’s and other guerrilla units that have been ambushing Japanese patrols operating in the city and the adjacent provinces.

The Real Chua Sy Tiao

I later came to know and identify their skilful leader in the name if, Col. Chua Sy Tiao, with a nom-de-guere (an alias) “Tomas.” Tomas, as he was known was a wily operator posing as a businessman who have trained a chain of intelligence operatives using the Chinese language as their means of communication. Tomas, in person appears as harmless but disguised lowly vendor.

In my long association with this unit, I quietly discovered that Tomes was a reserve Captain in the Chinese Koumintang (Nationalist) Army, with a specialist training in mainland China before the war since 1934-36, He was purposely sent to the Philippines in anticipation of Sino-Japanese War in Manchuria.

He knew too well the brutalities perpetrated by the Japanese invaders in China (the Rape of Nanking) and exploitation of China by the Japanese military forces.

In the Philippines Col. Chua Sy Tiao (Tomas) vowed to avenge the inhumanities by the Japanese against his countrymen. Thus – when the Japanese invaded the Philippines, he seized the moment to fight them together with the Filipino freedom fighters. His men were Filipino-Chinese extraction (meztisos) – hybrids called - Chilipinos.

Birth of Ampaw Unit

Tomas was very cautious in forming this compact but efficacious conglomeration of Chinese Filipinos who were sworn to fight to the last man, where they started in Antipolo, Rizal – a town overlooking the city of Manila from the Sierra Madre mountain.

Antipolo, was then the cross-routes of USAFFE (United States Armed Forces in the Fart East) of Bataan escapes and un-surrendered soldiers who refuse of take defeat from the triumphant Japanese invaders. The sought refuge from the vast mountain forests of the Sierra.

Initial Area of Operations

From Antipolo, this unit operated in the adjacent towns of Pillilia, Tanay, Morong, San Guillermo, Teresa, Marikina, Taytay, Pasig, Montalban, Pasay and Manila city.

In the process, they collected food and supplies for the combat unit of Marking’s Fil-American Guerrilla.

Without this seemingly small but efficient unit, thr Markng’s combat force could not have survived the privations in the rugged Sierra Madre mountain isolated by the enemy from civilian population.

Japanese Retaliation

I know this by heart because the Japanese have already mounted an effective manhunt and hamletting (Zona) operations against the guerrillas operating in the area like: Marking’s the Hunters guerrillas led by Cols: Mike Ver (PMA ’43) and Terry Advoso PMA Class ’44); the Fil-American Irregular Troops of Col. Hugh Straughn (USA Ret.). they all were roaming around the Sierra hunting for Japanese patrols.

As I have also been ducking Japanese rangers, I have witnessed their runner system, food procurers, arms and ammunition collectors, saboteurs and foot soldiers – who supported the resistance movement.

Enemy Roundups

No sooner, the Japanese closed in on this suspected unit as guerrillas were herded to the Japanese garrison in Antipolo. They were tortured and beaten by the Japanese, however, these intrepid men endured the punishment. Tomas intervened and convinced the Japanese that those men were only looking for food. The food procured was later turned over by and his second-in-command, Major Clinton C. Tan. to Marking.

My Capture as POW

As a matter of fact, in July 1943, I was caught by the Japanese in a hamletting operation in Paete, Laguna where all men were rounded up and were incarcerated in the Catholic church. There about 2,500 men – concentrated for 8 punishing days and nights san food and we were beaten continuously while being interrogated.

We are subjected to the infamous “water cure” by the enemy guards. It was a brutal devise to drawn the victims by covering the faced with wet burlap and a pail of water is pour over the face while laying down. The victim is rendered drowning until a forced confession is secured by the enemy.

Many succumbed to the punishment, while a few of us swore to go for broke, knowing that the Japanese never respected anyone who squeal sand turn stool pigeon against their comrades.

Enemy Brutality and Sadism

A few were beheaded (by decapitation) being found guilty of admitting as guerrillas. Most of those Chilipinos with us also suffered and tolerated the beatings and were later released.

For my part, I wound up with broken ribs and injured which up to now bothers me. Many Filipinos and Chinese as well also survived this punitive experience. However, returned to guerrilla activities upon recuperation.

Country’s Liberation Period

The American and allied liberation forces arrived b January of 1945 – and the Ampaw Unit was attached to the U.S. 43rd Infantry Division under the command of Maj.. Gen. Leonard Wing, assisted by Brig. Gen. Alex Stark.

I personally saw this unit in their best – during the battle of Ipo Dam led by Col. Agustin Marking, head of the Marking’s Guerrillas, assisted by Col. Yay Curtis Marking. As a matter of fact, the Marking’s Guerrilla was awarded by the U.S. Army the credit of capturing Ipo Dam after so many month of bloody fighting.

Roster of Ampaw Unit

Col. Chua Sy Tiao – Commanding Officer; Major Clinton C. Tan – Exec. Officer.

Ltc Chua Sy, Maj. Nga Sieng, Lt. Wong Si Yew, Sgt. So Peng, Sgt. Chua Tian, Lt. Cheng Te, Lt. Tan Pok, Dgt. Ag Se, Sgt. Tan Lit, Pfc. Yu Go Kee, Sgt. Ang Ka, Major. Robert Tiongson, Col. Tan Tiam, Sgt. See Kio, Capt. Chua Hu, Lt. Co Heng, Sgt. Se Ban, Capt. Ernesto Ang,Sgt. Tuan Chua, Sgt. Lim Tan Pee, Lt. Co Tan Yian, Capt. Lim Song, Sgt.Chang Too, Capt. Sy Ban, Sgt. Ricardo Cheng, Sgt.Tan Kim Sing, Maj. Ong Hai, Sgt. Tiu Chieng Chao, May. Ong Kiao, Lt. Go Sy Chiong, Lt. Ang Liong, Sgt. Go Ban, Sgt. Li Siong, Sgt. Sy Chuy, Sgt.Ngo Guan, Lt. Kaw Lin Sgt.,Hua Bang, Sgt. Tan Li Kim, Sgt. Ching Kiat, Sgt. Chua Dy, Capt. Ng Tee, Lt. YuOng Chaw, Sgt. Chan Lai, Sgt. Lao Bio, Sgt. Tek Him, Ltc. Ong Ko Lim, Sgt. Ong Chua, Pfc.Tan Khi, Sgt. Cua Lit, Lt. One Lian Tee, Sgt. Chua Pue Hong, Cpl. Uy Lim, Lt. Au Yong Lit, Sgt. Chua Hian, Sgt. Li San, Sgt Ching Pong, Lt. Chan Heng, Sgt. Tan Bon, Sgt. Chan Heng, Sgt. See Lak.

BGen.Marking’s Testimonial

I personally commend the Ampaw Unit for their heroic and gallant contribution for the sake of our beloved country and the United States. I have seen them in the their most heroic hour as their Commanding Officer in World War II.

As for the Chinese nationals who chose to fight on the side of freedom and democracy of the Philippines and the U.S. they have carved in the niche of fame in the saga of the struggle during World War II. They deserved our respect and gratitude in the name of justice and liberty.

As for our fellow Chinese-Filipinos who also shed blood for God and Country along side us – they deserve our utmost camaraderie.

All the members of the Ampaw Unit – whose contribution to the cause of freedom and democracy – should not be suckers of class legislation. I stand against any discrimination that downgrades these men of honor.

What is good for any Filipino or American (as servicemen) must be good for any of them – saw the face of the enemy in battle. They will always be my men in war and in peace. U.S. Gen. Wing and Gen. Stark stand beside me in awarding them the same honor and reward entitled to any World War II servicemen like them who shed blood and died for those who would live.

In peace time – these men have returned to their respective stations in life and now have contributed to the socio-economic well-being of the countries they served so well.

Before I quietly fade away from this world - these men must be afforded the same privileges and benefits any member of the armed forces deserve. They are no more, no less than any war veteran that honorably served the flag. .


sworn affidavit dated 3/16/1947 by Vice Minister Tai Kui Sing of Overseas Dept of War Council Nanking China admin of Gen Chang Kai-shek declared that brothers Major (Dr) Florentino Techico, Sr & 1st Inf Regt Lt. Col (Atty) Jordan Techico together w/ Atty Segundo S. Gonzales were instrumental in saving his life during Japanese occupation and also in rescuing him during the Liberation. Dr Techico was Bn Surgeon of 3rd Bn 23rd Inf Regt 21st Division (copy provided to M.E. Embry on 10/25/2009 by Ms. MaryAnn Liebensberger, daughter of Dr. Florentino Techico)



Republic of the Philippines


G.R. No. L-12944             March 30, 1959

MARIA NATIVIDAD VDA. DE TAN, petitioner-appellee,
VETERANS BACKPAY COMMISSION, respondent-appellant.

Atilano R. Cinco and Aguilan and Rosero Law Offices for appellee.
Acting Solicitor General Guillermo E. Torres and Solicitor Camilo D. Quiason for appellant.

REYES, J.B.L., J.:

On March 5, 1957, petitioner-appellee, Maria Natividad vda. de Tan filed with the Court of First Instance of Manila a verified petition for mandamus seeking an order to compel the respondent-appellant Veterans Back Pay Commission: (1) to declare deceased Lt. Tan Chiat Bee alias Tan Lian Lay, a Chinese national, entitled to backpay rights, privileges, and prerogatives under Republic Act No. 304, as amended by Republic Act No. 897; and (2) to give due course to the claim of petitioner, as the widow of the said veterans, by issuing to her the corresponding backpay certificate of indebtedness.

Respondent Commission filed its answer in due time asserting certain special and affirmative defenses, on the basis of which, the Commission unsuccessfully moved to dismiss the petition.

The parties then submitted a stipulation of facts hereinbelow reproduced:

Come now the petitioner and respondent in the above-entitled case through their respective counsel, and to this Honorable Court respectfully agree and stipulate that the following facts are true:

1. That the petitioner is of legal age, widow, and a resident of 400 Lallana, Tondo, Manila; that the respondent is a government instrumentality or agency, with offices in the City of Manila, Philippines, duly vested with authority to implement the provisions of the Backpay Law, otherwise known as Republic Act No. 879, further amending Republic Act No. 304;

2. That the petitioner is the widow of the late Lt. Tan Chiat Bee alias Tan Lian Lay, a Chinese national, and a bona fide member of the 1st Regiment, United States-Chinese Volunteers in the Philippines;

3. That the United States-Chinese Volunteers in the Philippines is a guerrilla organization duly recognized by the Army of the United States and forming part and parcel of the Philippine Army;

4. That Tan Chiat Bee alias Tan Lian Lay died in the service on April 4, 1945 in the battle at Ipo Dam, Rizal Province, Philippines; he was duly recognized as a guerrilla veteran and certified to by the Armed Forces of the Philippines as having rendered meritorious military services during the Japanese occupation;

5. That petitioner as the widow of the said recognized deceased veteran, filed an application for back pay under the provisions of Republic Act No. 897, the resolution of the Veterans Back Pay Commissions dated November 19, 1953 and the letter of the Veterans Back Pay Commission dated December 9, 1953;

6. That on June 18, 1955, the Secretary and the Chief of Office Staff of Veterans Back Pay Commission sent a letter to General Vicente Lopez of the United States-Chinese Volunteers in the Philippines apprising the latter that the Commission has reaffirmed its resolution granting the back pay to alien members;

7. That the Adjutant, Armed Forces of the Philippines, has verified and certified that deceased veteran has rendered service as a recognized guerrilla for the period indicated in his (Adjutant's) indorsement to the Chief, Finance Service Armed Forces of the Philippines;

8. That, likewise, the Chief of Finance Service, Camp Murphy, has computed the backpay due the petitioner and the same was passed in audit by representatives of the Auditor General;

9. That after due liberation respondent revoked its previous stands and ruled that aliens are not entitled to back pay;

10. That on February 13, 1957, the respondent Veterans Back Pay Commission, through its Secretary & Chief of Office Staff, made a formal reply to the aforesaid claim of the herein petitioner denying her request on the ground that aliens are not entitled to back pay;

11. That upon refusal of the Veterans Back Pay Commission the petitioner brought the case direct to this Honorable Court by way of mandamus;

12. That petitioner and respondent admit the existence and authenticity of the following documents;

Annex A—Resolution of the Veterans Back Pay dated November 19, 1953.

Annex B—Letter dated December 9, 1953.

Annex C—Letter dated June 18, 1955.

Annex D—Executive Order No. 21 dated October 28, 1944.

Annex E—Executive Order No. 68 dated September 26, 1945.

Annex F—Minutes of the Resolution of the Back Pay Commission regarding the opinion of the Secretary of Justice dated February 8, 1956.

Annex G—Letter of Back Pay Commission dated February 26, 1954 to Secretary of Justice.

Annex H—Opinion No. 213 series of 1956 of the Secretary of Justice.

Annex I—Reply of Veterans Backpay Commission.

Annex J—Explanatory Note to House Bill No. 1953.

Annex K—Explanatory note to Senate Bill No. 10.

Annex L—Explanatory note to House Bill No. 1228, now Republic Act No. 897.

Annex M—Joint Resolution No. 5 of the First Congress of the Philippines.

13. That the parties waive the presentation of further evidence;

14. That the respondents will file its memorandum within ten (10) days from August 1, 1957 and the petitioner may file her memorandum within ten (10) days from receipt of respondent's memorandum, after which the case is deemed submitted for decision.

Manila, July 31, 1957.

Based on the foregoing, the lower court rendered judgment the dispositive portion of which, reads:

Wherefore, the petition is granted, ordering respondent Commission to give due course to the claim of herein petitioner to the backpay to which her deceased husband was entitled as member of a duly recognized guerrilla organization.

Against the decision, the respondent instituted this appeal averring once more, in its assignment of errors, the special and affirmative defenses that the petitioner failed to exhaust available administrative remedies; that the suit is, in effect, an action to enforce a money claim against the government without its consent; that mandamus will not lie to compel the exercise of a discretionary function; and that the Republic Act Nos. 304 and 897 already referred to were never intended to benefit aliens.

We find no merit in the appeal. As to the claim that mandamus is not the proper remedy to correct the exercise of discretion of the Commission, it may well be remembered that its discretion is limited to the facts of the case, i.e., in merely evaluating the evidence whether or not the claimant is a member of a guerrilla force duly recognized by the United States Army. Nowhere in the law is the respondent Commission given the power to adjudicate or determine rights after such facts are established. Having been satisfied that deceased Tan Chiat Bee was an officer of a duly recognized guerrilla outfit, certified to by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, having served under the United States-Chinese Volunteers in the Philippines, a guerrilla unit recognized by the United States army and forming part of the Philippine Army, it becomes the ministerial duty of the respondent to give due course to his widow's application. (See sections 1 and 6, Republic Act 897). Note that the Chief of the Finance Service, Camp Murphy, has accepted the backpay due the petitioner's husband and the same was passed in audit by the representatives of the Auditor General.

It is insisted by the respondent Commission that aliens are not included within the purview of the law. We disagree. The law is contained in Republic Act Nos. 304 and 897 is explicit enough, and it extends its benefits to members of "guerrilla forces duly recognized by the Army of the United States." From the plain and clear language thereof, we fail to see any indication that its operation should be limited to citizens of the Philippines only, for all that is required is that the guerrilla unit be duly recognized by the Army of the United States. We are in full accord with Opinion No. 213, series of 1956, of the Secretary of Justice, which reads:

Section 1 of the cited Act (Republic act No. 304, as amended by Republic Act No. 897), otherwise known as the Back Pay Law, recognizes the rights to the backpay of members of "guerrilla forces duly recognized by the Army of the United States, among others. A perusal of its provisions reveals nothing which may be construed to mean that only Filipino citizens are entitled to back pay thereunder. On the contrary, the statute expressly includes within its coverage "persons under contract with the Government of the Commonwealth", which clause was construed by this office to refer to service" by the government (Opinion No. 137, s. 1953), a majority of whom were non-citizens. Thus, the Opinion No. 30, s. 1949, this office ruled that a civil service employee of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey rendering the service to the Philippine Government when war broke out on December 8, 1941, was entitled to back pay.

As regards guerrillas, it seems clear that all the law requires is that they be "duly recognized by the Army of the United States." Section 1 of the Back Pay Law, it is also noted, enumerates those who are not entitled to its benefits; recognized guerrillas who were not Filipino citizens are not among those expressly mentioned. The maxim expressio unius est exclusio alterius, I think, finds application here.

Moreover, Executive Order No. 21, dated October 28, 1944, expressly declared that, Sections 22 (a) and 27 of Commonwealth Act No. 1 to the contrary notwithstanding, "all persons of any nationality or citizenship, who are actively serving in recognized military forces in the Philippines, are thereby considered to be on active service in the Philippine Army."

It is the respondent's main argument that it could not have been the intention of Congress to extend its benefit to aliens, as the purpose of the law was "precisely to help rehabilitate members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and recognized guerrillas by giving them the right to acquire public lands and public property by using the back pay certificate", and "it is fundamental under the Constitution that aliens except American citizens cannot acquire public lands or exploit our natural resources". Respondent Commission fails to realize that this is just one of the various uses of the certificate; and that it may also be utilized for the payment of obligations to the Government or to any of its branches or instrumentalities, i.e., taxes, government hospital bills, etc. (See Sec. 2, Rep. act No. 897).

As further observed by the lower court:

It is one thing to be entitled to backpay and to receive acknowledgment therefor, and another thing to receive backpay certificates in accordance with the resolutions of the Commission and to make use of the same.

It was, therefore, unreasonable if not arbitrary on the part of respondent Commission to deny petitioner's claim on the basis.

It is further contended by the Commission that the petitioner should have first exhausted her administrative remedies by appealing to the President of the Philippines, and that her failure to do so is a bar to her action in court (Montes vs. The Civil Service Board of Appeals, 101 Phil., 490; 54 Off. Gaz. [7] 2174. The respondent Commission is in estoppel to invoke this rule, considering that in its resolution (Annex F of the Stipulation of Facts) reiterating its obstinate refusal to abide by the opinion of the Secretary of Justice, who is the legal adviser of the Executive Department, the Commission declared that —

The opinions promulgated by the Secretary of Justice are advisory in nature, which may either be accepted or ignored by the office seeking the opinion, and any aggrieved party has the court for recourse, (Annex F)

thereby leading the petitioner to conclude that only a final judicial ruling in her favor would be accepted by the Commission.

Neither is there substance in the contention that the petition is, in effect, a suit against the government without its consent. the relief prayed for is simply "the recognition of the petitioner-appellee" under the provisions of sections 1 and 2 of Republic Act No. 897, and consists in "directing an agency of the government to perform an act . . . it is bound to perform." Republic Act Nos. 304 and 897 necessarily embody state consent to an action against the officers entrusted with the implementation of said Acts in case of unjustified refusal to recognize the rights of proper applicants.

The decision appealed from should be, and hereby is, affirmed. No costs. So ordered.

Paras, C.J., Bengzon, Padilla, Montemayor, Reyes, A. Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Concepcion and Endencia, JJ., concur.


pls visit Website for photos (see caption) that I am unable to post
Philippine Chinese veterans recount the war against Japan's invasion
Philippine Chinese veteran Xu liangyun tells stories about the Philippines' war against Japan's invasion during World War II, in Manila July 7, 2005. Overseas Chinese living in the Philippines voluntarily built up guerrilla troops to take part in the war of resistance against Japanese invasion of the Philippines in World War II.

A Philippine Chinese veteran wearing his cap used during World War II attends a memorial ceremony in Manila, the Philippines, July 7, 2005.

Philippine Chinese veterans visit a monument commemorating the overseas Chinese soldiers sacrificing themselves during the Philippines' war against Japan's invasion in World War II, in Manila July 7, 2005.



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