The "People's Court" for WWII Crimes

CEBUPEDIA - Clarence Paul Oaminal (The Freeman) - July 26, 2014 - 12:00am

After World War II, courts called as "People's Court" were created in the country. The said courts were to try and hear crimes committed in the name of the war such as treason.

There were thousands who were victims of war crimes in the county but only few of them were able to attain justice. In Cebu there was a Fifth Division of the People's Court  that heard and tried the case of a Japanese Sympathizer. The man was from Sibonga, Cebu and he was prosecuted for the crime of Treason.

More than a dozen counts of the crime was charged against the man from Sibonga, Cebu. The victims assisted by the government filed the cases against the man from Sibonga, Cebu among them were:

Kong Nico, who on May 7, 1942 in Tubod,  Sibonga was accosted by the Japanese Sympathizer and his .32 caliber licensed pistol with 9 ammunitions was taken from him.

In the hearing, Kong Nico and a witness, Casiano Cabrera testified of what the Japanese Sympathizer did to him.

Anatolio Lucero, who was arrested on the evening of April 28, 1943 in Sibonga, Cebu by the same Japanese Sympathizer on the allegation that Lucero was an American Citizen.

Aside from being an American Citizen, the reason why Lucero was arrested was because he was a member of the   United States Armed Forces of the Far East. Lucero was brought to the town Plaza, then brought to Inabanga, Bohol. Lucero was forced to work in the Japanese firm, Nippon Mining Company were manganese were extracted.

It was only on December 1, 1943 that Lucero was brought back to Cebu and released.

Anatolio Lucero, his wife Ramona de Lucero and Daniel Campos testified against the Japanese Sympathizer from Sibonga.

Jose del Villar, who was arrested on November 20, 1943 who was coming down from the house of Melecio Avila in Sikatuna, Cebu City. The Japanese Sympathizer from Sibonga was accompanied by Sergeant  Yoshida.  Jose was then brought to the Cebu Normal School, brought to Manila on January 21, 1944 imprisoned at Fort Santiago and Bilibid with the guerilla leader Captain Monfort, lawyer Efrain Pelaez and Lieutenant Dionisio Sivial. Jose was liberated on February 5, 1945.

Jose and his Nieves Ibanez del Villar testified in Court for the crime committed by the Japanese sympathizer from Sibonga, Cebu.

Leonilo Mercado, the Mayor of Sibonga, Cebu who with his family were hiding in Clarin, Bohol was arrested on July 1, 1944 by the Japanese Sympathizer from Sibonga, Cebu.

During the hearing, Maria Paz Mercado, Jesus Mercado and Jovito Soria testified in Court against the Japanese Sympathizer from Sibonga, Cebu.

Ignacio Opilena, Italiano Vitor, Eugenio Orteza who were members of the Bolo Battallion were rounded up on July 11, 1944 in Inabanga, Bohol. They were tortured and maltreated by the Japanese Sympathizer from Sibonga, Cebu.

The Supreme Court En Banc (entire court) on May 13, 1959 affirmed the conviction of the Japanese Sympathizer from Sibonga, Cebu.


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