Friday, July 03, 2009


General Douglas MacArthur and the other Americans who waded ashore on Palo, Leyte in 1944 should not be the only ones honored in this year's Leyte Landing commemoration rites come October. Filipino guerillas must also take center stage, for they were the ones who helped make that landing possible by mounting operations against the Japanese in the weeks before the invasion.

One of those men who waded ashore with Gen. MacArthur was a certain Antonio Madrigal. What has become of him? At that time, he was a 26-year-old captain serving as military aide to President Sergio Osmena. A few years ago during another Leyte Landing celebration, Captain Madrigal was presented by then Executive Secretary Teofisto Guingona, to which the former was honored with a state decoration and citation.

Captain Madrigal was asked many questions about the landing itself. He was asked, for instance, whether it was true that Brig. Gen. Carlos P. Romulo - who was very short, nearly drowned when Gen. MacArthur's party got off the landing barge and started wading ashore. That was just a big joke, Madrigal said. He also recalled that among the persons who met the Americans was a pretty young girl named Imelda Romualdez. Even at that time, he said, her beauty was striking.

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