The Burden of Proof: The Vargas-Laurel Collaboration Case
Notes from Alfred W. Mc Coy Book Review:
This final book by the leading Philippine historian of his generation makes a persuasive case for its thesis-that Filipino leaders collaborated with the Japanese during World War II to protect the population and thus deserved the nation's gratitude.
Their postwar trial on capital charges of treason and collaboration was therefore unjust, a product of the unfortunate confluence of Filipino partisan politics rooted in factionalism and American pressures shaped by the "prevailing war psychosis”.
Although the book's early chapters partly recapitulate published sources, Jorge Vargas's memoirs make a significant contribution to our knowledge.
Agoncillo draws much of this material from Vargas's diary of his nine months in Tokyo's Sugamo Prison (1945-46), which, appended in full, contains a wealth of new information. In prison conversations, Jose P. Laurel and Vargas explained their wartime collaboration with a clarity and logic obscured in the later decades of debate.
In Agoncillo's view, the entire collaboration controversy was imposed on the Philippines by the Americans.
By Teodoro A. Agoncillo. Metro Manila: University of the Philippines Press, 1984. Pp. xii, 462. Notes, Appendix: Jorge B. Vargas's “Sugamo Diary”, Bibliography, Index, Illustrations.