Soon after the occupation of the provinces of Iloilo, Capiz, and Antique in January, 1900, it was found that Padre de la Peņa, of Dumangas, was very active in the interest of the insurgents and was quite an important factor to the cause.
About the middle of February, 1900, as nearly as I can recall, Lieutenant-Colonel Dickman and Major Henry came to my quarters and asked if I would authorize them to arrest Padre Augustine de la Piņa. My reply was that no individual, whatever his calling, could be exempt from arrest if he was an obstacle to the accomplishing of the purpose for which the Government had sent us to the island. But it was impressed upon them that in making the arrest it was very necessary that the evidence should be convincing that he was an active obstacle in our way in accomplishing our mission.
The arrest was not made at that time, as I was given to understand, because sufficient evidence to incriminate the man could not be obtained For several months Padre de la Piņa remained at Dumangas, and from time to time I received accounts of his work against us, especially in the way of collecting and supplying money to the insurgents. Joaquin de la Piņa, one of Quintin Salas's captains, was his brother. But while I had convinced myself of the padre's activity as an insurrecto, the presentable evidence would not have been sufficient for conviction before a commission.
The arrest and confinement of Father de la Pena was not at all surprising to me. Some eight or ten months previous to the time in question, Lieutenant-Colonel Dickman and Maj. Guy V. Henry, jr., came to me and asked if I would support them in arresting this padre. They were told that they would be supported in arresting any one, regardless of their condition, position, or sex, if they could establish the fact that he or she was an obstacle in the way of our accomplishing the object which our Government expected of us.