In Southeast Asia during World War II, Japanese forces
under the command of General Tomoyuki Yamashita stole a treasure worth ten’s of
billions of dollars. This booty was hidden in underground complexes, tunnels,
and caves located in the Philippines according to Rogelio (Roger) Roxas.
In 1961 Roxas, a coins collector and Filipino
treasure hunter, met a man whose name was Fuchugami. He identified Baguio City,
about 150 miles north of Manila, as the place that his father, a former Japanese
soldier, had drawn a map after the Japanese troops finished to hide a treasure
with the help of a local interpreter named Eusebio Ocubo.
Fascinated with this story, Roger Roxas met Eusebio,
who confirmed the existence of such treasure because during the war he was taken
into some of those tunnels every time the Japanese needed silver to pay for the
troops' food. However, what really caught Eusebio's eyes was a golden Buddha
statue with a belly filled with diamonds that the Japanese kept in a convent
near the complex.
Roger Roxas, Eusebio Ocubo, and a group of friends
began to dig the area drawn on the map in 1970. One year later, the splendorous
2000-pound solid gold statue appeared along with several wooden boxes holding
countless gold bars. Roxas took home the 1-meter Buddha, but Philippines
President Ferdinand Marcos was informed of such discovery and ordered his agents
raid Roxas' house.
From 1971 to 1974, Roxas was tortured to reveal the
location of Yamashita Treasure. Roger Roxas escaped several times and eventually
became a public celebrity, but he was finally jailed and found mysteriously dead
in 1993, one week before his trial to sue the Marcos State was to begin. By then, the
22-carat gold Buddha was valued at $460 million dollars.
After the death of Roger Roxas at age 49, his
brother Jose asked the court for billions of dollars to compensate Roxas'
extreme suffering while imprisoned and treated like an animal by Marcos and his
agents. He argued that the Buddha statue and the boxes of gold found by his
brother never were seen again, probably due to conversion to pay Imelda Marcos'
Today, the lost treasure worth $5.3 trillion dollars and, in accordance with the
Filipino law, if someone finds gold on state land, as Roxas did, he or she is
entitled to half of it.