WASHINGTON, April 14.—The Senate Committee on the Philippines began the week with the intention of making an investigation of the charges to the effect that the “water cure,” so-called, is practiced on the insurgents, and Charles S. Riley of Northampton, Mass., formerly a Sergeant in Company M, Twenty-sixth Volunteer Infantry, was the first witness Called with that end in view.
Mr. Riley said that he had been in the Philippines from Oct. 25, 1899, to March 4, 1901. In reply to questions by Senator Rawlins, he said he had witnessed the “water cure” at Igbaras, in the Province of Iloilo, on Nov. 27, 1900. It was administered to the Presidente or chief Filipino official of the town. He said that upon the arrival of his command at Igbaras the Presidente was asked whether runners had been sent out notifying the insurgents of their presence, and that upon his refusal to give the information he was taken to the convent where the witness was stationed and the water cure was administered to him.
This official was, he said, a man about forty years of age. When he (the witness) first saw him he was standing in the corridor of the convent, stripped to the waist and his hands tied behind him, with officers and soldiers about. The man, he said, was then thrown under a water tank which held about 100 gallons of water, and his mouth placed directly under the faucet and held open so as to compel him to swallow the water which was allowed to escape from the tank. Over him stood an interpreter repeating one word, which the witness said he did not understand, but which he believed to be the native equivalent of “confess.” The Presidente agreed to tell what he knew, was released, and allowed to start away. He was not, however; permitted to escape. Water was brought in a five-gallon can, one end of a syringe was placed in it and the other in the man’s mouth. As he still refused a second syringe was brought and one end of it placed in the prostrate man’s nose. He still refused, and a handful of salt was thrown into the water. This had the desired effect, and the Presidente agreed to answer questions.