Filipino Dies in US Army Camp in Marawi: Officials Rule Suicide; Kin Insist Murder

On Jan. 30, Gregan Cardeño went home happy that he had finally found a job. He had just signed a contract with a security agency that posted him as an interpreter for the American troops in Cotabato City. A few days later, he ended up in Marawi where, inside a US barracks, he supposedly hanged himself. His family, however, is convinced that he had been murdered, probably even abused.


MANILA — On Jan. 30, Gregan Cardeño, 33, went home happy that he had finally found a job. That day, he signed a contract with SkyLink Security Agency. Although the contract states that he would work as a security guard, he was told by the agency that he would serve as an interpreter for the American troops in Cotabato City.

“He was really happy that day. He even bought food, saying it was his despedida,” said Loraine Cardeño, Gregan’s sister-in-law. He even asked his brother to teach him how to drive, saying he may need the skill for his work. “He was a bit anxious, it was his first time to go to Cotabato,” Loraine said. The family lives in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay.

On Feb. 1, Gregan’s wife Myrna accompanied him to the Edwin Andrews Air Base in Zamboanga City where Gregan was to be flown to Cotabato en route to Camp Siongco, a military camp in Awang, Datu Odin Sinsuat town, Maguindanao.

Two days later, at around 2 p.m., Gregan’s family received a call from SPO3 Ali Guibon Rangiris of the Philippine National Police in Marawi City, who told them that Gregan was dead, that he had committed suicide. His relatives couldn’t believe the news.

Last Conversations

The day before his death, at around 6:45 a.m., Gregan sent text messages to his elder sister Carivel saying that he had been brought instead to Marawi City, at Camp Ranao, in Datu Saber town, the home of the 103rd Brigade of the Philippine Army.

Carivel called up Gregan. Gregan told her he was the only Filipino inside the US barracks. He told her was not an interpreter. When Carivel asked what was his actual job, Gregan could not answer and just kept crying. Gregan asked his sister to call SkyLink, ask for his salary and request for his pullout from the US barracks. “If I do not get out of here, this could be the cause of my death,” Carivel said Gregan told her.

On the same day, Myrna also got a call from Gregan. “If ever I go home, would you still accept me?” Gregan asked his wife. “Why?” Myrna replied. “Did you do anything wrong?” The line was suddenly cut.

Not Suicide

Myrna said her husband could not have committed suicide. “He was a religious person. He knew that committing suicide is a sin. We do not have any problems,” Myrna said in Visayan at a press conference in Quezon City this morning. Gregan was a Christian.

The family sought the help of Kawagib, a human-rights group in Mindanao and InPeace-Zamboanga to search for the truth behind Gregan’s death.

On March 2 to 4, a fact-finding mission was conducted by Gregan’s family and these cause-oriented groups. They were joined by members of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in Iligan City. The team interviewed police authorities in Marawi City, officers of the 103rd Brigade of the Philippine Army and Captain Mike Kay, the team leader of the US forces stationed in Marawi City, among others.

Grace, Gregan’s sister who joined the mission, said they were not allowed to see the room where Gregan had supposedly committed suicide.

Loraine said they also asked for pictures of Gregan while he was still hanging, a rolled-up blanket supposedly around his neck. They also asked for the alleged suicide letter. “To be honest, Ma’am, we were not able to take photographs. When we arrived there [crime scene], the body was already on the floor,” Loraine quoted a policeman as telling her.

Grace said they asked for the bed sheet allegedly used by Gregan to hang himself but the police said they left it with the Americans. “They [police] did not get the names of those present at the crime scene. They told us they do not have SOCO [Scene of the Crime Operatives] in Marawi and that they do not know how to investigate.”

Ali Bayla Indayla, Kawagib secretary-general, said that there was a conspiracy to make it appear that the cause of death was suicide. She said pieces of material evidence were not preserved. Besides the bed sheet that was not secured by the PNP, Indayla said Gregan’s cell phone had been left unsealed. All the messages, call registers and photos had been erased, Indayla said. She noted that SPO3 Rangiris even used Gregan’s phone to contact the family.

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11 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. It is a shame to read such comments. I can see why no one from Korea wants to visit the philippines anymore. There are basic questions to be asked. What would the US gain if they killed him? Surely as it is not money. The US spends more money hunting the bomb making foreigners and kidnappers which the corrupt philippine government care nothing about. A foreigner cannot travel safely through most of the philippines anymore. I think the US should not waste anymore money on a country that obviously has shown no progress since 1940's. Let them deal with their own problems – over population – soon americans will be blamed for creating more babies than the philippines can afford too. Americans are probably responsible for the Ampatuan Masacre if the logic in this forum prevails. What a shame once the Pearl of Asia, now most people can not even speak one of their official languages "English." The US should respond to threats of the VFA by denying any tourist, educational and resident VISA's to the US since the Filipino hates it so much. Have fun in Dubai they treat Filipinos so much better. Ahn Yong!

  2. it is the U.S. policy to use extreme force and covert operations to its known enemies and even supposedly allies, even to its own citizens in the name of war against terror.
    what happened to Gregan Cardeño will be another statistics to the increasing crimes against the people of the world.
    If Gregan Cardeño quit because he was used in the covert operations of the US force and cannot take the barbarity of the foreign forces against his kababayan, US forces will never permit anybody that will be a threat to secrecy of their operations…
    the only recourse for the US intelligence personnel is to silence Cardeño..

  3. Will reprint this in facebook.

  4. I was reacting to the statement of Kawagib Secretary-General, Indayla :“Given this new incident, the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) must be reviewed all the more,”. This VFA, death of a filipino inside the american base, raping of a filipina by an american without any legal and security impediment from us filipinos, is this not american invasion? Our whorsipping dependency behavior towards the americans and the protective reaction of our brother filipino soldiers towards americans being resisted by brother filipinos- is this not invasion? Is this not invasion the extent of penetration is even deeper than in the 1900s? What is the percentage of filipino critical mass population worship things american versus percentage of filipino critical mass population resist american control of our destiny? The americans left subic and clark because of pinatubo, not because of senate. They have established a deep beachhead thru VFA, computer and education programs in Mindanao and a USAID funded air and sea landing facilities in General Santos. Who resisted them? Who is resisting them now?

    What we need is not legal actions which have never worked for decades, not political actions which have never worked except lip service, what we need is the recovery of our national developmental code which was still intact in the 1900s. We were willing then to offer 500,000 to 900,000 of our lives in defending our nation against american invasion. This national developmental code which is composed of psychological, sociological, biological, political, and defense system functioning cohesively based on a unified national identity and national aspiration to preserve that independence as a product of our birth as a nation after we became independent from Spain. This was the code which influenced our behavior and development towards maturation. This was corrupted by that american complex process of invasion at all levels. This is what we should all be aware of and start a program of reversing this social disease process. There is science to this process.

  5. @ jose miguel,

    This is no longer the 20th century. It will be a huge embarrassment for the US to occupy our archipelago, given that they did it before and that there's no valid reason to do so.

    It's not like we're an Iraq and even with Iraq, Idiot Heir George Bush the junior had to concoct lies as to supposed presence of WMD and Husein being linked to Al Qaeda so as to get his people's support for the invasion.

    All the Philippine has to do is assert her sovereignty and we'll free of neo-imperialist Uncle Sam.

  6. Why should VFA be reviewed? Can we do anything if the americans insists on occupying our territory?

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