PATRIOTIC COALITION AGAINSTU.S. INTERVENTION
February 2, 2011
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A YEAR AFTER GREGAN’S DEATH, WE CONTINUE TO CRY FOR JUSTICE
This February 2 will mark ‘year one’ of the mysterious death of a Filipino in the hands of the US troops in Mindanao.
We are referring to Gregan Cardeño, a Zamboangueño, recruited by an American private military contracting company to work as an interpreter for U.S. soldiers February 1 of last year. But a day later on February 2, he was found dead in CampRanao in MarawiCity.
Authorities ruled his death as a suicide, but later autopsy showed his body bearing bruises and punctures all over, indicating he was physically hurt.
Until now, his death remains a mystery, and the American troops have failed to give an explanation to the family or to the courts on the circumstances of Gregan’s death. American military officials facing a fact finding mission a few days after his death evaded critical questions and indicated that a cover up was in place.
Gregan’s death continues to leads us to many questions. But there can be no denying the fact that he died in the hands of US military forces. Why was Gregan hired as a Bahasa interpreter? What is in CampRanao to require such a task for him? Why are there US installations inside the camp and why can’t Filipino authorities have ready access to these facilities, especially when it has become a crime scene victimizing a Filipino?
But the most essential question is why are U.S. troops here in the first place. It seems that beyond the Visiting Forces Agreement, and the Balikatan exercises, the US as a military superpower is now deploying its troops here, there and everywhere. For how long, we do not know. And when a crime or infraction involving them happens, they escape accountability.
This is not the first time that a Filipino had been violated of his rights. We had the celebrated case of Nicole, who cried rape by US soldiers but later was forced to recant her charges. We also had other cases we had documented of farmers, Moro civilians being wounded and even killed during Balikatan exercises. Today, more human rights abuses are feared as the Aquino government follows the 2009 US Counterinsurgency Guide and continues to allow the US military scheme of maintaining permanent basing rights in any part of the country.
It has been more than a decade now since the signing of the Visiting Forces Agreement and we, from the sectors in Mindanao, still call on our government to act, protect our patrimony, stand for our sovereignty, and uphold our rights. This past decade has inflicted much wounds on people like Gregan, wrought by the brute force and arrogance of the U.S. military, and by the Philippine army that are recipients as well of the US military aid. Such wounds cry for justice.
It is urgent that the Aquino administration address this issue of continuing US military interventionism. We demand the administration and Congress to review and abrogate the VFA; to probe the death of Gregan Cardeño and bring those responsible to the hands of justice.
JUSTICE FOR GREGAN CARDEÑO AND ALL VICTIMS OF US MILITARY ABUSES!
JUNK THE VISITING FORCES AGREEMENT!
U.S. TROOPS OUT NOW! RESIST U.S. INTERVENTION IN THE PHILIPPINES!
Patriotiko Mindanao is holding today an interfaith prayer for justice for Gregan Cardeño at MarawiState University Campus in Marawi City and will proceed this afternoon to CampRanao. Gregan’s family will be accompanied by church people, Sisters’ Association in Mindanao, InPeace Mindanao and the Justice for Gregan Cardeño Movement.
BISHOP RUDY JULIADA