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Santiago: FBI can join probe, but…


01:10 AM November 28th, 2012

By: Norman Bordadora, November 28th, 2012 01:10 AM

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago on Tuesday said the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) would have to get permission from the Philippine government before its agents could conduct their own probe into the killing of American George Anikow.

Santiago, an expert on international law, said an investigation by a foreign government “happens in international relations as long as you observe the rule that no foreigners are allowed to operate within our country without the permission of our government.”

“They’ll have to come with the permission of the Philippine government,” Santiago told reporters. “Assuming that the Philippine government gives permission, then they’ll have to work in tandem with the (National Bureau of Investigation). They cannot be an independent agency working for a foreign government independently within Philippine territory.”

ABS-CBN earlier said FBI agents wanted to look into the killing of Anikow, a US Marine officer married to a US Embassy staff member and a father of three.  The embassy has condemned the killing.

Sen. Francis Pangilinan, a former chair of the Senate committee on justice and human rights, said that unless FBI assistance was needed, “this matter is best left to our own investigators. Any presence of foreign investigators must be with our approval.”

“I am sure they (the Americans) wouldn’t want us to be unnecessarily interfering in an investigation conducted by them in their own country,” Pangilinan said.

Citing “privacy reasons,” the embassy declined requests for information about Anikow’s personal life, but details about the victim have been trickling into American online media and social networking sites.

The news websites Gawker and DiploPundit said Anikow was the executive officer of the 4th Civil Affairs Group of the Regimental Combat Team 3 in Afghanistan in 2009.

Subscribers to the Facebook page of the International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) who know Anikow relayed their condolences and called for a speedy administration of justice. The Isaf is the military coalition led by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Nato) which goes after terrorists and insurgents in Afghanistan.

The two sites said that while in Afghanistan, Anikow was specially trained in “people skills” and that he talked with the local people to address their concerns and propose possible projects. The embassy earlier described Anikow as “inactive.”

Other news sites also showed pictures of Anikow showing him talking to children and elders while on patrol in the southern Afghan province of Helmand.  With a report from Jerome Aning

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