Afghan war stint didn’t prepare US Marine for Makati clash

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MANILA, Philippines—His assignment as an executive officer in war-torn Afghanistan didn’t quite prepare George Anikow, 41, for his encounter with four Volvo-riding young men outside a high-class neighborhood in Makati City.

A US Marine officer and husband of an American diplomat, Anikow was stabbed dead early Saturday morning in what Makati police described as a senseless but isolated case of violence near Bel-Air Village and a checkpoint outside the Rockwell shopping center.

The four suspects are in their 20s and belong to well-to-do families, according to Senior Supt. Manuel Lukban, Makati police chief. With their arrest, the investigation is almost complete, police said.

The four were identified by the police as Juan Alfonzo Abastillas, 24, a resident of the exclusive subdivision Galeria de Magallanes in Makati; Crispin de la Paz, 28, a businessman engaged in multimedia production; Osric Cabrera, 27, owner of a kidney dialysis center in Makati; and Galicano Datu III, 22, a fourth-year political science student of De La Salle University in Manila.

The police have recovered what they call vital pieces of evidence—three bladed weapons, including a tactical knife used in the killing, and a closed-circuit television camera footage showing how the killing occurred near a checkpoint of Rockwell Center along Kalayaan Avenue and just across Bel-Air, where Anikow’s family lives.

 ‘Isolated case’

According to the Facebook account of the US Marines’ Fourth Civil Affairs Group, Anikow was a detachment executive officer of that unit with a rank of a major. He served in Helmand province in Afghanistan in 2009 before he moved to the Philippines.

Makati police said Anikow’s wife works as a management officer at the US Embassy in Manila. Anikow, on the other hand, was waiting for an order from the US Marine Corps to be called to duty.

“This is an isolated case. The American was a victim of a random crime so there is no reason to consider this a national issue,” Lukban said in an interview.

 ‘ID, please’

Backed by the CCTV footage, the security guard on-duty at the checkpoint—identified as Jose Rommel Saavedra—said the four men riding a silver Volvo SUV with Plate No. TOJ 886 lost their cool when Anikow, who appeared to be drunk, gave their vehicle a strong tap.

“Nakalalake lang (They felt slighted as men),” Lukban said, adding that Anikow’s slamming his hand on the car apparently provoked the young men.

Police said that around 4 a.m., Anikow, in white shirt and shorts, went to Saavedra and asked why the gate of Bel-Air was closed to vehicles.

The four men in the Volvo, who had just come from a “gimmick” at a bar in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City, arrived at the checkpoint. They were supposed to drop one of them, who owns a unit at a condominium in Rockwell.

Saavedra had stopped the Volvo to check its passengers when Anikow butted in. “You need to present your ID, the guard is checking you,” Anikow told the men.

Fistfight erupts

The guard said the driver of the Volvo, later identified as Abastillas, asked for the American’s name and was about to roll up the car’s window and drive off.

But Anikow gave the Volvo a strong tap, prompting the four men to alight from the vehicle.

One of them was even smiling before the fistfight erupted. Anikow, outnumbered, ran

25 meters away from the checkpoint to avoid the group.

The CCTV showed the men running after him and attacking even if the foreigner had already fallen to the ground, bleeding.

Afterward, the men came back to the security guard and threatened him before speeding off. “Wag kang magsusumbong. Huwag mong kunin ang plate number namin. Gago yan (You don’t report this. Don’t take our plate number. The guy is a fool).”

Guard’s nonaction

Chief Supt. Leonardo Espina, head of the National Capital Region Police Office, noted the inaction of Saavedra, who was then armed with a shotgun but who just stood at his post during the entire incident.

“I ordered the Makati police to include him in the investigation, why the security guard did nothing to stop the crime,” Espina said.

The police decided to file murder cases because the men still chased the victim supposedly with the intention not just to hurt but kill, according to Lukban.

Although it was only Abastillas who was seen on the CCTV pulling a bladed knife and stabbing the American in the neck, all four participated in the killing, Lukban said.

Degree of participation

“It’s now the duty of the court to determine the degree of participation of each of them in the killing,” he said.

The CCTV footage also showed the security guard attending to the traffic along Kalayaan while the men were ganging up on the American.

But Lukban said the guard did his job by immediately tipping off the police and asking for reinforcement.

He said the Rockwell guard was helpful and cooperative in solving the case.

Espina said the case was solved quickly thanks to the immediate response of the Makati police.

“We are talking of seconds here. Had they not set up dragnets, the perpetrators could have gotten away unpunished and it would have been more difficult for us to track them down,” the NCRPO chief said.

He said he was satisfied with the Makati police’s work and that the policemen in three mobile patrol cars who responded to the incident would be given commendations and awards.

No FBI role

Lukban said 80 percent of the investigation had been completed but more must be done “to strengthen” the case against the four suspects.

The four, held at a temporary detention center of the Makati police station, have been charged with murder. The prosecutor handling the case has found probable cause and recommended the filing of the murder charges.

The Makati police denied reports that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation was conducting a parallel probe.

“There is no parallel investigation. The FBI is not meddling in the case,” Lukban said, adding that a US government official had just contacted him about minor details, such as the transport of Anikow’s body to the United States.

He said the US government had also promised technical assistance, including enhancing the CCTV footage the police had obtained.

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  • sh1seadad

    Its more fun in the Philippines!


    how dare you kill an officer i hope the FBI takes you and torture you. that is why the US government always has a ban on the philippines for your stupid acts. you think you can get away because you live in makati and your rich your wrong.

    • Jose_Mercado

      He is a stupid officer who doesnt think how to react based on localities. This is why American soldiers are treated with disgust around the world for being insensitive to people outside their own.

      • RocSteady

        Stupid officer? No, he just happened to have one to many drinks and he was just trying to help the security guard.  In regards to American soliders you need to learn history.  It was American soliders who defeated Japan and stopped endless massacres in the Philippines and other pacific countries.  It was American soliders who went to war with Spain, which resulted in the end of Spain ruling the Philippines.  Today it is because of the help of American soldiers assisting and training your military, that Abu Sayaf has sharply declined since last decade.  Think about that…

      • Jong

        …war with Spain… naaah! you don’t know history $hlt! 

      • RocSteady

        Yes war with Spain you dumb$hit!  The Spanish-American War was real! And yes, I know a lot of $hit son!  Maybe you should take the time to read your history.  

      • Jose_Mercado

        Your history is the old brainwashing shitss published by american super heroes like you, hahaha….

      • sh1seadad

        you don’t know history either just line Jose get a real history book not the communist leftist one because it is incorrect young one. 

      • Jose_Mercado

        You dont even know the history man, better shut up. Read again your history books, hah…

      • sh1seadad

        I do not think you know your history very well either Jose. I think it comes from the communist history book.

  • Jose_Mercado

    Cheers to Alcohol! Now we have a dead abusive american who thinks he is still in afghanistan and can still do bullying while drank and we have 4 abusive rich macho idiots in jail who think they own the phils. when theyre drank.

    • Cavitekid

       After reading your comments in both instances, I would suggest that you get back in your jeepney and keep causing traffic jams. Do not confuse disgust for fear, when you speak about the most powerful military in the world. 

      • Jose_Mercado

        Im sorry im driving a merc in one of the best city in the world. Maybe you confused yourself when reading an open minded opinion like mine. My pen is my sword, why shoul i fear, hah!

  • RockA

    The guard did NOT do his job.  He was the only armed authority at the scene of the murder.  His job is to protect the people at the subdivision.  Not just be an armed “greeter”.  When the guard saw his resident being attacked he should have yelled “halt, or I’ll shoot”.  If that didn’t work, shoot into the ground as a warning shot.  Once a knife is exposed, shoot to kill.  This what I expect of an armed guard who’s job it is to protect the residents.

    • Cavitekid

       I think a review of the company’s SOP will disclose (maybe?) that his job is really only to observe and report. I feel it may be a bit unfair to criticize his actions. I agree with what you are saying in theory, but I am sure that this poor untrained, under paid and over worked recognized that he would probably lose his job or be implicated as at fault or suffer some form of retribution from the perpetrators of this cowardly attack. People here do not want security, they only want the perception of security and nobody is willing to pay for true security. Bottom line “I would have dropped all of them”

  • RocSteady

    @Jose_Mercado:disqus : Clearly you are an igornant dumbass who is obviously Anti-American.  You say I should read my own newspaper as if this is only for the Philippines.  You see there is this thing called the internet where everybody is interconnected and can converse with each other.  Even trolls such as yourself can voice their ignoriant opinion.  Not only that, why would a Philippine online newspaper only want Filipinos to read it?  Do you see all the advertisements on here?  Do you realize that this site makes money off of mass internet traffic from all over the world?  Obliviously an igornant dumbass such as yourself is uneducated and doesn’t have a clue. 

    • Jose_Mercado

      Ive never anti to any nationallity. Im just reading the news all the around the world. Its my opinion. I will not reply to an ignoramous like you if you just know how to write right. You should read again how you comment then you will know for sure that your brain squirts from your_ass.

      • Guest

         RocSteady is an example of the result US brainwash and -draining program. He only consumes FoxNews and is not able to differentiate.

  • Leop233

    I don’t think the American was abusive.  He got a few drinks in, but that doesn’ mean he was wrong when he asked the 4 persons inside the car.   What if the four were kidnappers / terrorists / robbers, will you see the dead american as a hero?

    • Jong

      well…he’s dead because of what he did…now you know that what he did is considered HIGHLY ABUSIVE in the country.  got that?  if not, why don’t you try it yourself tapping on another high-end car in the Philippines?  …better, try it in Southern Mindanao.  BWAHAHAHAHA!!!! 

      • sh1seadad

        you must be member of Philippine Leftist group

  • Leop233

    Those four young men think they are above the law.

    • WUG

       because they know there is no justice in the philippines, no one respects the law

      • captain ariz

        Not Afraid Any consequence….Need return the death penalty…P-noy…Do need Action 

    • Guest

       They think they are above the law because they think, as scions of wealthy and influential families, they are untouchable.

  • franklyn flores


  • Guest

    I guess, RocSteady and many others here, would have been proud of the men, if they killed a muslim family and not a wealthy US-American.

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