MANILA, Philippines—With the Anikow murder trial headed for a holiday break, the US Embassy in Manila on Friday reiterated its calls for justice—this time with a more strongly-worded condemnation of the November 24 killing.
In a statement, the mission described the death of US Marine major George Anikow allegedly at the hands of four young Filipino men as “a brutal, senseless attack” on “an unarmed, innocent man”—sharp words never before used in its earlier official statements on the case.
The embassy also described his death as “murder,” an apparent counterpoint to the defendants’ argument that the case should be downgraded to homicide, a bailable offense.
“[His] death is a terrible loss to his family and to the community. He leaves behind three young children, and a grieving widow. He had lived in Manila for less than 100 days, and in that short time he had become a vital member of our embassy community,” it said.
Anikow, the 41-year-old husband of an American diplomat, was stabbed dead allegedly by one of the four men who ganged upon him at a checkpoint near the upscale Bel-Air subdivision in Makati in the early morning of Nov. 24.
The incident reportedly stemmed from an altercation over security checks.
“The US Embassy carefully monitors the investigation and prosecution of all serious crimes against American citizens. We are grateful to the Philippine authorities for the prompt arrest and prosecution of the four suspects, and we are confident that justice will be served in this case, in accordance with Philippine law,” it added.
US Embassy representatives attended the first few hearings of the case at the sala of Judge Winlove Dumayas of Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 59.
The four arrested suspects—Juan Alfonso Abastillas, Osric Cabrera, Crispin de la Paz and Galicano Datu III— pleaded not guilty when arraigned on Wednesday. The bail hearings started the following day and will resume on Jan. 3 next year. Jerome Aning