Philippines Arrests 2 Filipino Fugitives in 2012 Killing of US Marine Officer

Karl Romano
Dagupan, Philippines
180618-PH-marine-620.jpg A U.S. Marine with the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade practices soccer while he and his comrades wait to take part in a live-fire amphibious landing exercise in Tarlac province, north of the Philippine capital Manila, Oct. 10, 2016.

Philippine authorities have arrested two Filipino fugitives for the killing of a U.S. marine major six years ago, the government said Monday.

Agents with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) last week separately arrested Galicano Datu and Crispin dela Paz, according to bureau director Dante Gierran.

The two had been charged and convicted in the killing of Maj. George Anikow, the husband of a U.S. Embassy employee in Manila, during a street brawl in Makati, the Philippine capital’s financial district, on Nov. 24, 2012.

Gierran said the operation against the two was carried out with the help of the embassy and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) so they could “serve their sentence of killing a decorated American marine officer.”

“Through continuous efforts and various ways to gather information from other sources, the subjects were arrested in isolated places different from the addresses stated on the warrant, as the subjects were deliberately hiding to evade arrest,” he said.

Anikow was stabbed and killed in a brawl when he and the Filipinos got into an argument when he accosted them as they sought to enter the gates of a private village in Makati, according to court testimony during the trial of the two men.

The killing was among high-profile cases in the Philippines, a country where a notorious crime rate gave rise to the strongman rule of Rodrigo Duterte, who became president in 2016 on the promise of making the country peaceful. Thousands have died in his administration’s crackdown on illegal drugs and crime, rights groups say.

The suspects in Anikow’s killing had been granted bail, but were convicted while they were out.  Two others charged with them were acquitted.

Datu and dela Paz were not hauled to jail but were asked to report periodically to penal officers, an arrangement that the U.S. government had protested. Their charges were also downgraded from murder to the lesser degree of homicide.

But the  judge who handled the case was suspended recently by the Supreme Court for gross ignorance of the law, paving the way for the arrest order, Gierran said.

In a statement issued on Monday, the U.S. Embassy in Manila said the arrests brought “some measure of justice to the senseless crime.”

“We appreciate the cooperation of Philippine law enforcement authorities in locating and apprehending the perpetrators,” the embassy said.


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