4 charged with murder of U.S. Marine

Posted at 11/26/2012 10:09 AM | Updated as of 11/26/2012 1:07 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Four suspects in the killing of a United States Marine officer in Bel-Air Village over the weekend are now in the custody of police.

Alfonso Abastillas, Crispin Dela Paz, Osric Cabrera and Galicano Datu III were on their way to Rockwell Drive in Makati at 3:55 am Saturday when the Volvo they were riding was stopped by a security guard of Bel-Air Village Makati for an inspection.

Around the same time, American George Anikow, a resident of Bel-Air, was on his way home when he approached the Volvo and assisted the guard in checking the identities of the four passengers.

Anikow is a U.S. Marine and a dependent of a U.S. diplomat.

He allegedly tapped the suspects' vehicle, which led to the passengers stepping down and mauling Anikow.

"Tinapik raw 'yung Volvo ng mga lalaki, tapos bumaba na at nagkasapakan na," said P/Sr. Supt Manuel Lukban, the Makati City police chief.

The guard tried to stop the attack but failed. Anikow was able to run, but one of the passengers went after him and stabbed him in the back and shoulder.

The suspects tried to escape but were arrested by Rockwell security.

"Hindi naman tumanggi ang mga suspect sa ginawa nila dahil kita naman sa CCTV," Lukban said.

Anikow was rushed to the Makati Medical Center but eventually died.

Police are now preparing murder charges against the suspects. Three of the suspects are businessmen, while one is a student. They are between the ages of 20 and 27 years old.

One of the suspects is a resident of the village beside Bel-Air and was trying to go through Bel-Air as a shortcut, according to police.

The US Embassy in Manila, meanwhile, condemned the incident.

"The embassy condemns the attack that led to the death of a member of the U.S. mission to the Philippines on November 24 in Makati.  The victim was the beloved spouse of a U.S. Embassy staff member and a father of three," the embassy said.

"We appreciate the close cooperation of the Philippine authorities in a careful and speedy investigation and prosecution of this crime so that the perpetrators may be brought to justice." – Reports from Gretchen Malalad, ABS-CBN News; ANC.