Accused in Anikow slay wants case downgradedBy Jodee Agoncillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Four small Filipinos pitted against a trained US Marine officer cannot be considered “abuse of superior strength.”
Using this argument, the lawyer of one of the four men accused of murdering George Anikow, an American serving in the US Marines, asked the judge hearing the case to downgrade the murder charge filed against his client to homicide, which is a bailable offense.
At the same time, lawyer Miguel Damaso, who is representing Juan Alfonzo Abastillas, filed an urgent motion for redetermination of probable cause and a review of the evidence against his client.
In a hearing on Wednesday at the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 59, Damaso told Judge Winlove Dumayas that the alleged crime committed by his client and his coaccused was “a spur of the moment, unfortunate incident.” What happened was not planned, subsequently, a charge of homicide was more appropriate rather than murder, he added.
“The accused are small in size… It was the victim himself who approached them,” he said as he pointed out that these pieces of information were based on witnesses’ sworn statements.
“The only basis to qualify the crime is superior strength … [but] sheer number cannot be a basis of superior strength,” he added.
His argument followed those of another accused. Earlier, Osric Cabrera’s lawyers Redemberto Villanueva and Roy Allan Arellano pointed out that Anikow had “superior strength,” considering his size and training as a US Marine officer.
Murder charges were filed against Abastillas, 24, a resident of the exclusive Galeria de Magallanes Subdivision in Makati City; Cabrera, 27, the owner of a dialysis center in Makati City; Crispin de la Paz, 23, a businessman involved in multimedia production and Galicano Datu III, a fourth year political student of De La Salle University in connection with Anikow’s killing.
The charges were based on a recommendation from Assistant City Prosecutor Gilbert Alcala who explained in a previous report “although only one of the respondents may have inflicted the fatal wound on the victim … the presented evidence shows that the other respondents [also] participated in attacking and ganging up on him.”
Anikow, 41, was stabbed dead on Nov. 24 at a checkpoint being manned by a security guard near the upscale Bel-Air Village in Makati City. According to the guard, the suspects who had been stopped at the checkpoint apparently lost their cool after the American gave the car they were riding in a hard tap. They alighted from the vehicle, beat him up and then stabbed him.