It is tragic that an unarmed and inactive U.S. Marine and a husband of U.S. diplomat got beaten up and stabbed to death by 3 Filipino businessmen and a student in an upscale BelAir Makati Village, early Saturday morning. Major George Anikow, 41, died in a hospital, a victim of Pinoys’ “machete culture,” a culture which resolves conflict through mayhem.
It was not enough that the victim was handicapped, 4-1; his assailants were much younger and armed; pursued the fleeing soldier until he was down. They never have the slightest concept of a fair fight, “mano a mano,” only a full grasp of “machete” mentality.
For a while, you might think that such incident could only happen in a much depressed area like Tondo. But Filipinos’ proclivity towards macho machete taste had its long beginning in the enclaves of the rich and the influential. It is not the preserve of the hoi polloi class who kill to fill an empty stomach.
The Maguindanao massacre in 2009 of 57 unarmed civilians including some 30 members of the press was perpetrated by a powerful political clan in Mindanao. Tacked into that the ‘murders’ committed by wartime President Jose P. Laurel and post-war President, Ferdinand Marcos.
Or the reported murder or suicide (depending on your source) of movie matinee idol Alfie Anido in 1981, or the death of high school student Ernest Lucas; or a businessman allegedly in the hands of the son of a very powerful martial law architect, Juan Ponce Enrile, or in the hands of Jackie’s bodyguards, depending on your source.
On steamier side, the death of 11 members of the Kuratong Baleleng Gang in 1999, and publicist, Bubby Dacer and his driver, Emmanuel Corbito in 2001 were reportedly engineered by a very powerful anti-crime czar and now a politician.
Or the murder of Ninoy Aquino in 1983 by persons in uniform; — General Ver, Colonel Custodio or even President Marcos himself.
Or was not Navy Ensign Philip Pestaño murdered in 1995 on orders of his superiors in the Philippine Navy?
The most audacious crimes in the country were perpetrated by the very people in the corridors of power who were supposed to be the guardians of “the rule of law.” Is it any wonder that some moneyed people in the country get the idea that they too can murder with impunity?
The death of George Anikow in the hands of three (3) spoiled businessmen and a cohort student fits very well into our “machete culture.”
Many would flail their hands in protest against this violent typecasting and declare themselves as law-abiding and peace-loving creatures. We are hypersensitive to being called “pikon” if not outright barbaric, even in the light of local data which say that we are ignoble savages. The worst that a foreigner can get into is a bar-brawl with Pinoys. The locals do not end a conflict with handshakes. They will wait up in the dark alley and plant a knife at your back as you leave.
“(H)uman story carries an ironic sting: the more successful human beings became at defending themselves against nonhuman predators, the more dangerous they become to one another. Eventually, our ancestors forced to contend with a killer that was vastly more formidable, and diabolically intelligent and ruthless than the lions and hyenas, had to defend themselves against one another. “(Psychologist David Smith, The Most Dangerous Animal).
But George Anikow was not in a war zone; nor Makati area a piece of Gaza strip, Baghdad or Peshawar region. He was few paces away from his home when he comes across with the abhorrent Filipino “machete culture.”
The “barumbado” (stubborn for wrong reason) attitude of the Filipinos was not only promoted by the movie bandit icons, Asiong Salonga and Nardong Putik, they were also promoted by people whom we look up to for leadership.
“Once the stature of Ferdinand’s (Marcos) father was confirmed, a number of other riddles were solved: How young Ferdinand eluded a murder conviction in his schooldays. How a place came to be waiting for him in a brotherhood Filipinos referred to as the Ilocano Mafia, whose prewar enterprises were said to include smuggling, extortion, black marketeering, and murder-for-hire. And how, after the war, Ferdinand became a young congressman with extraordinary connections in the Chinese financial world, using his position in Congress to extort large sums from Chinese businessmen. The leverage of his father’s clan enabled Ferdinand to ally himself secretly with agents of the Chiang regime, with Japanese underworld syndicates, and with some big-time American operators. His constituency soon floated like a huge jellyfish through the islands, trailing its tentacles everywhere. ” (Marcos Dynasty, Sterling Seagrave, p. 6).
Justice Jose P. Laurel lobbied his colleagues in the Supreme Court to have Marcos acquitted, thinking perhaps that the young lawyer has been infected by the same “machete culture” he has imbibed in his own younger years.
“Laurel was an extraordinary character. He first came to public attention in 1909 at the age of eighteen when he stabbed a man in a fight over a girl. Convicted of murder, he defended himself successfully in an appeal before the Supreme, which agreed that he had acted in self-defense. (ibid, p. 45-6).
One source said that Laurel had a serious crush on a young Tanauan girl who already had a boyfriend. The two lovers were walking in a park one day but from behind, Laurel approached the girl, kissed her and ran. At another time, the boyfriend saw Laurel in a gathering and tried to approach Laurel, but he was ready with his “fan knife” of which Batangas was famous of and stabbed him. That he was acquitted for the crime is like the situation of O.J. Simpson being acquitted for the murder of his ex-wife and his boyfriend.
Observed the New York Times: “To be convicted of a crime in the Philippines is almost to be convicted of lacking influence.”