Army exec denies hand in Davao model’s slay
DAVAO CITY—A Philippine Army general, whose name has been dragged into the killing of model-businesswoman Yvonette “Yvonne” Chua Plaza, has come out to belie any involvement in her death, saying that like everyone else, he was also demanding justice for the demise of the woman he described as his friend.
Brig. Gen. Jesus Durante III, who used to serve as the head of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) of former President Rodrigo Duterte, stressed that he was saddened by the death of Plaza, who was shot dead by motorcycle-riding men in a subdivision in this city on Dec. 29.
Durante, who now heads the Army’s 1001st Brigade based in Davao de Oro province, explained that his name had been dragged into Plaza’s murder because of a social media post that the slain model made in April 2022, showing bruises and cuts on her face and naming him as the one who hurt her.
According to Durante, Plaza later retracted that post and had issued a statement to the contrary.
“Yvonne was a friend,” he said in a text message to the Inquirer on Sunday night. “My name is being dragged based on an FB (Facebook) post made last April 2022 wherein [she said] I allegedly hurt her. She later retracted the post and issued a statement that I did not in any way harm her,” said Durante.
He added that he was “saddened by her demise and condoles with her family and friends.”
“I, myself, demand justice for Yvonne,” he said.
Plaza, 38, was shot at close range after she disembarked from a Mitsubishi Montero sport utility vehicle and was about to enter her rented house at Purok 18, Buttercup Street of Green Meadows Subdivision in Barangay Sto. Niño, Tugbok district, here at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 29. She was killed instantly.
Police Brig. Gen. Benjamin Silo, who heads the Davao region’s police office, has created “Task Force Yvonne” on Saturday to investigate the murder following a request from the Davao City Police Office, as speculations over who was behind the killing ran wild on social media.
Durante, in the text message, urged those who had information about the crime to coordinate with the police.
“I understand that there is already an ongoing investigation by the police authorities. Hence, I encourage anyone who has information that would lead to the resolution of this heinous crime to coordinate with the police,” he said.
The women’s group Gabriela on Sunday called for a thorough investigation into the killing, saying that it could be “whitewashed” as the name of a high ranking official was dragged into her murder.
“Gabriela sympathizes with the family and friends of Ms Yvonne Chua. There’s a need for a deep and impartial investigation as the case involved a high ranking government official. There’s also a need to protect the family of Ms Chua, especially as evidence that could lead to the perpetrators continue to come out,” Clarice Palce, secretary general of Gabriela, said in a statement written in Filipino.
Palce said the group would welcome the family and friends of Plaza in case they would seek Gabriela’s help on the case. INQ
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