8 Army officers face raps for Davao City model’s slay
Updated @ 2:24 a.m., Jan. 26, 2023
MANILA, Philippines — Eight Philippine Army officers, including a general, are facing complaints in relation to the murder of Davao City-based model-businesswoman Yvonette “Yvonne” Chua Plaza, a report from the Police Regional Office 11 (PRO 11) said.
According to Special Investigation Task Group Plaza spokesperson Major Eudisan Gultiano in a press conference, Army Brig. Gen. Jesus Durante III was found to have allegedly masterminded Plaza’s murder, according to the testimony of the alleged gunman, Private First Class Delfin Sialsa.
“Early morning today, the SITG filed complaints for murder, theft, and obstruction of justice against the suspects in the murder case of Yvonette Chua Plaza,” Gultiano said.
Durante previously served as the head of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) for then-President Rodrigo Duterte.
Durante denied any involvement in the murder, saying Plaza was a friend and that he even condoled with her family.
The Army chief, General Romeo Branwer Jr., said in a separate statement that Durante has been relieved “to give way to an impartial and thorough investigation”.
“The Army ensures the public that this incident is not service related,” Brawner said to reporters in a message.
Gultiano added that personnel from the Davao de Oro-based 1001st Infantry Brigade were also charged in relation to the model’s killing.
They were identified as Colonel Michael Licyayo, Staff Sergeant Gilbert Plaza, Corporal Adrian Cachero, Private Class Delfin Sialsa, Corporal Romart Longakit, Corporal Rolly Cabal, and Noel Hapitan.
The complaints against the Army officers were filed at the Office of the City Prosecutor of Davao City, the special investigation task group said.
Durante and Licyayo face murder raps and complaints of obstruction of justice. Sialsa and Cachero face murder and theft complaints, as the victim’s belongings were also taken.
Cabal also faces murder charges, and Hapitan was charged as a murder accomplice. An unidentified suspect was charged with being a murder accomplice and another unidentified suspect was charged with obstruction of justice.
“Sialsa, in his extrajudicial affidavit, implicated the mastermind, Brigadier General Jesus Durante, the Brigade Commander of 1001st IB,” Gultiano said.
Other evidence against Durante includes a social media post from the victim alleging that he physically abused her.
“We were able to recover the MacBook from the house of the victim, containing intimate photos and email messages to General Durante. Also, the victim posted on her Facebook account that she was maltreated,” said Gultiano.
Gultiano said Licyayo also allegedly provided the logistical information needed to carry out the murder.
According to Gultiano, it was Cachero who drove the motorcycle with Sialsa as his passenger. Gilbert Plaza was the alleged team leader while Cabal and Longakit took part in surveillance.
Plaza was shot dead outside of her Davao residence on December 29. Initial speculation of who was involved in the case included Durante.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.