DAVAO CITY – Former Presidential Security Group (PSG) commander Brig. Gen. Jesus P. Durante, who heads the 1001st Infantry Brigade, has been named as the mastermind behind the killing of entrepreneur and model Yvonnette Chua Plaza here on Dec. 29, 2022.
During a press conference, Major Eudisan Gultiano, spokesperson for the Special Investigation Task Group (SITG), said murder charges have been filed against Durante and eight other members of the 1001st Infantry Brigade who participated in the incident on Wednesday, Jan. 25.
Gultiano said suspects include brigade deputy commander Col. Michael D. Licyayo, Staff Sgt. Gilbert Plaza, Staff Sgt. Delfin Llarenas Sialsa Jr., Corporal Adrian N. Cachero, Private First Class Rolly Cabal, Private First Class Romart Longakit, Noel H. Japitan, and a certain alias “Junior.”
Another complaint has been filed against a certain “Master Sargeant,” an escort of Durante, for obstruction of justice, Licyayo, and Plaza.
Gultiano said one witness identified Sialsa as the gunman and Cachero as the driver of the motorcycle while Licyayo provided them details of the victim’s whereabouts as well as logistics to execute the murder.
She added that suspects confessed during the course of the investigation that it was Durante who directed them to kill Plaza.
After the shooting of Plaza outside her rented house at Green Meadow Subdivision in Barangay Santo Niño, Tugbok District, Gultiano said that Japitan was told to dismantle and change the color of the motorcycle.
She said authorities recovered the stolen mobile phone, handbag, ID, and credit card of Plaza from the suspects. Additional charges for theft have been filed against Plaza and Cachero, according to Gultiano.
She said the suspects conducted surveillance before the killing.
Last year, Plaza posted photos of her face with contusions on social media allegedly inflicted by Durante. These photos went viral after her death.
Her laptop containing photos and emails from Durante was also recovered.
“We were able to recover Macbook from house of the victim containing photos and email messages of Gen. Durante,” Gultiano said.
Brig. Gen. Benjamin Silo Jr., Police Regional Office-Davao director, added that the exchange of messages confirmed the relationship between Plaza and Durante.
“Based on the testimony of the witnesses, there were instances that Durante got jealous but we are looking into other factors that led into this senseless killing,” he said.
Durante, in previous interviews, denied involvement in the killing of Plaza and called her just his friend.