A Philippine Army (PA) general has been relieved after he was tagged in the murder of a Davao City-based model and businesswoman last month.
Lt. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr., PA Commanding General, said that Brig. Gen. Jesus Durante III was named as a person of interest in the death of Yvonette “Yvonne” Chua Plaza.
Durante has been serving as the commander of the Davao de Oro-based 1001st Infantry Brigade.
“The Philippine Army will not condone any criminal act committed by its personnel. As such, BGen. Jesus Durante has been relieved as Commander of the 1001st Brigade after being named as a person of interest in the murder of Yvonette Chua Plaza,” Brawner said on Wednesday, Jan. 25.
Brawner noted that Durante’s relief was carried out “to give way to an impartial and thorough investigation.”
“The Army ensures the public that this incident is not service-related,” the Army chief stressed.
Plaza was shot dead by motorcycle-riding men in front of her rented house in a subdivision in Davao City last Dec. 28.
An investigation made by Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) Plaza revealed Durante was the pinpointed mastermind in the killing of Plaza. Seven other soldiers from the 1001st Infantry Brigade were also tagged in the murder case.
According to SITF Plaza, Plaza accused Durante of maltreating her as she posted photos of her bruises and cuts in her face on social media in April 2022.
Probers said that Plaza and Durante had a relationship which they have established based on the “pieces of evidence” they collected, and added that witnesses’ statements pointed to jealousy as the possible motive behind the killing.
But Durante, who had served as the head of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) of former president Rodrigo Duterte, denied his involvement in the case in a previous statement.
Durante said Plaza was his “friend” as he called for justice on her death. He also insisted that he “did not in any way harmed (sic) her.”