BGen Durante tagged as mastermind behind killing of businesswoman Plaza

BGen. Jesus Durante III . FSRR Photo

The Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) Plaza named Brigadier General Jesus Durante III, former commander of the 1001st Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army, as the alleged mastermind behind the killing of Yvonette “Yvonne” Chua Plaza.

The announcement was made in a press conference of SITG Plaza at the Police Regional Office 11 (PRO 11) in Davao City on Wednesday.

Apart from Durante, six soldiers were also identified for their alleged involvement in the murder: Col. Michael Licyayo charged with murder and violation of PD 1829 (obstruction of justice); Staff Sergeant Gilbert Plaza (murder and violation of PD 1829); Sgt Delfin L Sialsa, Jr (murder and theft); Corporal Adrian Cachero (murder and theft); Private First Class (PFC) Rolly Cabal, PFC Romart Longakit, Noel Japitan, and John Doe alias “Jr” (murder); and John Doe alias “master sergeant” (violation of PD 1829).

Early morning of Wednesday, the SITG filed a case of murder, theft, and obstruction of justice against the suspects.

“The results of the investigation were presented to the media gathered through the efforts of SITG Plaza and strong coordination of the 10th Infantry Division and the National Bureau of Investigation 11 (NBI 11). Plaza’s death went viral with all the speculations that are being posted on social media,” said Major Eudisan Gultiano, spokesperson of Police Regional Office 11 (PRO 11).

She said PRO 11 director Brig. Gen. Benjamin Silo Jr. immediately activated “Yvonette Plaza Special Investigation Task Group” to spearhead and coordinate the prosecutorial efforts of the PNP.

Along with the activation of SITG was the P1 million reward for whoever can give information/s that could lead to the identification of the perpetrators.

“With the said P1 million reward, several informants surfaced until one witness was able to identify one Adrian Cachero as the motorcycle driver and Delfin Sialsa as the gunman. The course of the investigation headed towards the involvement of some personnel from the 1001st IB. At this point the Philippine Army coordinated with PRO 11 after a certain “Longakit” went missing,” Gultiano said during her presentation of the SITG Plaza link analysis.

Plaza was gunned down by two men on board a motorcycle on December 28, 2022 in front of her rented residence at Purok 18, Buttercup Street of Green Meadows Subdivision in Barangay Sto. Niño, Tugbok district.

Gultiano said Cachero, Sialsa, and Japitan surrendered pieces of evidence which include the gun used, a motorcycle, and a jersey. Japitan was instructed to dismantle and change the color of the motorcycle. They took the personal belongings of the victim that include her bag, cellphone, ID and credit card were turned over to Licayo and were burned by Staff Sergeant Plaza.

Gultiano said Cachero implicated Licyayo as the one who gave them the instruction of the whereabouts of the victim and provided the logistics.

“At this point, we were able to connect the link and identified the mastermind as the one who instructed the liquidation of the victim. Sialsa in the extra-judicial affidavit implicated the mastermind as Brigadier General Jesus Durante III,” she said.

Gultiano added that they were able to recover the Macbook from the house of the victim containing photos, emails, and messages from Durante.

“Also the victim posted on her Facebook account that she was maltreated and the victim had information blackmailing Durante,” she said.

Davao City Police Office (DCPO) director Colonel Alberto Lupaz said crime of passion is the motive behind the murder of Plaza.

“Our pieces of evidence were able to establish the relationship between General Durante and the victim at may mga substance na binigay ang mga witnesses na nagkataon na nagselos,” said Silo.

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