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Raps filed vs. 10 suspects in Yvonette Plaza slay —police

Murder, obstruction of justice, and theft complaints have been filed against the 10 suspects in the December 2022 killing of businesswoman Yvonette Plaza in Davao City, the Police Regional Office-11 (PRO-11) said Thursday.

Interviewed on Dobol B TV, PRO-11 spokesperson Police Major Eudisan Gultiano said the complaints against the 10 suspects, which include Brigadier General Jesus Durante III, were filed on Wednesday.

"We confirm na yesterday ng umaga ay na-file na namin 'yung complaints of murder, theft, and obstruction of justice against the suspects sa pagpatay kay Yvonnette Chua Plaza," she said.

(We can confirm that yesterday morning we already filed complaints of murder, theft, and obstruction of justice against the suspects in the killing of Yvonette Chua Plaza.)

Only eight of the respondents, most of them soldiers, were identified by name, including Durante, based on a report forwarded by Gultiano to GMA News Online. Two were John Does identified only as "Junior" and "Master Sergeant.

Gultiano said four of the suspects — Staff Sergeant Gilbert Plaza, Sergeant Delfin Sialsa Jr, Corporal Adrian Cachero, and Noel Japitan — have surrendered to authorities and now are under their custody.

Sialsa, who is slapped with murder and theft complaint, made an extrajudicial confession that he was the gunman who shot the victim while Cachero, also murder and theft, admitted to being the driver of the motorcycle that was used as the getaway vehicle after the shooting, she added.

Some of the suspects identified Durante as the “mastermind,” according to Gultiano.


Asked about the possible motive for the crime, Gultiano said the victim allegedly had a sensitive information that she was using against Durante.

"May identified po tayong motibo like itong si Yvonette Plaza ay may hawak na sensitive information na ginagamit niya kay General Durante," Gultiano said but refused to divulge the said information.

(We have identified a motive, like the sensitive information allegedly being used by Yvonette Plaza against General Durante.)

Gultiano added that Durante and the victim have an intimate relationship, and that Durante had reportedly admitted to jealousy based on the testimony of the other suspects.

"It appears po talaga based doon the investigation na may intimate relationship po itong si sila General Durante. According to the confessions natin, at one instance talagang nagsabi si Durante na nagseselos siya [Durante admitted to getting jealous]," she said.

GMA News Online has reached out to Durante for his comment but he has yet to respond as of posting time.

Army custody

In a separate interview on Dobol B TV, Philippine Army chief Lieutenant General Romeo Brawner Jr. said Durante and Colonel Michael Licyayo, who is also facing murder and obstruction of justice complaints, are now under custody at the Philippine Army headquarters.

"Sa ngayon, si General Durante at Colonel Licyayo ang nandito sa amin, nandito sa headquarters ng Philippine Army. 'Yung iba naman, for example, yung nagsabi na siya po yung gunman ay nandun sa custody ng PNP (Philippine National Police)," he said.

(At present, General Durante and Colonel Licyayo are here at the Philippine Army headquarters while the others, for example, the one who confessed as the gunman, are in the custody of the PNP.)

Brawner said the Army will allow the involved personnel to submit a counter-affidavit and tap their own lawyers.

Brawner also said Durante and Licyayo may face trial by general court martial in addition to possible trial in a civilian court.

"We have a process under the military system. They will also be charged under the military justice system," he said.

"There will be a court martial and we will have custody over them."

Brawner said that it is not normal in the Army for a commander to use his men for illegal activity. Most of the suspects are personnel of the 1001st Infantry Brigade, which was led by Durante before he was removed from the position.

"Hindi po ito normal. That's why sabi po namin this is not service-related... In this case, dahil po mga tao sila ng 1001st Infantry Brigade, hindi po natin masasabing private army, but, of course, maaari ngang nauutusan yung mga sundalo," he said.

(This is not normal. That’s why we are saying that this is not service-related. In this case, because they are personnel of the 1001st Infantry Brigade, we cannot say that they are a private army, but of course, it is possible that they were given orders.)

Ties with victim

A former head of the Presidential Security Group, Durante earlier denied involvement in the killing of Plaza, saying his name was being dragged because of a Facebook post made by Plaza in April 2022.

"Yvonne was a friend. My name is being dragged based on an FB post made last April 2022 wherein I allegedly hurt her. She later retracted the post and issued a statement that I did not in any way harm her," Durante had said.

"I am deeply saddened by her demise and condole with her family and friends. I, myself, demand justice for Yvonne," he added.

Plaza was found dead outside her residence on December 28, 2022. The shooting was caught on CCTV. —KBK, GMA Integrated News