Ex-PSG chief tagged as mastermind in killing of entrepreneur-model

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 25 Jan) – Brig. Gen. Jesus P. Durante III, former Presidential Security Group (PSG) commander who now heads the 1001st Infantry Brigade, has been named as the mastermind behind the killing of entrepreneur Yvonnette Chua Plaza outside her rented house at Green Meadows Subdivision in Barangay Santo Niño, Tugbok District here on December 29, 2022.

Brig. Gen. Jesus P. Durante and Yvonnette Chua Plaza. Photos from the Facebook pages of the 1001st IB and Plaza

During a press conference early Wednesday, Police Major Eudisan Gultiano, spokesperson for Special Investigation Task Group (SITG), said murder charges have already been filed against Durante and eight other members of the 1001 IB – which is based in Maco in Davao de Oro, about 60 kms northeast from here – who participated in the incident.

Gultiano said that the suspects included the brigade’s deputy commander, Col. Michael D. Licyayo, and SSgt. Gilbert Plaza, SSgt. Delfin Llarenas Sialsa Jr., Cpl. Adrian N. Cachero, PFC Rolly Cabal, PFC Romart Longakit, Noel H. Japitan (a civilian), and a certain alias “Junior.”

Licyayo and Plaza, as well as a certain “Master Sergeant,” were also charged for obstruction of justice.

Plaza and Cachero will face additional charges for theft.

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.

Gultiano said that suspects confessed during the course of the investigation that it was Durante who directed them to kill Plaza.

After the shooting, she said that Japitan was told to dismantle and change the color of the motorcycle.

She said authorities recovered from the suspects the stolen mobile phone, handbag, ID, and credit card of Plaza.

Gultiano said the suspects conducted surveillance before the killing.

Last year, Plaza posted on social media photos of her face with contusions, allegedly inflicted by Durante. The same photos went viral after her death.

Brig. Gen. Allan Hambala, deputy commander of 10th ID, said that the suspects have been relieved from their posts and are under the custody of the Army.

He said Durante and Licyayo have been ordered to report to the national headquarters of the Philippine Army.

“We were able to recover the MacBook from the house of the victim containing photos and email messages of General Durante,” Gultiano said.

Brig. Gen. Benjamin Silo Jr., director of the Police Regional Office, 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 to this senseless killing,” he said.

Durante, in previous interviews, denied involvement in the killing of Plaza and called her just his “friend.”

Silo said Durante promised the suspects “money and privileges” in exchange for killing Plaza.

After the shooting incident, he added that the gunman reported immediately to Durante.

“Based on the extrajudicial confession of respondents, there was admission there that General Durante appreciated the killing when the gunman reported to him directly. It was at that point when Durante acknowledged the killing. And, there were other matters mentioned confirming that he knew the incident, and he gave his go-signal,” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)