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Davao City, Philippines

Durante, 6 others to undergo court martial proceedings

January 26, 2023 - Thursday 10:01 PM by GDM Staff

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Brigadier General Jesus Durante and his six men would undergo court martial proceedings over the killing of Davao City model-trader Yvonnette Chua-Plaza, Army commanding general Lieutenant Romeo Brawner Jr. reported on Thursday.

Durante, who had been relieved as commander of the 1001st Infantry Brigade; Colonel Michael Licyayo, his former deputy; and five other soldiers were charged by the police with murder over the killing of Plaza. The charges were filed before the Davao City Prosecutor’s Office on Wednesday.

According to Brawner, Durante and his men will face the administrative side of the criminal charges filed against them before a civilian body by way of court martial proceedings, where, if proven guilty, they will be dropped from service and would result in the forfeiture of their benefits as Army soldiers.

The Army would take custody of the soldiers while the civilian court is hearing their criminal cases.

Durante, also a former commander of the Presidential Security Group during the term of former President Rodrigo Duterte, and Licyayo, are already being restricted at the headquarters of the Army, while some of the suspects, including the alleged gunman, are with the police.

Others suspects are in the custody of the 10th Infantry Division while some others remain at large.

The police charged nine suspects in the killing of Plaza, seven of them soldiers, including Durante, who had been tagged by a self-confessed gunman, Sergeant Delfin Sialsa Jr., as the mastermind who ordered the murder through Licyayo.

Since Durante and Plaza were reportedly in a relationship in the past, investigators tagged Plaza’s killing as a crime of passion.

Brawner reportedly said that Durante and his men would not be given special treatment.

Durante and his men will be held at the Custodial Center, also a detention center, for safekeeping while the charges against them are being heard.

According to Brawner, the criminal cases will undergo civilian court trial in Davao City, and a military court will carry out the court martial proceedings against Durante and his men.

Soldiers are cautioned to always be discerning of their superiors’ orders and be ready to beg off them when they know such orders are illegal.
Meanwhile, Davao police are awaiting the resolution of the prosecutor’s investigation into the murder of Plaza before it will proceed with effecting the arrest of Durante and his accomplices.

Durante and his cohorts have been detained at Army headquarters in Fort Bonifacio pending the resolution of the case filed at the Davao City Prosecution Office, according to Davao City Police Office director Colonel Alberto Lupaz, and the police would wait for the issuance of arrest warrants.

The police’s Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) has identified Durante as the mastermind of the killing of Plaza, after the hooded gunmen confessed to the killing, pointing at Durante as the one who ordered to kill Plaza.

The SITG identified the gunmen as Staff Sergeant Gilbert Plaza, the team leader, Corporal Adrian Cashero, motorcycle driver and Private First Class Delfin Sialsa, who was seen on a closed-circuit television camera shooting Plaza at close range.

The police also identified Corporals Longakit and Cabal as involved in the case,  assigned to conduct the surveillance on the victim.

The SITG said Sialsa pointed at Durante as the mastermind, and Cashero pointed at Licyayo as the one who pointed to the location of the victim’s house.