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Davao City, Philippines

Durante tagged in slay of Davao model-trader

January 25, 2023 - Wednesday 6:01 PM by Romeo Braceros Jr

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On Wednesday, Brigadier General Jesus Durante of the Philippine Army was named by the Special Investigation Task Group looking into the death of Davao model and entrepreneur Yvonne Chua Plaza as the crime's mastermind.

According to Region 11 police chief Brigadier General Benjamin Silo, the suspects in Plaza's murder are soldiers from the Army's 1001st Infantry Brigade, which Durante previously oversaw. 

Silo added the soldiers had already turned themselves into authorities. 

Last December 30, two gunmen shot and killed Plaza in front of her rented home in Green Meadows subdivision, Barangay Tugbok, Davao City.

Durante's name was brought up in multiple social media posts following Plaza's murder, alleging that he had physically mistreated her.

Pictures of Plaza with facial injuries can be found in a post from an account that is no longer active.

Durante sent a statement at the beginning of the month denying involvement and asserting that he "demands justice" for Plaza's passing.

Authorities found Plaza's laptop with emails addressed to Durante, contacts, and images.

According to a connection analysis made public by the investigation team, Durante allegedly gave the order to assassinate Plaza to Michael Licyayo, his deputy brigade commander.

Then, according to reports, Licyayo gave his six soldiers orders to spy on Plaza's whereabouts and kill her.

According to the officials, an Armed Forces of the Philippines firearm was used in the crime.

The suspects destroyed the victim's bag, cellphone, ID, and credit card that the shooter and rider took after the incident.

The pieces of information acquired by the investigators, according to Silo, "established" a suspected romantic connection between Durante and Plaza.

Durante has been relieved from his position and is currently held by the Philippine Army.

Four of the seven suspects are at the divisional headquarters, with the other three remaining on the loose.

According to the National Bureau of Investigation 11, the suspects who turned themselves in are being protected by the authorities.

After reportedly ordering the burning of the victim's possessions containing evidence, Durante will be prosecuted for murder and violating PD 1829 or obstructing justice.

The Philippine Army declared on Wednesday that it would not tolerate any illegal activity carried out by its members.

During the administration of former President Rodrigo Duterte, Durante oversaw the Presidential Security Group.