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Under custody

  • Army turns over soldiers tagged in model’s slay to DCPO


AN ARMY officer and three other soldiers of the 10th Infantry Division accused of killing model Yvonette Chua Plaza are already under custody of the Davao City Police Office (DCPO) on Wednesday.

This, after Branch 15 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) XI in Davao City released the arrest warrant against the four soldiers on Sept. 22, 2023.

According to the obtained copy of the arrest warrant, Branch 15 Presiding Judge Mario Duaves ordered the authorities to arrest Colonel Michael Licyayo, Sergeant Gilbert Plaza, Sergeant Delfin Sialsa Jr., and Corporal Adrian Cachero. 

Licyayo was the deputy commander of Brig Gen Jesus Durante III, relieved as 1001st Infantry Brigade commander after he was tagged as the mastermind of the crime. The three others were also under Licyayo and Durante.

The court did not recommend a bail bond for the defendants.

The four were previously in the custody of the 10th ID headquarters in Barangay Tuburan, Mawab, Davao de Oro.

In a separate interview on Thursday, Major Mark Anthony Tito, spokesperson of the 10th Infantry Division, confirmed that the four were served with the warrant on Wednesday.

Ang maingon nako gi serve na ang warrant kay Col Licyayo, Staff Sergeant Plaza, Sergeant Sialsa, and Corporal Cachero, on Wednesday, Oct. 18,” Tito said.

Moreover, former Presidential Security Group commander Brigadier General Jesus Durante III was not included when the case was filed in court due to insufficient evidence that he personally ordered the model’s killing.

For now, Major Tito said Durante, and Private First Class Rolly Cabal, are still under the custody of the 10ID for court martial proceedings.

Meanwhile, Private First Class Romart Longakit’s whereabouts are still unknown at this point.

It can be recalled that Yvonette Chua Plaza was shot dead on Dec. 29, 2022, outside her rented apartment in Barangay Sto. Niño, Tugbok District. 

A task group was created to identify the perpetrators of the crime, which filed cases of murder, theft, and obstruction of justice against Durante and nine others in January this year. 

Based on the investigation result, aside from Durante, also facing a murder complaint are Col. Michael Licyayo, deputy of the same brigade; SSg. Gilbert P. Plaza, Sgt, Delfin L. Sialsa, Cpl. Adrian N. Cachero, PFC Rolly Cabal, PFC Romart Longakit, civilian Noel H. Japitan, and an unidentified individual known only as Junior.

Licyayo, Plaza, and a soldier known only as “Master Sergeant” are sued for obstruction of justice, a violation under Presidential Decree 1829; while Plaza and Cachero are also facing a theft complaint.

SITG Plaza said jealousy was the motive for the attack after learning about the relationship between Durante and the victim. It was also learned that Plaza held sensitive information that she used in blackmailing the defendant.

Among the pieces of evidence were the message exchanges between Durante and the victim and the photographs of the military officer, which established their relationship.

Also, the victim posted photos on social media showing signs of abuse, which she blamed on Durante. They were eventually removed but the same images resurfaced after her death.

Immediately after the killing, Durante denied allegations that he was behind the crime, saying that he and the victims were friends and he was sad that she was murdered.

The break in the case took place when a person provided information that it was Sialsa who pulled the trigger, while Cachero was the driver of the motorcycle used in the crime.

The two suspects, during the course of the investigation, confessed and dragged Durante as the one who ordered them to kill Plaza. Also making his extra-judicial confession was Japitan who was tasked to dismantle the motorcycle used in the crime as well as change its color.

Investigators were also able to recover the belongings of the victims from the suspects including her mobile phone, handbag, identification card, and credit card.



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