Durante excluded in warrant of arrest
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Durante excluded in warrant of arrest

IN A document released by the Regional Trial Court 15 (RTC15) in September, former Infantry Brigade Commander of the 1001st Infantry Brigade (1001IB) and Presidential Security Group Commander Jesus Durante was not included in the warrant of arrest for Yvonne Plaza’s murder, despite being identified as the mastermind. 

However, 10th Infantry Division (10ID) spokesperson Major Mark Anthony Tito clarified that Durante's case, along with other suspects involved, categorized as a "crime of passion," is still under review by the General Court Martial of the Philippine Army (PA). The court will ultimately determine whether they will be dismissed from government service.

Tito said, "Naa pa gihapon karon sa court martial ang kaso niya and padayon pa gihapon sya and regarding sa decision sa court, sa court ra gyud na. We are not included in that situation. Kung unsa tung nigawas sa court, dili nami ana maka-interfere especially sa iyahang criminal case. (His case is still in the court-martial, and the decision is solely in their hands. We cannot interfere, especially in his criminal case. But regarding the court’s decision, it’s the court’s prerogative and we are not involved in the court’s decision. We cannot interfere with the decision of the court, especially in his criminal case)."

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The case in the court martial was conducted in the headquarters of the Philippine Army, the spokesperson said in a phone interview on Monday morning, October 23, 2023.

During a separate media interview, Tito said that Durante continues to attend his hearings and is scheduled for upcoming sessions this year. The Philippine Army has not yet disclosed the timeline for the outcome of his case.

It can be recalled that last December 29, 2022, 38-year-old businesswoman and model Yvonne Plaza was fatally shot outside her residence on Buttercup Street, Green Meadows Subdivision in Brgy. Sto. Niño, Tugbok District, Davao City by two assailants.

In a Special Investigation Task Group-Plaza (SITG-Plaza) formed on January 25 this year, it was revealed that eight suspects, including Durante, were implicated in Plaza’s murder. The Police Regional Office-Davao Region (PRO-Davao Region) identified them as Colonel Michael Licyayo, Staff Sergeant Gilbert Plaza, Corporal Adrian Cachero, Private Class Delfin Sialsa, Corporal Romart Longakit, Corporal Rolly Cabal, and Noel Hapitan.

Durante and the other soldiers have been charged with violations under Article of War 96 (conduct unbecoming of an officer and a gentleman) and Article of War 97 (all disorders and neglects to the prejudice of good order and military discipline and all conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the military service). DEF

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