BY JOEL CALAMBA ESCOL, Managing Editor
DAVAO CITY – The Davao City Police Office (DCPO) has posted on social media a One Million (P1-M) bounty for anyone who can report the location of the suspects, who shot dead a businesswoman and model on December 28, at around 7:30 in the evening, police authorities said.
The victim, Ms Yvonnette Chua Plaza, has just arrived in her house at Green Meadows subdivision in Barangay Tugbok, Davao City, when suddenly, while she was still in front of her rented house, a riding in tandem suspects approached her and shot her at close range using a Gloc pistol.
In a press briefing, Davao City Police Office chief PCol Alberto Lupaz, has confirmed the 1 Million bounty raised by the residents of Davao City as reward money to whoever can tip off the location of the two suspects which will eventually result in their arrest.
Lupaz told the media that his office cannot divulge the name of the persons of interest yet as they are still investigating the incident.
“As of now we cannot mention names dahil kulang pa talaga ang aming investigation. I think it is very much primature at the moment kung anong nasa social media,” the police chief said.
PMAJ Eudisan Gultiano, spokesperson, PRO-11 also said it was a case of murder and not robbery, as the suspect shot first the victim.
“Ang direction natin ay murder, killing, it’s because based on the CCTV footage ang unang ginawa ay binaril talaga at pinutukan. Incidental nalang yung pagkuha ng bag,” the police spokesperson said.
Initial investigation disclosed that the two suspects, onboard a black motorcycle, suddenly stopped at where Plaza was standing. One of them, in a black helmet, pulled a Gloc pistol and shot her to death while the other suspect acted as a driver of the motorcycle, police report said.
The initial findings of police investigators also collaborated with a CCTV footage taken reportedly at Plaza’s house, that showed the victim was shot at close range which caused her untimely demise.
Meanwhile, in an interview with Abs Cbn, the first person of interest in the murder, Brig. Gen. Jesus Durante, denied any involvement in the killing of the businesswoman and model.
Durante is the commander of the Army’s 1001st Infantry Brigade based in Cagayan de Oro City.
Durante said in a statement sent to Abs-Cbn that he also demands justice for the death of Yvonne Chua Plaza.
Durante told the media: “Yvonne was a friend. My name is being dragged based on an FB post made last April 2022 wherein I allegedly hurt her. She later retracted the post and issued a statement that I did not in any way harmed her.
“I am deeply saddened [by] her demise and condole with her family and friends. I myself demand justice for Yvonne.”
The army official challenged everyone, who has knowledge of the suspect’s whereabouts that will lead to the resolution of the crime, to coordinate with the police authorities in Davao City, or any police station.
Durante was linked to the murder after his name surfaced in a post of the victim in April 2020, accusing the general of allegedly hurting her.
Plaza showed images of her bruises and wounds on a Facebook post which she also captioned “Jes Durante did this to me.”
Army chief Lt. Gen. Romeo Brawner, told the media in a text message that his office is also conducting an independent probe into the alleged involvement of Brigadier General Jesus Durante in the murder of the model-businesswoman.
“We are waiting for the results of the probe,” he said. “We have advised General Durante to cooperate in the investigation and answer the allegations against him.”
Brawner said he will not tolerate any wrong doings of army officers if they are proven guilty of the offense committed after a fair trial.
Durante was accused by the victim as the one who allegedly inflicted harm on her last year and she posted images of what happened to her after he was allegedly beaten up by the army general.
The said post on Facebook made the army general a person of interest in the murder of the model, it was learned.
ROAD RAGE ANGLE
Based on a research made by MDNN reportorial team, it was also learned that another angle could be considered by police investigators into the murder of Plaza.
A Facebook comment of a man which could have been a witness pointed to a road rage as the main motive which led to the murder of the victim.
The supposed witness with an FB name Mingo Fel John has revealed that the victim allegedly sideswiped the motorcycle of the suspects.
The suspect with the black helmet reportedly demanded payment for the damage on their motorcycle but the victim did not give in to their demands for payment, and instead the victim just responded with a dirty finger sign.
Mingo added that the rider with the black helmet warned the victim that if she didn’t pay the damages, he would not be alive the next day. But the victim sped off her vehicle and left the area.