General who led Duterte’s security detail sacked over links to murder case

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MANILA – The Philippine military said on Wednesday it has sacked a prominent army general after police named him as the “mastermind” behind the murder of a model he was said to be intimate with.

Brigadier-General Jesus Durante, who headed the security detail of Mr Rodrigo Duterte when he served as Philippine president, ordered the killing of Ms Yvonne Chua Plaza, 338, outside her apartment in December in the southern city of Davao, according to investigators.

Durante was sacked as commander of the 101st Brigade after he was named as a person of interest in Ms Plaza’s murder, Philippine army chief Lieutenant-General Romeo Brawner said.

The victim had “very sensitive information against General Durante and she proceeded to blackmail the respondent”, regional police chief Brigadier-General Benjamin Silo told a news conference.

Before she was killed, Ms Plaza had posted on Facebook photos of her with bruises on her face, and accused Durante as the one who hurt her.

The army vowed to carry out an investigation.

Police said they asked state prosecutors to file criminal charges of murder and obstruction of justice against Durante, the deputy commander of the 101st Brigade, and a sergeant in the same unit.

They also recommended the filing of murder, theft and other charges against several other suspects, including four other soldiers in Durante’s military unit, which is based in the southern Philippines.

An eyewitness to the shooting identified the gunman and the driver of a motorcycle used by the killer, a police statement said.

The suspects, who have since been arrested, turned over the handgun used in the shooting and gave testimony implicating Durante in the murder, the statement added. AFP

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