By Priam Nepomuceno
Philippine Army (PA) commander Lt. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. (File photo)
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) – Philippine Army (PA) commander Lt. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. assured that no special treatment would be given to a ranking official who was tagged as the alleged mastermind in the murder of businesswoman Yvonette Plaza in Davao City.
“Hindi po natin tinu-tolerate yung mga ganitong wrongdoings o itong criminal acts, kahit na ano pong ranggo ng ating mga sundalo, maging opisyal or enlisted personnel ay pare-pareho po yung treatment natin sa kanila. So nung nalaman po natin na meron pong report nga ganito at person of interest si Gen. (Jesus) Durante at kaagad agad nag-conference po kami and then we decided na tanggalin muna sya sa pwesto nya bilang commander ng 1001st (Infantry) Brigade so that yung investigation po ay magiging impartial and thorough, SOP (standard operating procedure) naman po yan (We do not tolerate any wrongdoings or criminal acts of any of our soldiers, be they officers or enlisted personnel, our treatment of them, if they err, are the same. And we learned from reports that Gen. Durante is a person of interest, we immediately had a conference and decided to relieve him from his post as commander of the 1001st Infantry Brigade so that the investigations will be impartial, although our actions are SOP),” Brawner said in an interview with DZBB on Thursday.
He was referring to Brig. Gen. Jesus Durante III, the commander of the 1001st Infantry Brigade, who was identified by police as the person behind the crime.
Brawner also said they respect the judicial system and will allow the legal process to take its course.
He said Durante and his deputy Col. Michael Licyayo, who was also implicated in the case, are already being held at PA headquarters in Fort Bonifacio, Metro Manila after being relieved from their posts.
“Yan po ang SOP natin pag especially pag mga ganitong kaso ano like criminal case, wala po silang pwesto but they will be placed on custody po ng PA (That is our SOP especially for criminal cases, they are relieved of their posts immediately but they will be placed in PA custody),” he added.
Brawner also said these Army personnel would also be charged under the military justice system.
“Magkakaroon ng court martial and we will have custody over them, meron po tayong custodial center parang kulungan din, oo, so posible na mapunta po sila dun for their safekeeping habang dinidinig po yung kaso nila (There will be a court martial and we will have custody of them, we have a custodial center where they will be kept for safekeeping while their case is being heard),” the PA chief added.
He also said the court martial proceedings will proceed along with the criminal case filed against these personnel.
On Wednesday, Police Regional Office 11 director Brig. Gen. Benjamin Silo Jr. said they have sufficient evidence to charge Durante with murder and obstruction of justice in the killing of Plaza.
Plaza was shot at close range by motorcycle riding in tandem gunmen in front of her rented house at Green Meadow Subdivision in Davao City’s Tugbok District on Dec. 28, 2022. (PNA)