FORMER Gov. Antonio Leviste of Batangas, who was convicted of killing his long time aide, was released from detention on Friday after authorities granted his request for parole, New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) Supt. Venancio Tesoro said.
Tesoro said the 73-year-old Leviste, who was convicted in 2009 of homicide for killing his long-time friend and aide Rafael delas Alas, was given his certificate of discharge and left the NBP compound in Muntinlupa City around 11:30 a.m.
Leviste was sentenced to six years and one day to 12 years in prison.
However, he only spent four years and five months at NBP and was granted parole for “good time allowance” because of his discipline and good behavior.
Tesoro said Leviste was actually granted parole on November 19 but the NBP had to check if he has other pending cases that might derail his release.
“I told to him to make good,” Tesoro told The Manila Times, adding that the former Batangas governor from 1972 to 1980 is not actually totally free since he has to report to his parole officer on a regular basis.
“He is not allowed to get drunk. He has to report to the parole officer every week or every month. It depends on the terms and conditions of the parole grant,” Tesoro said.
He added that any infraction of the terms of parole could lead to an order for Leviste to return to the NBP and serve the full-term maximum sentence of 12 years.
Tesoro explained that the Board of Pardon and Parole (BPP) took old age factor “as a matter of course.” Leviste was committed to the NBP on January 26, 2009.
Leviste hogged the limelight in 2011 after he was spotted roaming in his Makati City office, the same place where he shot and killed delas Alas.
Tesoro said Leviste’s “evasion of service of sentence” case after that Makati incident was dismissed “after advancing the defense that he was out in good faith believing that he was allowed by the NBP officials.”
The incident led to the dismissal from service of six officials, including then Bureau of Corrections director Ernesto Diokno, then NBP superintendent Ramon Reyes, his assistant Armando Miranda, Minimum Security Compound officers Dante Cruz and Roberto Rabo and custodian officer Fortunato Justo.
Leviste, the husband of Sen. Loren Legarda from 1989 until they separated in 2003, was then a “living out” prisoner who could freely roam the NBP compound under his Custodian officer.
Leviste is the father of Asian Games equestrian medallist Toni, his daughter by a previous marriage
Also on Friday, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said she was not surprised by the development because she was given a “heads up” by her subordinates.
“I was informed that the BPP has granted him parole and binigyan naman ako ng heads up ng [Bureau of Corrections] kasi that means ire-release na siya on parole,” de Lima said.
“And I was told that na-meet naman ang requirements sa pag-grant ng parole. That’s why it was favorably acted upon. I also understand na walang objection ang family nung victim and in fact parang they joined also in the application and that is something important na nakatulong in that application for parole.”
The PPA said it contemplated several conditions before granting parole to the Batangas politician.