Former Batangas governor Antonio Leviste, 73, was released on Friday from the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) after the Board of Pardon and Parole has granted his parole request, NBP Superintendent Venancio “Venjo” Tesoro said.
Tesoro said Leviste, who was convicted in 2009 of homicide in 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 for 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” due to his discipline and good behavior.
Tesoro said Leviste was actually granted Parole last Nov. 19, but the NBP has yet to check if he has pending cases, which might derail his release.
“I told to him to make good,” Tesoro told The Times, adding that the former Batangas governor (1972-1980) 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 opined that the board took that ”factor [old age]as a matter of course” so as to grant parole to the Batangas politician. Leviste was committed to the NBP on Jan. 26, 2009.
Leviste in 2011 was in the limelight anew after he was spotted roaming 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 Senator Loren Legarda from 1989 until they separated in 2003, was then “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. AFP