Toni Leviste speaks up after dad's release from Bilibid

Posted at 12/06/13 8:44 PM

Where Leviste family got strength during his imprisonment

MANILA -- The daughter of former Batangas Governor Antonio Leviste on Friday revealed where they got their strength during his imprisonment.

Leviste was convicted for homicide on January 14, 2009 and sentenced to six years and one day to 12 years imprisonment for killing his long-time friend and aide Rafael de las Alas.

The 73-year-old Leviste was released from the New Bilibid Prison on Friday morning after he was granted parole.

The Parole and Probation Administration said it considered five conditions in granting parole to Leviste, including serving the minimum sentence for his homicide conviction, old age, and that he is no longer considered a threat to the community.

It also noted that the court acquitted Leviste in a separate case of evasion of service of sentence.

In February 2011, Leviste was caught outside the NBP strolling around Makati, exposing the special privileges given to VIP prisoners.

Speaking with ANC's "Top Story" on Friday, hours after Leviste's release from prison, his daughter Toni shared how she "ironically" got strength from none other than the family of his father's victim.

"When my dad was convicted, of course it was a sad day
for the family. But ironically, believe it or not, it was from them (de las Alas family) that I found my strength because they showed us compassion, kindness and generosity of spirit," Toni said.

"I wouldn't have gone through this whole ordeal losing my dad in this way that he was incarcerated without their support. So I thank them from the bottom of my heart," she added.

She said that after calling her sister regarding their father's release, she immediately texted Dinna, daughter of de las Alas, to inform them of the new development.

"I wanted her to know before she knew it from anybody else," she said.

According to Toni, Dinna quickly replied to her and said the they are happy for Leviste.

In a statement, Dinna said "the members of the family of the late Rafael Delas Alas makes it known that it is time for all of them to move on and they have already sincerely learned to forgive."

"Prolonging the incarceration of the former governor will never bring Ka Paeng back to life. In the spirit of the season and taking into consideration the advanced age of Gov. Leviste, the Delas Alas Family can only wish him well as he enjoys the company of his own family at this stage of his life," Dinna added.

In the interview, Toni noted how the de las Alas family's kindness may sound "really unbelievable."

"I don't even know if I could do it myself if I was in their position," she said.

Meanwhile, Toni also shared what the first thing her father wanted to do after he was declared a free man -- and that was to attend Mass.

She said they immediately went to their home in Lipa City, Batangas, and attended a thanksgiving Mass at a convent beside their farm.

Toni said that now that they are finally reunited with their father, everyone in the family is just "eternally grateful" for the support of the de las Alas family and to God, who, in the right time "allowed it to happen."

Toni is an equestrian who has represented the Philippines in international competitions.