MANILA, Philippines - Batangas Vice Gov. Marc Leviste has been summoned by the Department of Justice (DOJ) in its investigation regarding a drug syndicate linked to the notorious Sinaloa cartel of Mexico.
In a subpoena sent to Leviste’s office in the provincial capitol last Jan. 3, the DOJ required the official to appear before the panel of prosecutors in a hearing on Thursday.
His father Conrad and uncle, former governor Antonio Leviste, were earlier summoned by the DOJ also in connection with the preliminary investigation emanating from the drug raid on their family’s ranch in Lipa City on Christmas Day that resulted in the arrest of three suspects and the seizure of P420 million worth of shabu.
Assistant State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera clarified that the Levistes are not considered respondents in the drug charges and would only stand as plain witnesses in the preliminary investigation to help investigators “determine ownership of the property and lease thereof.”
And although the former governor already submitted documents to the DOJ regarding the issue, he said they would still be required to attend the hearing.
“A subpoena is a compulsory process. Everyone who appears in hearing – whether complainant, respondent or witness – may be subject to questioning, this being a preliminary investigation,” the prosecutor explained.
Earlier, the vice governor and his father denied that they own the ranch where the suspects were arrested and the illegal drugs seized.
“We categorically deny that drugs were found at a Leviste ranch,” they said in a statement.