Leviste parole in peril after drug raid
MANILA - Ex-Batangas Governor Antonio Leviste is at risk of losing his parole after police discovered a shabu storage facility in a ranch owned by the Leviste family.
The Department of Justice said it will ask Leviste and all responsible officers of the LPL Group of Companies to present the lease agreement they entered into with personalities arrested at the clan's LPL Ranch in Batangas.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Leviste's parole for homicide conviction may be revoked if proven that Leviste knew of the tenants' alleged illegal activities.
The justice chief said Assistant State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera, the prosecutor handling the preliminary investigation of the drug case, will issue a subpoena duces tecum for Leviste and his family to present the said contract to the DOJ on January 9. The contract will establish their ownership of the property and their relationship with the alleged tenants or lessees of the farm.
The Leviste family has stressed that the farm was leased out as well as other portions of the property.
Batangas Vice-Governor Mark Leviste and his father, Conrad Leviste, on Thursday denied knowing that alleged members of a Mexican drug cartel are operating in their property.
In a statement, Mark and Conrad said that they found reports on the almost half a billion pesos worth of illegal drugs found in Lipa City "incorrect and malicious."
"We categorically deny that drugs were found at a 'Leviste Ranch,'" the statement said.
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Philippine National Police - Anti-Illegal-Drugs Special Operations Task Force (PNP-AIDSOTF) seized P420 million worth of shabu during a raid at the LPL Ranch in Barangay Inosloban, Lipa, according to authorities.
PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima said they will consult lawyers regarding the ranch, which allegedly belongs to the clan of former Batangas Governor Antonio Leviste, who is out on parole for homicide.
The Levistes, however, claimed that the former Batangas governor does not own the property where the illegal drugs were seized.
"If (drugs) were found in a 'Tan-Torres Farm' then they should say so," the statement said.
"Gov. Tony does not own the compound and he should not be dragged into the issue. It's unfair for him and his family most especially he has issues of his own," it added. "We don't want to add to his own problems and the press shouldn't use him or his case just to make an issue a headline or "news worthy".
The Batangas vice-governor's father and the former governor are twin brothers.