De Lima takes responsibility for Leviste parole

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

AFTER President Benigno Aquino III's order to investigate the parole granted to convicted killer and former Batangas governor Antonio Leviste, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said she takes responsibility for the decision of the Board of Pardons and Parole (BPP).

"The parole, pardon or commutation of a sentenced person would not need my approval, but nevertheless, I am given a heads up. In the Leviste case, the BPP told me that it followed the process and that requirements are met so I cleared it. But upon my review, it turned out otherwise and I take responsibility for it," de Lima said.

De Lima was at the House of Representatives on Wednesday to attend a committee investigation on the sex-for-fly controversy involving diplomat and labor officials assigned in the Middle East.

In an ambush interview, the Cabinet official said the Parole board "glossed over" the findings of the DOJ that Leviste "escaped" detention for which he was charged by the penal facility in a Makati court.

"Upon my review, I saw that the BBP glossed over the findings of the Justice department's fact finding team then that Leviste escaped. It is an evasion of sentence, which is a requirement on disqualification for parole. The BPP, however, didn't recognize such fact because Leviste was acquitted in the Makati City Regional Trial Court," de Lima said.

In 2009, Leviste was convicted of homicide for the death of his aide, Rafael de las Alas.

De Lima said he will submit a report to the President concerning the granting of parole to Leviste.

The Justice Secretary earlier said that Aquino can revoke the parole because the BPP and the DOJ are under the Executive department.

Leviste is the former husband of Senator Loren Legarda. They have two sons, Lorenzo and Leandro. (Sunnex)

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