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WHAT WENT BEFORE

/ 04:34 AM May 20, 2011

MANILA, Philippines—On January 14, 2009, former Batangas Gov. Jose Antonio Leviste, now 71, was found guilty of homicide for killing his longtime aide Rafael de las Alas in 2007. He was sentenced to 6-12 years in prison.

De las Alas was found dead with four gunshot wounds in the head in Leviste’s office at the LPL Building in Legaspi Village, Makati City, on Jan. 12, 2007. He was slumped on his seat, holding a gun with his finger near the trigger.

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Three hours after the discovery, Leviste surrendered to the police. He admitted killing his aide but said he merely saved himself from the threats of an angry De las Alas, who was purportedly demanding P1 million.

1 shot enough

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In his verdict, Makati Judge Elmo Alameda put weight on evidence that pointed to “the determined effort of the accused to kill the victim.” Alameda said that if Leviste was just defending himself, one shot would have been sufficient to immobilize the victim.

Leviste was initially charged with murder, but the court said the prosecution had failed to prove that there was treachery, premeditation and cruelty.

Alameda ordered Leviste to pay P100,000 in civil and moral damages and canceled his bail.

The judge ordered Leviste escorted to Makati City Jail and then, two weeks later, to be moved to the New Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa City.

Leviste filed a petition for review at the Court of Appeals. He later asked to be released on bail pending resolution of his appeal and citing health reasons, among others.

Bail denied

In April 2009, the appellate court denied his request, saying he had failed to show that he was suffering from a grave ailment.

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Four months later, Leviste took his request for bail to the Supreme Court, where it was again denied.

In February 2010, Leviste was allowed to leave his cell to have his gums checked at Makati Medical Center.

TOYM awardee

In May 2010, the appellate court affirmed the Makati court ruling finding Leviste guilty of homicide, and added P50,000 to the P100,000 death indemnity and moral damages awarded to De las Alas’ family.

Leviste became the youngest governor of Batangas in 1972 and was honored with a “Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Philippines” Award for public administration just after a year in office. He served as governor until 1980.

Since then, he had served as governor of the Board of Investments and director in various government agencies such as People’s Homesite and Housing Corp. and Philippine Tourism Authority.

He converted to Islam in 1986 and became an honorary consul general of the State of Palestine.

Leviste also served as director of the Philippine Ports Authority and Philippine Aerospace Development Corp.

In 2001, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo appointed him chair of the Philippine Leisure and Retirement Authority.

Leviste and his first wife, Celia Sarangaya, separated after the latter left for the United States with their daughters when martial law was declared in 1972. Inquirer Research

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TAGS: Batangas, Homicide, Prison, Tony Leviste
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