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Leviste’s motion to junk malversation rap opposed

/ 06:06 PM June 16, 2016

STATE prosecutors opposed the move of former Batangas Gov. Jose Antonio “Tony” Leviste to dismiss his malversation case for lack of probable cause even though the court has already found a basis to put him on trial.

In its opposition filed before the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division on Thursday, the Office of the Special Prosecutor said Leviste’s motion for judicial determination of probable cause was filed after the court ruled that there was already probable cause to hold Leviste on trial.

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“In the case at bar, the move for a re-determination is no longer warranted,” the prosecution said.

It added that the issues Leviste raised in his motion to dismiss the case are “matters of defense that could only be threshed in a full blown trial.”

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The Sandiganbayan on Wednesday deferred Leviste’s scheduled malversation arraignment due to the pending incident of his motion to dismiss, which it admitted despite earlier ruling it already found probable cause.

READ: Court defers arraignment of convicted killer Leviste for malversation

During the hearing, Leviste’s lawyer Dennis Manalo asked the court to defer the arraignment pending the court’s resolution of Leviste’s motion to dismiss the case.

“We humbly and fervently move that the accused be given a second chance to present his case that the Ombudsman was not able to present probable cause,” Manalo said in open court.

Though Leviste has posted his bail bond, Manalo said the Sandiganbayan had allowed the accused to question the charge even after paying the bail bond.

Division chairman Associate Justice Roland Jurado approved the deferment of the arraignment.

The court has rescheduled the arraignment for July 6.

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In his motion for judicial determination of probable cause, Leviste through his counsels asked the court to dismiss the case for lack of probable cause.

Leviste as then chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) and his accountant Philip John Moreno were charged with malversation for misappropriating or embezzling for their personal use and benefit public funds for which they were accountable for.

 

READ: Ex-Gov Leviste faces malversation rap over unliquidated funds

The Office of the Special Prosecutor said Leviste, for his foreign travels from May to December 2003, was allotted  P869,180.75, of which he failed to liquidate  P151,385.42 in cash advance despite demands from the Commission on Audit and the PRA.

His foreign travels during those period include the United States, China, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and China.

In his motion to dismiss, Leviste said the prosecution was not able to present proof he received the cash advance for his travel expenses, adding that some disbursement vouchers did not contain his signature that would indicate he had claimed the cash advance.

He said there was proof that he used his foreign travel fund for its intended purposes, adding that he liquidated his expenses with the receipts.

“There is proof on record that accused Leviste used his alleged cash advances in accordance with the purpose for which they were disbursed, as per actual proof of expenses submitted by accused Leviste showing that he even had to spend more than the amount of said advances for his official missions abroad,” his motion read.

On May 30, the court issued a resolution finding probable cause against Leviste, but did not issue an arrest warrant after Leviste duly paid his bail bond.

Leviste was convicted of homicide in 2009 by the Makati Regional Trial Court for shooting dead his aide Rafael de las Alas in 2007. He was released on parole after four years in prison.

Just weeks after he was released, Leviste was accused of owning a game fowl farm in Lipa City which yielded P420 million worth of “shabu.” The former governor said he was only leasing the property./ac/rga

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TAGS: Jose Antonio "Tony" Leviste, malversation cases, Nation, News, Sandiganbayan
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