Mark Leviste denies snubbing DOJ probe on drug raid

By Arnell Ozaeta, ABS-CBN News Southern Tagalog

Posted at Jan 11 2014 02:31 PM | Updated as of Jan 11 2014 10:31 PM

BATANGAS -- Batangas Vice Governor Mark Leviste denied media reports that he and his father Conrad snubbed the Thursday's preliminary investigation of the Department of Justice (DOJ) on the illegal drugs found in their property due to the heavy traffic brought about by the celebration of the Feast of the Black Nazarene.

In a phone interview, Leviste said his lawyer Atty. Leo Pascua was misquoted when the counsel allegedly stated that the Levistes could not attend the hearing due to heavy traffic.

"Napakababaw na rason yon kung yun nga ang tunay na dahilan namin, pwede naman kaming matulog malapit sa DOJ kung kinakailangan namin talagang pumunta doon," Leviste said.

He explained that they decided not to attend the hearing because their lawyers advised them not to.

"Sinunod lang namin ang payo ng abogado namin kasi preliminary investigation lang naman daw yon at properly represented naman daw kami ng aming abogado," he said.

Last week, the DOJ summoned the father and son Conrad and Mark Leviste as well as former Batangas Governor Antonio Leviste to give statements on the 84 kilos of shabu seized by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency(PDEA) and Anti-Illegal Drug Special Operation Task Force (AIDSOTF) inside the LPL Estate in Barangay Inosluban, Lipa City on Christmas day.

Three people, identified as Gary Tan, Argay Argenos and Rochelle Argenos, were arrested in the said drug raid. They were given ample time by the DOJ to submit their counter-affidavit on the charges filed against them.

Of the five summoned personalities, only Batangas Governor Antonio Leviste appeared in the preliminary hearing.

Accompanied by his counsel Cristina Buendia, Leviste insisted that they do not own the property where the drugs were recovered. He likewise denied any involvement in the Mexican drug group which allegedly penetrated the Philippines for their drug operation.

However, the DOJ ordered Mark and Conrad Leviste to attend the hearing and submit their affidavit on January 15.

Vice Governor Leviste, meanwhile, promised that he will personally submit their affidavit on the said date to erase all speculations that they are intentionally ignoring or snubbing the DOJ's summons.