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De Lima eyes heavier penalties for perjury.

By Hannah Torregoza

Opposition Senator Leila de Lima is now seeking to increase the punishment for persons committing perjury.

De Lima said imposing heavier penalties would ensure the truthfulness of testimonies given by witnesses under oath before legislative, judicial, and quasi-judicial proceedings.

The senator earlier filed Senate Bill No. 373, which raises the penalty for perjury by two degrees, from the current arresto mayor or six months or up to two years and two months imprisonment to prison mayor or six years and one day to 10 years behind bars.

"With such light penalties, a would-be perjurer would not worry, thinking that, if convicted, the worst that he would get in jail term is two years, which would even entitle him to avail of the benefits of the Probation Law," De Lima said.

"To deter the commission of these crimes, it is high time that we increase the penalty for perjury by two degrees, that is, to prision mayor in its minimum to medium periods, or imprisonment of from six years and one day to ten years," she further said.

The bill also mandates that a person giving false testimony against the defendant in a criminal case shall suffer the same penalty meted out to the defendant and increases the penalty for subornation of perjury.

De Lima said subordination of perjury--which is also sought to be punished under the measure--occurs when any person procures or induces another to swear falsely or execute a statement under oath for the purpose of charging or accusing another person with a crime or offense.

Likewise, the bill exempts persons who have been forced to lie under oath from criminal liability by proving duress and other circumstances which forced them to lie under oath or retract a previous testimony.

Once approved into law, public officials or employees who commit perjury and subornation of perjury shall be handed out with a heavier penalty.

They would also be perpetually disqualified from holding a public office or employment.

"This is but proper in light of recent instances when those entrusted with the duty to see that justice is done are the ones coercing and using government resources to manufacture falsehood," the lawmaker said.


Senator Leila de Lima (REUTERS / Romeo Ranoco / MANILA BULLETIN)

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Title Annotation:National
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Date:Jul 23, 2019
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