Senate approves longer jail time for people who lie under oath
MANILA, Philippines – Voting 20-0, senators approved on third and final reading Senate Bill 1354, which would impose longer jail time for people who commit false testimony and perjury, particularly public officials.
But its counterpart measure in the House of Representatives is still pending at the committee level, filed by Aklan 2nd district Representative Teodorico Haresco Jr.
Under the proposed amendment of Article 183 of the Revised Penal Code, SB 1354 seeks to increase the current penalty on false testimony and perjury under oath from a range of the minimum period to medium period, or from 6 years and one day to 10 years.
If the crime is committed by a public official or a government employee, the penalty imposed will be in its maximum period, or jail time of 10 years and one day to 12 years, plus a fine not exceeding P1 million and perpetual disqualification from holding any appointive or elective office in the government.
Article 183 covers perjury under oath, as well as false testimony on any other cases apart from those civil in nature and those made favorable to defendants.
The proposed jail time is longer than what's stated under the Revised Penal Code, which is currently at 4 months and one day to 6 years.
SB 1354 also seeks to amend Article 184 to include the "willingness" of a witness to provide false testimony in any judicial or official proceeding.
Senator Panfilo Lacson, among the authors of the original version of the bill, voted in favor of the measure with "very strong reservations."
Lacson's SB 28 seeks to punish a lying witness or accuser with the same penalty as the crime in which he falsely testified on.
Lacson, who said this bill is "personal to him," was the subject of the 2000 Dacer-Corbito murder case when former cops Glenn Dumlao and Cesar Mancao II and other witnesses implicated him in the crime during his time as the chief of the Philippine National Police. The Court of Appeals withdrew the murder charges against Lacson and this decision was upheld by the Supreme Court.
"My distinguished colleagues, I can only pray that fate will not bring you there. But if and when it comes to that, I’m afraid you will look back and regret why you did not vote with me on this issue," Lacson said. – Rappler.com