Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has expressed gladness as the Senate nearly completes its approval of the bill imposing heavier penalties and stiffer fines to witnesses who commit perjury or lying under oath. The sanctions include permanent disqualification from public office.
Last May 13, the Senate approved on 2nd reading Senate Bill (SB) 1354, which seeks to amend Articles 183 and 184 of the Revised Penal Code and will raise the jail time and fees for those found guilty of perjury.
“I am pleased to know that the anti-perjury bill, of which I am one of the authors, will soon be passed by the Senate. It is high time that the law will be given more teeth against those who shamelessly lie or provide false testimony under oath,” De Lima said.
“Since the 17th Congress, I have been one of the first Senators who have been pushing for the passage of a measure amending the country’s Anti-Perjury Law. In fact, I prioritized its refiling in the current 18th Congress,” she added.
In De Lima’s original proposal, logged as SB 373, which was consolidated into the Senate Justice Committee’s SB 1354, the penalty for perjury was proposed to be raised by two degrees, from the current arresto mayor or six months or up to two years and two months imprisonment to prision mayor or six years and one day to 10 years behind bars.
“I myself can be considered as “Exhibit A” being a victim of brazen lies and malice from perjured witnesses who testified before various fora – the House of Representatives, the Senate and the courts,” she said.
“Nothing but lies engineered by certain public officials and other Duterte political operators have been used against me to justify my arbitrary detention and prolonged incarceration for crimes I have not committed. Walang pruweba kundi mga pinagtagpi-tagping kasinungalingan lamang ang ginamit laban sa akin,” she added.
The lady Senator from Bicol further said: “Equally, if not more important is the need to also impose stiffer penalty for those who induce or suborn false testimony, lalo na mga public officials. I suppose this portion in my bill was also adopted.”
De Lima, who has been detained since February 2017, has been internationally recognized as Duterte administration’s most prominent political prisoner and for courageously standing up against the regime’s brutal ‘War on Drugs’.
Now in her fourth year of unjust detention, De Lima has continued to fulfill her legislative mandate by having authored and co-authored 82 bills and 56 resolutions so far, this 18th Congress. In the 17th Congress, she authored and co-authored 153 bills and 161 resolutions. (30)