Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has expressed elation over the Senate’s approval on third and final reading of the bill providing heavier punishment for persons, especially public officials, lying under oath before legislative, judicial, and quasi-judicial proceedings.
De Lima, one of the co-authors of Senate Bill (SB) No. 1354, said the passage of the anti-perjury bill will help ensure the truthfulness of testimonies given by witnesses under oath.
“As a victim of perjury myself who has been targeted by false charges based mainly only on perjured testimonies of witnesses, I am elated that the measure amending the country’s Anti-Perjury Law has finally been approved at the Senate,” said the lady Senator, who remains detained over trumped-up drug charges.
“The imposition of heavier penalties can help deter witnesses from giving false testimonies meant to harass and unjustly punish innocent individuals like me under oath or through an affidavit, and at the same time ensure that those guilty of the act will face the consequences they deserve,” she added.
SB No. 1354, which incorporates De Lima’s original proposal logged as SB No. 373, seeks to impose longer jail time and stiffer fines for individuals, including public officials, who will commit perjury by amending Articles 183 and 184 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC).
In filing the measure, De Lima proposed to raise 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 prision mayor or six years and one day to 10 years behind bars.
The Senator from Bicol likewise proposed that public officials or employees who commit perjury and subornation of perjury shall suffer a fine not to exceed P1 million and will be perpetually disqualified from holding a public office or employment.
“The passage of this measure is very timely considering that those in the positions of power entrusted with ensuring that justice is done are the ones coercing and using government resources to manufacture lies and fiction,” said De Lima, who faces bogus drug trade charges filed by the Duterte administration using perjured witnesses.
It can be noted that De Lima has been one of the first Senators who have been pushing for the passage of a measure amending the country’s Anti-Perjury Law since the 17th Congress. Considering the bill as one of her priority measure, she refiled it in the current 18th Congress.
SB No. 1354 was approved with 20 affirmative votes and no negative vote at the Senate last May 18. (30)