May 10, 2019
SENATE President Vicente Sotto 3rd on Thursday said he would push for the imposition of stiffer penalties for the crime of perjury, particularly on those who give false testimony in congressional hearings, by amending the Revised Penal Code when the 18th Congress opens in July.
Sotto made this commitment following a series of false testimonies given during congressional hearings.
This included the “black propaganda” of Peter Joemel Advincula alias “Bikoy,” who claimed that members of the Duterte family and close allies of President Rodrigo Duterte were involved in the illegal drugs trade.
Like Sotto, Sen. Panfilo Lacson, chairman of the Senate Public Order And Illegal Drugs Committee, also wants to increase the penalty for perjury from one month and one day to six months, and from12 years to 20 years.
Lacson said government officials or employees convicted of perjury would also be meted a penalty of perpetual disqualification from holding public office.
The current provision on perjury was “toothless,” Sotto said.
Lacson expressed hopes that his bill that seeks to amend the Revised Penal Code that was refiled in the 17th Congress would be heard in committee hearings in the 18th Congress.
‘’Dapat ho talaga palakasin natin. ‘Yan ang isa sa mga pinakamagandang dapat i-file namin sa 18th Congress, palakasin natin ‘yang penalties ng perjury para naman matakot ‘yung gumawa nung ika, kung tawagin nga natin, e, fake news or ibig sabihin, e, bigla na lang nagsisinungaling. May isa pang bagay d’yan palagay ko, aside from that, ‘yung Witness Protection Program (WPP) i-review natin, i-revise nating mabuti. Parang gustong abusuhin, e (There is a pressing need to increase the penalty. We will file a bill in the 18th Congress that increases the penalty to put fear into the hearts of perjurers or ‘fake news’ makers. There is also a need to review the WPP. Some of those in the WPP later recant their testimonies),” Sotto said.
Because the penalty on perjury was very light, he said those threatened by government only sneer or laugh at the one-month detention period.
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