Press Release
July 23, 2019

De Lima eyes heavier punishment for perjury

Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima wants to increase the punishment for persons committing perjury to ensure the truthfulness of testimonies given by witnesses under oath before legislative, judicial, and quasi-judicial proceedings.

In her Senate Bill No. 373, De Lima seeks to raise the penalty 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.

"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 (2) years, which would even entitle him to avail of the benefits of the Probation Law," said De Lima.

"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 an imprisonment of from six years and one day to ten years," she added.

De Lima's measure 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 penalty for subornation of perjury.

Subordination of perjury, which is also sought to be punished under her bill, 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.

Persons who have been forced to lie under oath will be exempted from criminal liability by proving duress and other circumstances which forced them to lie under oath or retract a previous testimony.

If approved into law, public officials or employees who commit perjury and subornation of perjury shall be handed out with a heavier penalty and will 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," De Lima pointed out.

De Lima, the most prominent political prisoner in the country today, has maintained her innocence from all the trumped-up illegal drug trade charges filed by the Duterte administration using perjured or coerced witnesses.

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