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De Lima wants stiffer penalties for gov’t officials who commit perjury

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Senator Leila De Lima wants heavier punishments for public officials and employees who commit perjury and subornation of perjury.

In filing Senate Bill 373, De Lima said she wants to ensure witnesses give truthful testimonies under oath before a legislative, judicial and quasi-judicial proceedings.

“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 years, which would even entitle him to avail of the benefits of the Probation Law,” she said.

The bill seeks to raise the penalty for perjury for government officials from six years to 10 years imprisonment. It also proposes the disqualification of the erring government official from holding a public office or employment from the current two years behind bars.

SB 373 also proposes 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 or inducing another to execute a statement under oath for the purpose of accusing a crime or offense.

Meanwhile, persons who have been forced to lie under oath will be exempted from criminal liability if they can prove circumstances which forced them to lie or retract a previous testimony.

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