To curb fake news and false testimonies meant to destroy people’s reputations, Sen. Panfilo Lacson batted for the swift passage of a Senate bill providing heavier penalties against perjury.
Lacson delivered at the Senate hybrid session Wednesday a co-sponsorship speech for Senate Bill 1354, which he co-authored with Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Senators Richard Gordon and Leila de Lima.
“It goes without saying that this measure will deter the commission of the crimes of false testimony and perjury in solemn affirmation and uphold the sacredness of oath in testimonies and sworn statements by increasing the penalty for their commission. It is for these reasons that I fully support the passage of this measure,” Lacson said.
He noted he had experienced firsthand being a victim of fake news as part of a smear drive, especially during his first years as senator during the Arroyo administration.
At the time, he said he had come face to face with countless instances “where a witness went the extra mile to invent hundreds of other lies just to maintain the first lie that he/she made under the sacred oath of truth.”
“I myself had been a victim of untruthful testimonies fabricated with the end goal of destroying my person. Never would I forget the unadorable persons answering the names of Ador Mawanay and Cezar Mancao, and a host of other characters who weaved unthinkable lies and narratives of the crimes that I supposedly committed,” he said.
Worse, he said government prosecutors were used and even sent abroad to assist in the preparation of affidavits containing lies and innuendos that the Court of Appeals eventually found incredible.
Despite the lies, Lacson was acquitted with finality by the Supreme Court via the dismissal of the said cases.
On the other hand, Lacson noted he had filed similar bills as early as 2011 during the 15th Congress, and in the 17th Congress. The measures languished in the legislative mill, however.
“Hence, Mr. President, this representation finds it vital to increase the penalty for the commission of false testimonies, particularly, by amending Article 183, Book II, Title Four of Act 3815 entitled ‘False testimony in other cases and perjury in solemn affirmation,’” he added.