Lacson bill pushes higher penalties vs lying witnesses

To protect innocent people from being wrongly jailed or having their reputations suffer because of lying witnesses, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson filed a bill imposing heavier penalties on those giving false testimonies.

Lacson, who had suffered harassment due to lying witnesses in the past, lamented false testimonies and sworn statements sometimes used to support malicious complaints to harass and persecute others are becoming prevalent.

“This pernicious practice is aimed not only to harass innocent persons but also to put them behind bars and make their families suffer. It is noteworthy that because of these untruthful and inconsistent statements, we have witnessed how some men were robbed of their youth and freedom for a long period of time only to be freed later on account that the reason for their incarceration was based on a ‘polluted source,’” he said in Senate Bill 253

[Read: Senate Bill 253, Amending Arts. 180, 183, RPC (Penalty on False Testimony)]

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Worse, he said, some of those who “encourage, induce or even force a person to assert falsehood under oath” are public officials and employees – with some public prosecutors suppressing facts and concealing witnesses who can vouch for an accused’s innocence.

Lacson’s bill, which seeks to amend Articles 180 (False testimony against a defendant), 183 (False testimony in other cases and perjury in solemn affirmation) and 184 (Offering false testimony in evidence) of the Revised Penal Code, also provides for perpetual disqualification from public office or employment for public officials or employees who facilitate or induce false testimonies.

Under his bill, any person who shall give false testimony in any criminal case shall suffer the same penalty for the crime the defendant is being accused of.

A public officer or employee who orders such false testimony may suffer such penalty in its maximum period, along with a fine of up to P1 million, and perpetual absolute disqualification from holding any government position.

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