New perjury law imposes stiffer penalty vs erring gov’t officials – Gordon
Senator Richard J. Gordon today welcomed the enactment into law of a measure increasing the penalties for those people who are found to commit perjury or make false testimony under oath before the court or other legal proceedings.
Gordon, who chairs the Senate justice and human rights committee, hailed the signing of Republic Act (RA) 11594 which amends Articles 183 and 184 of the Revised Penal Code that sets the punishment for the crime of perjury.
“The new law should be a stark reminder to everyone, especially to those who are called to testify before the courts and any other legal proceeding, that lying under oath shall be meted with stricter penalties,” he said.
“Increasing the penalties for perjury would send a strong signal to all that even those in power shall be held accountable for their lies. You cannot lie under oath and go scot-free anymore,” he added.
Under the new law, perjury is punishable by prison mayor, or six years and one day to eight years, to its medium period of eight years and one day to 10 years.
For public official or government employee found guilty of perjury, he shall be penalized with a maximum period with a fine of PhP1 million and perpetual disqualification from holding any appointive or elective position in government.
In the old law, perjury is penalized with a prescribed period of arresto mayor -- a minimum of four months and a day to a maximum of two years and four months.
Gordon, who chairs the Senate justice and human rights committee, sponsored the measure in the Senate. Logged as Senate Bill 1354, it was principally authored by Senate President Vicente Sotto III and co-authored by him, Senators Miguel Zubiri, Panfilo Lacson, and Leila de Lima.
“The higher penalties would be sufficient to deter the commission of perjury and create a culture of truth-telling. Ang kapatid ng magnanakaw ang sinungaling at kapag ikaw ay nasa gobyerno, mas malaki ang parusa," he said.
The new law came as the Senate blue ribbon committee chaired by Sen. Gordon investigates the alleged anomalous transactions the government entered into with some favoured suppliers, notably the Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation.
The Committee which has uncovered irregularities in government transactions in its public hearings has repeatedly warned those invited to attend the Senate hearing against committing perjury.
Recently, it has warned former Procurement Service-Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) Undersecretary Lloyd Christopher Lao, former presidential economic adviser Michael Yang and other executives of the controversial Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation against perjuring themselves.