- Senator Panfilo Lacson filed a Senate bill which seeks to impose greater penalties on witnesses who give false testimony in court
- Under the new bill, a witness who lied under oath would be given the same penalty for the crime that the defendant is being accused of
- Lacson believes that the bill would discourage witnesses and prosecutors from lying and concealing facts during a trial
Senator Panfilo Lacson has introduced a new bill seeking to impose more severe penalties on witnesses who give false testimonies in any kind of criminal case.
Lacson’s Senate Bill 253 seeks to amend the Revised Penal Code’s Article 180 or false testimony against a defendant, Article 183 or false testimony in other cases and perjury in solemn affirmation, and Article 184 or offering false testimony in evidence.
Under Lacson’s bill, a person who would give a false testimony in court would be given the same penalty for the crime that the defendant is being accused of.
The bill also states that if the person who gave a false testimony in court is a public officer or employee, he or she may also be fined for up to P1 million and be permanently banned from holding any government position.
Lacson explained that the bill is necessary because witnesses who give false testimonies in court make a lot of innocent people suffer, pointing out that there have been many Filipinos in history who have lost their youth and freedom due to false statements in court.
“This pernicious practice is aimed not only to harass innocent persons but also to put them behind bars and make their families suffer,” Lacson said.
He added: “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."
Lacson also said that there are prosecutors, government officials and employees who encourage witnesses to lie under oath and to conceal facts in order to condemn an innocent defendant.
One of the reasons why human rights advocacy groups and the Catholic Church reject the restoration of the death penalty in the country is because there have many innocent people – especially poor Filipinos – who were sentenced guilty for crimes they did not commit.
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