By Mario Casayuran
Detained Sen. Leila de Lima sought congressional support for her bill seeking to increase penalties against government officials who commit perjury and who force any individual to lie under oath or retract a previous testimony under duress.
This after De Lima, a former Department of Justice (DOJ) secretary during the Aquino administration, filed Senate Bill 1359 increasing the penalty of perjury and subornation of perjury, amending Articles 180, 183, and 184 of the Revised Penal Code.
Enactment into law of the measure, according to De Lima, is part of her commitment to strengthen the criminal justice system of the country.
“In light of recent instances when those entrusted with the duty to see justice are the ones coercing and using government resources to manufacture lies, it is high time that we increase the penalty for perjury and subornation of perjury,” she said.
Under the Revised Penal Code (RPC), perjury is punishable by arresto mayor in its maximum period of four months and one day to two years and four months.
Subornation of perjury, meanwhile, is not expressly penalized, but the direct induction of a person by another to commit perjury is punishable under Article 183 in relation to Article 17.
Subornation of perjury is committed by a person who knowingly and willfully procures another to swear falsely and the witnesses suborned does testify under circumstances rendering him guilty of perjury (U.S. v. Ballena, 18 Phil. 382).
De Lima who is detained at the Philippine National Police Detention Center in Camp Crame is facing drug trafficking charges which she claimed are based on ‘’obviously manufactured evidence and on perjured testimonies of convicted drug lords.’’