Senate ratifies bicam report on perjury bill

<p>Senator Richard Gordon<em> (File photo)</em></p>

Senator Richard Gordon (File photo)

MANILA – The Senate ratified on Monday the Bicameral Conference Committee report on the disagreeing provisions of Senate Bill No. 1354 and House Bill No. 8268 or An Act Increasing the Penalties for Perjury, Amending for the Purpose Articles 183 and 184 of Act No. 3815, As Amended, Otherwise Known as the Revised Penal Code.

Senator Richard Gordon, chair of the Committee on Justice and Human Rights, and primary author and sponsor of SBN 1354, said the higher penalties meted out for perjury proposed in his bill would deter people from committing the crime.

“The penalties we proposed are already sufficient to ensure that the intention of our bill is achieved. With the higher penalties, the crime would no longer be covered by the Probation Law. We also made sure that we do not give a harsher penalty outside of the court so that we won’t end up imposing harsher penalties outside of judicial proceedings,” he said in a news release on Tuesday.

Under Article 183 of the Revised Penal Code, the penalty for the crime of perjury is arresto mayor in its maximum period (4 months and 1 day to 6 months) to prision correccional in its minimum period (6 months and 1 day to 2 years and 4 months).

Under the proposed measure, perjury will now be punishable with prision mayor in its minimum period (from 6 years and 1 day to 8 years) to its medium period (from 8 years and 1 day to 10 years).

The duration of the penalties of prision mayor and temporary disqualification shall be from six years and one day to 12 years, except when the penalty of disqualification is imposed as an accessory penalty, in which case its duration shall be that of the principal penalty.

The measure also proposed to impose a fine not exceeding PHP1 million if the person responsible for the commission of the felony is a public officer or employee and perpetual absolute disqualification from holding any appointive or elective position in the government or in any agency, entity or instrumentality.

“The higher penalties would be sufficient to deter the commission of perjury and create a culture of truth telling. When your’re in government, there should be stiffer penalties,” Gordon said.

SBN 1354 was approved on second reading on May 13, 2020. (PR)