Press Release
July 16, 2019

Longer jail term for perjury

Senate President Vicente Sotto III wants persons who lie under oath to be jailed up to a maximum of 10 years as a deterrent to suspects who retracts testimonies to get off sticky situations.

"Every now and then, we hear stories of people being charged with the crime of perjury - it could be in the news or just in the neighborhood. It is an act which undermines the solemnity of the oath that one has undertook to 'tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth'," Sotto said.

"A lot of people - prominent or otherwise - would subsequently and without batting an eyelash change their stories made under oath like it was not a big deal. This may be partly due to the imposable penalty that goes with the crime of perjury," Sotto noted as he filed Senate Bill No. 8.

SBN 8 proposes a longer jail term of 6 years to 10 years for persons who are found guilty of the crime of perjury. It seeks to amend Article 183 of the Revised Penal Code which only imposes six months to two years imprisonment for persons who make false testimonies under oath.

Sotto said that with the threat of a short jail term, suspects tend to change the narrativein the middle of their testimonies.

The Senate President said the Philippines can take the cue from the state of California in the United States, which considers perjury as a capital offense, or from Queensland in Australia, where making false testimonies are punishable by up to life imprisonment.

"We must not allow anyone to play games with our laws. We must ensure that our laws are respected at all times," Sotto stressed.

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