Senate OKs bill seeking stiffer penalties for perjury
Robie de Guzman • May 18, 2020 • 466
MANILA, Philippines – The Senate on Monday, May 18 approved on third and final reading a bill that seeks to impose longer prison sentences and larger fines for individuals, especially public officials, who will commit perjury.
Voting 20-0, senators passed the Senate Bill No. 1354, which proposes to amend Article 183 of the Revised Penal Code and increase the current penalty on perjury from a range of the minimum period to medium period, or from six years and one day to 10 years of imprisonment.
Sen. Richard Gordon, chair of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights and sponsor of the bill, said the proposed higher penalties were meant to deter people from committing perjury as they testify under oath in proceedings, such as legislative hearings, and to create a culture of truth-telling in government.
“In other words, you lie, you pay… Do not trifle with the truth,” he said in a statement.
Perjury, he explained, is committed by a person when he “knowingly makes untruthful statements and not being included in the provisions of the crimes of false testimony under judicial proceedings, shall testify under oath, or make an affidavit, upon any material matter before a competent person authorized to administer an oath in cases in which the law so requires.”
Under the existing law, persons guilty of perjury are only sentenced from four months and one day to two years and four months of imprisonment.
For public offcials or employees who would commit perjury, the penalty of imprisonment will be imposed in its maximum period, along with a fine of P1 million, as well as perpetual disqualification from holding any appointive or elective position in government, Gordon said.
Gordon believes that the bill would help address the issue of low conviction rates for people charged with perjury.
“As we uncovered during our committee hearing, a factor for the low cases is the low penalty imposed on the crime of perjury. The current penalty for perjury is subject to probation and the bail imposed is also low, roughly Php6,000 only. Given the high costs involved in prosecuting a crime, there is no motivation to prosecute the crime of perjury,” he said.
The bill was co-authored by Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, and Senators Panfilo Lacson and Leila de Lima.
Its counterpart bill at the House of Representatives remains pending at the committee level.
MANILA, Philippines — A resolution that seeks to probe the “confluence of factors” that led to the massive flooding in Luzon after the recent typhoons has been filed in the Senate.
Senator Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla Jr., the author of the resolution, said the release of water from dams due to overcapacity should have been anticipated and measures should have been done in order to prevent the released water from reaching the homes of the citizens.
“We must anticipate that the dams will release water, so dapat may mga naka in-place na infrastruktura tulad ng dadaluyan ng tubig at sasalo nito, para huwag rumagasa at manalanta ng mga kabahayan, (there should have been infrastructures in-place which can direct the waterflow away from residential areas),” he said.
In a span of three weeks, five typhoons entered the Philippines which has greatly affected low-lying areas in Luzon. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council’s (NDRRMC) reported Typhoon Ulysses has displaced a total of 1,755,224 persons which is an equivalent of 428,657 families in 4,543 barangays in the affected areas.
Revilla hopes to aid in the legislation of necessary actions to prevent similar disasters from happening in the future. AAC
MANILA, Philippines – The Senate on Monday approved on third and final reading a bill seeking to institutionalize and increase the teaching supplies allowance for public school teachers.
Voting 20-0, the Senate gave its nod to pass the Senate Bill No. (SBN) 1902 or the Teaching Supplies Allowance Act of 2020 which proposes to hike the teaching allowance of public school teachers up to P10,000 starting next year.
The measure is a substitute for SBN 42 introduced by Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, SBN 75 by Senator Ramon Bong Revilla Jr., and SBN 957 by Senator Sonny Angara.
Under the proposal, each classroom teacher will receive P5,000 for the school years 2021-2022 and 2022-2023.
The allowance will further increase to P7,500 for the school year 2023-2024; and P10,000 for the school year 2024-2025 onwards.
Senators earlier agreed to “progressively” increase the teaching allowance starting 2021 so that the state’s coffers could bear the additional cost.
Revilla stressed that the government “could not afford a drastic increase given the present situation.”
To make the measure responsive to the needs of the teachers, the bill mandates the Department of Education (DepEd) to conduct a periodic review and recommend the necessary increase based on the current prices of the materials.
The bill also provides that the amount necessary for the grant of teaching supplies allowance per teacher shall be charged against the appropriations of the DepEd under the General Appropriations Act (GAA).
Revilla expressed hope that the Lower House adopts the Senate version and that the President immediately signs the same despite uncertainties of its funding because of the pandemic.
The Senate panel will begin its inquiry next week (November 3) on the alleged ‘red-tagging’ activities of military officials.
Senator Panfilo Lacson filed Senate Resolution No. 559 and will summon Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Southern Luzon Command chief Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr.
Parlade drew the ire of netizens after he warned actress Liza Soberano and Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray, against associating with the Gabriela Women’s Party-list, which he accused of having links with the New People’s Army.
Lacson said the resolution aims to resolve issues as well as draft guidelines to avoid misunderstandings between the military and the public.
The Senator will be inviting other officials from the Department of National Defense and the AFP.
He added that the Gabriela Women’s Party-list and other militant groups will also be invited to the inquiry.
“We will also invite Gabriela and other militant groups para maliwanagan natin saan ba nag-uugat iyong misunderstanding at saka iyong conflict pagdating sa red-tagging, red-baiting, (to shed light on the root of the misunderstanding and the conflict when it comes to red-tagging, red-baiting)” he said. AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado).
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