November 6, 2021

Duterte signs a law that increases the penalty for perjury.

President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a law that would make anyone who commits perjury and gives false testimony in court face a lengthier sentence.

Duterte signed Republic Act No. (RA) 115941 on October 29, amending Article 183 of RA 3815, or the Revised Penal Code (PRC), which punishes perjury.

Perjurers face a greater penalty of prison mayor in the minimum term to prison mayor in the medium period under RA 115941, ranging from six years and one day to ten years in prison.

“Any person who, knowingly making untruthful statements and not being included in the provisions of the next preceding articles, shall testify under oath, or make an affidavit, upon any material matter before a competent person authorized to administer an oath in cases where the law so requires,” according to RA 115941.

Persons convicted of perjury were previously only punished to arrest the mayor for the maximum duration and prison correctional for the minimum period, or four months and one day to two years and four months in prison.

Perjury by public officers or employees is punishable by up to five years in prison, a fine of PHP1 million, and a lifetime ban from holding any appointive or elective position in government, according to RA 115941.

“…if the person responsible for the commission of this felony is a public officer or employee, the penalty shall be imposed for the maximum period: Provided, however, that the offender shall also be subject to a fine not to exceed One Million Pesos (PHP1,000,000) and perpetual absolute disqualification from holding any appointive or elective position in the government or in any agency, entity, or instrumentality,” the law stated.

In addition, RA 115941 revised Article 184 to include a witness’s “willingness” to give false testimony in any judicial or governmental process.

The new law stated that “any person who wilfully and knowingly offers in evidence a false witness or testimony in any court or official process shall be punished as guilty of false testimony and shall incur the relevant penalties established in this section.”

If any provision of RA 115941 is found unconstitutional, the validity and effectiveness of the remaining parts of the act will not be affected. All laws, rules, and regulations that are in conflict with the provisions of RA 115941 are repealed or altered to reflect this.

Senate Bill No. 1354 and House Bill No. 8268, enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives on Aug. 23, 2021 and Aug. 31, 2021, respectively, have been merged into the new law.

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