Padilla bats for stiffer penalties vs. military, uniformed personnel who lie to Congress

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 30) — Sen. Robin Padila wants to impose a 20-year prison time and a ₱3-million fine against military and uniformed personnel who give false testimony during congressional hearings.

Padilla said the filing of Senate Bill 2265 or the "Truthful Congressional Inquiry Act" was prompted by police officers who were recently cited in contempt for refusing to tell the truth about the involvement of their colleagues in the 990-kilo shabu haul during a Senate probe.

READ: Senate cites for contempt ex-cop Mayo, superior Ibanez over ₱6.7-B drug haul

"Ito bang mga akusadong ito na hindi nagsasabi at dinadaan kami sa lagi nilang 'I invoke my right to remain silent, I invoke my right against self-incrimination,' parang nagbobolahan na lang kami doon... masakit sa atin para tayong pinagikot-ikot," he said.

[Translation: Are these accused who refuse to tell the truth and invoke their rights to remain silent and against self-incrimination not taking us for a ride? It hurts that they are running circles around us.]

Under the Revised Penal Code, perjury committed by a public official or government employee is punishable by eight years and one day to 10 years with a fine of ₱1 million and perpetual disqualification from holding any position in government.

This includes people who knowingly make untruthful statements or false testimonies under oath.

Padilla said the amendment seeking a higher penalty for military and uniformed personnel is an attempt to further "safeguard the truth and increase the deterrent for making false statements, particularly within institutions central to the maintenance of peace, order, and national security."

The proposed 20 years prison time are for offenders who are personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, Philippine Coast Guard, Bureau of Fire Protection, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Bureau of Corrections, National Mapping and Resource Information Agency, National Bureau of Investigation, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, Bureau of Immigration, Bureau of Internal Revenue, and Bureau of Customs.