Sotto seeks stiffer penalties for perjury amid ‘Bikoy’ claims
MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Vicente Sotto III wants more severe penalties for perjury in light of the claims of “Bikoy.”
Sotto said Wednesday that there was a need for stiffer penalties for lying under oath since the Revised Penal Code only imposes imprisonment of six months and one day up to six years for perjury.
“Dapat talaga palakasin natin. ‘Yan ang isa sa pinakamagandang dapat i-file agad sa 18th Congress para matakot nang gumawa ng ‘fake news’,” he said in an interview with dzMM.
“‘Pag tinakot mo na we will charge you with perjury, ‘eh ano ngayon, makukulong ako ng isang buwan’? Tatawanan pa tayo,” he added.
He noted that the Senate meted out stronger penalties on people cited in contempt over false testimony.
“Sa amin pwede ka (makulong) ng isang taon. Pwede ka naming hindi pakawalan hanggang sa mag-adjourn,” he explained.
The Senate President’s statements came a day after he revealed that Peter Joemel Advincula — who claims to be the hooded man “Bikoy” who accused President Rodrigo Duterte’s close relatives and allies of involvement in the drug trade — earlier made a sworn affidavit accusing officials of the Aquino administration of involvement in illegal drugs.
Sotto said Advincula reached out to one of his staff members in 2016 and claimed that former President Benigno Aquino III, former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, former Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, and Senator Leila de Lima were into drug trafficking.
Aside from making the Penal Code more harsh on perjury, Sotto is also eyeing a review of the Justice Department’s witness protection program. Previously, Vice President Leni Robredo raised the possibility of placing Bikoy under state protection as a witness.
“Baka pwedeng itong witness protection program i-review natin. I-revise natin nang mabuti,” Sotto said.
“Parang gustong abusuhin eh, ‘di ba? Inaabuso rin eh, tapos biglang babaliktad,” he added.
On Monday, Advincula surfaced at the Integrated Bar of the Philippines office in Ortigas, Pasig City, and claimed that he was the Bikoy featured in Ang Totoong Narcolist videos. /cbb
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