Senator Estrada wants stiff penalties for lying witnesses | Inquirer News

Senator Estrada wants stiff penalties for lying witnesses

/ 08:12 AM January 23, 2015

Sen. Jinggoy Estrada.    INQUIRER PHOTO/LYN RILLON

MANILA, Philippines—Calling a flawed testimony “grossly unfair to the accused falsely convicted,” Sen. Jinggoy Estrada has proposed that harsher penalties be imposed against lying courtroom witnesses than what is currently prescribed by law.

In a bill filed Monday, Estrada said witnesses who provide false testimony should suffer the same penalties imposed on the defendant, unless the defendant is sentenced to death, in which case the witness should suffer life imprisonment.


In case the defendant is acquitted, the witness convicted of lying should suffer the penalty imposed upon the defendant had he been found guilty, he said.

Under the present Revised Penal Code, witnesses found lying are slapped with milder penalties than the people they had testified against.


For instance, if an accused was sentenced to a minimum jail term of 12 years, the witness against him, if prosecuted and convicted of lying, would get a six-year jail sentence.

The detained senator, who is facing a plunder charge, has been contesting the claims of pork barrel scam witnesses Benhur Luy and Ruby Tuason, who had alleged that Estrada was involved in the multibillion-peso Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allegedly masterminded by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.

Estrada said his bill was not intended to silence witnesses against anomalies involving public funds.

“In fact I support them through the passage of a comprehensive Whistle-blower Protection Act,” he said.

“But while we pursue transparency and accountability in our government, we must ensure that this crusade does not lead to mere besmirching reputations, assassinating characters and destroying one’s honor through fabrication of stories and exposition of tall tales just like Benhur Luy and Ruby Tuason did in relation to the PDAF scam,” he added.

He said it had been too easy for some people to air baseless and malicious accusations.

Estrada has been filing the measure since 2007.

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TAGS: Benhur Luy, Jinggoy Estrada, life imprisonment, Ruby Tuason, Senator Estrada
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