Harsher penalty for perjury in Congress probes pushed

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Giving false testimonies in congressional hearings should be met with a more severe penalty, a lawmaker said on Thursday.

According to deputy minority leader and Kabayan party-list Rep. Harry Roque, he filed House Bill (HB) 5112 after noting that commiting perjury before a legislative probe does not land one in jail.

The penalty for giving false testimony in Congress is “probationary” imprisonment of only six months and one day but, even if one is convicted, he will not be jailed, Roque said.

He added that his bill provides for prision mayor minimum or six years’ imprisonment.


Roque said it was important for people to understand that lying while under oath has a corresponding punishment.

In his explanatory note on the bill, he pointed out that perjuries committed during inquiries in aid of legislation “undermine the serious task of the legislature in crafting laws that address some national need.”

“When false testimonies are given under oath in a congressional proceeding for some malicious or questionable political end, such contemptible acts make of the second branch of government no more than a malleable, utilitarian tool,” Roque said.

“Where legislative acts are based on untrustworthy statements of perjured testimonies, they undermine the very heart of good and accountable government,” he added.

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