Sotto eyes heftier fines vs perjury as credibility issues hound 'Bikoy'

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 09 2019 05:16 PM

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Lawmakers in the incoming 18th Congress should prioritize raising penalties for perjury, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Thursday, after assailing the credibility of "Bikoy," a man who linked President Rodrigo Duterte's family to the narcotics trade. 

Willfully telling an untruth in court is punishable by imprisonment of 1 month and a day to 6 months, under the Revised Penal Code, said Sotto. 

"Iyan ang isa sa pinakamagandang dapat i-file kaagad sa 18th Congress: palakasin iyang penalty ng perjury para naman matakot gumawa ng kung tawagin nating 'fake news' o bigla na lang nagsisinungaling," he told radio DZMM. 

(That one of the best measures that should be filed immediately in the 18th Congress: boosting the penalty for perjury to discourage so-called fake news and those who lie.) 

"'Pag tinakot mo, we will charge you with perjury, 'E ano ngayon, kulong ako nang isang buwan?' Tatawanan pa tayo," he added. 

(When you threaten them, we will charge you with perjury, they'd just say, "So what if I'm jailed for a month?' They would even laugh at us.) 

The senator also called for a review of the Witness Protection Program, which he said is prone to abuse by applicants who lie. 

Sotto on Wednesday cast doubt on the credibility of one Peter Joemel Advincula, who claimed he was "Bikoy," a hooded figure in several viral videos who accused Duterte's family and allies of accepting drug payoffs. 

Advincula in 2016 made the same allegation against some officials of the then outgoing Aquino administration, said Sotto. 

A supposed Senate inquiry into Advincula's claims against the Duterte family was cancelled following the revelation of the Senate President. 

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines on Wednesday also rejected Advincula's request for legal aid. 

DZMM, 9 May 2019