Former Senate president Franklin Drilon said those who coerced witnesses to testify against former senator Leila de Lima should be held accountable for her unjust imprisonment.
“We are very happy that the rule of law has prevailed but who will answer for the sufferings of Leila De Lima for the last seven years because of invented and unwarranted charges?” he asked.
He issued the statement on Tuesday after a Muntinlupa lower court allowed de Lima to post P300,000 bail for her temporary liberty.
In a statement, Drilon said those who coerced witnesses into providing false testimony against de Lima should pay.
“This is punishable under the Revised Penal Code, specifically subordination for perjury,” Drilon said.
“Whoever was responsible for these charges [against de Lima] that are complete lies must be punished insofar as I’m concerned,” he said in Filipino.
Drilon cited a Supreme Court ruling that “subornation of perjury is committed by a person who knowingly and willfully procures another to swear falsely, and the witness suborned does testify or subscribe an affidavit under circumstances rendering him guilty of perjury.”
Subornation of perjury is treated as perjury and the accused is punished under Article 183 in relation to Article 17, as principal by inducement, he said.
The former senator called for a thorough examination of the procedures that led to the prosecution of De Lima and urged the Supreme Court to investigate the seven-year delay in her case.
Drilon raised the need to amend the rules to prevent such delays from happening again in the future.
“We must continue to improve our justice system. The De Lima case should prompt the Supreme Court to take a look at how this case was delayed as thousands of Filipinos have to deal with the sluggish pace of our justice system,” he said.