Monday, June 11, 2007

Lying under oath is a serious offense

Lying under oath is a serious offense. It is a criminal act. It is not taken lightly.
In the United States, former president Bill Clinton was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives after lying under oath when he denied that he had sexual relations with a White House intern.
The latest (ex) high ranking U.S. government official to be convicted of perjury is the former chief of staff of Vice President Richard Cheney, I. Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby.
Libby was convicted recently of lying to government prosecutors investigating a CIA leak.
Lying under oath has caused governments to fall.
This was what happened to the administration of the former United States President Richard Nixon, who became the only president in U.S. history to resign from office following the infamous Watergate scandal.
Lying under oath becomes more serious when it is done to mislead the courts. Feeding the courts with lies is detestable.
To lie under oath debases and obstructs, and makes a mockery of the administration of justice.
When a party degrades the administration of justice by lying under oath, he can be subject to contempt proceedings.
If a public official lies under oath, it becomes all the more serious because public officials must at all times be accountable to the people, and they must serve with integrity and act with justice.
This is because a public office is a public trust.
If an elective local official is found lying under oath, the electorate can loose confidence in him, and the people can exercise their power to have him recalled from office.
Recall is a process of removing an elected official for loss of confidence by the sovereign constituents.
We shall discuss the process of recall in a separate article.
Mayor Agustin Perdices, with so much noise and publicity, filed a case against an Australian citizen.
Copies of his complaint were provided to media after holding a press conference with his high caliber, high profile lawyers.
Obviously, he wants the case to be discussed and covered by glare of media.
So discuss it we will.
In his complaint for defamation and damages, he identified under oath the defendant as one Dindo P. Generoso, “of legal age, married and Australian citizen and a resident of 2/31 Kensington Road, Summer Hill 2130, New South Wales Australia…”
In the same complaint, in paragraph 5, Perdices also swore that the defendant, meaning the Australian citizen, is a columnist of the Negros Chronicle.
More, Perdices also swore that this Australian citizen owns a piece of land in Dumaguete City.
The mayor made this allegation despite his presumed knowledge that the constitution prohibits foreigners from owning land in the Philippines.
The Negros Chronicle, which has been dragged into the case, is categorically denying that it has a columnist who is a citizen of Australia, and resident of New South Wales, contrary to the sworn allegations of the mayor.
Either the Negros Chronicle or Perdices is not telling the truth.
In Perdices’ complaint, which he swore before notary public Neil Rey Lagahit, the good mayor needs to establish the following:
First, Perdices has to identify the defendant, the person he is suing.
He has to establish that there is indeed an Australian citizen named Dindo P. Generoso.
Next, Perdices the plaintiff, has to establish that this Australian citizen named Dindo P. Generoso resides in 2/31 Kensington Road, Summer Hill 2130, New South Wales Australia.
Third, Perdices has to establish that this Australian citizen he is suing, if ever he exists, is indeed a columnist in the Negros Chronicle.
Fourth, Perdices need has to explain how this Australian citizen became owner of land in the Philippines.
The Negros Chronicle, surprised over the mayors sworn allegations, took it upon itself to inquire with the Australian embassy about this Australian citizen whom the mayor has sued.
The response from the Australian embassy is still being awaited.
Meanwhile, the mayor’s complaint is seeking the issuance of a writ of preliminary attachment.
An attachment is a remedy where property of the defendant is held by the court while the proceedings are on going to ensure the satisfaction of any judgment of the case.
Perdices’ sworn allegations on the identity of the defendant will have a strong impact on the sufficiency of the basis to issue this writ of attachment.
According to the mayor, since the defendant, aside from being a citizen of Australia, is residing in “2/31 Kensington Road, Summer Hill 2130, New South Wales Australia”, then he does not reside in the Philippines.
According to Perdices, since the defendant Australian Dindo P. Generoso does not reside in the Philippines, then the court should issue a preliminary attachment.
In other words, Perdices would have to invoke his allegations that the defendant is an Australian citizen and that he resides in New South Wales Australia, to help him have the attachment granted.
In fact Perdices executed another sworn statement adopting and incorporating the same allegations in his complaint.
The question is: Are the mayor’s sworn allegations true, or are they lies? Or are they true lies?
Did the mayor lie under oath, in his bid to lead or mislead the court to order an attachment?

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