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A collection of Philippine laws, statutes and codes
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This page features the full text of
Republic Act No. 6981
"Witness Protection, Security and Benefit Act"
AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A WITNESS PROTECTION, SECURITY AND BENEFIT PROGRAM AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.
REPUBLIC ACT NO. 6981
Section 1. Name of Act. — This Act shall be known as the "Witness Protection, Security and Benefit Act."
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Sec. 2. Implementation of Program. — The Department of Justice, hereinafter referred to as the Department, through its Secretary, shall formulate and implement a "Witness Protection, Security and Benefit Program", hereinafter referred to as the Program, pursuant to and consistent with the provisions of this Act.chanrobles virtual law library
The Department may call upon any department, bureau, office or any other executive agency to assist in the implementation of the Program and the latter offices shall be under legal duty and obligation to render such assistance. chan robles virtual law library
Sec. 3. Admission into the Program. — Any person who has witnessed or has knowledge or information on the commission of a crime and has testified or is testifying or about to testify before any judicial or quasi-judicial body, or before any investigating authority, may be admitted into the Program:
If the Department, after examination of said applicant and other relevant facts, is convinced that the requirements of this Act and its implementing rules and regulations have been complied with, it shall admit said applicant to the Program, require said witness to execute a sworn statement detailing his knowledge or information on the commission of the crime, and thereafter issue the proper certification. For purposes of this Act, any such person admitted to the Program shall be known as the Witness.chanrobles virtual law library
Sec. 4. Witness in Legislative Investigations. — In case of legislative investigations in aid of legislation, a witness, with his express consent, may be admitted into the Program upon the recommendation of the legislative committee where his testimony is needed when in its judgment there is pressing necessity therefor: Provided, That such recommendation is approved by the President of the Senate or the Speaker of the House of Representatives, as the case may be.chanrobles virtual law library
Sec. 5. Memorandum of Agreement With the Person to be Protected. — Before a person is provided protection under this Act, he shall first execute a memorandum of agreement which shall set forth his responsibilities including:
Sec. 6. Breach of the Memorandum of Agreement. — Substantial breach of the memorandum of agreement shall be a ground for the termination of the protection provided under this Act: Provided, however, That before terminating such protection, the Secretary of Justice shall send notice to the person involved of the termination of the protection provided under this Act, stating therein the reason for such termination.chan robles virtual law library
Sec. 7. Confidentiality of Proceedings. — All proceedings involving application for admission into the Program and the action taken thereon shall be confidential in nature. No information or documents given or submitted in support thereof shall be released except upon written order of the Department or the proper court.chanrobles virtual law library
Any person who violates the confidentiality of said proceedings shall upon conviction be punished with imprisonment of not less than one (1) year but not more than six (6) years and deprivation of the right to hold a public office or employment for a period of five (5) years.cralaw
Sec. 8. Rights and Benefits. — The witness shall have the following rights and benefits:
Sec. 9. Speedy Hearing or Trial. — In any case where a Witness admitted into the Program shall testify, the judicial or quasi-judicial body, or investigating authority shall assure a speedy hearing or trial and shall endeavor to finish said proceeding within three (3) months from the filing of the case.chanrobles virtual law library
Sec. 10. State Witness. — Any person who has participated in the commission of a crime and desires to be a witness for the State, can apply and, if qualified as determined in this Act and by the Department, shall be admitted into the Program whenever the following circumstances are present: chan robles virtual law library
An accused discharged from an information or criminal complaint by the court in order that he may be a State Witness pursuant to Section 9 and 10 of Rule 119 of the Revised Rules of Court may upon his petition be admitted to the Program if he complies with the other requirements of this Act. Nothing in this Act shall prevent the discharge of an accused, so that he can be used as a State Witness under Rule 119 of the Revised Rules of Court.
Sec. 11. Sworn Statement. — Before any person is admitted into the Program pursuant to the next preceding Section he shall execute a sworn statement describing in detail the manner in which the offense was committed and his participation therein. If after said examination of said person, his sworn statement and other relevant facts, the Department is satisfied that the requirements of this Act and its implementing rules are complied with, it may admit such person into the Program and issue the corresponding certification.chanrobles virtual law library
If his application for admission is denied, said sworn statement and any other testimony given in support of said application shall not be admissible in evidence, except for impeachment purposes.
Sec. 12. Effect of Admission of a State Witness into the Program. — The certification of admission into the Program by the Department shall be given full faith and credit by the provincial or city prosecutor who is required not to include the Witness in the criminal complaint or information and if included therein, to petition the court for his discharge in order that he can utilized as a State Witness. The Court shall order the discharge and exclusion of the said accused from the information.cralaw
Admission into the Program shall entitle such State Witness to immunity from criminal prosecution for the offense or offenses in which his testimony will be given or used and all the rights and benefits provided under Section 8 hereof.cralaw
Sec. 13. Failure or Refusal of the Witness to Testify. — Any Witness registered in the Program who fails or refuses to testify or to continue to testify without just cause when lawfully obliged to do so, shall be prosecuted for contempt. If he testifies falsely or evasively, he shall be liable to prosecution for perjury. If a State Witness fails or refuses to testify, or testifies falsely or evasively, or violates any condition accompanying such immunity without just cause, as determined in a hearing by the proper court, his immunity shall be removed and he shall be subject to contempt or criminal prosecution. Moreover, the enjoyment of all rights and benefits under this Act shall be deemed terminated.
The Witness may, however, purge himself of the contumacious acts by testifying at any appropriate stage of the proceedings.
Sec. 14. Compelled Testimony. — Any Witness admitted into the Program pursuant to Sections 3 and 10 of this Act cannot refuse to testify or give evidence or produce books, documents, records or writings necessary for the prosecution of the offense or offenses for which he has been admitted into the Program on the ground of the constitutional right against self-incrimination but he shall enjoy immunity from criminal prosecution and cannot be subjected to any penalty or forfeiture for any transaction, matter or thing concerning his compelled testimony or books, documents, records and writings produced. chan robles virtual law library
In case of refusal of said Witness to testify or give evidence or produce books, documents, records, or writings, on the ground of the right against self-incrimination, and the state prosecutor or investigator believes that such evidence is absolutely necessary for a successful prosecution of the offense or offenses charged or under investigation, he, with the prior approval of the department, shall file a petition with the appropriate court for the issuance of an order requiring said Witness to testify, give evidence or produce the books, documents, records, and writings described, and the court shall issue the proper order.
The court, upon motion of the state prosecutor or investigator, shall order the arrest and detention of the Witness in any jail contiguous to the place of trial or investigation until such time that the Witness is willing to give such testimony or produce such documentary evidence.
Sec. 15. Perjury or Contempt. — No Witness shall be exempt from prosecution for perjury or contempt committed while giving testimony or producing evidence under compulsion pursuant to this Act. The penalty next higher in degree shall be imposed in case of conviction for perjury. The procedure prescribed under Rule 71 of the Rules of Court shall be followed in contempt proceedings but the penalty to be imposed shall not be less than one (1) month but not more than one (1) year imprisonment. chan robles virtual law library
Sec. 16. Credibility of Witness. — In all criminal cases, the fact of the entitlement of the Witness to the protection and benefits provided for in this Act shall not be admissible in evidence to diminish or affect his credibility.
Sec. 17. Penalty for Harassment of Witness. — Any person who harasses a Witness and thereby hinders, delays, prevents or dissuades a Witness from:
Sec. 18. Rules and Regulations. — The Department shall promulgate such rules and regulations as may be necessary to implement the intent and purposes of this Act. Said rules and regulations shall be published in two (2) newspapers of general circulation.chanrobles virtual law library
Sec. 19. Repealing Clause. — All laws, decrees, executive issuances, rules and regulations inconsistent with this Act are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.chan robles virtual law library
Sec. 20. Funding. — The amount of Ten million pesos (P10,000,000.00) is hereby authorized to be appropriated out of any funds in the National Treasury not otherwise appropriated to carry into effect the purpose of this Act.cralaw
Expenses incurred in the implementation of the Program may be recovered as part of the cost or indemnity imposed upon the accused.cralaw
Furthermore, other funding schemes or sources, subject to the limitations of the law, shall be allowed in furtherance hereof.cralaw
Sec. 21. Separability Clause. — The declaration of unconstitutionality or invalidity of any provision of this Act shall not affect the other provisions hereof.cralaw
22. Effectivity. — This Act shall
take effect after fifteen (15) days following its publication in two
newspapers of general circulation. chan
robles virtual law library
Approved: April 24, 1991
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