In a Resolution dated 08 April 2014, the Department of Justice resolved the complaint filed by Horace R Cruda (CRUDA) against Respondent Davidson Bangayan (BANGAYAN), the owner and operator of Advanced Scrapt Specialist Corporation (Corporation), for violation of Article 183 of the Revised Penal Code which defines the crime commonly known as Perjury.
Complainant CRUDA (the Secretary of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food) alleged that during the investigation in aid of legislation by the Committee into the massive rice smuggling in the country, Respondent BANGAYAN refused to acknowledge that he and David Tan are one and the same person.
The elements of the crime of Perjury are as follows: (a) the accused made a statement under oath or executed an affidavit upon a material matter; (b) the statement or affidavit was made before a competent officer who is authorized to receive and administer oaths; (c) in the statement or affidavit, the accused made a willful and deliberate assertion of a falsehood; and that the sworn statement or affidavit containing the falsity is required by law or made for a legal purpose.
Prosecution Attorney Loverhette Jeffrey P. Villordon ruled that all these elements were present in this case:
The presence of the second element was not an issue, since Respondent BANGAYAN undoubtedly took an oath before the Chairman of the Committee to tell the whole truth during the Committee hearings held on 22 January 2014 and 03 February 2014.
With respect to the first element, Respondent BANGAYAN had undeniably made statements under oath upon a material matter, when he repeatedly testified that he is NOT David Tan.
Jurisprudence dictates that a matter may be deemed as material if it (a) refers to the subject of the inquiry; (b) merely corroborates or strengthens testimonies relative to the subject of inquiry; or (c) it affects the credibility of a witness. In this case, the determination of the identity of “David Tan” was material to the subject of inquiry as he is inextricably linked to the rice smuggling subject of the Committee inquiry. Further, the relationship of “David Tan” and Respondent BANGAYAN would necessarily affect the credibility of the latter as a witness because a finding that these two people are the same automatically links Respondent BANGAYAN to the subject of the Committee hearing.
The third element was also present as Respondent BANGAYAN knew fully well that he had previously filed and signed a Complaint-Affidavit, under oath, which states that he is “David Tan”, and yet he denied this when asked by the Committee. Moreover, as shown by the Certification from the Managing Director of Taylor Overseas Marketing Ltd., which was attached to the Complaint-Affidavit filed by Respondent BANGAYAN himself, foreign clients of the Corporation knew him as “David Tan”. The Prosecution Attorney also observed that the Complaint-Affidavit and Certification highlight Respondent BANGAYAN's malice as these documents showed that he knew that his statements given during the Committee hearing were false.
As to the fourth element, the power of the Senate to conduct investigations in aid of legislation is enshrined under Article VI of the 1987 Constitution. The answers of Respondent BANGAYAN relating to questions on the identity of “David Tan” were clearly made for a legal purpose, which is to shed light on the current investigation of the Senate on the problem of rice smuggling.
In light of the foregoing, the Prosecution Attorney found probable cause to indict Respondent BANGAYAN for the crime of perjury.