MMDA: No need to amend law vs drunk driving despite loopholes
MANILA, Philippines–Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chair Francis Tolentino has pointed out loopholes in the anti-drunk driving law that took effect this month.
However, he stressed that he remained in full support of the law and that he was unsure if there was a need to propose amendments, at least for now.
“One of the [loopholes] is the direct liability of the owner of the vehicle driven by the offender,” Tolentino said during the agency’s weekly radio program on Sunday.
Under Republic Act No. 10586, otherwise known as the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013, the owner and operator of the vehicle should be held liable together for the corresponding fines and civil damages.
The MMDA chair, however, noted that at least 75 percent of the vehicles in Metro Manila, particularly second-hand ones, have yet to be registered under the name of their new owners.
For Tolentino, this could lead to several possible scenarios. “When you buy a car, you can do the transfer of ownership anytime you want. So when a drunk driver is caught, there’s the possibility that the enforcer will see the name of the previous owner in the certificate of registration of the vehicle,” he said.
As a result, the previous owner, not the current one, would have to prove in court that the vehicle was sold prior to the offense.
As a remedy, Tolentino floated the idea of requiring buyers of second-hand vehicles to transfer ownership of the car to their name within seven days.
Another loophole, the MMDA chair noted, was the lack of a provision that would make drug and chemical testing mandatory in cases of drunk driving involving damage to property.
“If someone died or was injured in an accident, it is clear in Section 7 of the law that the driver of the motor vehicle should be subjected to chemical testing, including a drug screening test. What is missing here is when a property, especially if it is owned by the government, is damaged in the accident,” he said.
Records of the MMDA showed that every day, an average of 22 accidents occur, mostly “self-accidents” or cases in which only one vehicle is involved.
“We have experienced [having] our traffic lights and railings of flyovers damaged by vehicles in self-accidents,” Tolentino said.
At the same time, he also suggested that a separate clause be made for foreigners holding international licenses.
Penalties for violation of RA 10586 range from a minimum of three months in prison plus a P20,000 fine, to a maximum of 20 years in jail plus a P500,000 fine.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.