Getting tough on carjacking
Carjackers could face tougher penalties under a proposed law awaiting President Aquino’s signature.
The bill approved by both houses of Congress increases the prison terms for those caught stealing vehicles and penalizes other acts committed in relation to car theft.
Under the measure, persons guilty of car theft, regardless of the value of the motor vehicle, would be imprisoned for 20 to 30 years, up from the current penalty of 14 to 17 years.
But if the car theft was committed by means of violence or intimidation of persons or force upon things, the penalty would be increased to 30 to 40 years, up from 17 to 30 years.
Life in jail
The bill retains the provision in the present anti-car theft law that if the owner, driver or occupant of stolen vehicle is killed in the commission of the crime, the penalty would be life imprisonment.
It also prescribes a six to 12-year jail term for actions that are in furtherance or in concealment of carjacking.
The measure allows carjacking to be a non-bailable crime in certain circumstances, such as when the evidence of guilt is strong or when the acts were committed by criminal groups, gangs or syndicates, or by means of violence or intimidation of any person or persons or forced upon thing.
Bail shall also be denied when the owner, driver, passenger or occupant of the vehicle is killed or raped in the course of the car theft.
The bill also contains a provision that would allow the detention of motorcycle riders who fail to present the Official Receipt and Certificate of Registration of the motorcycle.
It states that given the relative ease of stealing motorcycles, a rider’s inability to present the Official Receipt and Certificate of Registration will be prima facie evidence of theft and will constitute probable cause to detain the motorcycle rider.
It also states that the authorities must ensure the immediate filing of formal charges.
Another provision makes it unlawful for any person or entity to buy or sell any secondhand spare parts taken from a stolen vehicle.
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