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Macalintal questions including rosaries as car ‘distractions’

/ 05:27 PM May 23, 2017

A taxi driver displays a religious icon inside his vehicle in Manila. AFP PHOTO / Ted ALJIBE

The Land Transportation Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has no authority in law to ban hanging rosaries and other religious images under rearview mirrors of vehicles, a legal expert said Tuesday.

Atty. Romulo Macalintal said rosaries and similar small religious items displayed in cars are not even mentioned or subject of Republic Act 10913 or the Anti-Distracted Driving Act.

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“What is specifically declared unlawful under RA 10913 is the use by any driver of a moving vehicle of any ‘electronic mobile devices’ such as ‘electronic entertainment and computing device’ and other ‘mobile communications devices’ which, in simple words, mean mobile phones and electronic gadgets which may distract the driver or operator of the vehicle,” Macalintal said.

“Nothing more was mentioned in the law that would refer to any other non-electronic gadgets or equipment.  There is no iota of reference to any rosaries prohibited by RA 10913 that would distract the driver of the vehicle,” he added.

He said RA 10913 even specifically refers to the commission of “acts in a motor vehicle in motion or temporarily stopped at a red light” such as “using a mobile communication or electronic equipment” to receive or make calls or play games or watch movies.

“For sure, rosaries hanging [under rearview mirror] of a vehicle do not constitute the commission of any ‘act’ to use these electronic devices,” said Macalintal.

Macalintal said the IRR issued by the implementing agencies, in this case the LTFRB, “must conform and in harmony with and cannot go beyond the terms and provisions of the basic law.”

He added that assuming there are gaps in the law, it is not for LTFRB to supply the gaps, since its function is not legislative.  Only Congress can amend the law./ac/rga

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TAGS: Anti-Distracted Driving Act, hanging rosaries and other religious images, Land Transportation Regulatory Board, Romulo Macalintal
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