Lawmakers want stiffer penalties for carnappers

February 4, 2011 12:28 pm 

By Lilybeth G. Ison

MANILA, Feb. 3 — Amid the increasing incidents of carnapping in the country, especially in Metro Manila, lawmakers filed proposed measures that would impose stiffer penalties for the carnappers.

Malabon City Rep. Josephine Veronique Lacson-Noel filed House Bill No. 4033, to make the crime of carnapping a non-bailable offense.

The bill seeks to amend Section 13 and 14 of Republic Act No. 6593, known as the "Anti-Carnapping Act of 1972."

"Carnapping, by nature, is a dangerous, threatening crime. I consider it no different from other crimes that physically harm victims and other forms of theft. If we are able to hold alleged suspects for other crimes against persons directly, this crime against property should be non-bailable," she said.

Lacson-Noel considers the proposed measure to also fill in the current gaps in law enforcement.

"I can understand the frustration of our policemen who give their lives in trying to put carnappers in jail only to find out later that that they (carnappers) are out on bail faster than getting them behind bars. I also sympathize with citizens whose sense of security is threatened by reports of crime. It is our duty to them, to ensure that we are able to protect their rights to feel safe in their own neighborhoods. We need to amend the law on this if only to provide higher protection to our policemen and our citizens," she said.

Similar bills have been filed at the Upper Chamber by Senators Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV and Francis "Chiz" Escudero.

On the other hand, Buhay party-list Rep. Irwin Tieng has proposed to penalize carnappers with life imprisonment regardless whether the crime was committed with or without violence, force, intimidation and execution.

"Carjacking has become an even more gruesome crime these days. People lose not only their cars but their lives as well. Targets of this terrifying scourge nowadays are dealers who try to sell rather ordinary cars," said Tieng, who is a friend of the slain car dealer Venson Evangelista.

Lamenting the classification set by the Anti-Carnapping Act which imposes lesser offense to carnappers "is enabling them to secure bail and use it to escape justice," he said.

At present, Section 14 of the Anti-Carnapping Act of 1972 states that any person who is found guilty of carnapping, irrespective of the value of motor vehicle taken, be punished by imprisonment for not less than 14 years and eight months, and not more than 17 years and four months, when the carnapping is committed without violence or intimidation of persons, or force upon things; and by imprisonment for not less than 17 years and four months and not more than 30 years, when the carnapping is committed by means of violence against or intimidation of any person, or force upon things.

Under Tieng’s proposed bill, any person who is found guilty of carnapping, regardless whether the carnapping is committed with or without violence or intimidation of persons, or force upon things, will be punished by Reclusion Perpetua.

"In other words, carnappers do not need to kill their victims first to be meted with reclusion perpetua. The very act of stealing the car is enough to serve justice by putting the carnapper in jail for a lifetime. It is tantamount to life in exchange for stolen cars," he said.

"With the increasing incidence of carnapping and other motor vehicle-related crimes, the need for more effective and efficient system of penalizing and preventing these crimes arises. The ruthless carnappers and killers deserve heavy penalty," he added.

The Buhay party-list solon said that with the recent killings of Evangelista and Emerson Lozano and his driver, "it is clear that carnappers have become more brutal and dangerous in their operations, thus requiring an equally strong form of deterrence from the state." (PNA)

DCT/LGI

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