Bill to criminalize looting during calamities

January 6, 2014 11:11 am 

QUEZON CITY, Jan. 5 — Looting during disasters or calamities will soon be declared as a criminal act punishable with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Rep. Rodolfo Biazon (Lone District, Muntinlupa City), author of House Bill 3367, said existing laws to address looting during calamities are not enough to deter such criminal act.

“Although we have laws that punish looting, the same do not appear to serve as a sufficient deterrent. There is a need to increase the penalty for such an act to discourage would be violators,” Biazon said.

Theft committed during a fire, earthquake, typhoon, volcanic eruption or any other calamity, vehicular accident or civil disturbance is punishable under Article 310 of the Revised Penal Code.

Biazon cited the recent devastation in several provinces in the Visayas by typhoon Yolanda and the 7.2-intensity earthquake in Bohol and Cebu.

“But what is terribly offensive that added more pain to the miseries of the victims are the reports and graphic pictures of widespread looting by recalcitrant and heartless individuals,” Biazon said.

The proposed “Anti-Looting Act of 2013” imposes the penalty of reclusion temporal on its maximum period when the property taken consists of food, medicines and other goods intended for rehabilitation, reconstruction and relief.

The penalty of reclusion perpetua will be imposed if an organized crime group with the use of a firearm or any deadly weapons commits the crime.

The bill defines looting as a crime committed by any person or group with intent to take personal property, food and belongings by entering inhabited and uninhabited dwellings or commercial buildings.(PNA)

LAM/HOR-PR/PJN

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