Car thieves may soon be meted life imprisonment

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Members of the House of Representatives expressed support for the passage of a measure in imposing life imprisonment—or at least 23 years—for carjacking no matter the value of the vehicle.

Those pushing for House Bill (HB) 6909—which increases the penalty to life imprisonment—are Reps. Rufus Rodriguez, Jorge Banal, Salvio Fortuno, Emmeline Aglipay, Rodolfo Fariñas, Karlo Alexei Nograles, Winston Castelo, Romero Quimbo, Ben Evardone, Marlyn Primicias-Agabas, chair of the sponsor-Committee on Revision of Laws, and Sen.-elect Juan Edgardo Angara, among others.

Approved on the eve of sine die adjournment of the 15th Congress, HB 6909 is a consolidation of 13 separate but similar bills filed jointly or individually by some 53 members of the House.

However, it did not get a chance to be approved on the Senate floor.

According to Rodriguez, carjacking nowadays have resulted in loss of lives as the perpetrators have conducted bolder moves to get a vehicle.

“The growing incidence or prevalence of carjacking which, in many cases, result in death or serious injuries to victims and innocent persons calls for a commensurate penalty. In these cases, life imprisonment,” the lawmaker explained.

Article 27 of the Revised Penal Code (RA 3815) qualifies that under reclusion perpetua, “any person sentenced to any of the perpetual penalties shall be pardoned after undergoing the penalty for 30 years, unless such person by reason of his conduct or some other serious cause shall be considered by the Chief Executive as unworthy of pardon.”

If approved, those who would be proven guilty by means of violence against or intimidation of any person, or force upon things and the owner, driver or occupant of the carjacked motor vehicles killed or raped in the course of the commission of the crime would face maximum penalty without the benefit of parole.

Further, those who are proven to violate any provision of the yet-to-be approved bill shall be jailed for of not less than six years and one day to 12 years and a fine equal in amount to the acquisition cost of the motor vehicle, motor vehicle engine or any other part involved in the violation.

Based on the consolidated measure, “it shall be unlawful for any person, office or entity to buy or sell any second hand spare parts taken from a carjacked vehicle.”

“It shall also be unlawful to transfer or use a vehicle plate from one to another without securing the proper authority from the Land Transportation Office [LTO],” it added.

Moreover, HB 6909 “shall provide Philippine National Police (PNP) the mandate on all inter-island and international shipping vessels that carry on board vehicles without clearance.

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