Stiffer penalties for carnapping proposed

Quezon City Rep. Jorge “Bolet” Banal has proposed stiffer penalties
for carnapping to address its disturbingly increasing incidence in the
country.

In filing House Bill 5664, which had been referred to the Committee on
Revision of Laws chaired by Rep. Marlyn Primicias-Agabas (6th
District, Pangasinan), Banal pointed out that for almost 40 years,
carnapping in the country has not been considered as a non-bailable
offense.

“Criminals have taken advantage of the current state of our law,”
Banal said, adding that criminal elements do not feel threatened as
they can easily post bail.

“We have seen how the current situation (present law) has emboldened
criminal elements because they can easily post bail using the proceeds
from their illegal activity and once out of jail, they simply continue
with their modus operandi,” Banal explained.

Banal said Section 13 of Article III of the Constitution states that
all persons shall, before conviction, be bailable, and the exception
is in the case of those charged with offenses punishable by reclusion
perpetua when evidence of guilt is strong.

Because the cases of carnapping result in physical injuries, rape, and
even in the death of victims, Banal has proposed to amend Sec. 14
(Penalty for Carnapping) of R.A. 6539 or the “Anti-Carnapping Act of
1972.”

Among others, Section 14 is proposed to provide that “Any person who
is found guilty of carnapping, as this term is defined in Section Two
of this Act, shall, irrespective of the value of the motor vehicle
taken, be punished by imprisonment of not less than seventeen years
and four months (14 years and 8 months) and not more than twenty years
(17 years and four months) when the carnapping is committed without
violence against or intimidation of persons, or force upon things;”
(Note: current prison terms in parenthesis).

“And by imprisonment for not less than twenty years and one day (17
years and four months) and not more than thirty years when carnapping
is committed by means of violence against or intimidation of any
person, or by using force upon things;”

“Provided that (and) the penalty of reclusion perpetua (to death)
shall be imposed when the carnapping is committed with the use of a
firearm or other deadly weapon or when the owner, driver or occupant
of the carnapped motor vehicle suffers any of the physical injuries
penalized in Article 263 of the Revised Penal Code, or is killed in
the course of the commission of the carnapping or on the occasion
thereof.”

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