New Anti-Carnapping Law to curb flourishing carnapping industry

The Senate passed a measure seeking to curb the rising incidents of carnapping in the country on the third and final reading today.

Senator Grace Poe, sponsor of Senate Bill No. 2794 or the New Anti-Carnapping Law of the Philippines, said the measure aimed to protect the interest of motor vehicle owners by imposing stiffer penalties to any person found guilty of carnapping and denying him bail upon arrest when the evidence of guilt is strong.

Poe, chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, said that though amended, the present Anti-Carnapping Law was crafted in 1972 when there were only around 400 to 420 cases of stolen vehicles annually.

In her sponsorship speech, Poe cited statistics from the Philippine National Police (PNP) which showed 3,170 carnapping cases from January to June 2014. The figure represents a 68.5 percent increase from the 1,881 carnapping incidents reported in the same period in 2013. Records from the Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) also showed that in the first half of 2014, an average of two cars and 15 motorcycles were stolen on a daily basis.

“Carnapping has become more rampant, more blatant and more heinous over the past years. It is now time to plug the loopholes in the law to adjust to the economic requirements of the present and to stop the reign of terror of criminal syndicates engaged in carnapping,” Poe said.

Under the measure, any person found guilty of carnapping would be imprisoned for 20 years and one day to 30 years if the crime was committed without violence, intimidation or use of force. If violence, intimidation or use of force were used, the person found guilty would be imprisoned for 30 years and 1 day to 40 years. When the owner, driver, occupant of the carnapped motor vehicle was killed or raped, the person found guilty would be sentenced to life imprisonment.

On the other hand, any person involved in the concealment of the crime of carnapping would be imprisoned from six to 12 years and fined with the acquisition cost of the motor vehicle, engine or any other part involved in the violation.

Poe said that with the proposed New Anti-Carnapping Law of the Philippines, acts like “cannibalizing” or identity transfer of a carnapped motor vehicle, double registration or the so-called “kambal registration” and unlawful use of vehicle plates  would now be penalized Poe said. (Apple Buenaventura)