Senator Chiz Escudero is seeking stiffer penalties of up to 40 years imprisonment against carjackers in a bid to stop the string of car thefts in the country.
The senator said penal provisions had rendered the existing law inutile in the face of the series of carjacking and had allowed criminal syndicates to carry out the criminal activity with ease.
Escudero, chairman of the Senate committee on justice and human rights, has filed a bill increasing the penalty for carjacking to a minimum of 20 years to 30 years if the offense was committed without violence and intimidation.
When carjacking is committed by means of violence against a person, Escudero wants a jail term of 30 years to a maximum of 40 years.
Under the current penal provision of Republic Act No. 6539, carjackers face a minimum of 14 years to a maximum of 17 years jail term, and 17 to 30 years imprisonment if the crime is committed by means of force or violence.
As such, it falls short of the minimum period for reclusion perpetua, which is at least 20 years and one day, a requisite to deny bail as a right under the above cited constitutional provision to be present.
“The criminal minds are no longer deterred by our penal code. Under the current law, the accused is entitled to post a bail as a matter of right. The crime has become very lucrative for these carjackers that they can just easily shell out money to post bail and walk scot-free,” Escudero pointed out.
The senator explained that once the minimum penalty is increased to 20 years and one day, it will satisfy the period covered by reclusion perpetua.
According to Escudero, strengthening the penal provision for carjacking would also deter the proliferation of other crimes.
“Logically and naturally, you will not use your own vehicle if you plan to commit a crime. Gunrunners, robbers, drug traffickers have always been found to use a get-away vehicle snatched from other innocent individuals,” the senator said.