Pangasinan lawmaker wants stricter penalties for criminal negligence involving motor vehicles

guico jr

A bill was filed recently that seeks to increase the penalties levied for criminal negligence involving motor vehicles. The proposed legislation looks to amend Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code which states that the maximum penalty for criminal negligence in vehicular accidents (one which causes the death of a person) is only prision correcional in its maximum period.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Which lawmaker introduced the bill seeking heavier penalties levied for criminal negligence involving motor vehicles?

    The legislator who introduced the said bill is Pangasinan Fifth District Representative, Ramon N. Guico Jr.
  • What Article in the Revised Penal Code does Guico Jr.’s bill seek to amend?

    Ramon N. Guico Jr.’s proposed legislation looks to update Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code.
  • Rep. Ramon N. Guico Jr. — the Representative who introduced the bill — said in the explanatory note attached to his presented legislation, that under the current, lenient, outdated penal laws, the offender “may not be placed behind bars, even he has killed a person by his deliberate and willful action, albeit without malicious intent, as he can be entitled to apply for probation.”

    To clarify his point, the Fifth District Representative of Pangasinan cited incidents in Makati and Bulacan. The former involved the death of a 14-year-old student while the latter resulted in the demise of a mother and her infant child.

    The driver of the vehicle that caused the accident in Poblacion, Makati was found to have tested positive for methamphetamine and is also guilty of driving without a license. Meanwhile, the driver of the vehicle in the San Juan del Monte, Bulacan incident was also suspected of driving under the influence of drugs.

    On that note, the Representative’s call to update Article 365 is aimed at “deterring would-be offenders to recklessly disregard our traffic laws and regulations and consequently, pose a danger to themselves and other people.”

    Per the bill filed by the Congressman, Article 365 will read: “Imprudence and negligence. – Any person who, by reckless imprudence, shall commit any act, which, had it been intentional, would constitute a grave felony, shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum period to prison correcional in its medium period, if it would have constituted a less grave felony, the penalty of arresto mayor in its minimum period and medium periods shall be imposed; if it would have constituted a light felony, the penalty of arresto menor in its maximum period shall be imposed.”

    Basically, what it means is that a driver charged with reckless imprudence or gross negligence involving a motor vehicle resulting in physical injury or death will be sentenced behind bars. The time spent in jail would depend on matters such as the gravity of the offense and the factors that have caused the incident.

    Jail time is expected to be longer should the accused be driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol or has violated traffic laws, rules and regulations, or ordinances.

    Representative Guico Jr.’s move to impose stricter penalties is a good example of how laws can help make Philippine thoroughfares safer for road users and pedestrians alike. Many motorists will agree that our country needs more of these, and less of the laws that are simply disguised money-making schemes.

    Photo from Ramon N. Guico Jr.’s Facebook page

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