New Anti-Carnapping Act and Anti-Distracted Driving Act now in force

by Jemimah Grace N. Garcia

MANILA – Two (2) bills relating to road and vehicle safety have lapsed into law under the administration of President Rodrigo R. Duterte in July 2016 after former President Benigno Aquino III did not sign or veto them on during the 30-day period before he stepped down from office last June 30.

RA 10883: the New Anti-Carnapping Act

Under RA 10883, otherwise known as the New Anti-Carnapping Act, the length of imprisonment imposed on a person found guilty of carnapping has been increased 20 to 30 years of jail sentence, as compared to the jail term of 14 years and eight months to 17 years and four months under the old law.

When the crime is committed with violence, intimidation or use of force, the imprisonment sentence is  for 30 years and one day to 40 years. If the owner, driver, occupant of the carnapped motor vehicle was killed or raped, the person found guilty would be sentenced to life imprisonment. Meanwhile, 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.

Under RA 10883, carnapping is non-bailable if the evidence of guilt is strong. Public officials involved in carnapping may also be dismissed from service and ordered perpetually  disqualified from public office. The law also requires those asking for the original registration of a vehicle to apply for clearance from the Philippine National Police and the Land Transportation Office.

RA 10913: the Anti-Distracted Driving Act

Meanwhile, RA 10913, or the Anti-Distracted Driving Act (ADDA), lapsed into law on 21 July 2016. The law makes it illegal for a driver to use mobile devices like phones, tablets, laptops, and other gadgets while the vehicle is in motion or while temporarily stopped at a red light. The use of such gadgets are allowed where permissible where the drivers makes a safe stop and use the device only while on stop. The use of gadgets is also excused for  emergency purposes.

Under the law, it is not considered distracted driving if the use of the mobile gadget is made through a hands-free function, such as with a speaker phone, earphones, or similar devices, which allow a person to use the device without holding it. It is important, however, that the driver’s line of sight is not obstructed by the placement of the hands-free equipment.

Punishment for violation of RA 10913 are as follows: First Offense – fined P5,000; Second Offense fined  P10,000; Third Offense fined P15,000 and suspension of driver’s license for three months; and, Fourth Offense – fined P20,000 and revocation of licenses.

Other notable bills that have now lapsed into law are:

  • Republic Act (RA) 10910, which increases the prescriptive period for violations of RA No. 3019, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, from the present 15 years to 20 years.
  • RA 10911, or the Anti-Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which makes it unlawful to to decline an employment application and impose early retirement on the basis of an employee s age, among others.
  • RA 10909, or the No Shortchanging Act, prohibits business entities from giving change less than the amount due to the customer. It also prohibits giving candies in lieu of monetary change. Businesses are also required to post a sign that reminds their customers to ask for exact change. Republic Act 10909 penalizes violators with: First offense P500 fine; Second offense 3-month suspension of establishment s license to operate plus P15,000 fine; Third offense revocation of establishment s license to operate plus P25,000 fine

*Jemimah is an Associate at DivinaLaw’s Litigation Group. She regularly appears and represents client before various courts and tribunals including the Sandiganbayan, regular courts, Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court.