Text: Eric Tipan / Photos: Kimberly Tan-Evangelista | posted April 05, 2016 14:42
Congress endorses bill to Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights for action
House Bill (HB) No. 4865, which seeks to penalize any person who throws any hard object of any kind at a vehicle, didn’t spend too much time in the House of Representatives after it was filed and immediately approved by the House Committee on Justice in early July 2015.
After recently getting passed by the House on the third and final reading, HB 4865 authored by Rep. Rodolfo C. Fariñas (1st District, Ilocos Norte) is now in the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights chaired by Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III.
Under House Bill 4865, any person who throws stones, rocks, bricks, bottles, pieces of wood or metal or any other hard object of any kind or character that damages, ruins, destroys or wrecks the vehicle or causes death or bodily harm to the vehicle's passengers will be penalized.
Just last February, a motorist was able to film what appears to be teenagers throwing rocks at motorists along C-5 in the vicinity of Taguig City in broad daylight.
The Senate is set to work on their version of the bill’s provisions and penalties. As it stands, the House version stipulates that should the act of throwing a hard object at a vehicle result in death, the penalty would be imprisonment of 25 years and a Php 100,000 fine excluding civil liabilities.
If only physical injury occurs as a result, the punishment is imprisonment of five years and a Php 15,000 fine excluding expenses to cover treatment for the injuries and rehabilitation.
If the only damage is to the vehicle, the penalty is one year incarceration and a Php 10,000 fine excluding the cost of repairing the vehicle.
"In the process, accidents result, putting the lives and limbs of passengers in danger and damaging the vehicle itself. This practice has to be abated," said Fariñas.
Considering the gravity of this offense and the consequences resulting in its commission, the bill stipulates that the prosecution shall be without prejudice to the prosecution of the offense under other existing laws.
"Thus, the well-being of the travelers as well as the drivers and owners of the vehicles is ensured," added Fariñas.
The lawmaker says authorities are at a loss on how to prevent the commission of such act, because at most, the culprits could be dealt with only with the crime of malicious mischief under Article 327 of the Revised Penal Code, punishable by a light penalty.
"Worst, offenders go scot-free and end up making this hazardous act a habitual 'past-time.' Hence this proposal," said Fariñas.
House Bill 4865 is co-authored by Tupas and Reps. Susan A. Yap, Evelina G. Escudero, Regina O. Reyes, Oscar Rodriguez, Silvestre H. Bello III, Nicasio Aliping, Jr., Pablo Nava III, Xavier Jesus Romualdo and Victoria Noel.