A lawmaker is seeking to expand the coverage of the Anti-Carnapping Act of 1972 by including the identity transfer of a vehicle as a prohibited and punishable act.
According to Rep. Jeci Lapus (3rd District, Tarlac), he filed House Bill (HB) 5931 to amend Republic Act (RA) 6539 since it contains loopholes that car thieves use to continue their criminal activities, and cause the rise of car-theft cases and sale of stolen vehicles in the market.
"There is no law prohibiting the use, revival, and re-registration of the chassis number, engine number, and plate number of a motor vehicle, legally declared a total wreck by insurance companies and law enforcement agencies, into another body or unit of the vehicle of the same class, model or classification, usually a carnapped vehicle in the market," Lapus said.
As a result, the lawmaker pointed out, proving the act of car theft becomes difficult, causing law enforcement agencies to "lose their determination and dedication in their pursuit against carnappers."
HB 5931 defines 'identity transfer' as "an act of transferring the engine number, chassis number, body tag number, plate number and any other identifying marks of a motor vehicle declared as a 'total wreck' or beyond economic repair by concerned car insurance companies and/or law enforcement agencies, and register the same into another factory-made body of the vehicle or unit, of the same classification, type, make or model."
In Lapus's proposed amendment of the Anti-Carnapping Act of 1972, any person who is found guilty of car theft, regardless of the value of the motor vehicle stolen, should be punished by imprisonment of not less than 14 years and eight months, and not more than 17 years and four months when the crime was committed without violence or intimidation of persons or force upon things. If the car theft was committed by means of violence against or intimidation of any person or force upon things, perpetrators will be imprisoned for not less than 17 years and four months and not more than 30 years. If the commission of the crime, however, results in the death of the owner, driver or occupant of the carnapped vehicle, the penalty imposed would be of life imprisonment.