ILOILO City – A small group of discredited motor vehicle technicians in Iloilo is being suspected to be behind the series of carnapping cases in the city and province of Iloilo.
“The members of this group were mostly ginpangsipa sang ila (kicked out by their) motor companies,” said Police Executive Master Sergeant Pedro Pericon, officer in charge of the Provincial Highway Patrol Team-Iloilo.
Because of their know-how on motor vehicle, they find it easy to shanghai them, said Pericon.
Most of their targets are motorcycles parked unattended along roads, he added.
Republic Act No. 6539 or the Anti-Carnapping Act of 1972 is the law preventing and penalizing carnapping.
It defines “carnapping” as “the taking, with intent to gain, of a motor vehicle belonging to another without the latter’s consent, or by means of violence against or intimidation of persons, or by using force upon things.”
“Members of this group are very mobile. They constantly change areas of operation to elude the police,” said Pericon.
Sixty-four carnapping cases across Western Visayas have been reported to the Highway Patrol Group (HPG) of the Philippine National Police since Jan. 1 of this year, some of them in Iloilo, according to Pericon.
The carnapping involved 59 motorcycles and five four-wheeled vehicles.
The figures were much lower than the over 100 carnapping cases recorded in the same period last year, said Pericon.
“Ang iban failed to return, ginhulam lang, wala na ginbalik. Ang iban ginkawat tapos gin-abandon somewhere, dasun na-recover sang local police,” he added.
Those that were recovered were impounded by the HPG.
For Iloilo cases, the Provincial Highway Patrol Iloilo-Team maintains an impounding space at the back of its office in Barangay Balabago, Jaro, Iloilo City.
Section 14 of the Anti-Carnapping Act of 1972 spells out the penalty for carnapping. Any person who is found guilty of carnapping shall, irrespective of the value of motor vehicle taken, be punished by:
* imprisonment for not less than 14 years and eight months and not more than 17 years and four months, when the carnapping is committed without violence or intimidation of persons, or force upon things;
* imprisonment for not less than 17 years and four months and not more than 30 years, when the carnapping is committed by means of violence against or intimidation of any person, or force upon things;
* life imprisonment to death shall be imposed when the owner, driver or occupant of the carnapped motor vehicle is killed in the commission of the carnapping
One way for motor vehicle owners to avoid being victimized is having secure garages, said Pericon.
Owners of four-wheeled vehicles must also make sure their units are locked securely, avoid leaving valuables in them, and not park their vehicles in secluded areas, he added.
For motorcycles, Pericon said, owners must ensure that the engines are padlocked./PN