Belated happy birthday to Atty. Renato dela Cruz, the over-qualified former city legal officer of Manila with a big heart. Greetings from this column and wish you more birthdays and blessings to come!!
Yesterday, news on television showed at least three incidents where drunk motorists figured in traffic accidents. One of them killed an innocent passerby while another was seen even engaging the arresting policeman in a scuffle and then angrily demanding that his cuffs be removed at once.
If reports are accurate, statistics show that from January to October last year, more than 1,000 road accidents involving drunk drivers occurred.
With the holidays just around the corner, drunk driving incidents are likely to increase since it is almost automatic that revelry is accompanied by heavy drinking. There is no problem with drinking as a source of added fun in any gathering but unfortunately, some people do not know how to control themselves and drink until they forget what their names are.
Given the kind of drunkards we have in this country, this early, authorities should be warning the public and seriously implement the law because being under the influence of liquor while behind the wheel does not only pose hazard to the driver himself but moreso, the innocent public.
Traffic enforcement personnel of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) are supposed to help the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in apprehending motorists who are suspected to be driving under the influence of alcohol and also in strengthening enforcement of the anti-drunk driving rules, based on the ‘Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013.’
In fact, hundreds of officers from the PNP and the MMDA have undergone training on how to conduct sobriety tests and how to use breathalyzers.
Under the law, driving under the influence of alcohol, dangerous drugs or other similar substances is punishable by a fine of P20,000 to P80,000 and three-month imprisonment when no physical injury is caused.
In cases where physical injury results from drunk and drugged driving, the penalty is fine of between P100,000 and P200,000 and imprisonment, in accordance with Article 263 of the Revised Penal Code and depending on the graveness of the injury.
Meantime, homicide due to drunk and drugged driving carries a penalty of reclusion temporal or imprisonment of from 12 to 20 years and a fine of P300,000 to P500,000.
In addition, a non-professional driver’s license is up for a 12-month confiscation and suspension on first conviction and perpetual revocation under the second. A professional license, meanwhile, is perpetually revoked under the first conviction.
The perpetual revocation of a driver’s license shall disqualify the person from being granted any kind of driver’s license thereafter.
The noose should indeed be tightened against drunk driving. In the case I earlier mentioned for instance, an innocent person died.
Someone had lost a father, or a son or brother and no amount of apologies from the drunk driver or even fine or imprisonment meted on him can ever bring back the innocent man who got killed. For all we know, he may have even orphaned some kids.
So, it is but right to apply the fullest extent of the law to thes
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