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Finger-pointing in Rizal tragedy is necessary

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LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “… The wicked accept bribes in secret to pervert the course of justice…” (Proverbs 17:23, the Holy Bible).

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FINGER POINTING IN RIZAL TRAGEDY IS NECESSARY:I am sorry if I am to engage in finger-pointing in connection with the grim accident in Tanay, Rizal on Monday, 20 February 2017, in which 16 people, mostly students of the Best Link College in Novaliches, Quezon City, were killed after the tourist buy that was to take them to a camping site bumped an electric post and then rammed into the side of a hilly portion of the road.

Finger-pointing is in order, at least as an attempt to prevent similar occurrences in the future, where Filipinos lose their lives senselessly through reckless driving. That having been said, I believe that our lawmakers—congressmen and senators alike—should first be blamed for this Tanay tragedy and similar tragedies elsewhere in the country.

I blame them because I have been repeatedly urging them, through this column, to review the present laws on accidents with the end in view of imposing heavier penalties to drivers who either kill or maim their passengers or the public in general, but nobody among these supposedly honorable men and women are paying attention. Is it because there is no monetary gain for them in reviewing the present crop of archaic laws on accidents?

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PENALTIES FOR RECKLESS DRIVING TOO TRIVIAL:At present, even if a reckless driver kills 100 or more people by his senseless driving, the maximum penalty of imprisonment that could be meted to him is four years. No offending driver will ever be jailed under this condition, because, under present laws, a penalty of only four-years imprisonment can be subjected to probation—which means the driver is not to suffer detention even for one minute only!

Why have our lawmakers, through time, refused to even look at the laws that impose penalties for reckless driving? Your guess is as good as mine—that is, no lawmaker is interested to review these laws because there is no pecuniary benefit that they could get from. Consequently, we have to make do with the stupid drivers who are in reality diabolical creatures once they get behind steering wheels.

Then, let us also blame the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB). If only their officials’ corruption is reduced to the barest minimum, then they would not be issuing licenses to people who are clearly sick in, or are out of, their minds, who absolutely did not have any training at all on driving, or allowing clearly unworthy vehicles to serve the public.

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AMEND TRAFFIC AND ACCIDENT LAWS NOW:The result of all these is that, maniacal and diabolic drivers do not have any incentive at all to be circumspect and careful in their driving. They know that even if they kill hundreds in a vehicular accident, they will not be going to jail. What is more, the bail required for their provisional liberty while the court cases against them are pending is grossly minimal and therefore highly affordable.

So what do we do? I reiterate an appeal I have already raised several times: revise and amend current transportation and accident laws, so that it would be greatly unpalatable for drivers to be reckless and careless at any given time. I suggest that hefty prison terms, like 10 to 20 years imprisonment, should be the standard punishment for erring drivers.

Then, the owners and operators of the vehicles that are involved in accidents should likewise be made criminally liable. After all, it is these owners and operators who chose and employed the reckless drivers and it is just but fair that they should be made to share in the criminal liability of their employee-drivers. Finally, drivers’ licenses should be confiscated and no longer renewed. What do you think, folks?

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PLEASE LISTEN: ”Ang Tanging Daan” (The Sole Way): a Bible Exposition and prayer session online, could now be heard 24/7 (24 hours a day), in the Philippines and the world at  www.facebook.com/angtangingdaan.  Phone: 0917 984 24 68, 0918 574 0193, 0977 805 9058. Email: batasmauricio@yahoo.com.  (By Atty. Batas Mauricio) -30-




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