Press Release
May 6, 2023

Pimentel calls on Congress: Remove probation for reckless drivers

With traffic deaths on the rise, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III called on Congress to enact a proposed measure that he filed which seeks to make reckless driving a non-probationable offense.

Under Pimentel's Senate Bill No. 1016, when death is caused by imprudence or by negligence, whether reckless or simple, the accused should not be eligible for probation.

"I am alarmed by increasing deaths caused by road accidents primarily due to recklessness," Pimentel said in a statement on Saturday.

Last May 5 alone, a four-year-old boy died while another is in critical condition after being run over by a bus and an SUV in front of a school along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City, Pimentel noted.

"This is among hundreds, if not thousands, of heartbreaking stories of road accidents that we hear and see every day. How many innocent and precious kids do we have to lose in fatal road accidents before we act and make our roads safe for all Filipinos?" Pimentel said.

"I therefore call on my colleagues in Congress to pass a measure calling for stiffer penalties against reckless drivers," Pimentel stressed.

"It is about time to put motorists on notice, be careful on the road or else face prison time. We can do this by removing the option for probation for convicted reckless drivers," he added.

If passed, the former Senate President and now minority leader said it can help reduce the number of accidents caused by reckless driving.

Citing figures from Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista, Pimentel noted there are 11,000 individuals who died due to road accidents in 2022.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) ranked road accidents as the thirteenth cause of death in the Philippines in 2022, Pimentel added.

The minority chief cited some road accidents that killed a number of passengers last year including an accident involving an overloaded SUV that killed 15 in Kalinga; a road mishap that killed 11 in Balingasag, Misamis Oriental; and an accident that killed a seven-year-old girl in a bus terminal in Sta. Cruz, Manila.

The 1990 bar topnotcher said that it appears that the country's criminal law on imprudence or negligence has not deterred people from acting with reckless abandon or an inexcusable lack of precaution.

"It has been said that the negligent persons involved in these tragedies were not in fear of punishment as they are aware that even if convicted, they would still be eligible for probation and would not be imprisoned," Pimentel said in filing Senate Bill No. 1016.

"It is the certainty of imprisonment, rather than the penalty, that is a deterrent against crime, especially in the case of imprudence and negligence," Pimentel stressed.

"When death is involved, we should disqualify these reckless motorists from probation. They should be made to face the full consequences of their actions," he concluded.

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