Driving Under Influence
Driving Under Influence...
Introduction Transportation has been serving a very important role to any country. It had evolved throughout history by the creation of vehicles, both land and sea and such vehicles have further improved to deliver with haste. People, goods and services arrive at a faster pace through driven vehicles. With the advent of modern society, effective control over transportation services has been given greater consideration to maintain order over traffic.1 However, driving vehicles also carry with it many risks so much so that vehicular accidents become common on a daily basis.2 The term vehicular accident is broad, covering minor accidents such as bumping curbs while parking, and serious accidents or those resulting to death. In the Philippines, road accidents are so often that people pass it off as natural occurrences. Even Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) Assistant Secretary Dante Lantin claimed that road accidents “might become the main cause of mortality in 2020."3 “Drinking has long been an accepted practice in Filipino culture. This has reflected badly on the country in the 2011 Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health conducted by the World Health Organization [WHO],” the group said. Based on the research, the Philippines ranks second in most alcohol consumed in Southeast Asia. There are about 5 million alcohol drinkers in the country, making alcohol consumption a major threat to national health. Even Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chief Francis Tolentino has said drinking and driving has become a norm. Drunk drivers are confident that they are sober enough to get home, and the realization of the truth comes a little too late. According to Tolentino, drunk drivers are not afraid because their actions have no immediate consequences. “If death and injury are not enough to scare offenders, hopefully this law will be,” Tolentino was quoted by the group as saying.4 Most of the causes of such accidents were attributed to consumption of alcohol and illegal drugs. To counter such, President Aquino signed, on May 27 2013, Republic Act No. 10586, otherwise known as the Act Penalizing Persons Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol, Dangerous Drugs and Other Similar Substances.5 It then took effect 15 days after its publication in the Official Gazette.6 RA 10586 gives law enforcement officials the authority to conduct sobriety and breath alcohol tests on drivers. Moreover, the DUI law also provides for mandatory testing on those involved in vehicular accidents to check if they were driving under the influence of alcohol or dangerous drugs.7 However, the law was questioned for problems were presented as to its implementation by virtue of several of its provisions, which were claimed to be ambiguous. It may give law enforcement officers unlimited powers not only in enforcing said law but also a wide discretion as to who may be considered as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Some people proposed that the anticipated Implementing Rules and Regulations would cure any ambiguity in the law and place a bar against abuse in enforcing its provisions, while the less convinced ones would rather have the law declared as unconstitutional because it is penal in nature and must be stated in such a detail as to leave no room for interpretation. Statement of the Problem The study intends to determine the constitutionality of Republic Act 10586, particularly on some of its provisions. These are the following:
Executive Order 546, July 23, 1979 http://www.car-accidents.com/country-car-accidents/philippines-car-accidents.html 3 http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/267871/newstv/angpinaka/ang-pinaka-top-10-most-commoncauses-of-road-accidents 4 http://businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/news/nation/10504-stiffer-law-against-drunk-driving-sought 5 http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/417711/its-official-drunk-driving-is-against-the-law 6 Sec. 20, R.A. 10586 7 http://www.pinoyrepublic.net/president-noynoy-aquino-signs-republic-act-10586-or-the-dui-law/ 2
1) Whether the penalties prescribed under R.A. No. 10586 are too excessive and disproportionate to the offense as to amount to violation of the equal protection clause under the 1987 Constitution; 2) Whether the determination of probable cause by the law enforcement officer is reasonable for them to conduct of sobriety test based merely on the; and 3) Whether said law is incomplete when it defined which person is considered driving under the influence of alcohol under Sec. 3 par. (e). Scope and Limitations To determine the constitutionality of Republic Act No. 10586, several aspects of the law was studied, these are the following: 1) Excessiveness of the penalties under Section 12; 2) Determination of probable cause under Section 6; and 3) Completeness of the identity of the person driving under the influence of alcohol under Sec. 3 par. (e) Questions behind the passage of the law and its wisdom, technical matters in taking sobriety tests, chemical and drug testing were not covered in this research. Significance of the Study The promised rules and regulations for the law have yet to be implemented, but the fear of abuse by traffic enforcers is apparent by a scrutiny of the questioned provisions. Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte, who announced the signing of the law in a Palace briefing, admitted that the law could be open to abuse, especially by traffic enforcers who would demand bribes from motorists. 8 Especially in the Philippines, where corruption by law enforcement authorities is abundant, the law may endow them with more means to corruption.9 With the huge penalties imposed by the law, motorists may be exposed to more danger than what they have been enduring before the enactment of the law, when traffic enforcers ask for higher bribes. 10 Review on Related Literature In Georgia, operating a motor vehicle is prohibited when the blood alcohol concentration of the driver exceeds .10%. Attorney Winde Rovira who licensed in Georgia and Alabama, in claiming that penalizing drunk driving is justified especially for teens, said that there are two main reasons why teens are at a higher for being in a car crash and lack of driving experience and their tendency to take risks while driving. Teens drive faster and do not control the car as well as more experienced drivers. Their judgment in traffic is often insufficient to avoid a crash. In addition, teens do most of their driving at night, which can be even more difficult. Standard driver's education classes include 30 hours of classroom teaching and 6 hours of behind-the-wheel training. This is not enough time to fully train a new driver. Teen drivers are more like to be influence by peers and other stresses and distractions. This can lead to reckless driving behaviors such as speeding, driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, and not wearing safety belts.11 In State vs Brown, the defendant claimed that DUI is a motor vehicle violation and not a crime and thus, his being arrested for DUI could not constitute a violation of a condition of his probation that he not violate any criminal law. The defendant based his argument on the statutory definitions of “offense” and “crime” contained in the Penal Code of Connecticut. (http://search.cga.state.ct.us/dtsearch.asp?cmd=getdoc&DocId=25922&Index=I%3a%5 czindex%5c2001&Item=607) 8
http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/417711/its-official-drunk-driving-is-against-the-law http://www.bazics.net/2010/10/2010-most-corrupt-countries-in-world.html 10 R.A. 10586, Sec 12 11 Craft, Stephen. Interview with Winde Rovira. Attorney at Law licensed in Georgia and Alabama. 8 March 2000 9
Methodology The research was approached by applying statutory construction in determining the application of the questioned provisions, and relating such with prevailing Philippine jurisprudence to finally determine the constitutionality of R.A. 10586. Such jurisprudence measured the legality of the law through the legal principles in the Supreme Court’s decision. Such decisions have the force and effect of the law in interpreting the questioned provisions in this research.12
According to Article 8 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines, Judicial decisions applying or interpreting the laws or the Constitution shall form part of the legal system of the Philippines.