The city government of Makati is set to press charges against two male suspects who were arrested for stealing lamppost wires along Kalayaan Avenue and Jupiter St. near Manila South Cemetery on Thursday by a joint team of local police and village watchmen.
Makati Mayor Abby Binay has ordered the city Legal Department to coordinate with the Makati Police Department to expedite the prosecution of the suspects for violating Republic Act No. 7832, also known as the Anti-Pilferage of Electricity and Theft of Electric Transmission Lines/Materials Act of 1994.
The police have identified the suspects as Mark Gil Seno Gonzalez, 27, single and with address at 7177 J.B. Roxas St., Barangay Olympia, and 37-year old Gerry Hondrada Demalgen, married and jobless, residing at Manila South Cemetery.
“These unscrupulous individuals have been causing not just inconvenience but real danger for pedestrians and motorists who pass by unlit streets at night. Our city engineering teams have been hard at work replacing stolen lamppost wires around the city, but their efforts, not to mention the costs incurred by the city, have been rendered futile by recurrent thefts,” Mayor Abby said.
The mayor said the perpetrators should be punished with the full force of the law to discourage other individuals from committing the said crime.
Under R.A. 7832, violation of its Section 3 on Theft of Electric Power Transmission Lines and Materials carries the penalty of reclusion temporal (12 years and 1 day to 20 years) or a fine ranging from P50,000 to P100,000, or both, at the discretion of the court.
Mayor Abby called on Makatizens and other citizens working or doing business in the city to help the authorities apprehend violators of the said law by promptly reporting incidents of theft or pilferage to the local police or through My Makati, the city’s official Facebook page.
“We need the full support and cooperation of our residents and stakeholders to keep our streets safe for pedestrians and the riding public,” the mayor underscored.
She also reminded barangay officials of their duty to monitor and protect lampposts from thieves in their own areas of jurisdiction through conducting regular night patrols. “Our barangay officials should always be alert for any suspicious individuals or activities happening in their community, and must immediately investigate reports from their constituents,” Mayor Abby said.
She noted several relevant complaints received from netizens via My Makati, among them unlit lampposts on the stretch of Ponte St. from Pasong Tirad to Primo Rivera in Barangay Tejeros. “Stolen wires had been replaced by the city Engineering Department just a few months ago. Unfortunately, netizens have reported the area to be in darkness once again,” she said.
The mayor also cited Section 5 under R.A. 7832, which mandates the awarding of a monetary incentive of a minimum of P5,000 to any person who shall report to the National Power Corporation or police authorities any act which may constitute a violation of Section 3.
“I have instructed our legal team to check with the Department of Energy on how our responsible citizens could avail themselves of this incentive,” Mayor Abby said.
Meanwhile, the illegal use of electricity cited under Section 2 of the said law which includes illegal connections and jumpers is punishable with prison mayor (6 years and 1 day to 12 years) or a fine ranging from P10,000 to P20,000, or both, at the discretion of the court.
The mayor reminded residents and the public that illegal connections have been among the top causes of fire in the city and even in other parts of the country.
“I call on all law-abiding and dutiful citizens to join the government in protecting our homes and communities against individuals or groups who violate R.A. 7832 and unduly expose us to harm,” the mayor appealed.
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