Press Release
July 30, 2011

Trillanes seeks to criminalize improper use of laser devices

Senator Antonio "Sonny" F. Trillanes IV recently filed a bill making the improper use of laser devices a criminal offense following a spate of reports of such attacks using these gadgets in the vicinity of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

"The Manila International Airport Authority already took note of several laser device attacks made in the airport's premises and issued a warning addressed to all airline pilots at the NAIA to watch out for laser beams coming from nearby residential areas that may cause temporary blindness among pilots," Trillanes said.

Some pilots reported to authorities that in some incidents laser beams struck them directly in the eyes while attempting to land their planes on NAIA's Runway 06-24. Fortunately, the pilots were able to land their planes safely.

Similar cases were also reported in other countries such as Russia, where more than 30 laser beam attacks on pilots had prompted authorities to make these a criminal offense.

In Senate Bill No. 2888, Trillanes defined the offenses of assault and aggravated assault using laser devices and imposed corresponding penalties.

The bill provides that assault using laser device is made by "any person who uses a laser pointer, pen or similar device to distract, annoy or attack another person. Offenders are facing prison terms from three months to six months, or a fine ranging from P10,000.00 to P100,000.00 at the discretion of the judge.

Aggravated assault using laser device is committed under the following conditions:

  • When the attack results to damage or destruction of property, the penalty imposed shall be three times the value of the damaged property and imprisonment of six months to one year, at the discretion of the judge;

  • When the person attacked suffers from temporary or permanent disability or injury of any kind, the penalty shall be imprisonment from one year to three years;

  • When the person attacked is operating a motor vehicle, the penalty shall be four years to eight years; and

  • When the person attacked is operating an airplane or helicopter or a ship at sea, the penalty will be imprisonment ranging from eight years to 10.

"Attacks using laser devices cannot be ignored because of the potential danger said acts can cause to civil aviation and the motoring public," Trillanes emphasized.

The senator also explained that attacks of this nature have the potential of not only causing injuries and damage to property but can also lead to serious accidents and may result to catastrophic disasters with dramatic loss of lives.

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