By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Motorcycle riders can go to court if they think the Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act is unconstitutional.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the statement after thousands of motorists nationwide took to the streets Sunday in a “Unity Ride” to protest the new measure.
Republic Act (RA) No. 11235 is requiring bigger license plates on the front and back of motorcycles. Violations can lead to penalties of up to P100,000.
In his Monday press briefing, Panelo said riders can always go to court if they feel the law is unjust. However, he said President Duterte will stand by it.
“They feel it’s unconstitutional? They can always raise that before the courts,” he said.
“Of course [he is standing by it]. He has signed it,” he added.
According to Panelo, even the President and his daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio would have to abide by the law even if they are motorcycle enthusiasts.
“Everyone should comply. No exceptions,” he said.
President Duterte earlier signed the Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act, a measure authored by Senator Richard Gordon in a bid to prevent crimes. Aside from requiring license plates in the front and back, the measure requires the plates to be color-coded depending on the region where it was registered and that the plates should readable from a distance of 15 meters to make it easier for witnesses to identify criminals using motorcycles in perpetrating a crime.
Give it a try
But motorcycle riders are objecting the measure saying not all motorcycles fit the requirements of the law. For one, it is unlikely to prevent crime as no criminal would use his own plate number.
Secondly, bigger front plates reportedly interfere with the aerodynamics of a motorcycle that may affect its travel performance and raising fears it may get detached at high speeds or by strong wind that may endanger the life of the rider.
Section 14 of the new law provides that motorcycle models which cannot follow the required readable number plate shall not be registered by the Land Transportation Office (LTO).
The Bureau of Customs is also directed to bar the importation of motorcycles whose designs do not conform with the requirements of the law.
But Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Police General Oscar Albayalde, a rider himself urged fellow riders to consider the benefits of new law.
“Tignan lang muna natin. Hindi naman siguro tayo gagawa ng ikaka-pangit ng sasakyan natin. Ito ang sabi ko nga para sa ating lahat, para sa kapakanan ng lahat at security ng lahat (Let’s consider its benefits. Perhaps we will never do something that would make our vehicles look ugly. This is for the good and safety of all),” Albayalde told reporters in Camp Crame, Quezon A group of riders claimed they are being singled out and associated to criminals by the PNP.
“This is not a form of discrimination. This is all part of improving the peace and security of our nation. Hindi kung kani-kanino lang ito (This is not only for a selected few),” Albayalde explained. (With a report from Martin A. Sadongdong)