By Mario Casayuran
Senator Richard J. Gordon said Friday he was open to amending the Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act of 2019 (Republic Act 11235) with one condition.
That is, if a year after it has been implemented, the new law will not succeed in deterring crimes perpetrated by riding-in-tandems (RIT), especially extra-judicial killings (EJK).
Gordon, principal author and sponsor of the law, said he was amenable to lowering the fines stipulated in the bill, and to filing an amendatory bill after one year of implementation if RIT crimes would continue.
“Let’s make the law work first. I will be the one to amend it if it doesn’t work,” he said.
Gordon, chairman of the Senate justice and human rights committee, said he was amenable to reducing the fine through an amendment but people must be made to follow the law.
He lamented people wanted to junk the law even before it could be implemented.
Gordon pointed out that, in enacting RA 11235, the government was now taking measures to address EJK, which has been a plague in the country for the past several decades, with RIT assassins among the major contributors to EJK.
“Everybody is complaining about EJK, everyone is condemning it, yet no one has done something to prevent EJK – until now. This is taking action against EJK. We are giving justice to the thousands of victims in the past three decades who could no longer speak. How do we do that? We limit the opportunity for criminals to commit crimes with impunity by using motorcycles to flee from the crime scene swiftly and easily,” Gordon stressed.
What is important here is for the safety and peace of mind of ordinary citizens made victims of RIT, he said.
Under current situations, killers are able to easily leave the crime scene because of the motorcycles they use, and families of victims would have had a hard time solving the case because the motorcycles used do not have vehicle plates or are not legible because they are too small or defaced.
With the new law, any prospective assailant could easily be ferreted out because his vehicle will have a plate visible to witnesses, and those who fail to register them get the new plates will be fined, he said.
“Dahil kitang-kita ang plaka, pag may bumaril, may laban kahit papaano ang tao. May puwang ang tao na ma-identify nila yung pumapatay. Hindi ito panghahalay o panglalait sa mga motorcycle riders. Ito’y para sa mga namamatay,” he added. (Because the relatively big plate could be seen, the victim can seek justice fast. This law is not to denigrate current motorcycle owners.)
He said Philippine National Police( PNP) records showed that of the total of 28,409 motorcycle riding crimes or incidents reported from 2010 to 2017, 13,062, or 46 percent, were shooting incidents.
And out of over 4,000 motorcycle riding crimes or incidents in 2016, only eight cases (0.18 percent) were solved, he added.