Unable to hide his frustration, Senator Richard Gordon let out some strong words at officials of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) for the delay in the issuance of bigger motorcycle plates under the Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act (Republic Act No. 11235).
In the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee’s hearing on Friday, February 5, Gordon, quoting a “very famous man” in the Philippines, even cursed at the LTO for not implementing the law immediately and properly.
“In the words of a very famous man here in this country: P*tang ina (son of a bitch). Mahiya naman tayo (Have some shame),” he said.
“I am convinced — I am going to tell you — LTO is incompetent, it has no compassion, it is negligent. Wala kayong ginagawa (You are doing nothing), you have apathy. Wala kayong pakialam anong mangyari sa taong namamatay, wala kayong effort na bilisan ‘yong plaka, wala kayong news about it, walang kayong sinasabi (You don’t care about the people who die, you don’t make an effort to expedite their motorcycle plates, you don’t release news about it, you are not saying anything about it). You thrive in the silence of people,” he added.
The delays prompted the Gordon-led committee to conduct a motu-propio probe on the alleged misfeasance, malfeasance and non-feasance of officials in the implementation of the Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act.
The law, signed in March 2019, mandates the use of bigger, readable, and color-coded plates both at the front and rear of motorcycles so that those used in crimes can be traced immediately. It also aimed to prevent the of use of stolen motorcycle plates.
During the hearing, Gordon took to task the LTO and motorcycle dealers for the unresolved killings and other crimes perpetuated by riding-in-tandem criminals.
Citing statistics from the Philippine National Police (PNP), he said 39,672 riding-in-tandem related incidents were recorded from 2010 to May, 2020. As of 2018, 8,805 of these were killings.
From January to February 4 of this year, there have been 25 riding-in-tandem related crimes, where 24 of the victims died.
PNP deputy chief for administration Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar admitted that the police are still having difficulties solving motorcycle crimes. Witnesses and closed-circuit television footages fail to read or capture the motorcycle plate numbers, he said.
LTO chief Assistant Secretary Edgar Galvante, however, told the Senate panel that while that they encountered setbacks in implementing the law, including the COVID-19 pandemic, they continued making the motorcycle plates.
The LTO has so far produced 1,276,149 plates in its plate-making plant; 875,154 of those already “received” by its regional offices, while 400,995 are “in transit”.
A total of 7,328,116 motorcycles in the country are registered in the LTO, LTO data as of December 31, 2020 stated. Over 8.65 million motorcycles had “delinquent” registration, or those who have not yet renewed their registration.
The agency also estimated that 47,866 motorcycles were not registered.
The LTO has a backlog of 18,023,851 pieces of motorcycle plates to produce by June 30, 2022.
Still, Gordon was still not satisfied with the LTO’s output.
He told the LTO: “People are dying, people are losing their motorcycles to thieves, people are losing their bags, their cellphones…dahil wala kayong ginagawa (because you are not doing anything). In other words, ang daming dugo sa kamay ilang mga tao sa LTO at mga dealer (the people in the LTO and the dealers have blood on their hands),” he said.
“Enough is enough…If they cannot do that, then I demand the resignation of all the people of LTO na may kinalaman diyan (who are responsible for that delay).” he said.