CA declares unconstitutional Mandaluyong City’s motorcycle riding-in-tandem ordinances

Published October 27, 2021, 1:43 PM

by Rey Panaligan 

Court of Appeals

Citing the constitutional mandate on equal protection, the Court of Appeals (CA) has declared unconstitutional Mandaluyong City’s Motorcycle Riding-in-Tandem ordinances which ban a male back-rider who is not related to the driver.

In a decision written by Associate Justice Raymond Reynold R. Lauigan, the CA stopped Mandaluyong City from enforcing and implementing Ordinance Nos. 550 S-2014, 595 S-2015, and 694 S-2018 on riding-in-tandem.

The decision granted the petition of Angkas rider Dino S. De Leon who challenged the constitutionality of the ordinances and pleaded to stop his prosecution for violations.

The ordinances prohibit all motorcycle riding-in-tandem where the back-rider is a male except where the back-rider is a female, a male relative within the first degree of consanguinity, and children between seven to 10 years of age.

Exempted from the provisions of the ordinances are members of the Philippine National Police Tactical and Mobile Unit assigned or detailed in Mandaluyong City.

The CA said equal protection requires that all persons or things similarly situated to be treated alike.

Under Section 1, Article III on Bill of Rights of the Constitution, “no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws.”

The decision nullified the ruling of the Mandaluyong City regional trial court (RTC) which denied De Leon’s petition assailing the constitutionality of the three ordinances.

De Leon told the CA that the Mandaluyong City local government gravely abused its police power with the issuance of the three ordinances.

He pointed out that the city government violated the equal protection clause enshrined in the Constitution because the ordinances discriminate based solely on sex without sufficient justification as to why such a sexist policy is a valid classification.

The ordinances, he said, make a generalization that those sharing motorcycles with other persons would commit “riding-in-tandem” crimes, and thus, unreasonable and oppressive.

The CA said that while Mandaluyong City suspended the implementation of the challenged ordinances during the COVID-19 pandemic, it noted that the suspension is merely temporary and that the city government may reimpose them anew, thus, the need to resolve the petition based on its merits.

It said the prohibition against male back-riders “is an oppressive measure.”

“The prohibition is oppressive because it arbitrarily limits the movement and mode of transportation of male back-riders even though there is no direct link or available statistical data presented before the trial court to show that motorcycle riding criminals are males, and as such, the imposition of the prohibition is reasonably necessary to curtail the rate of criminality within the City of Mandaluyong,” the CA stressed.

“Further, the City Government of Mandaluyong also failed to prove that the enactment and implementation of the subject ordinances are fair, not discriminatory and not unreasonable,” it said.

“Verily, the ordinances are purely discriminatory to the class belonging to the male back-rider, unless he is a relative within the first degree of consanguinity or a child between 7 to 10 years of age, even though there is no evidence which would support the reason why the prohibition was imposed on such class of persons in the first place,” it added.

“WHEREFORE, premises considered, the appeal is GRANTED. The assailed Decision dated 13 July 2020 and Resolution dated 14 Oct. 2020 of the Regional Trial Court of Mandaluyong City, Branch 712… are REVERSED and SET ASIDE.

“Mandaluyong City Ordinance Nos. 550 S-2014, 595 S-2015 and 692 S-2018 are hereby declared UNCONSTITUTIONAL. Respondent-appellee City of Mandaluyong and all persons or entities acting on its behalf or under its authority, are prohibited from enforcing and implementing Mandaluyong Ordinance Nos. 550 S-2014, 595 S-2015 and 694 S-2018. SO ORDERED.”