Motorcycle rider group, Riders of the Philippines (ROTP), has filed for a Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition against Republic Act 11235 (Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act / Doble Plaka) at the Quezon City regional trial court yesterday, July 1, 2020. The group hopes to receive a favorable ruling from the court and possibly the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and/or writ of preliminary injunction.
“Kung makikita nyo at kung mababasa ninyo yung batas at saka yung Implementing Rules and Regulations, madaming provisions dito ang bina-violate ang Constitution natin (When you see and read the law [RA 11235] and its IRR, a lot of its provisions violate our Constitution),” said the group’s legal counsel, Atty. Rowell Ilagan.
Better known to the motorcycle community as the Doble Plaka Law, the Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act (Republic Act 11235), imposes fines of up to PhP100,000 and imprisonment of up to 6 years for those who are found in violation of the said law. All of its provisions focus on new rules governing the ownership and identification of motorcycles.
The Doble Plaka law was authored by Senator Richard Gordon, co-authored by Sen. Tito Sotto and was signed into law last year by President Rodrigo Duterte. The law also tasks the Land Transportation Office to formulate a bigger and readable front and rear plates for motorcycles. After much deliberation, it was agreed upon that a front decal or sticker-like material will be used as a front plate number for motorcycles. However, many motorcycle experts contend that the front plate will still not deter would-be criminals if there is no police visibility.
Perhaps, the biggest contention with the law are the excessive and unreasonable penalties prescribed, some of which are far harsher than for private four-wheel vehicles. For example, if one fails to report the sale of his or her motorcycle, he or she may face jail time plus a monetary fine, the same thing will happen to a person who fails to transfer ownership of the motorcycle under his or her name within 5 calendar days, including holidays and weekends.
Primary petitioner Rod Cruz (right) and Atty. Rowell Ilagan (left)
Another one is the provision that prohibits the importation of motorcycles that may have a design that will not fit a front plate number. Given the nature of motorcycles and their intended use or style, some motorcycle units may be totally unable to accommodate a front plate number because the decal cannot be placed anywhere in front.
“The penalties are very excessive and unreasonable,” added Atty. Ilagan in Filipino.
With the Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition, the group hopes that the court will see and understand the plight of riders nationwide, forced to comply with new stringent laws with provisions that are very difficult to meet. Riders have already been attempting to comply with these provisions but bottlenecks in the registration process, particularly the emission testing requirement, have been slowing down the process.