Motorcyclists ready to go to SC to question double plates law
Motorcycle organizations said on Sunday they had “enough ammunition” to prove to the Supreme Court that the recently signed Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act was unconstitutional and its passage had been railroaded.
Speaking to reporters, Motorcycle Rights Organization chair Jobert Bolanos said that his group was ready to file for declaratory relief against Republic Act No. 11235 — but only after they see the implementing rules and regulations (IRR).
“Our move depends on the finality of the IRR because we don’t want to burn bridges,” Bolanos said. “If we move to have the law repealed without having seen the IRR, Congress can just repeat the same thing.”
Bolanos’ statement came shortly after some 50,000 bikers, based on his group’s estimates, trooped to Edsa for a unity ride to protest the new law that would require them to attach bigger, color-coded license plates to the back and front of their motorcycles.
They contended that the provisions in RA 11235 would only expose them to greater risks, while also imposing on violators hefty fines of up to P100,000.
“If Congress refuses to hear us out, then we would not hesitate to use these ‘nuclear bombs’ (their evidence that the bill was railroaded), if necessary,” Bolanos said. “The law is not helping us be safe; it actually criminalizes us.”
George Royeca, public affairs head of Angkas, the motorcycle ride-hailing app, echoed his sentiments, saying that riders “[had] always been discriminated against.”
“They have always been treated like cash cows,” he said, adding that motorcyclists were most vulnerable to extortion.
Asked about the extent to which they were willing to compromise on the IRR, Bolanos said: “We have indicators that would tell us whether it’s acceptable. If the IRR fails [those indicators], we will file.” He did not elaborate.
He added that the Senate transcripts on the bill’s deliberations alone would bear out their claim that its proponent, Sen. Richard Gordon, had railroaded its passage without consulting motorcycle advocates.
The Inquirer tried to get a comment from Gordon but he had yet to respond to text messages at press time.
In a recent Senate forum, Bolanos had expressed concern that big metal plates could endanger riders’ safety as these could break at high speed due to wind drag.
The Land Transportation Office (LTO) earlier said that it was looking into the possibility of using decals or radio-frequency identification, or RFID stickers, instead of metal, for the front license plates.
Gordon also said there was nothing in RA 11235 that specified the material to be used for making the license plates, adding that this would be up to the LTO to determine.
In an earlier interview, he also stressed that the newly signed law was aimed at stopping the killings being carried out by motorcycle riders.
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