Gordon sees LTO failure in ‘riding-in-tandem’ slays | Inquirer News

Gordon sees LTO failure in ‘riding-in-tandem’ slays

/ 05:26 AM February 06, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Motorcycle-riding assassins killed almost 9,000 people from 2010 to 2020, the Senate blue ribbon committee learned on Friday, prompting its chair, Sen. Richard Gordon, to call for the sacking of Land Transportation Office (LTO) officials, who failed to implement a law to curb the so-called riding-in-tandem crimes.

The senator made the call during his panel’s motu proprio investigation of the implementation of Republic Act No. 11235, or the Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act of 2019, which sought to prevent criminals from using motorcycles as getaway vehicles by imposing the use of bigger and more readable license plates.

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Records from the Philippine National Police showed that 36,848 people were victimized by motorcycle-riding criminals from 2010 to 2020.

Of that, some 8,805 were killings, the blue ribbon panel learned.

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“Enough is enough. We can no longer tolerate the situation where nothing is happening except people are being killed without the protection of the law,” an incensed Gordon said during the online hearing.

“If they cannot do that, then I demand the resignation of all the people of LTO who are responsible here. This is no joke, what you’re doing. People are dying, people are losing their motorcycles to thieves, people are losing their bags, their cell phones because you’re doing nothing,” he said as he scolded the LTO officials in attendance.

Backlog in plates

During the hearing, Gordon blamed a dispute between two suppliers of motorcycle license plates as one of the causes of the ballooning of the LTO’s backlog in the production.

The problem, according to the senator, was aggravated by an “anomalous practice” in the registration process and in the distribution of the plates.

During a Jan. 28 hearing of Gordon’s other panel, the Senate justice and human rights committee, the LTO mistakenly reported that only 1,000 plates had been produced since RA 11235 was enacted two years ago.

But the LTO later corrected the figure to 1 million plates.

Enlarged plates

As of March 2019, there were an estimated 19 million motorcycles in the Philippines, based on an earlier LTO report.

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“The plates were enlarged so the numbers are easier to read and to report. We established an operations center to make it easier for people to report motorcycles without plates. When a crime is witnessed, it is easier for the police to issue a look-out bulletin,” Gordon said.

“If people don’t report the loss of their license plates, they will be jailed. But up to now, that law is not being enforced,” he said.

Meanwhile, the PNP will deploy tactical motorcycle riding units (TMRUs) and “secret marshals” aboard motorcycles to fight toe-to-toe with riding-in-tandem criminals.

TMRUs and secret marshals in motorcycles will focus on high-priority crimes and will undertake directed and preventive patrol assignments, Gen. Debold Sinas, chief of the PNP, said in a statement on Thursday evening.

TMRUs are strategically trained motorcycle-mounted patrollers who can immediately respond to any incident perpetrated by motorcycle-riding suspects. TMRUs have been part of the police force since 2013.

Secret marshals are plainclothes policemen involved in monitoring motorcycle-riding suspects in the validated list.

They will work with the PNP-Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group operatives to track down rogue policemen and other erring personnel.

PNP data showed that from Aug. 16, 2019 to March 16, 2020 or prepandemic, motorcycle-riding suspects were behind 1,828 crimes. The number dropped due to the pandemic. But PNP expects these crimes to rise as restrictions ease.

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TAGS: Gordon, Killing, motorcycle, riding in tandem, Senate, Transportation
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