Gordon to explain 'doble plaka' law to Duterte

MANILA, Philippines – Amid calls to suspend Republic Act (RA) No. 11235 or the Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act of 2019, Senator Richard Gordon said he would explain to President Rodrigo Duterte the need to implement the law.

Gordon's statement came a day after Duterte said he would ask the Land Transportation Office to suspend the implementation of RA 11235, which imposes two bigger license plates for motorcycles.

Duterte also said he would talk to Gordon, the author of the "doble plaka (double plate)" law.

In a press release on Sunday, April 7, the senator said he would "explain" to Duterte that the law would give justice to victims of riding-in-tandem shooters who could no longer seek justice because "dead men tell no tales."

Gordon added that the law addresses the public's complaints against extrajudicial killings, including riding-in-tandem deaths.

"Ipinagtatanggol ko lang ang mga taong pinapatay ng mga riding-in-tandem assassins (I am just defending those killed by riding-in-tandem assassins).... How do we do justice to these people? You limit the way people can get away with riding without motor plates and riding with stolen motorcycles," he said.

For the past decades, added Gordon, motorcycles have become "crime machines" against people. He then cited Philippine National Police data showing an average of 4 people killed by riding-in-tandem shooters daily.

Duterte signed RA 11235 on March 8, saying he did so upon the recommendation of the police and the military.

Motorcycle riders had been protesting against the issuance of bigger license plates even while the measure was still pending in Congress. (READ: Doble plaka law: Duterte's band-aid to stop killings)

Duterte said on Saturday, April 6, that the law's prescribed fine of between P50,000 and P100,000 for those who will be caught without the bigger license plates was "masyadong mataas" (too high).

He also suggested that the increase in the size of license plates be only a fourth of what was stated in the law. – Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com