MANILA - Senator Vicente "Tito" Sotto III is keen on having non-relatives barred from motorcycle pillion riding, or "riding-in-tandem," nationwide.
"A motorcycle, based on our research, was really intentionally built for one," Sotto claimed. "'Yun naman talaga 'yun eh."
He did explain in detail his research.
Sotto, however, said he is interested in discussing the issue with the public. "Maganda itong pag-usapan, pag-aralan natin."
Sotto said people buy motorbikes only for themselves or their family.
"Ang motorsiklo mo ba, binili mo para kanino? Binili mo para sa'yo at para sa pamilya mo. Hindi mo binili para sa kapitbahay mo at hindi para sa makiki-angkas sa'yo. Anong problema nila? Kung pwede naman ang pamilya?" he asked.
Sotto said his proposed law will help police fight criminals.
"This bill, if it becomes a law at 'yan ay masusing babalangkasin 'yan, mabibigyan ang law enforcement ng pagkakataon na ma-inspect at ma-check kung sino ang mga ganoon," he said. "Hindi katulad ngayon, nanghuhula eh. Nanghuhula tayo, bigla na lang may nangi-isnatch, naka riding-in-tandem na tinatawag, may namamaril, madali kasi ang motorsiklo eh."
The measure is on 6-month experimental phase in Mandaluyong City.
However, the city ordinance still allows women to ride pillion on motorcycles.
Sotto's proposal has drawn flak from both motorcycle riders and the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC).
"Kalokohan 'yun... it's a violation of human rights ng mga may-ari ng motorsiklo. [Unless] nasa isa tayong communistic regime at martial law. Hindi pu-pwede 'yun," VACC founding chairman at president Dante Jimenez told dzMM on Monday.
Arturo Sta. Cruz, spokesperson of the Motorcycle Philipppines Federation, also blamed Sotto for a rise in crimes involving pillion riders.
He said Sotto stopped mandatory drug testing for vehicle drivers and motorcycle riders.
"Karamihan ng nakita naming barilan ng mga 'riding-in-tandem,' mga agawan sa mga teritoryo ng mga pusher," Sta. Cruz said.
"Ang gagawin ng mga drug pusher, kapag palaban sa drug pusher ang chief of police sa isang lugar, mamamaril sila ng walang kabagay-bagay. Ang kapulisan naman natin, tatanggalin itong police (precinct commander) na ito. Mawawala ngayon itong pulis na lumalaban talaga sa drugs. 'Yun ang ginagawa diyan sa Quezon City," he said.
He believes that better communication between the public and police is one way to prevent and solve crimes involving pillion riders. - with reports from Willard Cheng and Carolyn Bonquin, ABS-CBN News; Desserie Dionio, dzMM