The Doble Plaka law or how not to craft policy

Editorial cartoon by Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 12 2019 06:59 PM

The Doble Plaka law or how not to craft policy

Philippine policy makers were left red in the face after President Duterte said he would suspend the Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act, also known as the Doble Plaka Law, authored by Sen. Richard Gordon. 

Duterte announced this about-face after motorcycle riders staged nationwide protests against the law which the president himself signed. 

"I will try to convince the LTO [Land Transportation Office] to maybe hang on to it, i-suspend ko lang muna, kasi it is not good. It is dangerous to place another gadget, lalo na may kanto ang plate number eh," Duterte said in a speech on April 6 at the 25th annual convention of the National Federation of the Motorcycle Clubs of the Philippines (NFMCP) in Iloilo City.

Clearly, there was something wrong with the way the law was crafted. 

As the president himself admitted, he signed the measure into law based on the recommendation of the police and military.

"Alam mo kasi bakit pinirmahan ko, ang pulis tao ko yan, ang military tao ko, anong irekomenda nila, I will adopt it. Basta maglagay lang ng rationale," he said.

The sentiments of motorcycle riders were not heard, and there was no credible data nor studies to back up the rationale for the law, which was that it would not help curb crime.

As Motorcycle Rights Organization chairman Jobert Bolanos said, with the passage of the law, a criminal will certainly not be using his own plate number to commit a crime. Or, he can simply remove it before undertaking an evil act. 

And, there's also the widespread use in the country of fake plates. 

Now, after spending precious taxpayers' money and time to passing Republic Act 11235 last March, policy makers will have to amend the law, said the author of the law himself, Gordon, arguing that a law cannot be suspended.