'Sotto law' vs motorcycle back-riders, riding-in-tandem 'stupid', say protesters

Senator Tito Sotto's proposed law against motorcycle back-riders and riding-in-tandem has been called stupid by some protesters.

In a Twitter post, ABS-CBN field reporter Ernie Manio said hundreds of motorcyclists drove around Lucena City, Quezon on Wednesday, August 20, to protest Sotto's 'No Relation, No Backride' policy.

A poster that says "Sotto Law is a Stupid Law" was attached to the headlight of one of the motorcyles.


The minority floor leader filed Senate Bill No. 2344 to address the increasing number of crimes involving riding-in-tandem criminals.

Once approved, the law will allow enforcers to flag down and question the driver and backrider. It also specifies the penalties for violations.

The measure, which is still subject for debate and refinement, likewise provides exemptions for backriders who are relatives of the driver and as well as the men in uniform.

Before jumping to conclusions, understanding of the proposed law is encouraged. Here's a press release from Senator Sotto:

Press Release
August 12, 2014


Sotto wants ban on backriders

Senator Tito Sotto
They have become a menace to society, back-riders on two-wheeled motorcycles that gave rise to the criminal lexicon, 'riding in tandem.' They execute the crime--from petty robbery to well-planned murder--as easily as they slip out, taunting law enforcement authorities.

And Senator Vicente Sotto III wants to stop this evil Batman and Robin tandem for good.

The senator has filed a bill banning motorcycle back-riders and proposed penalties for violators.

Records from the National Police showed that last year, more than 3,000 crimes related to riding in tandem motorcycle riders have been recorded in Metro Manila alone.

News and social media are rife with reports of robberies, murders and other crimes perpetrated by suspects riding in tandem.

"Motorcycle back-riders, most commonly known as the riding-in-tandem criminals have an ample opportunity to commit heinous crimes with impunity because of the facility of getting away from the crime scene by use of a motorcycle which can avoid and wind through even heavy traffic.

"This bill gives law enforcers to flag down the driver and question them," Sotto said.

Based on Senate Bill No. 2344, any person who violates the provision of the law, upon conviction, will be penalized by imprisonment of prison correctional (minimum of six months and one day and maximum of six years) and fine of P20,000 for the first offense and an additional P10,000 for every succeeding offense.

However, the measure provide some exemptions: (1) if the back riders are spouse, child and parent of the driver and (2) Members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police personnel who are in duty and in uniform are also exempted.

A similar measure is being studied in one municipality in Metro Manila following the spate of riding in tandem criminal activities.

"This may be frowned upon by some members of society, but we have to think of the higher good of protecting the life and limb of our citizens," Sotto added.

Sotto recommended the bill as an urgent for adoption due to alarming statistics that crimes committed by riding-in-tandem.

In proposing the bill, the senator stressed that the bill can be refined and debated upon in the committee level to make it responsive and effective in deterring crime. "Let's have an open discussion, argue on the pros and cons and let's see where this leads us."

Senior Superintendent Benigno Durana Jr., head of PNP Directorate for Operations Law Enforcement Division, has confirmed the rising incidence of motorcycle-related street crimes.

The alarming rise of crime statistics prompted the PNP leadership to include in its plan, in coordination with the National Capital Region Police Office, to give each policeman in all checkpoints photos of criminals - either fugitives or with a history of pulling off crimes on motorcycles.

The PNP said most crimes were recorded in the barangay (villages), police blotters, and in other law enforcement agencies.

Do you find the Sotto law stupid? What are your thoughts on this? Do you have suggestions? Feel free to post them in the comments section below.