Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima commended Atty. Dino de Leon for winning the petition against Mandaluyong City’s ordinances barring males from being backriders of motorcycles.
De Lima, a social justice and human rights champion, made the statement after the Court of Appeals (CA) struck down as unconstitutional three ordinances approved by the Mandaluyong government prohibiting male backriders.
“I laud Atty. De Leon for this victory, which is not just his own win but also a win for all riders unjustly deprived of their rights on the road,” she said.
“Atty. De Leon’s effort to challenge unconstitutional ordinances that discriminate against gender through his petition only shows how pushback by individual citizens work. Patunay lamang ito na dapat labanan ang mga polisiyang walang basehan at hindi makatarungan,” she added.
In a 27-page decision dated Sept. 28 but only released to media recently, the CA ’s Fifth Division ruled that there is no legal distinction between a male and a female backrider in addressing crimes perpetrated by persons on motorcycles.
The ordinances, reportedly slammed as sexist by riders and passengers, prohibit males from backriding on a motorcycle, except if the driver is their first degree family member or if they are seven to ten years old. The idea behind the ordinance is to reduce crimes perpetrated by “riding-in-tandems.”
It may be recalled that De Leon, who is also De Lima’s spokesperson and one of his legal counsels, was on an Angkas commute last March 7, 2019, when they were apprehended, fined, and then sued criminally under the ordinance.
De Leon eventually asked the Mandaluyong RTC Branch 59, where the complaint against him was filed, to declare the ordinance unconstitutional.
Branch 59 junked the petition in July 2020, finding that the city government did not commit grave abuse of discretion. The CA, acting on appeal, disagreed with the lower court, saying the ordinance “is an oppressive measure that goes beyond what is reasonably necessary for the accomplishment of the purpose.”
The lady Senator from Bicol maintained that singling out a specific gender to mask the government’s inability to prevent crimes on the road is downright reckless and discriminatory.
“Bringing down criminality should focus on well-rounded solutions and not on discriminatory and arbitrary measures,” she maintained.
In 2019, De Lima filed proposed Senate Resolution (SR) No. 469 urging her colleagues to revisit Republic Act (RA) 11235, or the Motorcycle Crime Prevention Law, to prevent its adverse impact on the millions of law-abiding riders and motorcycle owners, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (30)