Terror in tandem – Manila Standard

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The people are asking why the police cannot stop the series of killings and robberies committed by men in motorcycles riding in tandem. The daily killings reported in the morning and evening news on TV are a stark indictment of police inability to protect the people. The citizenry wants the same zeal and excessive force against these riding-in-tandem killers that the police employ in their operations against drug suspects like 17-year-old Kian delos Santos. So far, an estimated 3,000 drug suspects have been killed in police operations.

Despite the high number of casualties in the anti-drug war, President Rodrigo Duterte has admitted he may not be able to wipe out the drug menace during the remaining five years of his term. The latest of these killings by men riding in tandem was in Sampaloc, Manila where  barangay treasurer  Jose Macaranas was gunned down. Because he was just one of many, the victim merely becomes a number in the alarming crime statistics.

Police checkpoints are manned in several major streets in Metro Manila in the daytime and even at night.  Somehow,  but somehow these terrorists riding in tandem continue their deadly trade, unabated

This column has suggested the banning of two men riding in tandem.  The motorcyclist sector would surely protest this selective law if implemented. But this is a preventive measure that will redound to the benefit of all. Motorcyclists can still have an extra passenger like a woman or child who are either relatives or friends.  

With the  faces of both driver and passenger fully covered by safety helmets, the killers cannot be  identified despite their crime being recorded on closed circuit TV cameras which now proliferate in many  city streets, crime- prone neighborhoods and gated communities. The tinted safety helmets served as masks for criminal elements in carrying out ambushes and assassinations. 

In Dasmarinas, Cavite, police have banned  motorcyclists from wearing helmets so their faces can easily be identified when they commit crimes. This of course,  has drawn protests because not wearing safety helmets make motorcyclists vulnerable to serious injuries in case of accident.

Because their motorcycle license plates are smaller than the regular size used on  cars and other vehicles, witnesses cannot jot down the numbers of the motorized bikes used in the perpetration of crimes by men  riding in tandem. The modus operandi of the deadly duo is that the back passenger is the triggerman while the driver keeps his engine running for the quick getaway.

Aside from the smaller plates, the criminals smear mud on their motorcycle license plates so they can’t be read by witnesses at the scene.. We have suggested that drivers of these motorcycles and their piggy back passengers should wear  vests with the license plates of the motorcycles largely printed and  prominently on their backs. So far, the Land Transportation Office is lukewarm to the idea.

This is the same LTO that was gung-ho in awarding the vehicle license plates contract to  a Dutch firm for millions of dollars. The making of these vehicle plates used to be done by a local company with links to an influential  religious sect.  Being a crucial voting bloc in local elections and national elections, the Iglesia ni Cristo did not have  to shell out kickback money to certain LTO officials.

The Dutch firm took almost two years to deliver the vehicle license plates to the LTO for distribution. Irate motorists fumed but their complaints fell on deaf ears. The LTO did not even press the Dutch firm which it paid in advance for the delayed delivery.

It seems there is also a shortage and defect in some of the Dutch –made plates because we see vehicles having different sizes and color numbers.

If the LTO renews the deal with the Dutch firm after the plates’ expiration date, then we will probably have another Smartmatic-type favored firm. 

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