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Secret marshals tapped vs riding-in-tandem criminals

Emmanuel Tupas - The Philippine Star
Secret marshals tapped vs riding-in-tandem criminals
PNP chief Gen. Debold Sinas said the special operatives would also target rogue law enforcers involved in criminal activities or in collusion with individuals and groups notorious for carrying out their criminal activities on motorcycles for greater mobility.
PIO NCRO via Facebook

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) is preparing to deploy mounted secret marshals and special motorcycle units across the country, as criminal activities perpetrated by motorcycle-riding men are seen to escalate with further easing of quarantine restrictions.

PNP chief Gen. Debold Sinas said the special operatives would also target rogue law enforcers involved in criminal activities or in collusion with individuals and groups notorious for carrying out their criminal activities on motorcycles for greater mobility.

The term “secret marshal” harks back to martial law years during which plainclothesmen were randomly assigned in public transport, ostensibly to deter or fight off robbers.

The present setup would involve tactical motorcycle riding units (TMRUs) trained for quick response as well as secret marshals and operatives that would engage in covert monitoring of motorcycle riding criminals included in the PNP’s watchlist.

“They shall also work hand in hand with the PNP Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group operatives in tracking down identified rogue policemen and other law enforcement personnel,” Sinas said in a statement.

While crimes perpetrated by riding-in-tandem criminals have dropped by 58.64 percent during the community quarantine, from 1,828 to 756, Sinas said there is a need to sustain the trend as quarantine restrictions are eased.

“The decrease is temporary due to the enforcement of travel restrictions and limited mobility and community quarantine measures,” he said.

As the government slowly reopens the country’s economy, Sinas anticipates an uptick in crimes, as there would be increased opportunities for would-be offenders to carry out criminal activities, including contract killings.

The PNP is assessing the distribution of its personnel nationwide in preparation for the deployment of many of them to areas with the most of number of killings perpetrated by motorcycle riding men, PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Ildebrandi Usana said.

“They are spread in various chokepoints and other strategic locations where motorcycle-riding criminals proliferate,” Usana said in a text message.

‘Enough is enough’

For Sen. Richard Gordon, further delay in the implementation of Republic Act 11235, which seeks to discourage the use of motorcycles for criminal acts, would spawn more unsolved extrajudicial killings or “deaths under investigation (DUIs).”

At the inquiry of the Blue Ribbon committee into the implementation of RA 11235, Gordon asked LTO officials led by Assistant Secretary Edgar Galvante to resign, saying “blood is on your hands” as nearly 10,000 people have been gunned down by so-called assassins riding-in-tandem since 2010, citing PNP statistics.

He said most of the cases remain unsolved due to lack of information on the license plates of motorcycles of suspects.

“Enough is enough. We can no longer tolerate the situation where nothing is happening except people are being killed without the protection of the law. If they cannot do that, then I demand the resignation of all the people of LTO who are involved in this (delays in implementation),” Gordon said.

“People are dying, people are losing their motorcycles to thieves, people are losing their bags, their cellphones because you’re not doing anything. There’s a lot of blood in the hands of those in the LTO and the (motorcycle dealers). The people of this country will not take it,” he said.

Records from the PNP showed that 36,848 people had been victimized by criminals riding pillion from 2010 to 2020, of which 8,805 were killings, the senator said.

He also said a dispute between two suppliers of number plates has caused the ballooning of the LTO’s backlog in the production of license plates. The problem is further exacerbated by the anomalous practice in the registration process and distribution of number plates that he also bared.

Gordon said he would summon owners of at least four motorcycle dealers in the country who reportedly have many top LTO officials in their pockets.

He said these motorcycle dealers sell units to ordinary Filipinos in need of mobility with exorbitant installment rates of 36 percent.

They also reportedly benefit from delays in the release of plates and registration papers as they issue only invoices to customers, thereby depriving government of revenues. –  Paolo Romero

PNP

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