EDITORIAL - Return to crime

EDITORIAL - Return to crime

(The Philippine Star) - June 24, 2020 - 12:00am

In some areas and even in Metro Manila when people can get away with it, back riding on motorcycles has returned. Pre-pandemic, the practice was called riding in tandem – a phrase associated with drive-by shootings and other crimes. And sure enough, with thugs back to riding in tandem, deadly gun attacks have returned.

On Sunday night in Parañaque, a policeman was shot dead when he pulled over two men on a motorcycle, with the driver not wearing a helmet. The driver, Moamar Sarif, opened fire at Lt. Armand Melad, who fired back. Both men died in a hospital. The back rider, Joven Viña, is at large.

Last June 3 in Cagayan de Oro City, two persons on a motorcycle fired at a black pickup in an attempt to kill Mayor Somerado Guro of Lumbaca-Unayan town in Lanao del Sur. The mayor survived, but his wife Rohaifa died while his nephew and their driver were wounded.

Before the pandemic, law enforcement and transportation agencies were moving to minimize the use of motorcycles as getaway vehicles for criminals. Even with closed-circuit television cameras increasingly becoming ubiquitous nationwide, motorcycle riders can easily conceal their identities behind heavily tinted helmets and jackets. The vehicle is easy to maneuver even in traffic jams. Mobile police checkpoints before the pandemic specifically focused on motorcycles with back riders as part of crime prevention measures.

With various degrees of lockdowns imposed, including a ban on motorcycle back riding, the Philippine National Police has reported a considerable drop in the crime rate. But with quarantine restrictions gradually eased to revive the economy, increased mobility also means increased opportunities for resuming criminal activities from drug trafficking to murder. Responsible riders should assist authorities in crafting measures to discourage the use of motorcycles for illegal activities.

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