All hail lawyer Dino de Leon!
The Court of Appeals has struck down Mandaluyong City’s seven-year old ban on men riding piggy back (or riding in tandem) on motorcycles, describing it as “oppressive and discriminatory.”
To recall, the said ban was the bright idea of then-Mandaluyong City Mayor Benhur Abalos back in 2014 in a bid to curtail the incidence of “riding in tandem” crimes which were so prevalent then.
In its recent order, the Appelate court’s Fifth Division deemed Abalos’ brainchild as “unconstitutional” and prohibited its enforcement by Mandaluyong City Hall – which is now headed by Mayor Menchie Abalos who just happens to be Benhur’s wife.
“The prohibition is oppressive because it arbitrarily limits the movement and mode of transportation of male back riders even though there is no direct link or available statistical data presented before the court to show that (all) motorcycle-riding criminals are males,” the CA said.
The CA justices responsible for the trashing of the Abalos-authored ordinance were Raymond Lauigan, Ramon Bato and Pablito Perez.
It was disclosed that De Leon, was responsible for the moral victory after bringing the issue up to the CA.
In 2009, De Leon filed a complaint before the Mandaluyong Regional Trial Court after he was arrested by traffic enforcers and forced to pay a stiff fine for allegedly violating the directive while back-riding on the Angkas motorcycle taxi service; and after the court rejected the complaint, he elevated the case to the Appelate body.
Seizing on the opportunity to cast shade on concerned officials, De Leon challenged Mandaluyong City Hall to “return the millions” they had collected since 2014 from thousands of male back riders who were apprehended for violating their unconstitutional directive.
De Leon claimed that Mandaluyong had collected around P200 million from hapless back riders since 2014.
“Time for them to give the people’s money back,” he said.
Photo by Dennis Abrina/Rappler