FAQs on the “Doble Plaka” Law
by Atty. James A. Alminar
On May 11, 2020, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) Chief Edgar Galvante signed the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act No. 11235 or the Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act of 2019. The law was signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterto on March 28, 2019.
The law has been dubbed as the “Doble Plaka” law.
A copy of the IRR was submitted to the UP Law Center on May 19, 2020.
Here are frequently asked questions on the law and the IRR:
What is the “Doble Plaka Law”?
The “Doble Plaka Law” is Republic Act No. 11235 or an “An Act Preventing and Penalizing the Use of Motorcycles in the Commission of Crimes By Requiring Bigger, Readable and Color-Coded Number Plates and Identification Marks, and for Other Purposes” or the “Motorcycle Prevention Act of 2019. It was signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte on March 28, 2019.
What is the policy of the state according to the law?
To secure and safeguard the citizens from crimes committed with the use of motorcycles through bigger, readable and color-coded number plates and identification marks.
What is a “motorcycle”?
Motorcycle refers to a powered two (2) or three (3) wheeled motor vehicle, including, but not limited to scooters, mopeds, and motorcycles with appendages such as sidecars, tricycles, or trikes. This shall include government-owned vehicles.
What is a “number plate”?
Number plate refers to the regular motor vehicle license plate issued by the Land Transportation Office (LTO) for a motorcycle, bearing the standard alphanumeric characters in accordance with Republic Act No. 4136, as amended, otherwise known as the “Land Transportation and Traffic Code.”
What does “damaged plate” mean?
It shall refer to a number plate in which any of the alphanumeric characters is no longer readable from a distance of at least fifteen (15) meters due to fading, cracking, chipping, delamination, or as a result of a road crash or vandalism. This shall also pertain to any number plates which are mutilated, defaced or deformed, in a manner materially affecting its color, reflectivity, readability, security features, and the like. However, it does not cover those which were deliberately erased, tampered, or altered.
Who is the “owner”?
Owner refers to any person who owns or is the registered owner of a motorcycle. Under this Act, it also refers to any person who has actual control and possession of motorcycle, whether it is registered or not.
Who is a “driver” and “backrider”?
Driver refers to any person driving or controlling a motorcycle
Backrider refers to any person or persons seated at the back of a motorcycle, or a passenger of a motorcycle.
When should an owner register his motorcycle?
The owner of a motorcycle shall register his or her motorcycle with the LTO within five (5) days from such acquisition of ownership.
What should the owner do in case he wants to sell his motorcycle?
The owner of a motorcycle shall also immediately report any sale or disposition of his or her motorcycle to the LTO within three (3) days upon such sale/disposition, by presenting an original copy and furnishing a machine copy of the notarized Deed of Sale or similar document evidencing the disposition of the motorcycle, to the LTO where the latest Certificate of Registration was issued.
What does “Bigger, Readable and Color-Coded Number Plates refer to?
It is the new number plates issued by the LTO which consist of:
- a metal number plate to be installed at the rear of the motorcycle, and
- decal number plate to be displayed in its front.
The number plates shall bear a unique combination of alphanumeric characters.
What is the format of this number plate?
first letter – represents the letter assigned to the Region where the motorcycle was initially registered
second and third letter – represents the letters a to z in strict alphabetical order
Front – decal 135mm width and 85mm height
Rear – 235mm width and 135 mm height
What are the prohibited acts under the law?
- Failure of the owner to register within five (5) days from the acquisition of ownership, or to immediately report its sale or disposition within (3) days upon the sale or disposition, imprisonment of arresto mayor to prision correccional or a fine not less than P20,000.00 but not more than P50,000.00, or both
- If a motorcycle that is not yet registered with the LTO is used in connection with an offense punishable under the RPC or special penal laws, the maximum penalty of the relevant offense shall be imposed on the offenders.
Driving with an unreadable number plate or without a plate
Prision correccional, or a fine not less than P50,000.00 but not more that P100,000.00, or both.
What is the procedure in apprehending persons driving without a number plate of readable number plate?
- The motorcycle shall be stopped;
- Such motorcycle shall then be seized by law enforcers; and
- The motorcycle shall be surrendered within twenty-four (24) hours to the PNP.
What happens next after the seizure of the motorcycle?
- The motorcycle seized will be impounded to a local impounding center which shall be open 24/7;
- The impounding officer receiving the surrendered seized motorcycle shall, in the presence of the apprehending officer and the driver and/or the owner, thoroughly inspect the unit;
- An impounding receipt shall be filled-out by the impounding officer, which shall contain the name of the driver and owner, the make and model of the motorcycle, and other remarks describing the motorcycle and its general condition.
- The driver and/or owner shall be provided with a copy of the receipt signed by the impounding officer, apprehending officer and the driver and/or owner.
What if the motorcycle is damaged while in custody of the impounding officer?
The officer in whose custody the loss or damage occurred shall also be held monetarily liable for the full worth of the motorcycle, parts or accessories lost, or the cost of repairs for the damage caused to the motorcycle in question.
How can the owner redeem his/her seized motorcycle?
The owner of such motorcycle may redeem his or her seized motorcycle from the impounding area upon proof of ownership, payment of the cost of seizure, and compliance a number plate or readable number plate.
What if the apprehending officer failed to report or surrender the seized motorcycle?
Any law enforcer who shall fail to report or surrender a seized motorcycle, within twenty-four (24) hours from seizure shall be punished by prision correccional, without prejudice to the filing of proper administrative charges.
What if the motorcycle is used in the commission of a crime?
- The use of a motorcycle in the commission of a crime or in the escape from the scene of such crime, the owner, driver, backrider or passenger who participated in the same shall be punished
- If a seized motorcycle is used in the commission of a crime, the maximum penalty of the relevant crime or offense shall be imposed.
What will happen to the motorcycle that was used in the commission of a crime?
It shall be impounded by the PNP as evidence in custodia legis in a secured impounding center provided by the LGU until the termination of the case.
What should the owner do if the number plate is lost, damaged or stolen?
- The owner shall report the same within twenty-four (24) hours to the Joint LTO and PNP Operations and Control Center.
- The owner shall, within seventy-two (72) hours from the time the loss or damage was reported, submit a duly notarized affidavit to the nearest LTO.
What if the owner failed to report the same?
Failure of the owner to report the same and apply for a replacement plate from the LTO within the periods prescribed shall subject the owner to a fine of not less than P20,000.00 but not more than P50,000.00.
What about when the lost, damaged or stolen number plate is used in connection with an offense?
If the lost, damaged or stolen number plate is used in connection with an offense penalized under the RPC or special penal laws, the failure of the owner to report within three (3) days that the motorcycle is lost, damaged, or stolen, shall subject the owner to a penalty of imprisonment of arresto mayor to prision correccional.
Is tampering a number plate punishable?
- Yes, it is punishable. It also includes erasing, altering, forging, imitating, covering and concealing a number plate.
- The intentional use thereof shall likewise be punishable.
When I sell or buy tempered number plates, should I be punished?
If knowingly sold or bought an erased, tampered, altered, forged or imitated number plates or readable number plates, both buyer and seller shall be punished by prision mayor.
What if the seller or buyer proved that he/she does not know that it was tampered?
It is still punishable by arresto mayor.
Can a non-compliant Motorcycles be sold?
No person shall be allowed to sell motorcycles, unless the same has the capability to bear and showcase a readable number plate.
What if the motorcycle does not have a space for front plate?
Owners of existing motorcycle units which do not have space for front plate are required to provide a bracket or any other provision where the same shall be installed.
What will happen to the motorcycles before the enactment of this law and IRR?
- The renewal registration of motorcycles already registered prior to the effectivity of this IRR shall carry with it the application for such number plates.
- Registration of motorcycles which have already been renewed for the current year in accordance with the designated schedule of the LTO until effectivity of this IRR shall be deemed to have applied for issuance of number plates.