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By: Zainali Joy D.


If you could only have three rights under the
Universal Declaration of Human rights, which rights would
you choose?
If I could only have three rights, I would choose Art. 7, Art. 8
and Art. 12 of the UDH. These rights are important because
they guarantee human rights protection free from
discrimination and provides an effective remedy in case such
rights are violated, for instance from arbitrary interference of
private life.
To illustrate: As applied on Motorcycle-only Checkpoints
Art. 7 On Equal Protection of Laws
It is imperative that we end the discriminatory act of
motorcycle only checkpoints. Filipino appetite for motorcycles
topped that of other Asian countries this year. According to
research conducted by Asean Automotive Federation (AAF for
brevity), the Philippines registered the fastest growth in
motorcycle population. This means that there are more
Filipinos today who own motorcycles than in recent years. This
would also mean that there are more violations against
motorcyclists human rights committed by the State. Simply
because they choose to travel on two wheels or three, instead
of four.
In recent years, no one has ever thought of questioning
the acts committed by law enforcement agents such as
members of the National Police, Armed Forces of the
Philippines or even the Land Transportation Office during check
points. No one has ever thought that forcing motorcycle riders
and their passengers to do something not asked of other

motorists in four-wheel vehicles is a violation against human

The Philippines is a signatory to the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights, a declaration adopted by the United Nations
General Assembly on 10 December 1948, which provides that
all are equal before the law and are entitled without any
discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to
equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this
Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.
Nonetheless, it has also adhered to the UDHR through the Bill
of Rights which states that No person shall be deprived of
life, liberty or property xxx nor shall any person be denied the
equal protection of laws. This we mean that all persons or
things similarly situated should be treated alike, both as to the
rights conferred and responsibilities imposed.
As a human right, the equal protection clause has a
universal application to all persons, without regard to any
difference in race, color, or nationality, much more to financial
capacity or type of vehicle used. To emphasize, this guarantee
even extends to aliens.
Only when things similarly situated may be treated
differently if there is a basis for valid classification which
requires the following: (a) Substantial distinction which make
for real differences; (b) Germane to the purpose of the law or
the distinctions should have reasonable relation to the purpose
of the law; (c) Not limited to existing conditions only; (d) must
apply equally to all members of the same class.
Motorized vehicles, which operate by reason of a motor
engine, whether two-wheeled, three or four, should be treated
alike since they are, to borrow the language of the Court,
capable of great speed, greater than that of ordinary vehicles
hauled by animals, and beyond doubt it is highly dangerous

when used on country roads, putting to great hazard the safety

and lives of the mass of the people who travel on such roads.
We simply mean that there is no substantial distinction
between these types of vehicle as long as they are motorized.
Evidence suggests that motorcycle-only checkpoints do
not effectively reduce crimes. Hence, it is not germane to the
purpose of preventing crimes. Criminals might be too rich that
they can easily evade check points by using four-wheeled
In short, the discriminatory act of motorcycle-only check
point is violative of Human Rights for being a denial of the
equal protection of laws as provided under Article 7 of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as of the
Section 1 of the Bill of Rights.
Hence, it is suggested that, when conducting a check
point, all law enforcement agents should not only search
motorcycle riders but also those who are driving a fourwheeled vehicles.
Art. 8 On Right to Effective Remedy
As a human right, the equal protection clause has a
universal application to all persons, without regard to any
difference in race, color, or nationality, much more to financial
capacity or type of vehicle used. To emphasize, this guarantee
even extends to aliens.
Aliens may come to court and invoke the same since
everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the
competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental
rights granted him by the constitution or by law as provided in
Article 8 of the UDHR.
It was not adopted as universal for no reason.

Art. 12 On the Right Against Interference or Illegal

Search and Seizure
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with
his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks
upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the
protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
In the conduct of check points, it may may either be a
mere routine inspection or it may involve an extensive search.
Routine inspections are not regarded as violative of an
individual's right against unreasonable search. The search
which is normally permissible in this instance is limited to the
following instances: (1) where the officer merely draws aside
the curtain of a vacant vehicle which is parked on the public
fair grounds; (2) simply looks into a vehicle; (3) flashes a light
therein without opening the car's doors; (4) where the
occupants are not subjected to a physical or body search; (5)
where the inspection of the vehicles is limited to a visual
search or visual inspection; and (6) where the routine check is
conducted in a fixed area.
On the other hand, when a vehicle is stopped and
subjected to an extensive search, such a warrantless search
would be constitutionally permissible only if the officers
conducting the search have reasonable or probable cause to
believe, before the search, that either the motorist is a lawoffender or they will find the instrumentality or evidence
pertaining to a crime in the vehicle to be searched.
Thus, without the consent of the motorcycle rider under
routine inspections, and in the absence of such reasonable
belief or probable cause that the motorcycle rider is a lawoffender, the search on his motorcycles compartment or U-box
is not permissible. The rider may invoke his Right Against

Interference under the UDHR or right against Illegal Search and

Seizure under the Bill of Rights.