LTO summons actress to Nov. 16 hearing over ‘shameless conduct’
Beauty queen-actress Maria Isabel Lopez has been given three days by the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to explain why her driver’s license should not be revoked over her unauthorized use of the exclusive lane for Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit delegates on Saturday.
Based on a complaint filed by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the LTO National Capital Region Office issued a show-cause order to Lopez on Monday. It also directed her to attend a hearing on Thursday, Nov. 16.
The beauty queen-actress has been accused of reckless driving, disregarding traffic signs and violating Republic Act No. 10913, or the Anti-Distracted Driving Act, which bans the use of phones and other digital devices while driving.
In its letter-complaint to the LTO, the MMDA pushed for Lopez’s driving license to be “permanently revoked,” on top of barring her “perpetually” from either applying for or obtaining a new one.
“[Lopez’s] shameless conduct and unlawful act of breaching the security protocol during an international event in our country make her an ‘improper person to operate a motor vehicle …,’” said lawyer Victor Pablo Trinidad of the MMDA legal division.
Although Lopez apologized on Sunday, saying she was only human, authorities stood firm on prosecuting her.
Speaking at the sidelines of a meeting in Makati City with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said that Lopez and the other motorists who followed her lead would be held accountable.
“No one is above the law. If it’s proven that she violated the law, she will be punished,” Tugade told reporters.
Transportation Undersecretary and MMDA General Manager Tim Orbos expressed the same sentiment, saying Tugade and MMDA Chair Danilo Lim had ordered him to apply the full force of the law against Lopez.
Acknowledging the inconveniences and sacrifices that motorists were being put through because of the Asean lanes, Orbos explained: “But that’s what you do when a guest comes to your house. You want to show your best, you make sacrifices. We’re all in the same boat.”
Lopez might have apologized but to him, this was not enough. “We cannot let this pass. What about the other people who followed the law?”
In a Facebook post on Saturday, the beauty queen-actress bragged about removing the plastic barriers on part of the southbound lane of Edsa and using the exclusive lane for Asean delegates. She also posted a selfie and two videos showing her breezing through traffic.
In an e-mail to the Inquirer on Sunday, Lopez claimed an MMDA enforcer gave her and other motorists permission to use the Asean lane.
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