MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE – 6:54 p.m.) The Land Transportation Office, earlier ordered by the Transportation department to file a complaint against actress and former beauty queen Maria Isabel Lopez, has given her three days to explain why her driver’s license should not be revoked for violating security and traffic rules for the country’s hosting of the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit on Saturday.
The DOTr said a summons was issued to Lopez on Tuesday, November 13, for the following offenses:
- Disregarding traffic signs
- Violation of the Anti Distracted Driving Act
- Reckless driving
The LTO-National Capital Region office issued Lopez the show-cause order in response to a complaint filed Monday by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).
Lawyer Victor Pablo Trinidad of MMDA’s legal division said they asked the LTO to permanently revoke the driver’s license of Lopez, and bar her “perpetually” from ever applying for one.
“(Such) action make her an ‘improper person to operate a motor vehicle’ which would endanger the public,” Trinidad said, referring to Lopez’s act of removing cone barriers that set off the ASEAN Lanes. These lanes were designated in order to ensure the speed of mobility – and more important, security – of heads of state and government and key delegates to the ASEAN Summit and Related Summits from Nov. 12-15.
Trinidad pointed out that it’s a serious breach of security.
Over the weekend, a viral photo of Lopez posted in her Instragram account showed that she drove with hazards “on” at the designated ASEAN lane along Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue over the weekend.
In her post, Lopez herself had bragged that she removed the divider cones, adding that the MMDA thought she was an ASEAN delegate.
Other motorists behind her followed her actions, she claimed.
However, netizens were ouraged by her action, as many motorists spent hours in heavy traffic following the closure of several lanes for convoys carrying ASEAN Summit delegates.
Emmanuel Mirro, the MMDA’s ASEAN traffic operations chief, said they are gathering more information on Lopez’s stunt but added that initial information indicated the incident happened between Shaw and Origas Boulevards.
Miro called Lopez’s actions dangerous because she could have been mistaken as a threat by “security snipers” had a convoy of visiting head of state been using the restricted lane.
Lopez has since apologized for the incident. – With a report by Clara Masinag, InterAksyon