By ANNA LIZA VILLAS-ALAVAREN
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the Land Transportation Office (LTO) pursued charges against former beauty queen and actress Maria Isabel Lopez for committing three traffic violations when she entered the lane intended for delegates of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit.
Despite her apology, the LTO National Capital Region issued yesterday a show cause order against Lopez who pretended as an ASEAN delegate to escape the horrendous traffic on EDSA on Saturday, said Celine Pialago, MMDA spokesperson.
The Binibining Pilipinas Universe 1982 was charged for disregarding traffic signs, violation of Republic Act No. 10913 or the Anti-Distracted Driving Act (ADDA), and reckless driving.
In a letter-complaint to the LTO, the MMDA sought for the permanent revocation of Lopez’s driver’s license and to bar her “perpetually” from either applying or obtaining a license.
“[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’ which would endanger the public,” said in the complaint signed by lawyer Victor Pablo Trinidad of the MMDA’s legal division.
Lopez was also asked to pay a fine of R5,000 for violating the ADDA, a policy that bans motorists from using mobile and other electronic devices while driving.
Evidence to the violation was the selfie and two videos she posted over a social media site showing her swift drive along the ASEAN lane while the rest of EDSA was on a standstill.
In her post, Lopez even cited that she removed the divider cones for the said lane to pass through, adding that the MMDA thought she was an ASEAN delegate.
Lopez already said sorry for what she did, citing that she was “only human” and claimed that she asked the permission of an MMDA enforcer.
However, Pialago said based on the closed circuit television footage taken by the agency, “there was no traffic enforcer” in the portion where Lopez broke through the ASEAN lane in Mandaluyong City.
At that time, there was no order to open the southbound ASEAN lanes.
Aside from Lopez, Pialago said three other motorists, who were also seen following Lopez, would be charged for disregarding traffic signs.
Manny Miro, head of MMDA’s Task Force Asean said Lopez’s action should not be taken lightly.
To prevent the same from happening again, Miro said they alerted traffic enforcers manning ASEAN lanes to be alert of erring motorists that defy traffic measures in place for the summit.
“We also installed additional plastic barriers on areas where they lack physical barriers,” said Miro.
Miro said what Lopez did endangered the safety and rights of the ASEAN delegates.
“We have security protocols that cannot be breached. What if there was a head of state passing the lanes? What if she was mistaken to be a terrorist?” said Miro.
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