Maria went to town

Sun.Star Davao - - OPINION -

HERE’S an up­date on the Maria Is­abel Lopez case. In his Face­book post, Tim Or­bos, gen­eral man­ager of the Metropoli­tan Manila De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity (MMDA), said that a sum­mon has al­ready been is­sued by the Land Trans­porta­tion Of­fice (LTO) to Lopez yes­ter­day for com­mit­ting the fol­low­ing vi­o­la­tions: dis­re­gard­ing traf­fic signs, vi­o­lat­ing the Anti-Dis­tracted Driv­ing Act and reck­less driv­ing.

LTO Chief Edgar Gal­vante said that proper in­ves­ti­ga­tion pro­ce­dures will be ob­served, and that LTO shall en­sure that its de­ci­sion will be an­chored on the truth, and ad­her­ence to the rule of law. The MMDA is also pre­par­ing to file other charges against Lopez, con­sid­er­ing that the ac­tress and for­mer Binib­in­ing Pilip­inas 1982 flaunted her dis­re­gard for traf­fic rules that are tem­po­rar­ily in place while the cap­i­tal is host­ing the As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions (Asean) sum­mit.

Okay, maybe I shouldn’t be so quick to judge since I don’t even know her per­son­ally. But what she did was wrong. Yet, de­spite the flak she has re­ceived for the in­ci­dent, there are some who ac­tu­ally de­fended her ac­tions. They said that Lopez was merely act­ing “out of des­per­a­tion from the hor­ri­ble traf­fic.” That was why she re­moved the traf­fic bar­ri­ers on Edsa that marked exclusive lanes re­served for Asean del­e­gates.

But for Lopez, it wasn’t de­spair that drove her to reck­less ac­tion but the feel­ing that she was be­com­ing a sec­ond­class ci­ti­zen in her own coun­try. That, she told Philippine Star, was the rea­son she vi­o­lated the traf­fic laws.

“… Then all other mo­torists be­hind me fol­lowed! MMDA thinks I’m an of­fi­cial Asean del­e­gate! If you can’t beat them, join them!” she wrote on her so­cial me­dia ac­count.

Lopez con­tin­ued to be tongue-incheek un­til crit­i­cisms from ne­ti­zens started flood­ing in. Maybe it fi­nally sank in that she had com­mit­ted a boo­boo, which would ex­plain her be­lated apol­ogy. “I’m just hu­man,” she said. Well, guess what? So were the hun­dreds of thou­sands of other mo­torists who shared her predica­ment that Satur­day night.

No doubt the traf­fic had driven the ma­jor­ity of them to des­per­a­tion. Some may have even thought that they had be­come sec­ond-class cit­i­zens in their own coun­try. But they stayed inside their ve­hi­cles. Mind you, they were prob­a­bly hurl­ing ex­ple­tives while they were at it, but they didn’t get out to re­move the cones to use the Aseanex­clu­sive lane. Only Lopez did that. And then posted the whole thing on­line.

So the ques­tion is, does she de­serve to lose her li­cense over the in­ci­dent?

For her chutz­pah, I say no. For her stu­pid­ity, def­i­nitely.

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