Is­abel Lopez faces raps for en­ter­ing ASEAN lane

Tempo - - Front Page - 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 ₱5,000 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. MARIA Is­abel Lopez

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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