'I'm just human': Maria Isabel Lopez apologizes for breaching ASEAN lane
MANILA, Philippines – Actress and Binibining Pilipinas Universe 1982 Maria Isabel Lopez apologized on Sunday, November 12, for breaching the lane exclusive for delegates of the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit.
In an interview with 24 Oras, Lopez admitted her lapse in judgment but said she had to answer "calls of nature."
"Aminado naman ako na pasaway talaga ako. 'Di naman ako nagmalinis. Although alam ko naman maraming nagalit, naging insensitive sila pero as human nature, nature talaga ng tao na to survive. You also have to do it," the actress explained.
(I know that what I did was wrong. I'm not pretending that I wasn't at fault. Although I know that many people were angry, they became insensitive. But because it's human nature, we need to survive. You also have to do it.)
"I became a second-class citizen in my own country dahil sa pagbibigay natin sa ASEAN members na ito (because we're giving way to these ASEAN members)," she added.
In a viral Facebook post on Saturday, November 11, Lopez bragged about removing the divider cones that separate the ASEAN lane from the lanes open for public use. (READ: Maria Isabel Lopez may lose driver's license for breaching ASEAN lane)
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) have asked the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to suspend or revoke her driver's license.
Even with an apology from Lopez, authorities said they won't let the incident pass.
"Task Group Commander Police Director Oscar Albayalde stands [by] the recommendation of suspension or revocation of her license," said MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago in a message to reporters.
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) also echoed the move of the MMDA and LTFRB.
"The DOTr leadership, under Secretary Arthur Tugade, fervently believes that no one is above the law, and that all violators should be held accountable for their actions," it said in a statement.
Netizens criticized Lopez's actions, pointing out that many motorists and commuters endured the heavy traffic ahead of the ASEAN Summit without breaking the rules. (READ: EDSA 'parking lot': Commuters endure traffic ahead of ASEAN Summit)
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) earlier announced the partial and total lockdown of certain areas around the metro during the summit. These areas should be avoided as much as possible. – Rappler.com