LTO cancels Maria Isabel Lopez’s driver’s license

Aika Rey
LTO cancels Maria Isabel Lopez’s driver’s license
(UPDATED) The actress will not be allowed to reapply for a license in the next two years, and must also pay P8,000 in fines

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Land Transportation Office (LTO) revoked the driver’s license of actress and former beauty queen Maria Isabel Lopez after she breached the special lane designated for delegates of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit.

In a message sent to reporters, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) spokesperson Celine Pialago announced on Monday, November 27, that the LTO ordered the cancellation of Lopez’s driver’s license.

LTO Law Enforcement Director Francis Ray Almora also confirmed the resolution in a text message to Rappler.

Lopez is prohibited from reapplying and reacquiring a license for the next two years. She will also pay fines amounting to P8,000 for violating the Anti-Distracted Driving Act, disregarding traffic signs, and reckless driving.

Lopez had bragged in a Facebook post that she removed the divider cones separating the ASEAN lane from the lanes open to the public. She later apologized for her behavior, saying she is “just human.”

‘Lame’ and ‘self-serving’

The special lane was part of the traffic and security arrangements for the 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Summits earlier this month. It caused heavier traffic along EDSA, leaving regular motorists and commuters stuck on the road for hours.

In a strongly-worded resolution signed by LTO chief Edgar Galvante last Thursday, November 23, the LTO said Lopez offered a “lame” excuse for breaching the ASEAN lane.

“[Lopez] expressly admitted her failure to meet the conditions concomitant with the grant of her license. The defenses she proffered are considered lame and merely self-serving,” the resolution reads.

The LTO also slammed Lopez for bragging about her misconduct on social media.

“Worse, she showed no remorse and even publicized with gusto her improper and illegal acts on social media, which betray her utter lack of responsibility as a licensed driver, thus making her an improper person to operate a motor vehicle,” the agency said.

It is clear, the LTO pointed out, that Lopez was aware she was committing a traffic violation.

“[It was] a willful and wanton disregard of consequence, as what respondent manifested in the instant case,” states the resolution.

“[R]espondent cannot feign ignorance of these notices and announcements. Moreover, respondent’s violations are very serious and apparently very persuasive that they cannot be simply swept under the rug.”

Lopez is expected to surrender her driver’s license to Almora within 24 hours after receipt of the resolution.

Last November 13, Lopez was summoned by the LTO to explain her behavior. She appealed to the agency not to cancel her license and instead grant her a “senior citizen’s discount” for being a law-abiding driver prior to her stunt.

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Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at