LTO: Driver’s license a privilege, not a rig.
A DRIVER’S license, whether professional or non-professional, is merely a privilege and not a right, and the Land Transportation Office (LTO) can forfeit and revoke it if its use is abused.
This was the strong message of LTO-National Capital Region-West Director and LTO-Law Enforcement Service chief, lawyer Clarence V. Guinto after the agency revoked the driver’s license of alleged abusive Grab driver Anselmo Benigno for inappropriate behavior towards a female passenger while aboard the Grab vehicle.
Guinto said his recommendation to revoke Benigno’s license was made through a Resolution and was approved by Assistant Secretary and LTO chief Edgar Galvante.
“The lady victim deserves recognition for coming out and formalizing her complaint. We need more citizens like her,” said Guinto.
Guinto bared the LTO found Benigno’s unacceptable behavior tantamount to acts of an improper person to operate a motor vehicle, pursuant to Section 27 (a) of R.A. 4136, or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code.
“Mr. Benigno abused his privilege to drive and failed to comply with the conduct necessary for the continued possession and enjoyment of the said privilege,” Guinto said.
The revocation of the license stemmed from the complaint of the victim which she posted on her Twitter account.
In her account, the victim said her father booked a Grab ride for her. The victim revealed she slept during the ride home.
While asleep, the victim said the driver tried to lift her skirt. She added that she felt his finger under the skirt as if he was about to peek. It was then when she sat up and tried to talk calmly.
Upon learning about the incident, the LTO issued a Show Cause Order against Benigno.
The victim formalized her complaint through a notarized Affidavit of Complaint for acts of lasciviousness against Benigno.
The LTO sent several notices to Benigno and his operator for them to appear during the set hearings at the LTO Central Office in Quezon City, and to submit a verified explanation/comment on the complaint.
In a phone call, Benigno said he will no longer drive for Grab.
Despite due notice, Benigno failed to attend the hearings and to provide an explanation/comment.
“By not attending the hearing, Mr. Benigno has waived his right to be heard. The LTO was constrained to rule on the charges based on the evidence on hand,” Guinto noted.
In the course of the investigation, the victim was able to convince the LTO that Benigno abused his duty as a public utility driver.
Benigno took advantage of the victim by trying to sexually molest her since she was indisposed during the incident.
Thus, the recommendation for the revocation of Benigno’s driver’s license.
The LTO said a copy of the case records will be forwarded to the Taguig PNP for appropriate criminal action.
Moreover, LTFRB shall also be furnished a copy of the said records for appropriate actions as regards to the employer of the driver.