July 12, 2017

"LIKE EVERYONE ELSE": VP Robredo drove with expired license?

The opinions expressed in this article are solely of ThinkingPinoy (TP) and do not reflect the stance of any government agency.
Yesterday, Land Transportation Office – Bicol (LTO-Bicol) posted a status update, which states:
“JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE. Today, Vice President Leni Robredo came to the Land Transportation Office (LTO) Naga District Office to renew her driver's license. Just like the rest of our clients, VP Robredo took a queueing number and waited for her turn in order to complete her transaction... The office practices fairness in dealing with its clients. It delivers the same kind of quality and efficient service to all… Dios Mabalosa po sa LTO Naga! #ParaSaBayan #LTOBicolHappyToServeYoušŸ‘ŠšŸ¼”
The update, posted on 11 July 2017, basically said Robredo renewed her driver’s license yesterday.
Driver’s licenses, by law, expire on the license holder’s birthday [Politiko]. Robredo’s birthday [INQ] is on April 23rd, so her driver’s license must have expired on that day.

Driving without a license?

Despite the expired driver’s license, Facebook user Benjie Daisy Contreras pointed out that VP Robredo drove a car on 21 June 2017 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Robredo drives a car in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
As Mark Lopez pointed out, the Registry of Motor Vehicles of the US State of Massachusetts [MassRMV] honors Philippine-issued driver’s licenses so Robredo, in theory, can drive cars in the state provided that her Philippine license is still valid, which is not the case.

Note that Mass RMV, like most DMVs in the United States, does not honor International Driving Permits (IDPs) or Licenses [MassRMV].
Given that Robredo does not have a valid Philippine driver’s license at the time she drove in Massachusetts, and that the State doesn’t honor IDPs, there could only have been two other ways for her to drive legally in the US, and that is through a US-issued driver’s license

The United States issues driver’s licenses to the following:
  • Citizens 
  • Resident Aliens
  • Diplomats (issued by the Department of State, not a State DMV)
Clearly, the Robredo is neither a Citizen nor a Resident Alien, as both would disqualify her from assuming the vice-presidency, so we are left with the third possibility: a driver’s license issued to diplomats.

Like everyone else?

However, diplomatic driver’s licenses are issued only to members of diplomatic missions, and I do not exactly see how Robredo can be considered a “member of a diplomatic mission”, especially since insiders in the Department of Foreign Affairs themselves told me that Robredo did not notify some diplomatic missions in the United States about her Boston trip.Moreover, affixing the seal of a diplomatic mission is required in the application form for diplomatic driver’s licenses [DoS], so which seal would Robredo use?

She’s not part of the DFA, to begin with.

However, assuming that Robredo indeed has a diplomatic driver's license and that she used it when she was doing personal errands in Boston (which, by the way, was not an official visit of any sort), then she is not "like everyone else." [ThinkingPinoy]

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