(Updated 4:32 p.m.) The country's 50-year-old bachelor president has bought himself a new car.
Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda confirmed on Thursday that President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III has purchased a third-hand 2007 Porsche, but emphasized that the president used his personal funds for the purchase.
"It's a private purchase, it came from his own funds. The pruchase were proceeds from the sale of another asset and that other asset was acquired through personal loans," Lacierda said at a press briefing in Malacañang.
A source close to the president said Aquino sold his blue BMW, which he bought back when he was a senator and finished paying last year, for P4.5 million so he could purchase the white Porsche.
Lacierda noted that the value of the Porsche, whose model he could not specify, was depreciated. "If it was not depreciated, the president wouldn't even buy it, wouldn't even consider it."
Last month, Aquino issued a memorandum prohibiting all agencies from acquiring and using luxury vehicles for their operations, "and to be more prudent in spending government funds, especially in the acquisition of motor vehicles to maximize the utilization of scarce government resources."
At the news briefing, Lacierda said Aquino did not violate the memorandum, as the president used his own funds for the purchase of the Porsche.
"How the president spends his personal funds is entirely his own discretion and I think that should not be used to sow intrigue. If there's anybody planning to do that, let's respect the president's private transactions," Lacierda said.
Lacierda said Aquino had been"prudent" in spending government money, particularly during his foreign travels as chief executive.
"He's subject to scrutiny as a public official, I will grant you that. [But] what he does, again, privately is entirely his own discretion and I think we should allow him some private space," he said.
Policy of austerity
In an interview with Palace reporters, Aquino said he does not think his purchase should affect his government's policy of austerity in spending public funds.
"Hindi ho gobyerno ang nagbayad niyan. Ibinenta ko po ‘yung isang sasakyan ko at nagkataon ho meron namang buyer na ‘yun po ang ginamit ko pambayad nitong sasakyan ko (The government did not pay for that. I sold my own vehicle and there was a buyer, so I used the money to buy this [Porsche])," he said.
Aquino said he sees nothing wrong in buying the car while he can still drive a sports car, although he added that he may not be able to drive his Porsche that often.
"Ano bang masama na habang may kakayahan pa po akong magmaneho ng ganoong klaseng sasakyan dahil siguro naman pagbaba ko or ten years from now, iba na ang ating reflexes (What's wrong with buying that while I can still drive that kind of car? Perhaps when I step down from office, or in 10 years, my reflexes will have changed)," he said.
"Hindi naman po ako siguro pupunta ng videogame para sumubok ng eksperiensiyang ‘yon (Maybe I shouldn't resort to playing videogames just to experience that)," he added in jest.
Porsche Automobile Holding SE, which is based in Germany, manufactures luxury automobiles. — Jam Sisante/RSJ, GMANews.TV
Reposted From Jam Sisante of GMA News.TV