President Benigno Aquino III has just about had it talking about his cars to inquisitive reporters.
Seen aboard a bullet-proof Toyota Lexus when he visited the victims of the Makati bus bombing Tuesday, Aquino took extra time to explain on Friday that he did not buy the armored vehicle. He said the car, which model belongs to Toyota’s luxury line, was leased by his brother-in-law and lent to him.
“This the last time I will talk about cars unless any of you says it has impact with the national interest," Aquino said, in obvious reference to earlier media reports about his passion for expensive cars and his efforts to explain his recent purchase of a Porsche 911 Turbo.
“Yung sasakyan na gamit ko ngayon ay security vehicle. Hindi ko pwedeng i-discuss sa inyo ang security features, capacity dahil parang sinabi ko na rin sa mga kalaban na ito ang paghandaan nyo. Nilease ng bayaw ko. [The] alternative is to buy a different vehicle by the government," he explained.
(The car I’m using now is a security vehicle. I can’t discuss with you its security features, its capacity, because that would divulge to our enemies what they should prepare for. It was leased by my brother-in-law.) The President said the official vehicle that Malacañang’s previous occupant left for him to use was a Mercedes Benz limousine, which was damaged when typhoon Ondoy hit Metro Manila in 2009.
“Noong unang apat o limang beses na nagamit, tatlong beses bumalik sa kasa. So ang alternative dun, dalawang sasakyan na first day ko pa lang sa office sinabi na unreliable na daw," Aquino told reporters in a hastily called briefing to clarify the issue. (Within the first four or five times that it was used, three times it had to be sent back to the repair shop. So the alternatives were two vehicles that, in my first day in office, were already marked as unreliable.)
Aquino said if he would have his way, he would just use his personal vehicle, a white Toyota Land Cruiser, but the Presidential Security Guard won’t allow him to since the car is not bullet-proof. “Mag-o-object ang PSG, tataas yung risk ko sa PSG kung unarmored yung sasakyan na ginagamit ko dahil lalo sila magba-body shield," he said. (The PSG will object, my risk level will rise if I’ll use an unarmored car because it’s the PSG men who will provide body shields.) Aquino, a car enthusiast, said “riding an armored vehicle is not the most comfortable thing in the world."
“It’s not the most comfortable vehicle. Amongst the things na hindi mo pwedeng gawin, yung salamin me limitation ang pagbaba. Pag me kumakaway na mga kababayan natin, hindi ko maibaba pag kailangan para kawayan sila," he said. (It’s not the most comfortable vehicle. Among the things that you can’t do, there are limitations in rolling down the windows. When some of our people wave to us, I can’t roll down the window as needed to wave back.)
Aquino refused to say when exactly he started using the Lexus, but revealed that his supporters have been offering to give him an armored vehicle since the campaign period started for the May 2010 elections. “The choice is [to] buy something like P15 to 20 million [worth] armored vehicle or have the stopgap measure [like this one for now] to meet the needs of security aspect as well as my need not to spend the people’s money unnecessarily," Aquino said. Just a couple of weeks ago, the President was criticized by some opposition leaders and media commentators for his decision to buy a second-hand but still luxurious Porsche. (See: PNoy buys himself a Porsche) Aquino owns a Ford Everest aside from a Porsche and a Land Cruiser.
He previously owned a BMW, which he said he sold to raise the money to buy the Porsche for P4.5 million.—JV, GMANews.TV
Reposted From GMA News.TV