Luxury sports cars aren’t usually top of mind when it comes to daily conversation, but for a time back in 2011, Porsche was in the evening news and the talk of the town.
The reason? Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III had bought himself a used Porsche 911. Not that big of a deal for a local politician—except for the fact that he was the sitting Philippine president, and guidelines on the acquisition of luxury cars in his administration just weeks before his purchase was reported on the local news. Here’s what happened:
December 2010 – Aquino stresses ban on government acquisition of luxury cars
On December 14, 2010, President Aquino signs Memorandum Circular No. 9, which prohibits government agencies from purchasing luxury vehicles for their operations and reminds those concerned “to be more prudent in spending government funds, especially in the acquisition of motor vehicles to maximize the utilization of scarce government resources.”
Now, Aquino’s purchase isn’t contradictory to his administration’s policy (we’ll get to that in a bit), but obviously, this isn’t going to stop detractors and local media outlets from pointing out the fact.
January 2011 – Reports surface of Aquino buying a Porsche
News of Aquino’s purchase—reportedly a third-hand Porsche that he bought after selling an old BMW—goes mainstream. At the time, sources tell Top Gear Philippines that the vehicle is a 2007 Porsche 911.
Malacañang confirms reports, defends Aquino’s purchase
Then-Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda confirms that Aquino did indeed buy a Porsche. The official, however, stressed that the vehicle was bought using only the president’s personal funds.
“It’s a private purchase; it came from his own funds. The purchase were proceeds from the sale of another asset and that other asset was acquired through personal loans,” Lacierda was quoted as saying, adding that the vehicle’s value had already depreciated.
“If it was not depreciated, the President wouldn’t even buy it, wouldn’t even consider it,” Lacierda added.
“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.”
Aquino defends decision to buy a new ride
During an interview, Aquino addresses his new Porsche, stressing that no public funds were used to acquire the vehicle.
“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,” Aquino said.
“Ano bang masama na habang may kakayahan pa po akong magmaneho ng ganoong klaseng sasakyan dahil siguro naman pagbaba ko or 10 years from now, iba na ang ating reflexes,” he added, joking that he doesn’t want to just turn to playing video games to experience that kind of vehicle.
July 2011 – Aquino sells his Porsche
Calling it a security risk, Aquino decides to sell his Porsche.
“It’s putting unnecessary risk to the people who are guarding me, the PSG [Presidential Security Group],” he told reporters following a Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) event in Manila.
Aquino supposedly let go of the sports car for P4.5 million—the same price he reportedly bought it.
July 2016 – Former president drives a Porsche again
Mere weeks after stepping down as president, Aquino is behind the wheel of a Porsche again—although this time it belongs to his sister Kris, who is riding in the luxury SUV (it looks like a Cayenne) with her sons. Driving for them is the former Chief Executive, who could be expressing his joy at being reunited with a brand he was fond of—even if under less sporty circumstances.
Aquino’s Porsche ownership is water under the bridge now, but it should still serve as a reminder regarding the kind of scrutiny anyone who plans to be in a position of power should expect.
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