Other than the conflagration in the Middle East, oil at $115/barrel, the NZ earthquake and the Chinese Government’s harassment of a Philippine vessel; it has been a slow week.
Therefore we thought we would update ourselves on what Filipinos are really interested in, news on the President’s Porsche.
This is not easy given the media blackout.
Specifically, the Palace has banned the Press Corps from covering the subject and taking pictures of the President and his plaything under threat of expulsion or, if unrelenting, visits from armed strangers in the dead of night.
This has just further fuelled the public’s interest. CNN, News of the World and Hola! are reportedly prepared to pay upto $5000 in cash per photograph of Noy and his new wheels.
To refresh our memory, the car is a white, 2007 Turbo 911 Porsche with 10,000 kms. acquired from his friend Manny Dimaculangan for P4.5 million. Manny is a car enthusiast who made money in construction particularly of Jollibee outlets.
The car has a reported market value of around P7.6 million which raises the question of whether the P3.1 million discount on the acquisition price could be construed as a bribe or taxeable as a “gift”. Ombudsman Gutierrez and DOF Sec. Purissima may wish to weigh in on the subject.
From every indication, the President is deeply enamored with his purchase. His girlfriends complain he no longer calls nor picks up, a sentiment equally voiced by some of his Cabinet. He is often seen alone at dusk in the Palace grounds revving its 500HP, drawing on a cigarette, sipping a Classic Coke, while drumming his fingers on the steering wheel to the sounds of Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi”.
Minutes of Cabinet meetings also reveal the President has periodically excused himself from proceedings ostensibly for a bathroom break or a smoke but really to quietly take another peak at his car. Reporters suspect the President calling in sick earlier this year was just an excuse to spend more time with his vehicle.
P-Noy refuses to have the Palace staff touch the machine. He personally cleans the car of cigarette butts and accumulated detritus which at any time has been said to include empty Coke cans, discarded wrappers and copies of the 2011 Budget.
Other than chairing Cabinet meetings, the President’s main frustration is not being able to put the Porsche through its paces. The PSG feels P-Noy would be too visible a target, suggesting instead he ride the bulletproof Lexus reportedly leased from his brother-in-law (Why our leader needs to lease a car from a relative is unclear. Does Malacanang need a tax deduction?).
The Presidential Communications Group, unanimously for once, has similarly dissuaded their boss from tooling around in his Porsche, it being insensitive in these times of economic hardship and rising gas prices. They would rather he be seen assisting VP (and future President) Binay repatriate OFWs still in Libya or inaugurating another Jollibee store.
As a result, P-Noy has been relegated to occasionally sneaking out in the early mornings to take the love of his life for a spin or idling it in the Malacanang driveway in the company of the other reported love of his life, Len Lopez (although that – the lady not the driving- could have changed by the time this goes to print). In keeping with her upbringing, Len has not commented on the monotony of her dates but has been said to roll her eyes when asked by her barkada about her latest outing.
Critics continue to hound the President for his ostentatious purchase, suggesting he spends more time marvelling about his machine than on ways to grow the economy.
Presidential Spokesperson Lacierda has, in answer to these critics, explained until he is blue in the face why an ageing single male of independent means is entitled to spend 9.5% of his declared net worth to buy a practically obsolete vehicle. Nobody is listening but, then, this is hardly the first time.
With all the buzz, the President is reportedly considering selling his Porsche for P9.5 million, the price offered by a Binondo importer. This will not only get the media off his back and make him an unexpectededly decent profit, it will also allow him to consider a discarded 2011 Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano recently proffered by another Binondo businessman for a fair price of P2.5 million.
He is just put off that the color is not red.