MANILA, Philippines?President Benigno Aquino III got himself a new toy?a second-hand, white Porsche?last Christmas.
The acquisition sent tongues wagging that the country?s 50-year-old bachelor leader, who is also a gun enthusiast, has started living on the fast lane now that he is in Malacańang.
The President swapped his old BMW which he bought two years ago to get his hands on the Porsche, according to a source close to Manny Dimaculangan, a friend who arranged the purchase.
Dimaculangan, regarded as one of the best car buffs in the country, alerted Mr. Aquino that an entry-level Porsche, whose owner was looking to upgrade, was available in the market.
The source said that the President bought the Porsche for P4.5 million, or the same price he got from his BMW. He had bought the car while he was a senator and completed his loan payments on it last year.
Shortly after he got his new steed, the source said, Mr. Aquino went last Dec. 26 to the Clark International Speedway, a 2-km private track at the Clark Freeport where Porsche owners and other race car enthusiasts test drive their toys.
Being a first-time owner of a Porsche, Mr. Aquino got a tutorial from a specialist on the track on how to use buttons and dials and how to get the most out of the German sports car.
The source said that the President?s buddy, Sen. Francis Escudero, joined his group at the track and left immediately after taking the passenger seat beside the President for one spin.
Contrary to rumors, there was no accident at the circuit, or that the Porche got nicked while he was driving it.
Mr. Aquino considers long drives on ?smooth, empty highways? as one of the few luxuries he indulges in away from the public eye. The President was seen recently having a good time at the opening of a motor show sponsored by the local motor vehicle industry.
The BMW was among the P9 million worth of vehicles that the President declared as part of his Statement of Assets and Liabilities and Net Worth pegged at P50.194 million as of June last year. With a report from Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon