MANILA, Philippines – Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III has asked the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to consider auctioning smuggled luxury cars to “serious” foreign buyers rather than destroying them.
Pimentel raised the proposal on Thursday, February 8, two days after his party mate, President Rodrigo Duterte, led the destruction of 30 smuggled luxury vehicles worth over P60 million.
“My proposal is to sell them at public auction but open only to serious car collectors based abroad. The proceeds can be used to help calamity victims,” he said.
Pimentel said authorities should consider his proposal considering the “energy, resources, and intellectual effort” used in manufacturing the vehicles.
“Unlike cigarettes or drugs, which have no good intrinsic value to humans and which must be destroyed when confiscated, cars and other manufactured items have economic value, and luxury cars particularly have great value to serious car collectors,” he explained.
“In the manufacture of these luxury cars a lot of energy has been expended, which I am sure has contributed to over-all global warming. Let us not waste the energy, resources, and intellectual effort consumed in the making of these luxury cars,” he added.
Pimentel said he was well aware of the rationale for the destruction of the luxury vehicles, which was ordered by Duterte.
“We don’t want them to be auctioned, only for those who smuggled them in, to benefit. But if we sell them to buyers abroad, then we would have achieved the same objective and earned money for the government for use in worthwhile causes like helping victims of natural calamities,” he said.
Duterte earlier said he ordered the destruction of the luxury cars to teach smugglers a lesson, drawing mixed reactions.
A Jaguar, a Lexus, a Corvette Stingray, and dozens of top-end German sedans and Japanese SUVs were crushed at a customs yard in Manila on Tuesday. The vehicles were seized after they were smuggled in, authorities said.
Normally, seized smuggled vehicles are impounded and then auctioned with the government taking the proceeds. – With a report from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com