MANILA, Philippines – Reacting to critics of a proposal from lawmakers endorsing the purchase of a new bullet-proof car for President Benigno Aquino III, the Palace on Tuesday, March 6, released a briefer on Philippine presidential cars.
According to the briefer, released by the Malacanang official site, the Philippine president is provided with an official vehicle fleet that currently consists of two 1998 Mercedez Benz W221 S-Class limousines and a Mercedes Benz 600 S-Guard.
The limousines were purchased in 1998, the year when Joseph Estrada rose to presidency. The other car was purchased in 2007, during the administration of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Presidents prior to Estrada have witnessed replacements in their official vehicle fleet:
- Manuel Quezon was chauffeured in a Lincoln V12, a personal gift from Henry Ford, and a Chrysler Airflow limousine
- Jose Laurel and Sergio Osmeña used a Cadillac and a Packard
- Manuel Roxas was issued a Cadillac Fleetwood Series 75 limousine
- Elpidio Quirino used a Chrysler Imperial Limousine
- Ramon Magsaysay and Diosdado Macapagal used Cadillac
- Ferdinand Marcos used a Mercedes Benz 600 limousine and had it bulletproofed, the first President to use additional protection.
- Corazon Aquino used a Mercedes Benz W124 sedan
- Fidel Ramos used a BMW 7 Series sedan – a gift from the Malaysian Government
A bullet-proof Mercedes Benz 500 SEL limousine was supposed to be purchased during Arroyo’s time, however the contract was rescinded due to the company’s failure to deliver the vehicle on time.
Aquino still has to keep one for himself, however, as the Presidential vehicles are now rendered repair-prone. The S-Guard was destroyed by flood caused by tropical storm Ondoy in 2009, while the other limousines are left unused.
During the departure honors for Arroyo at Aquino’s inauguration in 2010, Aquino and Arroyo arrived at the Quirino Grandstand in a Mercedes Benz S-600. Arroyo departed on a Cadillac Escalade. Aquino has used his Toyota Land Cruiser 200 since he assumed office. – Rappler.com