By Francis Wakefield
Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo has defended the Philippine Air Force’s purchase of a P2-billion aircraft to be used by the president and military officials as “command and control” platform during a crisis situation.
Panelo denied the accusation of Bagong Alyasang Makabayan Secretary General Renato Reyes that the plane, a Gulfstream G280, will be used for the comfort of government officials while ordinary folks carry the burden of what he claims a “transport crisis” in Metro Manila.
“Hindi naman comfort iyun (That is not comfort) Komportable ba iyon? (Is that comfortable?),” Panelo said Tuesday.
“Oh, kung may in times of crisis, di kailangan mo iyon. Kaya nga crisis eh, then there is necessity. Kung necessity papaano naman magwawaldas ka? (If its a necessity, why will you waste money?),” he added.
Panelo also defended the purchase of the plane from the U.S. company Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation despite previous pronouncements by President Rodrigo Duterte to stop sourcing military equipment from the United States.
“Eh siguro iyon (U.S.) lang ang mayroong eroplanong may kakayahang ganoon kaya kinonsider (Maybe they are the only one with that kind of plane which has that capability that’s why it was considered),’ Panelo said.
The G280 was bought through the U.S. government’s Foreign Military Sales Program and is scheduled for delivery by mid-2020.