On Tuesday, the Palace justified purchasing a P2-billion worth of command and control jet which President Rodrigo Duterte and other executives in the government will use in times of transport crisis.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo defended that buying Gulfstream G280 is reasonable and it is a “necessity”.
“The Secretary of National Defense explains it as the plane that will primarily serve as platform to carry senior leaders and commanders in the event of, for example, a crisis situation – that was his explanation,” Panelo said at a press briefing in Malacañang.
He also reputed activist Renato Reyes Jr’s claim that the administration was spending huge amounts of money for the “comfort” of the government officials whereas “ordinary folks carry the daily burden of the transport crisis.”
“Di naman comfort yun. Komportable ba yun? Kung in times of crisis kailangan mo yun. Kung necessity papaano namang magwawaldas ka,” Panelo said.
In addition, Panelo clarified the President never asked for it. It was the initiative of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana who approved the contract for the purchase last November.
What is a P2-billion jet capable of?
Gulfstream G280 has an aerodynamic design, a tip-to-tip wing, and a large cabin. This also has a high-thrust engines that speed up and expand the aircraft’s range and state-of-the-art flight and navigation systems.
“It has a capability better than the ordinary, like it requires a short runway,” Panelo added.
Included in the P2 billion budget are the tooling, spare parts, as well as logistical support for a number of years.
Reporters asked Panelo if the President would allow the idea of purchasing aircraft and military equipment from the United States again, he said:
“Since we started one, that will be the logical consequence.”
In January, Duterte disclosed that he will no longer permit his administration to purchase arms and military equipment from the US following its threats to charge sanctions on countries buying equipment from Russia and China.
However, the President changed tune in June and said that he would reconsider purchasing weapons from the US.