Text: Vince Pornelos / Photos: | posted September 13, 2013 16:28
Buying cars with Pork
So you've finally deposited that big kickback check or acquired that suitcase full of PDAF/pork barrel cash you've been waiting for you enterprising government official, you.
After decades of sacrifice in public service, you and your family can now enjoy the finer things in life that government salaries just put way out of reach.
You can send your kids to the same private schools to study alongside the children of the legitimately successful ones. You have the financial flexibility to buy houses in walled and gated villages or several luxurious condos that tower above the meek dwellers at ground level. You can also now take your family on incredulous vacations aboard First Class to places like New York, France, Italy, Hawaii, maybe even Monaco. You can also enjoy driving expensive, powerful and magnanimous four-wheeled machines befitting your new financial status in society's elite, a significant upgrade from the measly subcompact sedan that your honest government salary can afford.
Sadly, however, your newfound wealth is attracting the calculators of those pesky bean counters from the Commission on Audit, the inconvenience offered by subpoenas or hearings from the Department of Justice, the lenses and laptops of the press, not to mention the comic creativity and cruelty of social media's ever-popular memes. So how can you get away with it, especially with regard to your new cars?
Well, we at AutoIndustriya.com are here to help you, so we'll show you many different ways you can take our hard-earned taxpayer cake and eat it too.
Consider this a service from us to you, dear public servant, because setting up that scam was hard work after all.
Keep it on the down low
You've put in decades of work to get high enough for kickbacks and it's only fitting that you get paid extremely well after dealing with the stresses of public service.
Cars, unlike condos or mansions, are rolling symbols of status in society, but discretion is king in the game of ill-gotten-wealth, especially if you're determined to make away with the tax funds you so creatively appropriated for yourself.
If you have to go to that all-important Blue Ribbon or Ethics Committee meeting, bring a cheap but cheerful Japanese sedan; you can, of course, afford 20 of them at the same time. If you really want to bring your luxury car, then park far from the pesky lenses of the media or leave your car in a nearby mall then take a cab to where you're actually going.
I know it's annoying for you, but we all must make sacrifices right?
Don't flaunt what you have
It may sound similar to the previous paragraphs about keeping it on the down low, but consider this a more pro-active measure... and something that we in the age of social media are somewhat guilty of.
Avoid posting photos of your new car on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. Pics of your new luxurious-yet-taxpayer-paid ride on social media networks are definite no-no's, and that goes double for your selfies while driving them.
Use your hashtags, status messages or tweets with caution. Posting “Driving my new sportscar woot-woot! #sportscar #paidforbyyourtaxes #imingovernment” pretty much says it all. No amount of guns, goons and gold could prevent that post from becoming the latest social media meme.
If you really must, maybe you should keep your profile private or use Friendster instead.
Avoid luxury automobiles
It's simple: luxurious cars and government officials never mix well in the public eye.
Getting an ultra luxury sedan, imposing SUV or tire-shredding supercar might make you the target of lifestyle checks. What an inconvenience right? “Inggit lang sila,” you think to yourself.
Don't worry, we feel your pain. American cars are so huge they're bound to attract unwanted attention. German and British cars have very proud emblems that will surely raise eyebrows. You can also forget about any high performance machine or super sportscars because you might as well wear a bullseye on your shirt and get caught. We don't want that to happen. Really.
Since you're so smart, we suggest you stick to the vehicles from the Japanese or Korean brands. These cars have the ability to blend in with the rest of what we serfs drive while we head on to work and make an honest living in your fiefdom.
Of course, we know you just can't resist buying a really, really nice car with your hard-earned kickbacks or payouts. What to do, then?
One way to drive nice cars is to technically not buy it... lease it!
By leasing, the car, SUV or even sportscar will actually be in the leasing agency's name. The car will be yours for the lease term, but will not be your possession. Technically, you're just renting it, and the monthly lease fee can even be tax deductible as a corporate expense. Neat eh?
The other way is the more common one: you can buy by borrowing someone else's name. You can try using a friend's, your yaya's or maid's name; generally someone who isn't from your family nor someone who shares your last name. And much like how the deceased can still 'vote', you can have your car registered to someone who has already passed on.
Dead men tell no tales, right?
Enjoy it somewhere else
When the situation is a little hot in the Philippines, why not just enjoy your newly-printed, hard-earned wads of cash in another country altogether?
In places like Monaco, Dubai or New York, wealth blends in very, very well. It might be worth considering just getting those nice cars, SUVs, limos, private jets and yachts you've always dreamed about there instead. Surely no one from the press there will recognize you driving around in your Hummer, flying on your G-5 or getting a tan on the deck of a boat after having your photos taken with Bieber or Timberlake.
Such are normal sights in far wealthier countries and cities. It's almost as normal as seeing destructive floods ravage homes and cars in Metro Manila, ships slamming into each other off Cebu, farmers slaving on fields that aren't theirs in Pampanga or Tarlac, and even soldiers who aren't even sent with enough bullets and food to fight against motivated rebels in Zamboanga.
Yep. You deserve that pork.