IF you want to see the latest and the most powerful vehicles the car industry has to offer, visit the parking lot of the House of Representatives. Lawmakers show they have an impeccable — and expensive — taste in cars.
In recent years, the Mitsubishi Pajero was the most common SUV of choice in the Lower House. The trend is changing. These days, the SUVs come in various forms, sizes and brand names. Nissan Patrols are aplenty. So are Isuzu Troopers. Eye-catching in their seeming somber stance are Ford Expeditions, Chateaus, Everests and Tamaraws. There are also Chrysler Town and Country, Ssangyong Rexton and Toyota Land Cruiser vans.
Rep. Acmad Tomawis of party-list Ang Laban ng Indiginong Filipino (ALIF) was seen alighting from a Hummer sporting a number 8 plate, front and back. Hummer’s look-alike, the Mercedes Benz G series, is the choice of Quezon City Rep. Mary Ann Susano. Of course, there are BMWs, Jaguars and Mercedes Benzes in medium sizes, too.
Both the Hummer and Benz G series cost around P3 to 6 million while the Ford SUVs are worth P1.5 million and up. Basilan Rep. Gerry Salappudin’s Korean-built Ssangyong Rexton ranges from P1.7 to 2.2 million (exclusive of taxes).
In the beginning, the number 8 plate showed the province and district of the lawmaker using the vehicle. While the vanity plate was displayed in front, the regular plate number was kept at the back. But these symbols of responsibility and accountability have been ditched. These days, very few lawmakers keep the regular plate, as many have opted to sandwich their cars with the 8 vanity plate. There is no way of knowing who owns the car.
Beginning today, we are posting your congressman’s car of choice, after visiting the Batasan parking lot.