MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) - President Benigno Aquino III has sold his Porsche.
Aquino's purchase of the luxury vehicle just months into his presidency was a personal decision many citizens thought was not in sync with his call for good governance and austerity.
Aquino said it was security concerns and not the controversy surrounding the luxury vehicle, which he bought second hand, that prompted him to get rid of the white Porsche.
"It's putting an unnecessary risk on the people who are guarding me. It is too exposed and it is like an advertisement, saying, 'Here I am. I am most vulnerable here'," the president told reporters.
"I just relegated it to the garage and it would deteriorate if it is not used. So it’s time to let somebody (else) experience it," said the 51-year-old bachelor.
Aquino would not reveal who bought the car or for how much. But he said he sold the vehicle -- which press said was a 2007 model -- for "exactly the same price that I bought it for."
Now that he has disposed his Porsche, the President said he hopes the issue will finally die down.
Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte told radio dzMM that the president sold his Porsche for the same price he bought it--P4.5 million.
Valte said the sale was a private transaction, and they do not know who bought the Porsche.
She said the decision to sell the luxury car was due to security reasons.
"It's not a car designed to secure the president," she said.
A head of state driving a white Porsche would have posed security risks, she added.
Valte said the president sold it for the same price since he was not looking to make money out of it.
Aquino's purchase of the Porsche was one of the reasons for the drop in his ratings in his first year as president.
A Social Weather Stations survey, conducted from March 4-7, 2011, showed that 48% of Filipinos agreed with the statement "President Aquino's purchase of an expensive car such as a Porsche, even if through his own money, is not a good example for a President of a country like the Philippines."
Thirty-three percent of respondents disagreed with the statement while 19% were undecided.
Political satirist Juana Change, one of his supporters in the 2010 presidential campaign, criticized his purchase through a video uploaded on YouTube.
It was disclosed in January 2011, just 6 months into his presidency, that Aquino bought a 2007 Porsche using his own money.
The Palace had said Aquino sold an old car so he could buy the 2007 Porsche. -- with reports from Niña Corpuz, Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News