When Manny Pacquiao’s P25 million yacht acquisition – his Christmas gift to his wife and kids – was reported on TV, your Chair Wrecker immediately recognized it as the yacht named Cristina that my good friend of many years, Bobby del Rosario, had owned. My wife Mey and I rode on the Cristina on at least two trips.
Because he’s involved in the fishing business, Bobby used the Cristina for both business and pleasure. He rode and slept on the Cristina whenever he checks on his fishing boats. He also used it to entertain his family and friends. The Cristina was fully carpeted and air-conditioned. Its bedrooms match the standards of a 5-star hotel. On the Cristina, you’ll feel like one of the super rich that we see enjoying their wealth in Monte Carlo or Puerto Banus.
The Cristina couldn’t be anything but luxurious. It was designed by the famous Pininfarina S. p. A. of Italy that many car manufacturers, namely Ferrari, Maserati, Rolls Royce, Cadillac, Volvo, Alfa Romeo, Jaguar and Lancia, contract for their car designs. Pininfarina S. p. A is also a top of the line coachbuilder. When Ferrari, Maserati, Rolls Royce, Cadillac, Volvo, Alfa Romeo, Jaguar and Lancia are your clients — you’re nothing less than a market leader and trendsetter.
Manny Pacquiao’s yacht is one of the few yachts that Pininfarina S. p. A. designed and it’s considered as way ahead of its time. Per Bobby, it arrived in Hong Kong from Italy on December 1992 and was commissioned for $1.5 million by the importer-distributor Simpson Marine in mid-1993. It was used for only 100 hours and so Bobby acquired it as virtually brand new in November 1993 for a total cost of about $1 million, including local costs to bring it in. In 1993, the Philippine Peso fluctuated from P26 to P28 to one US dollar.
Bobby used the Cristina for 12 years, even adding a bigger yacht of similar luxury later on to his fleet. Several years ago, Bobby and his lovely wife Moleen both had a scary dream. Bobby and Mo both dreamt that three-year old Simon, their son, fell off the yacht and was never seen again. On Mo’s prodding, Bobby decided to sell his yachts.
Bobby sold the Cristina to businessman Nilo Pascugin for P24 million. Per Bobby, Pascugin sold the yacht to an Indian, the national from India and not the misnamed “Indian” that killed in battle General George Armstrong Custer and the 7th Cavalry at Little Big Horn.
It’s not surprising that Manny Pacquiao attracted brickbats for purchasing a P25 million yacht. The attacks centered on his buying it during a time of tragedy in Cagayan de Oro (CDO) and Iligan. Pacquiao joined the club President Noynoy Aquino (P-Noy) found himself in last year when he bought a second hand Porsche.
During the time when the Porsche issue was raised, many P-Noy defenders argued that there was nothing wrong with the purchase because P-Noy can afford it and it was bought with full transparency. More important is that the Porsche wasn’t acquired with plundered money. Many of Pacquiao’s defenders raised a similar point - that Pacquiao bought the P25 million yacht with money that he earned inside the boxing ring.
The usual carpers likened P-Noy’s Porsche, Pacquiao’s P25 million yacht and P-Noy’s dropping in on the PSG Christmas party to visions of Roman Emperor Nero fiddling while Rome burned. To begin with, that bit about Nero fiddling while Rome burned is pure demolition concoction because the fiddle was invented 1,500 years after Nero. There are also historians who believe that Nero did no such musical number, regardless of instrument used, and was simply the scapegoat of people who needed somebody to blame for the great fire.
Until that 64 AD great fire of Rome, Nero was actually doing a good job as emperor. His generals won significant military victories. Trade and the arts flourished under Nero. His vision of an improved Rome, in terms of constructions, made him the “logical” scapegoat for the great fire.
Manny Pacquiao cannot simply dismiss criticisms for purchasing a P25 million yacht by saying the he bought it with money that he honestly earned. The timing of the announcement of the purchase made Pacquiao vulnerable to criticism. He’s a Representative from Mindanao and should be among the most concerned with the CDO and Iligan tragedies. Despite allocating a part of his pork barrel to help the Mindanao disaster victims, the P25 million yacht still opens Pacquiao to criticism for maintaining an extravagant lifestyle, which is unbecoming of a public official.
P-Noy’s dropping in on the PSG Christmas party is a non-issue. He went there to unite with the people who protect him 24/7 and their families. He only stayed for half an hour, which is the least number of minutes he should have stayed. Any president will make it a point to drop in on the PSG Christmas party. Overlooked is the fact that the government has been fully mobilized to attend to the CDO, Iligan and Dumaguete tragedies before P-Noy went to the PSG party.
This non-issue shows how desperate P-Noy’s critics are for not having a legitimate issue.
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Chair Wrecker email and website: firstname.lastname@example.org and www.chairwrecker.com