Palace spokesperson Salvador Panelo during a Palace media briefing

President Rodrigo Duterte said he preferred to take economy when traveling, but soon he could be flying in style.

The Department of National Defense has purchased two new aircraft from the United States for P2 billion or about US$38 million — an Airbus C295 and a Gulfstream G280 that will be delivered middle of next year.

Bayan Secretary General Renato Reyes criticized the purchase, which comes at a time of mass transport problems.

“When you spend millions of dollars for the comfort of officials, while ordinary folks carry the daily burden of the #transportcrisis,” Reyes said in a tweet.           

But the Palace insisted the new jets were necessary.

“Yes of course. Si Presidente pa, e di ba si Presidente napaka-frugal. He doesn’t spend unless necessary,” Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo said.

Malacañang denied that the country is dealing with a transport crisis even as it called on transport officials to improve their services.

Mukha naman wala pa. kasi nga nakakarating pa ang naman ang mga dapat makarating sa kanilang pupuntahan,” Panelo said.

“I want them to improve their services if I were to be asked kasi kung ang problema lang ay palaging nahihinto ‘yung operation ibig sabihin something must be wrong. Bakit hindi nila nagagawan ng paraan, baka kailangan na palitan iyang LRT, bago naman. bumili ng bago na LRT,” he added.

Duterte had said his administration would no longer buy military equipment from the US after Washington threatened to impose sanctions on countries buying military equipment from Russia.           

But Duterte later said he would consider the decision as he liked US President Donald Trump. (Jasper Camilo)