Manila, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles) – First, it was designer jail cells, now it’s gold wheelchairs. The Philippine government can’t seem to settle down on how to treat its high-profile inmates, namely, ex-presidents, senators and wealthy business persons charged and detained for crimes ranging from plunder to graft & corruption.
There appears to be a consistent pattern in which famous inmates — from former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Bong Revilla, Jr. to businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles — suddenly become ill upon their arrest, requiring them to be hospitalized and treated for their ailment. Arroyo is under hospital arrest for corruption and plunder while she was in office, while Enrile, Revilla and Napoles have all been named in the pork barrel scandal currently being prosecuted by the Philippine Ombudsman. Also arrested in the pork barrel scam was Gigi Reyes, Enrile’s former chief of staff. Reyes immediately fell ill after her arrest and was transferred to a local hospital.
To cope with the increasing need for mobility among these famous inmates, the government of President NoyNoy Aquino has entered into an import agreement with a foreign manufacturer of wheelchairs. Not just ordinary wheelchairs, but gold wheelchairs.
The 24-karat-gold wheelchairs were designed by Ken Borochov (see photo), the same artist who designed the gold wheelchair of Lady Gaga when the famous singer had a hip surgery earlier this year. Borochov says that 1.5 ounces of gold were plated on each chair and that his idea was to make them look like thrones. Certainly fit for queens, divas and privileged politicians.
The wheelchairs will be paid for from left over pork barrel funds now in the custody of Malacanang, the presidential palace.