An anti-corruption task force in the Philippines has ceased and subsequently destroyed almost 70 luxury vehicles worth $5.5 million.
When a government seizes contraband, it has a few options on what it can then do with said contraband. The government can lock it away behind bars until the criminal has served their term and then give it back, it can keep the contraband as part of their sentence and then auction it off to fill the government coffers, or it can destroy that contraband as it sees fit.
For most governments, that last option is usually reserved for illicit drugs since there’s no way you can resell them legally. With luxury cars, auctioning them off is the wisest choice since even if they were illegally obtained, the cars themselves are perfectly legal.
However, the Philippines has a corruption problem. Crime and gangs run rampant, according to the government, so if they were to auction the cars off they fear that they’d just fall back into the hands of the same criminals they were confiscated from.
So instead, the Philippines crushes them. All $5.5 million worth.
There’s a lot of things that $5.5 million can buy other than luxury cars: schools, hospitals, public healthcare. But no, in the Philippines, the only thing to do with illegally smuggled cars is crush them to send a message to smugglers everywhere.
What that message it seems to be how to improperly dispose of seized material.
The Philippine government seized a total of 76 luxury cars and bikes imported by illegal smuggling. Among them were at least one Porsche Carrera S, one Mercedes SLK 280, and one Lamborghini Gallardo. You can tell from the officially published images of the event.
Pres. Duterte witnesses the condemnation and public destruction of contraband luxury vehicles and motorbikes at Port Irene in Sta. Ana, Cagayan on July 30, 2018. #TatakNgPagbabago pic.twitter.com/QIDv4Eh2q0— Presidential Comm (@pcoogov) July 31, 2018
This isn’t the first time the Philippines has crushed rather than sell seized cars. In February, they crushed a total of 30 luxury vehicles and did it again in March with 14 more. The crushing of 68 luxury cars and 8 motorcycles on Monday represents the largest public destruction of seized vehicles in the current administration’s history.
You can’t help but mourn for the cars, though. They never did anything wrong. They didn’t deserve such a fate. It was the people who smuggled them that broke the law, but the cars suffer the consequences. It’s a crying shame, really.