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Saturday, April 13, 2024

‘House to address Maharlika issues’

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The House of Representatives will address legal concerns on the Maharlika Investment Fund law, Speaker Martin Romualdez said Wednesday, as he maintained that “due legislative processes” were followed in passing the measure.

This developed after the Supreme Court, in an en banc ruling Tuesday, required Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, the House and the Senate to file within 10 days their comment to the petition questioning the constitutionality of the measure.

“It is crucial to underscore that the creation of the Maharlika Investment Fund aims to provide the country with a mechanism for financial stability and economic growth. We have followed due legislative processes in crafting and enacting this law, keeping in mind the best interests of the Filipino people,” Romualdez said.

“The House of Representatives, under my leadership as the Speaker, affirms its commitment to the rule of law and will duly submit our comment within the ten-day timeframe,” he added.

The High Court directed Malacanang and Congress to comment in 10 days on the petition and on the plea for temporary restraining order to stop the implementation of the Maharlika Fund, which now has a seed capital of P150 billion.

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“We respect the Supreme Court’s directive for the executive and legislative branches of government to provide their response concerning Republic Act 11954 the Maharlika Investment Fund Act of 2023,” Romualdez said.

“It is important for the public to know that our intent was always to ensure transparency, accountability, and financial prudence in the management of public funds. We will thoroughly review the petition’s claims to ensure the Fund’s integrity and our adherence to the Constitution,” he added.

The petition was filed by Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, former congressman and Bayan Muna chairman Neri Javier Colmenares, and former Bayan Muna congressmen Carlos Isagani Zarate and Ferdinand Gaite.

The petitioners cited three “serious grounds” in seeking the unconstitutionality of the Maharlika Investment Fund Act: it violates Section 26 (2), Article VI, of the 1987 Constitution; it did not comply with the test of economic viability as mandated under Section 16, Article XII of the Constitution; and it violated the independence of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

On Monday, Diokno said the Maharlika Investment Corp. could be operational by the first quarter of 2024.

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