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Last-ditch effort to delay Maharlika's Senate approval fails

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
Last-ditch effort to delay Maharlika's Senate approval fails
Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III speaks at the Senate session on Monday, May 30, 2023 seeking clarification from Sen. Mark Villar, author of the bill establishing the controversial Maharlika Investment Fund, which had been marked "urgent" by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Senate PRIB / Released

MANILA, Philippines — The two-member Senate minority’s last-ditch attempt to stop the proposed Maharlika Investment Fund on its track towards approval failed Tuesday as their parliamentary maneuver was thwarted by the overwhelming vote of the majority.

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III and Sen. Risa Hontiveros, the only members of the minority bloc in the upper chamber, were the lone dissenters to Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri’s ruling against Pimentel’s motion to send back the Maharlika fund bill to the government corporations panel.

In contrast, 16 senators backed Zubiri’s ruling that the Senate had already tackled the matter, handily defeating Pimentel’s motion.

After delivering a nearly two-hour speech against the Maharlika fund bill, Pimentel moved to send back the measure to the government corporations panel, saying this was the committee that should have handled the proposal in the first place.

Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva objected to Pimentel’s motion. This was followed by a point of order from Sen. Francis Escudero who said the period to appeal the plenary referral of the Maharlika bill has passed.

But Pimentel insisted that he was not making an appeal, but a new motion, considering that the bill has been greatly changed since it was filed.

In January, Pimentel also tried to have the Maharlika fund bill referred to the government corporations panel chaired by Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano instead of Sen. Mark Villar’s banks committee.

Pimentel had argued the Senate was wrong to refer the Maharlika fund bills to Villar’s committee as he said these seek to create a government corporation and had nothing to do with banks, financial institutions or currencies.

The Senate minority leader again raised these arguments in his turno en contra speech saying, “Corporate concepts dominate the proposed bill. There is hardly any banking concept that is mentioned in the bill.”

He also appealed to the Senate to allow for more time for further scrutiny of the Maharlika fund, which he said will “lead us to the road of debt, debt and more debts like we are not swimming in an ocean of debts of more than P13 trillion.”

“Such a divisive, incomplete and unjustified idea needs more than 12 days, 12 weeks or even 12 months of discussion,” Pimentel said.

vuukle comment

AQUILINO PIMENTEL III

FRANCIS ESCUDERO

JOEL VILLANUEVA

JUAN MIGUEL ZUBIRI

MAHARLIKA INVESTMENT FUND

RISA HONTIVEROS

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