Koko: Return P75 billion Maharlika funding to DBP, Landbank

Cecille Suerte Felipe - The Philippine Star
Koko: Return P75 billion Maharlika funding to DBP, Landbank
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. signs the Maharlika bill into law.

MANILA, Philippines — While the executive department is still “perfecting” the Maharlika Investment Fund, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III is calling for the immediate return of P75 billion to the government-run banks.

Pimentel said the process of “perfecting” the MIF, which has yet to constitute the Maharlika Investment Corp., will take a long time and returning the money to the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) and Land Bank of the Philippines is the practical thing to do.

He maintained that the law constituting the MIF is unconstitutional.

“I stand by what I said, it is unconstitutional. So therefore, they should just abandon the Maharlika project. In the meantime, to be practical, return the Landbank and DBP money. Otherwise it will sleep there for a long time because they still have to perfect it. It still needs to be organized (as a) corporation,” Pimentel said in Filipino over dzBB.

Pimentel, a bar topnotcher, noted that the petition he and several others filed before the Supreme Court to declare the MIF unconstitutional remains pending.

In calling for the immediate return of the P75 billion, he pointed out that both Landbank and DBP could not use or touch the fund for as long as it remains allotted to the MIF.

“That (money) is sleeping. It is still a long way before this MIC becomes operational. We still need to choose individuals to compose the board, its governing body… then hire a manager. They have to hire investor experts, buy their computers, and do computer analysis. It will take months or years,” Pimentel said partly in Filipino.

“So for a long time, the Landbank’s P50 billion (and DBP’s P25 billion) will sleep in the Bureau of Treasury. Nothing will be spent yet as the government has yet to constitute the MIC, (including) the board. The managers will propose where to put the money. The board is not there yet, nothing is there yet. It’s still far-fetched,” he added.

Pimentel earlier called on Malacañang to abandon the MIF as he welcomed its initial pronouncement that President Marcos ordered the fund’s implementation suspended. Marcos later clarified they were just trying to perfect the MIF.

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