Hontiveros snipes at ‘ridiculously low’ penalty for violators of Maharlika Investment Fund policy
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Risa Hontiveros on Wednesday spoke out against the “ridiculously” low sanctions for violators of the Maharlika Investment Fund policies to ensure accountability of public officials who will handle the funds.
At the Senate committee on banks, financial institutions, and currencies session, Hontiveros criticized the fines as being insufficient for a fund worth billions of pesos.
“‘Yung penal provision po ridiculously napakababa, considering na ‘yung Maharlika Investment Fund magha-handle ng billions of pesos,” she said.
(The penal provision is ridiculously low, considering that the Maharlika Investment Fund will handle billions of pesos.)
“Ni walang forfeiture ng ill-gotten wealth in favor of the government. Walang perpetual disqualification from public office for offenses committed by government officials na bahagi ng MIC (Maharlika Investment Corporation) Board. Likewise, walang provision sa event na ‘yung funds invested ay gamitin sa money laundering,” added Hontiveros.
(There is no forfeiture of ill-gotten wealth in favor of the government. No perpetual disqualification from public office for offenses committed by government officials who are part of the MIC Board. Likewise, no provision in the event that funds would be used for money laundering.)
Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno responded that it is up to the lawmakers to impose a higher penalty if needed.
“That’s why we have to go through this process. If you want to propose amendments to the House version, it’s going to be up to you, legislators, to impose a higher penalty, if you feel that a higher penalty is called for,” Diokno said.
Under Senate Bill No. 1670, penalties range from P10,000 to P5 million. Imprisonment, meanwhile, will be from six years to 20 years.
Meanwhile, House Bill No. 6608 penalizes violators with fines amounting to P50,000 to P2 million and imprisonment of one year to five years.
Allies of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in both houses of Congress filed the Maharlika Investment Fund bills.
Marcos earlier certified the House’s Maharlika Investment Fund bill as urgent. The lower chamber approved their version in December last year.
Marcos Jr. certifies as urgent Maharlika Investment Fund bill
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