Binay explains why she abstained from crucial Maharlika bill voting
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Nancy Binay chose silence and avoided taking a definitive stand when Senate was holding a decisive vote on the controversial Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) bill.
Binay on Thursday explained why she decided to abstain from voting on the contentious proposal when the chamber decided on it early Wednesday.
“Sinuri po natin at tinimbang—ngunit sadyang kulang. (We studied it and weighed it, but it simply fell short.),” she said in a statement.
The lawmaker recalled months-long deliberations and revisions done on the MIF bill just left her with more questions than answers.
“I do understand the need to come up with something different to jolt and jumpstart our economy, and I, likewise, see the need to create fresh income sources to generate long-term economic growth and create jobs for our people. I just cannot turn a blind eye on development and say no,” she said.
But Binay observed there was still a lack of balance on the content of the MIF bill.
“I found no compelling reason either to say, ‘Yes, the MIF is a better medicine for the country.’ Or deny the fact that the risks are far greater than its claimed benefits,” she said.
Binay said the proposal failed to prove itself as a measure that would promote the interests of the Filipino people and safeguard the funds that need protecting.
“Personally, I have concerns about the Maharlika Investment Fund not falling within the necessary operational safety nets and parameters. We don’t want the ‘Big If’ in the Maharlika Fund to be dragged [into] the ‘Big Unknown,’” she said.
The senator also underscored the duty of elected officials “to set the highest premium in safeguarding the interest of the people we serve.”
“For all these reasons, I decided to abstain while hoping that the MIF would live up to its claim as a tool for economic development. Let not the MIF be a ‘Big Mistake,’” she warned.
Despite the fierce pushback from critics questioning the need and timing of the measure, an overwhelming number of 19 senators still voted in favor of MIF bill.
Opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros rejected the proposal, while Binay abstained.
Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III, Senator Francis Escudero, and presidential sister, Senator Imee Marcos, were not present on the floor to cast their votes.
The three lawmakers had previously raised concerns on the controversial MIF bill.
MIF bill, which had been certified as urgent by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., secured the approval of Congress in just a few months since the proposal first came to light.
Now, it’s up to the Chief Executive to decide the fate of the proposed MIF – which he once claimed to be his brainchild.