Conflicting provisions won’t affect validity, constitutionality of MIF, says Drilon
MANILA, Philippines — Despite containing conflicting provisions, the controversial Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) bill is still considered valid and may be transmitted to the President for signature, former Senate President Franklin Drilon said on Thursday.
The recently approved bill contains two provisions on the prescriptive period of crimes punishable under the measure— Section 50 sets the prescription period at 10 years while Section 51 sets it at 20 years.
For Drilon, however, this conflict is not an issue at this point.
“If the law becomes effective today and the offense was committed, it is an issue that can be addressed and will only become questionable after 10 years if you can still file the case — is it 10 years or 20 years?”
“So at this stage, that should not be an issue because it affects prescription and prescription does not come in to play until 10 years from now,” the former Justice secretary and Senate president explained in an interview with Senate reporters.
Drilon said these two conflicting provisions would not also affect the validity of the measure.
“The issue is, given this conflict between these two provisions, does it affect the validity of the bill? No, it does not,” he said.
When asked then if Congress can transmit the bill to the President for signature, Drilon categorically answered yes.
He recalled a similar incident in the past when there was an issue with the validity of amendments introduced by the House of Representatives in the budget bill.
Upon his advice, Drilon said the Senate indicated its reservation to the amendments but still proceeded to transmit the measure to Malacañang.
Drilon said it also just normal for senators to commit errors especially when they are in a rush to approve the Maharlika bill, which was certified as urgent by the President.
“But let me reiterate this does not affect the validity of the bill assuming that it’s signed because thats the policy of the government. Number 2, the issue will not be material until after 10 years,” he stressed.
Drilon further stressed that the conflicting provisions would not strengthen the case against the bill in case it is brought before the Supreme Court.
“No, the conflict in these two provisions would not affect its validity or constitutionality,” he pointed out.
Like all other measures, there’s a separability clause in the Maharlika bill which states that the “finding of unconstitutionality of one section does not affect the bill itself.”
“So if the bill is constitutional, the fact that there are conflicting provisions will not make it invalid,” Drilon said.
After the measure is enacted into a law, he said, any lawmaker can later file a bill to correct the error.