Romualdez respects petition vs Maharlika fund but insists it’s constitutional
MANILA, Philippines — House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez has assured the public that the legislative steps taken to create the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) were in line with the 1987 Constitution amid a petition seeking to declare the fund unconstitutional.
Romualdez, in a statement on Tuesday, said that he respects the right of individuals to question the legality of laws passed by Congress, as it is part of the democratic processes.
The Speaker said this after Senate Minority Leader Koko Pimentel and three former Bayan Muna representatives filed a petition before the Supreme Court (SC) seeking to stop the MIF rollout.
“We respect the democratic process and the right of every individual to seek legal redress. The House of Representatives, under my leadership, has always prioritized the observance of legislative procedures and adherence to the Constitution,” Romualdez said.
“Regarding the amendments, it is not uncommon for bills to undergo changes as they pass through the legislative mill, but we ensure these are done within the bounds of our Constitution and established procedures,” he added.
About allegations that the bill’s passage was fast-tracked, Romualdez maintains that its certification as urgent was only meant to address the country’s pressing problems.
Romualdez and other proponents of the MIF, the country’s first sovereign wealth fund, claim that it will remove some burden from the country’s limited annual budget for bankrolling big-ticket projects.
“The Maharlika Investment Fund Act was passed with the intention to drive economic growth, address poverty, and create job opportunities for Filipinos. The certification of the bill as urgent was determined with this vision in mind,” the Speaker noted.
“We trust the wisdom of the Supreme Court to evaluate the merits of the petition and to arrive at a just and fair decision. We are prepared to cooperate fully with the Court and to provide any necessary clarifications. In these times, it is more crucial than ever that we focus on what will uplift and benefit the Filipino people. Let us keep the best interests of our nation at heart,” he added.
In their 59-page petition for certiorari and prohibition, Pimentel and former Bayan Muna lawmakers Neri Colmenares, Carlos Zarate, and Ferdinand Gaite claimed that the MIF was rushed and Congress disregarded correct legislative steps under the 1987 Constitution.
Their petition asks for the four steps against the MIF:
- Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order and/or Preliminary Injunction and/or Status Quo Ante Order to stop the implementation of Republic Act No. 11954
- Giving due course to the petition
- Set oral arguments
- Declare R.A. No. 11954 as unconstitutional and void.
The MIF was signed into law by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. last July 18. The original version of the bill was filed in the House of Representatives last November 28 but was swiftly approved before Congress adjourned its session last December after Marcos certified the bill as urgent.
In the Senate, the counterpart measure was approved after nine days. Marcos certified the bill as urgent.