Speaker ready to defend Maharlika law before SC
MANILA, Philippines — Speaker Martin Romualdez on Monday maintained that the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) law had undergone “established procedures” and everything was done with respect to the 1987 Constitution, as he assured that they would “cooperate fully” with the Supreme Court (SC).
Romualdez made the assurance after a petition was submitted to the Supreme Court questioning the constitutionality of the controversial sovereign wealth fund that was signed by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in July.
The Maharlika bill was certified as urgent by Marcos and was coauthored by most lawmakers in the House of Representatives but with objections from the opposition. Romualdez was among the co-authors of the bill.
In a statement, Romualdez noted that the MIF Act was passed “with the intention to drive economic growth, address poverty, and create job opportunities for Filipinos.”
“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 said.
Romualdez said he respects the democratic process to seek legal redress on the law and stressed that his leadership in the House “has always prioritized the observance of legislative procedures and adherence to the Constitution.”
On Monday, a petition for certiorari and prohibition was filed before the high court asking it to declare the MIF as unconstitutional. It was filed by Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III, Bayan Muna chairperson and lawyer Neri Colmenares, and former Bayan Muna Reps. Carlos Zarate and Ferdinand Gaite.
They challenged whether the MIF was within the Constitution’s bounds, claiming it was a “dangerous law.”
The House of Representatives was named one of the respondents of the petition, along with the Senate, Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, and Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno.
“We trust the wisdom of the Supreme Court to evaluate the merits of the petition and to arrive at a just and fair decision,” Romualdez said. “We are prepared to cooperate fully with the Court and to provide any necessary clarifications.”
Kabataan Rep. Raoul Manuel, one of the lawmakers who voted against the law during plenary deliberations, welcomed the petition questioning the legality of the MIF.
“Protecting the savings and funds of the public is protecting the future of the next generation,” Manuel said in Filipino in a statement to the Inquirer. “Before anything else, it is better if the Supreme Court will be involved in this and we hope they will be in favor of the law and public.”
Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman, who also voted against the MIF, told the Inquirer: “I think it is better that [the law] will be challenged at the SC so we will know if it is constitutional or not.”