Debates over Maharlika Investment Fund rules continue
MANILA, Philippines — While Speaker Martin Romualdez on Sunday maintained that the revised implementing guidelines of the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) would shield the sovereign fund from dirty politics, an opposition lawmaker claimed the revisions only opened up the MIF board to political meddling.
Romualdez insisted that the final implementing rules and regulations (IRR) would protect the fund from any political interference, saying, “This move is a significant step toward enhancing corporate governance and ensuring that the MIF is managed with the utmost transparency and accountability.”
“The autonomy of the MIC [Maharlika Investment Corp.] board allows for more objective and effective decision-making, free from undue political influence. This is crucial in overseeing a fund of this magnitude, which is pivotal to our nation’s economic growth,” he pointed out.
The speaker further said that the final IRR clarified the MIC board’s discretionary powers and ensured “adherence to the law and alignment with the nation’s socioeconomic development program.”
According to Romualdez, “President Marcos’ directive to review and strengthen the IRR of the MIF underscores the importance of safeguarding this national asset,” adding that the MIC board composition would guarantee a “well-rounded perspective in managing the fund” with its members being highly respected and experienced leaders from both the public and private sectors.
But ACT Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro pointed out that safeguards were removed and the qualifications of the MIC board of directors lowered in the new guidelines.
In a statement on Sunday, Castro, who is House deputy minority leader, emphasized the “lack of thorough scrutiny and the potential risks” of revisions on the MIF’s final IRR.
According to Castro, the revised IRR reduced the specific responsibilities of the audit and risk management committees and lowered the educational and professional experience requirements for top positions in the MIC.
She pointed out: “While these changes grant the board of directors greater power and independence, they also give rise to concerns regarding accountability and transparency.
“The removal of crucial safeguards and qualifications in the revised IRR raises doubts about the potential for political interference and the absence of checks and balances.”
“The President’s increased authority to select the board of directors further raises questions about the independence and integrity of the fund and poses a danger to people’s funds,” she added.
Castro stressed that giving the MIC board more autonomy should not outweigh the importance of preserving significant safeguards and qualifications, adding, “The focus should be on ensuring accountability and safeguarding public funds, rather than granting unchecked power to a select few.”