Pimentel: Largest black mark in Senate 2023 grade is MIF's rushed passage | Inquirer News

Pimentel: Largest black mark in Senate 2023 grade is MIF’s rushed passage

/ 11:31 AM December 31, 2023

RIGHT TO TRAVEL VS HUMAN TRAFFICKING: Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III reminds officials of the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation (BID) to balance the rights of Filipinos to travel and the duties of the government to solve the problem of human trafficking and illegal recruitment. “I know we need to balance this system (E-Gate) with our desire to provide our fellow Filipinos with less hassle in going out of the country with our concern with human trafficking and illegal recruitment,” Pimentel said. During Tuesday’s plenary debate on November 14, 2023 on the proposed 2024 budget of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and its attached agencies, Pimentel asked about the information and communication technology (ICT) project of the BID worth P2.67 billion which includes the implementation of E-Gate project that aims to improve the processing of international passengers and reduce the long queue at the airport’s immigration area. The BID’s E-Gates are equipped with modern security features such as facial recognition, biometric scanning, bar code reading and smart card recognition, all rolled into one system to detect travelers with derogative records. (Voltaire F. Domingo/Senate PRIB)

Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III speaks during a Senate plenary debate. (File photo from Voltaire Domingo/Senate PRIB)

MANILA, Philippines — Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III tagged what he called the “rushed passage” of the Maharlika Investment Fund bill in Senate as the “largest black mark” in the performance of Senate this year.

While Pimentel acknowledged that the 2023 chamber headed by Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri is diligent in passing bills, he stressed that some issues remain.


“May issue lang ako sa kanila. Naisahan nila kami eh,” senator said.


(I just have an issue with them. They outplayed us.)

“Pagdating sa Maharlika Investment Fund na panukalang batas, naisahan po kami ng majority doon,” he recalled.

(When it comes to Maharlika Investment Fund bill, the majority outplayed us.)

“Pinutol nila ‘yung panahon sa interpellation eh,” explained Pimentel on Sunday over DZBB.

(They cut the time for the interpellation.)

Prior approval of the controversial measure, MIF bill’s sponsor, Senator Mark Villar, and Pimentel had argued over ways to end the interpellations on the bill.


Noting the unfamiliarity of the proposal, Pimentel said it was critical to subject it first to rigorous questioning before voting on it.

But Villar refused to answer more queries, claiming that the chamber already debated on the bill extensively.

“Sabi nila, landmark law ito,” Pimentel remembered.

(They say this is a landmark law.)

“Napakahalagang batas na ito kasi ito nga ang pangunahing “sovereign wealth fund” o investment fund na pamumunuan ng estado ng gobyerno,” Pimentel emphasized.

(This is a very important law because it is the main “sovereign wealth fund” or investment fund to be managed by the state.)

“First time natin itong gagawin, tapos bawal magtanong? Hindi papatapusin ang mga tanong?” he had wondered.

(This is the first time we’re going to do this, but we’re not allowed to ask? We won’t be allowed to finish the questions?)

“Yan ang malaking black mark ng Senate majority sa taong ito,” Pimentel concluded during the interview.

(That is the biggest black mark of Senate majority this year.)

According to Pimentel, a patriotic legislator would not join in the rush to pass the MIF bill.

“If you love your country, you won’t do that, especially if it’s a very important law and a new idea,” he said.

“You won’t do that and yet they did it,” he lamented.

Asked what may be the motive behind this, Pimentel simply said – to please the President.

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Despite his dismay over the MIF’s enactment into law, Pimentel said he is still impressed with the solidarity and unity of the Senate majority in 2023.

TAGS: 2023, MIF, Pimentel, Senate

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