The controversial Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) Bill was approved on third and final reading on Thursday night, Dec. 15, during the House of Representatives' last plenary session for the year.
Although the measure was comfortably passed by the House during nominal voting, it wasn't unanimous. Six House members voted "no" to House Bill (HB) No.6608, which is also referred to as the Philippine sovereign wealth fund.
The six solons who voted against the MIF were Makabayan bloc members Gabriela Party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas, ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. France Castro, and Kabataan Party-list Rep. Raoul Manuel. The three are identified with the House minority bloc.
Also voting in the negative were their fellow minority members Basilan lone district Rep. Mujiv Hataman and Camarines Sur 3rd district Rep. Gabriel Bordado Jr.
Albay 1st district. Edcel Lagman, the self-styled independent minority member of the House, rounded up the six lawmakers who opposed HB No.6608 during nominal voting.
Lagman, Hataman, and Bordado are members the Liberal Party (LP).
"This is a poorly and hastily designed sovereign wealth fund that has all the indications of opening pathways to corruption and unscrupulous use of public funds, as this proposal institutes various regulatory exemptions to the Maharlika Investment Corporation," Brosas said during the explanation of her "no" vote.
"If we really need additional resources to fund social welfare programs, we need to run after big tax evaders. We need to tax the super-rich – those Filipino billionairies listed in the Forbes magazine – through our proposed wealth tax," she added.
Castro, for her part, claimed that there were "many red flags" in HB No.6608.
"Kung hindi pa nagkaroon ng malakas na pagtutol ang taong-bayan laban sa panukalang batas ay hindi pa ibubukas ang pagdinig ng panukalang batas sa publiko (If not for the public's loud opposition to the proposed law, then the hearings on it wouldn't have been opened to the public.