Pimentel slams plan to ‘soft launch’ Maharlika wealth fund bill in Davos trip

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Sunday, January 15 criticized the Marcos administration’s plans to do a “soft launch” for the proposed Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland this week.

Pimentel said the move is apparently a ploy to force the Senate into passing the controversial sovereign wealth fund bill.

“It is more than a marketing strategy, it’s a move to tie the hands of Congress, particularly the Senate, on the controversial measure,” Pimentel said in a statement.

The President is scheduled to leave for Switzerland to attend the WEF from January 16 to 20. The Davos trip would be the eighth international travel of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. since he took office last June 30, 2022.

Pimentel cautioned the government against promoting the yet non-existing Maharlika Investment Fund bill at the WEF.

“It is too early, too premature...Sigurado ba silang lulusot sa Senado yang Maharlika Investment Fund bill?” the Senate’s chief fiscalizer pointed out.

The senator warned that pursuing such move would only put pressure on the Upper Chamber to expedite the passage of the measure at the expense of more pressing legislation.

Pimentel reiterated his opposition to the creation of the MIF saying the fund is prone to abuse and corruption similar to what happened in Malaysia.

Likewise, the lawmaker said concerns about the lack of transparency mechanisms hound the bill.

“Instead of focusing our limited resources on the Maharlika Investment Fund bill, let’s debate on legislation that will improve the lives of our countrymen, control inflation and create opportunities,” the senator emphasized.

Aside from Pimentel, fellow minority Sen. Risa Hontiveros also raised concerns over the revival of the proposed bill that she described is a revival of the martial law dictatorship.

President Marcos’ sister, Senator Imee Marcos, had also expressed concern over the proposal echoing Pimentel’s fear the wealth fund could suffer the same fate as Malaysia’s 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), which was hounded by graft issues.