Pimentel saddened by referral of MIF bill to Senate banks panel

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III said on Thursday, January 26, he is saddened that his motion to refer the controversial Maharlike Investment Fund (MIF) bill to the Senate Committee on Government Corporations and Public Enterprises was not considered by his colleagues.

Pimentel had sought to transfer the controversial Maharlika fund bill from the Senate Committee on Banks headed by Sen. Mark Villar to the government corporations panel headed by Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano.

"I believe the Maharlika bill doesn’t create a financial institution but it definitely establishes a government-owned corporation,’’ Pimentel said in a text message to reporters.

"Kakalungkot (it is sad), but that is the reality in law-making and politics," the Senate minority chief added.

Senate Deputy Minority Leader Risa Hontiveros also voted for Pimentel's motion. Nineteen (19) senators led by Senate President Juan Miguel "Migz" Zubiri voted against Pimentel’s motion.

During the plenary session on Wednesday, January 25, Pimentel argued that the "correct and proper committee to be the primary committee" would be the Committee on Government Corporations and Public Enterprises.

"Because undoubtedly, the two bills create a GOCC (government-owned or controlled corporation), but it does not create a bank, it is not about currency. But is it about the third subject matter of financial institution of the committee that we referred it to? Hindi po (no, it was not)," the senator said.

Senator Francis Tolentino said that "there is no government corporation in existence which would handle the Maharlika Investment Fund.

"No amendments to a government corporation in existence would be under the jurisdiction of the committee," Tolentino said, adding that the mere mention of GFIs or government financial institutions, which is still a work in progress, "would not be sufficient to lodge specifically on the said committee" the MIF bill.

After the voting, Senate then referred the MIF bill to the banks committee as the primary committee, and to the government corporations panel as the secondary committee.