Padilla: MIF should be handled with transparency, accountability

Transparency and accountability - including the certainty of jail for mismanagement - should be the main considerations in the handling of the Maharlika Investment Fund, Senator Robinhood "Robin" C. Padilla said Tuesday, March 21.

In a TV interview, Padilla said he is fed up with instances of mishandling of public funds where those found liable in investigations escape being jailed.

"Dito sa pagkakataong ito, No. 1 transparency. Alam ng tao kung saan pupunta ang pera. At sinong pumalpak dito, dapat makulong. Hindi ito pwedeng sorry lang kasi pera ng taumbayan ito (Here, the top consideration is transparency. People should know where the funds will go. And any mishandling of the funds must lead to prison terms. Apologies are not enough because we are talking about the people's money)," he explained.

"Ako sawang sawa na ako na pag may dinadala sa Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, laging sorry, walang nakukulong, walang nag-resign (I am tired of seeing people just say sorry after a Senate investigation - no one gets jailed, no one resigns)," he added.

”Kailangan may accountability and transparency. Kasi pera ng tao ito. Tandaan ninyo, DBP, LBP, pera ng tao ito. Hindi ito pera ninuman (There should be accountability and transparency because this is the people's money. Remember that the funds from the Development Bank and Land Bank of the Philippines are the people's funds and no one else's)," Padilla stressed.

Padilla, likewise, noted that while the Maharlika Fund is expected to attract foreign direct investments (FDI), he reiterated the need to amend the Constitution's economic provisions to allow such capital to enter the country.

He said this is why he continues to move for amending the Charter's economic provisions and having them approved via Constituent Assembly (Con-Ass), and ratified through a plebiscite timed with the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections in October.

Also, he said he remains hopeful his efforts in the Senate would not reach a dead end.

"Magiging dead end lang ito pag tinanggal nila ako as chairman ng Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes. Pero hangga’t hindi ako tinatanggal tuloy tuloy ito... Malaki ang aking paniwala with the help of God Almighty naniniwala ako na naintindihan nila na kailangan na ng amendment sa economic provision lang (Moves to amend the Constitution's economic provisions will reach a dead end only if I am removed as chairman of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes. So long as I am not removed, I will continue. I believe with the help of God, my fellow senators realize the need to amend the economic provisions of the Constitution)," he said.

"Talagang evolving, ganoon po talaga ang Constitution. Ang Constitution kailangan buhay di yan patay. Ang Constitution na patay walang mangyayari sa bansa natin (Our Constitution should always be evolving, it should be alive. If it is stagnant, nothing will happen to our country)," he added.