Speaker: MIF passage followed charter


SPEAKER Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez on Tuesday defended the enactment of Republic Act (RA) 11954, or the Maharlika Investment Fund Act of 2023, stressing that its passage in Congress was done in compliance with the 1987 Constitution.

Romualdez made a statement after Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, together with former representatives of the Bayan Muna Party-list group Neri Colmenares, Carlos Isagani Zarate and Ferdinand Gaite, filed a petition before the Supreme Court on Monday seeking to declare unconstitutional the Maharlika Investment Fund Act of 2023.

“We respect the democratic process and the right of every individual to seek legal redress. The House of Representatives, under my leadership, has always prioritized the observance of legislative procedures and adherence to the Constitution,” he said.

“Regarding the amendments, it is not uncommon for bills to undergo changes as they pass through the legislative mill, but we ensure these are done within the bounds of our Constitution and established procedures,” he added.

According to Romualdez, the Maharlika Investment Fund Act was passed with the intention of driving economic growth, addressing poverty, and creating job opportunities for Filipinos.

“The certification of the bill as urgent was determined with this vision in mind,” he added.

“We trust the wisdom of the Supreme Court to evaluate the merits of the petition and to arrive at a just and fair decision,” he said.

Romualdez said Congress is prepared to cooperate fully with the Supreme Court and to provide any necessary clarifications.

“In these times, it is more crucial than ever that we focus on what will uplift and benefit the Filipino people. Let us keep the best interests of our nation at heart,” he added.

In seeking to declare RA 11954 unconstitutional, the petitioners raised the following arguments: it is void because it was passed in violation of Section 26(2) Article Vi of the 1987 Constitution; the test of economic viability as mandated under Section 16 of Article XII of the Constitution was not complied with prior to the creation of the Maharlika Investment Corporation; and that the said law violates the independence of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas as provided under Section 20 of Article XII of the 1987 Constitution.

They noted that the presidential certification of the Maharlika Bill in the House and in the Senate did not comply with the requirements under Article VI, Section 26 of the Constitution, which include: the existence of a public calamity or emergency; the necessity of the immediate enactment of a law to meet such a public calamity or emergency; and such “immediacy” that would justify the doing away of the necessary legislative requirement of three readings on separate days.

Under Article VI, Section 26(2) of the 1987 Constitution, a bill becomes a law only if it passes three readings on three separate days, except if Malacanang certifies it as an urgent measure.