Maharlika fund

Dalipe: No definite timeline on Maharlika bill as holiday break nears

Dwight de Leon
Dalipe: No definite timeline on Maharlika bill as holiday break nears

HOUSE EXEC. Majority Leader Mannix Dalipe attends a flag raising ceremony in the House on October 3, 2022, to kick off the lower chamber's celebration of HRep Month.

House press and public affairs bureau

House Majority Leader Mannix Dalipe declines to confirm a panel chairman's statement that the House seeks to pass the controversial legislation before it adjourns for the holidays, saying only, 'It will reach second reading this December'

Will the House really try to pass the proposed Maharlika Wealth Fund before it goes on break on December 17?

House ways and means panel chairman Joey Salceda has said congressional leaders are targeting to fully approve the controversial legislation by December 12, sparking criticism from concerned groups who fear that the proposal is being railroaded.

But House Majority Leader Mannix Dalipe declined to double down on Salceda’s statement.

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“We do not have a definite timeline,” Dalipe told reporters on the sidelines of a Christmas party organized by Speaker Martin Romualdez with members of the media on Wednesday, December 7.

Asked whether that meant the bill will remain with the lower chamber until 2023, Dalipe added, “I cannot say, but as far as the committee on rules is concerned, it will reach second reading this December.”

(Romualdez and House Senior Deputy Majority Leader Sandro Marcos, who both briefly graced the Christmas party, declined requests to be interviewed on the matter.)

Dalipe: No definite timeline on Maharlika bill as holiday break nears

This is not the first time a House leader made an apparent attempt to distance himself from the timelines publicly committed by Salceda.

On Monday, December 6, Manila 5th District Representative Irwin Tieng, who chairs the banks committee which first handled the proposal, said he was not aware of a timeline that was mutually agreed upon by House executives on the bill’s passage.

“I guess he has some personal deadline, but that is not the stand of my committee,” Tieng had told Rappler.

During a public consultation conducted by Tieng’s panel, concerned groups urged the House not to rush the passage of House Bill No. 6398, saying there were still multiple unaddressed issues on transparency and safeguard mechanisms.

But advocates of the bill have brushed aside claims that the bill is being railroaded, saying that even if the proposal hurdles the House, it will still have to face scrutiny in the upper chamber, where senators are more lukewarm toward the proposal.

In proposing the establishment of a sovereign wealth fund, those pushing for it said they seek to maximize the Philippines’ investment opportunities, and generate bigger returns that will fund big ticket programs to propel economic development.

Seed capital of the Maharlika Wealth Fund – totaling at least P275 billion – will come from government pension funds and government banks.

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EXPLAINER: Does the P275-B ‘Maharlika Wealth Fund’ have any safeguards?

EXPLAINER: Does the P275-B ‘Maharlika Wealth Fund’ have any safeguards?

Advocates said the creation of a 15-member board led by the incumbent president – Ferdinand Marcos Jr. – will ward off opportunities for corruption in the proposed fund. – Rappler.com

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Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers the House of Representatives and the Commission on Elections for Rappler. Previously, he wrote stories on local government units.