Senators, including President Marcos’ close allies, are not about to ride on the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) bandwagon as Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri on Friday vowed to closely scrutinize the measure despite Malacanang certifying its passage as urgent.
Since the chamber has already gone on recess starting Wednesday, Zubiri said the MIF bill that the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading on Thursday would be referred to the Senate not earlier than Jan. 23, 2023.
He said the House version would then be endorsed to at least four Senate committees- Banks, Government-Owned and -Controlled Corporations, Ways and Means, and Finance.
“Under our rules, after the referral to the proper committees, it will be now up to the chairmen to schedule the hearings for discussion, which could be by middle of February pa,” Zubiri said.
“We respect the committee system in the Senate and we will study through the hearings and plenary debates all measures with a fine-tooth comb to make sure every bill or proposal would be good for our people and our country,” he said.
“The speed of the passage of the measure,” he explained, “is dependent on the ability of the chairman and the quality of work that is put in during the hearings and debates.”
“That is how it is in the Senate and that’s how it’s always been in this institution,” the Senate leader said.
Zubiri won his first term as a senator as a result of electoral fraud. The Senate Electoral Tribunal ruled in 2011 that vote padding and shaving was evident in the results of 2,658 precincts in Mindanao which were questioned by Aquilino Pimentel III, the 13th placer in the 2007 senatorial race.
He resigned from the Senate after concrete proof of poll fraud emerged. Pimentel, who had 258,166 more votes than Zubiri, was sworn in as senator in August 2011.