Senate Minority Leader Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III on Thursday batted for the recall of the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) bill so that Congress can address its "glaring errors and discrepancies."

"Recalling the approval of the MIF and returning it to the floor is the sole remedy left for Congress if it is to correct and clarify the discrepancies and ambiguous provisions in the MIF. There is no shortcut," Pimentel said in a statement.

He added that there is a need to "save" President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. from signing an "erroneous" bill into law.

"The consequences of the President signing a bill containing glaring errors can be significant," Pimentel warned.

The minority chief issued a statement after pointing out errors in what he called a "hastily-approved" measure, including the double sections on prescriptive period.

One section of the MIF bill provides a 10-year prescription period for crimes punishable under the measure, while another section in the same bill provides for a 20-year prescription period.

For Pimentel, the different terms and prescriptive periods found on Sections 50 and 51 of MIF might really be two different things, which only the plenary can clarify.

By returning it to Congress, Pimentel said there will be more opportunities to fine-tune the measure and clarify the ambiguities surrounding the MIF bill.

Pimentel raised anew the possible falsification of legislative documents should the bill be corrected without Congress' approval.

"Congress's imprimatur is needed to rectify the MIF. The discrepancies and ambiguities found in the approved bill cannot be corrected without the risk of falsification of legislative documents,” he said.

Pimentel cited Article 170 of the Revised Penal Code which states that the penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period or fine not exceeding P1,200,000 shall be imposed upon any person who, without proper authority therefor alters any bill, resolution, or ordinance enacted or approved or pending approval of either House of Congress or any provincial board or municipal council.

Last Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva said the issue on the double sections on prescriptive periods for crimes stated under the MIF bill has already been addressed by Senator Mark Villar, the bill's sponsor in the Senate.

Villanueva said Villar is firm on the 10-year prescription period for crimes specified in the bill.

Currently, Villanueva said the secretariat is in the process "of cleaning up the bill and finalizing the [typographical] errors and other clerical errors to avoid inconsistencies," but clarified that these finishing touches do not mean amending, deleting, or adding to what the members of the Senate intend to pass.

In an interview on Super Radyo dzBB on Thursday, Villar stressed the importance of the MIF as an additional capital and a vehicle to attract foreign investments to the Philippines, especially in the infrastructure sector.

According to Villar, there are many foreign businesses that are interested in investing in the Philippines but there is no "vehicle" for them to make that investment.

"Sa ngayon kasi po, ako po ay galing sa infrastructure sector at marami sa mga projects natin lalo na ang mga big-ticket ay galing po sa Overseas Development Assistance. Yun ang mga loans na galing abroad. Kaya sa pamamagitan ng Maharlika, puwede tayo kumuha ng puhunan galing sa abroad at ang puhunan na 'yan ay puwede natin gamitin sa ating mga projects," he said.

The MIF bill will be up for Marcos' signature once the Senate transmitted its final version to Malacañang.KBK, GMA Integrated News

This article Koko bats for 'recall' of Maharlika bill to fix 'errors, discrepancies' was originally published in GMA News Online.

2023-06-08T08:10:54Z dg43tfdfdgfd