THE SENATE minority leader has called President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.’s plan to do a “soft launch” overseas of a still unapproved wealth fund a “ploy” to force the bill’s passage in the upper chamber.
“It is more than a marketing strategy, it’s a move to tie the hands of Congress, particularly the Senate, on the controversial measure,” Senate Minority Floor Leader Aquilino Martin “Koko” D. Pimentel III said in a statement on Sunday.
Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Carlos D. Sorreta said during a Thursday briefing that the President plans to do the launch during his five-day visit to Switzerland this week for the World Economic Forum (WEF).
“The WEF is a great venue to do a sort of soft launch for our sovereign wealth fund, given the prominence of the forum itself and the global and business leaders who will be there, and they will hear directly from the President the fundamentals that we have that led us to decide that we should have a sovereign wealth fund,” he said.
Mr. Pimentel cautioned against promoting the still non-existent Maharlika Investment Fund, which is contained in a bill swiftly approved by the House of Representatives but still up for deliberation at the Senate.
“It is too early, too premature,” he said. “Is he sure that the bill will pass the Senate?”
Mr. Pimentel has publicly expressed opposition to the measure, saying such a financial pool was prone to abuse and corruption, citing scandals in Malaysia relating to a similar fund.
He also noted that the proposed bill lacks transparency mechanisms.
“Instead of focusing our limited resources on the Maharlika Investment Fund bill, let’s debate on legislation that will improve the lives of our countrymen, control inflation and create opportunities,” Mr. Pimentel said. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan