House 'agreed' to adopt Senate version of Maharlika bill: senators

Jauhn Etienne Villaruel, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 31 2023 06:30 PM

Photo courtesy of Sen. Mark Villar's office.
Photo courtesy of Sen. Mark Villar's office.

MANILA — Lawmakers from the House of Representatives have "agreed" to adopt the Senate's version of the controversial bill on Maharlika Investment Fund, 2 senators said Wednesday, saying the compromise would address the public's concern over the measure. 

"We had a pre-bicam meeting this lunchtime, at pumayag po, nandoon po si Speaker Martin Romualdez, at pumayag po siya na i-adopt ang Senate version. Kaya napabilis yung adoption," Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said in a chance interview.

(Speaker Martin Romualdez agreed to adopt the Senate version, so it fast-tracked the adoption.)

The Senate approved on third and final reading its version of the Maharlika bill early morning Wednesday. The bicameral conference committee was convened hours later. 

"Most likely the House will adopt the Senate version," bill sponsor Sen. Mark Villar said in a press briefing after the bicam.

Villar said that during the bicam meeting, House lawmakers aired some "concerns" about the Senate version of the bill.

"Meron din silang concerns... Nakinig kami, but ultimately we believe maa-adopt ang Senate version," he said.

(They also had concerns. We listened, but ultimately, we believe the Senate version would be adopted.)

Videos from office of Sen. Mark Vilar; Jauhn Etienne Villaruel, ABS-CBN News

Zubiri said the Senate was eyeing to ratify the measure on Wednesday afternoon.

President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. earlier certified the Maharlika bill as urgent despite criticism from some lawmakers, economists and other groups.

The bill has been revised several times due to controversial provisions such as the use of funds from the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and the Social Security System (SSS.)

In the Senate version, Zubiri said investing pension funds in Maharlika was explicitly prohibited.

"I am very proud of this measure, I am very proud of the Senate version, because of the safeguards that we put in place," he said.

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