Senate President Migz Zubiri as he appears during a media forum in Manila hosted by PhilStar’s Marichu Villanueva (Photo by Benjie Cuaresma)
By Junex Doronio
January 11, 2023
MANILA — Just like the colloquial phrase “Jele jele, bago quiere”, the Senate — dominated by pro-administration allies — will likely pass the controversial Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) which measure was certified as urgent by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
Stressing that he wants to see the MIF as a “safe investment”, Senate President Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri said the Senate will seek a briefing with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Department of Finance (DOF) regarding the creation of the proposed sovereign wealth fund.
“I invited [Finance] Secretary [Ben] Diokno and Secretary Menah Pangandaman to brief us on the first week of the session. Ang plano namin by January 24 we will be briefed on this Mahalika Fund,” Zubiri said on Wednesday, January 11, at the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum hosted by Marichu Villanueva of the Philippine Star.
He disclosed that the senators are “open to the idea” and do not oppose the measure’s passage.
However, Zubiri pointed out that they want to be assured that the provisions of the bill will not be “prone to abuse, misuse or leakage which is corruption.”
To recall, there was a public outcry when the proposed funds of MIF would be sourced from the Social Security System (SSS) and the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) prompting the bill authors to scrap the provision.
Zubiri also aired support for the removal of pension funds as the source for the MIF creation.
The MIF bill seeks to maximize the investible funds of state-run financial institutions and ultimately increase public funds for nation-building.
Under the proposed bill, the MIF would be funded by the investible resources of the Landbank of the Philippines (P50 billion), the Development Bank of the Philippines (P25 billion), and the dividends/profits of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas or for a total of P110 initial funding.
“It’s all over but the shouting,” some political analysts who asked for anonymity said.
They noted that of the 24 senators, only two — Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III and Senator Risa Hontiveros — belong to the opposition.
“Jele jele, bago quiere” is a colloquial term combining Tagalog and Spanish words.
Jele or hele is the Tagalog word for lullaby or to lull one into submission or sleep while “bago” is Tagalog for before and “quiere” is Spanish for like or want.
Thus, this term refers to a person or an attitude demonstrated by a person who is trying to play coy or uninterested but wants more prodding before finally agreeing.
Last December 15, 2022, the House of Representatives led by presidential cousin House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez approved on the third and final reading the bill creating the MIF days after President Marcos certified it as urgent.