Maharlika, the evil puzzle

By Reni M. Valenzuela

(UPDATED) Laws are only as good as the people who made them.

Private businesses that had gone bankrupt due to the pandemic are understandable. But for an already bankrupt government to dive even deeper into bankruptcy due to “gambling mentality” (stubbornly and mindlessly) is absurd and unacceptable.

There are indeed puzzles (and subtleties) to the proposed law creating the Maharlika Investment Fund.  One of which is that the Filipino people would have to later put up with the folly and ultimately bear the brunt of all the negative/devastating repercussions in the event that the government’s insatiable bent to gamble should fail and fail miserably, just like what other countries (in far better economic state than the Philippines) had experienced.

Oh, such a government predilection over a “forbidden fruit.” There would be no problem/issue if it would be just the senators and congressmen and/or President Bongbong Marcos who would suffer in the end, and consequently flop in their official chairs.

Another puzzle is that if indeed investments, dividends or business is the reason why our officials are pushing for Maharlika, why did they sell (and continue selling) government owned and controlled corporations that should have been earning billions of pesos yearly for the country – without the government having to “gamble.” Take them back.

Take for example the National Greed Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) that rakes in several billions of pesos for private people year after year and whose earnings of around 75% and 99% they claim (ridiculously) to be going to dividends. Who would believe it? NGCP’s holding company itself, the Chinese-owned Synergy Greed and Developments Philippines, Inc. has registered a net income of Php28.679 billion only in the first three quarters of last year, as reported by Be aware that the number one, blinding goal of private businesses is profit, not service to the people.

What is so corrupt and insane about this thing called “privatization”? The same question applies to Maharlika Investment Fund. Big businesses no longer have respect for the government because they know for sure that government people can easily be bought. That is how crooked and cheap they see them.  Even road pavings, foot bridges and u-turn slots where there are malls are products of bribery in city halls.

For as long as MIF is beyond the scrutiny of the Commission on Audit (COA), what “safeguards” are our senators and congressmen talking about?  Without the presence and power of COA, there can never be one single safeguard that can possibly be put in place to prevent and/or stop mouth-watering vultures, wolves and crocodiles from stealing from the nation’s coffers.

My father (R.I.P in Libingan ng Mga Bayani) who once served as a COA auditor, used to keep telling me as a child: “Son, stealing even a single peso or a paper clip is corruption.”

I wonder what assurance can our officials give to the people with their so-called “safeguards” when as a matter of fact, corruption has never been as decadent in the country than at this juncture. Simply remember Pharmally and other similar recent blatant/brazen acts of daylight robbery of the people’s money, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic at that. Soulless.

Corruption has been a reality in our very midst despite the fact that all government departments, agencies and offices within the three branches of our democratic institution have Commission on Audit in their offices to check and examine possible excesses and abuses. We can just imagine how bad the devil can be in the so-called “sovereign wealth fund,” sans COA. It is themselves that they are making sovereign. Ecclesiastes 5:8-10.

Truth be told, COA is the one single agency in the government that needs and deserves the biggest chunk in the national budget annually in order for the COA mission to widen its tentacles and strengthen its teeth in catching scoundrels in public service – innumerable, well connected, well entrenched.

Heed the foregoing reasons and propositions, and start acting as you are supposed and expected to – as intelligent, conscientious, upright, wise officials of the land.

Crush it, I mean the MIF.