Former senator Bam Aquino shared a famous meme in response to comments mentioning him amid news regarding the proposed Maharlika Wealth Fund.
He shared a screengrab of Bea Alonzo‘s character in the iconic family film “Four Sisters and a Wedding” where she utters her popular line, “Pero bakit kasalanan ko? Parang kasalanan ko?”
At that time, Bobbie, Bea’s character, was talking to Teddie (Toni Gonzaga) about how she knows she isn’t the favorite child and that Bobbie secretly envies the rest of them.
“Pero bakit parang galit ka? Pero bakit kasalanan ko? Parang kasalanan ko? Eh… sa totoo lang eh, ako ‘yung inggit na inggit sa inyong lahat. Kasi meron kayong mga bagay na sana meron din ako,” she said in the movie.
Aquino posted this meme on his social media accounts on Tuesday with the caption, “Makapag-kape na nga lang. Good morning!”
He also accompanied the post with a thinking face emoji.
Aquino’s post has earned 28,000 likes and laughing reactions on Facebook and 17,300 likes on Twitter.
He posted it after House Senior Deputy Majority Leader Sandro Marcos and Senior Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo mentioned his name in defending the proposed creation of the sovereign wealth fund under House Bill 6398.
“If you think about it, this isn’t a new idea. Sec. Diokno already said they were looking at it during the time of Duterte. If I’m not mistaken, former Senator Bam Aquino filed a bill in 2016 trying to do the same thing,” the presidential son said to reporters.
“I guess, my guess, is because ‘di naipasa dahil patapos na ang administrasyon ni former President PNoy. I believe Senator JV also, nag-file ng bill, it’s not a new idea,” Marcos added.
Arroyo also endorsed the sovereign wealth fund with similar comments.
“Sovereign wealth funds are not new. Singapore, for example, has had Temasek Holdings since 1974 and the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation since 1981,” she said in a statement.
“There are more than 20 sovereign wealth funds in the Middle East. Even in the Philippines, the idea is not new — then Senator Paolo Benigno ‘Bam’ Aquino filed a bill to create such a fund in 2016,” Arroyo added.
Aquino acknowledged that he proposed a similar bill when he was still in Senate but added that in his version, the budget surplus was the source of funds.
“Ang ginagamit na pondo para sa isang sovereign wealth fund ay karaniwang surplus o sobra ng budget dahil may posibilidad na malugi ang isang sovereign wealth fund. Klaro na hindi dapat galing sa mga pensyon ng mga manggagawa ang mga pinagkukuhanan into,” he said in a statement.
The former senator also questioned the timing of the proposed sovereign wealth fund, which he said is being pushed when the commodity prices are rising and amid the slowed economy due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Marami sa mga kababayan natin ang nangangailangan ng tulong sa pang-araw-araw na gastusin ng kanilang pamilya. Palagay ko, mas kailangang mabigyang prayoridad ito dahil ito talaga ang hinahanap at kailangan ng ating mga kababayan,” Aquino said.
He added that today’s senators have the chance to change the “problematic” provisions of the bill, fix the timing and introduce safeguards against potential corruption, among others.
The proposed bill
The currently proposed sovereign wealth fund is sponsored by Marcos and House Speaker Martin Romualdez, who is the president’s cousin.
The bill seeks to generate government revenue through investments in real and financial assets.
Governments invest these funds with the aim to stabilize national budgets, create savings for their citizens or promote economic development.
In the Philippines’ version, an initial investment of P250 billion would be sourced from the Government Service Insurance (P125 billion), Social Security System (P50 billion), Land Bank of the Philippines (P50 billion) and the Development Bank of the Philippines (P25 billion).
The bill also requires the annual contributions of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp, the General Appropriations Act or Supplemental Appropriations and other sources which include special assessments on natural resources and public borrowing, among others.
The national government also needs to contribute an initial P250 billion to the proposed sovereign wealth fund.
The bill was met with concern by BSP Governor Felipe Medalla, presidential sister Sen. Imee Marcos, Foundation for Economic Freedom president Calixto Chikiamco and other economists and business groups like the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines, Makati Business Club, Competitive Currency Forum and Institute of Corporate Directors, among others.
“There is at present no gap nor ‘missing institution’ in the economy that needs to be solved by the creation of an SWF [Sovereign Wealth Fund]. The country does not have a bonanza of commodity surpluses that need to be deployed,” they said.
“Instead of leaving a legacy of surplus funds to be managed for future generations, the current generation is leaving a legacy of heavy indebtedness which future generations need to pay or refinance,” they continued.
Retired Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio also said that using the investible funds of the SSS and GSIS for the SWF is “unconstitutional.”
“The income of the Maharlika Sovereign Wealth Fund is for the benefit of all Filipinos, including non-SSS and non-GSIS members,” he said in a statement.
“The law cannot give the income from SSS and GSIS funds to non-members who did not contribute to the funds. This is taking of private property for a public purpose without just compensation, which is unconstitutional,” Carpio added.
GSIS president and general manager Wick Veloso assured the public that the proposed bill has safeguard mechanisms.
“Dito po sa ating ginagawa, maraming layers of transparency. May internal auditor, may board of directors, may independent participants from private sector,” he said on Monday.
Romualdez said that the creation of SWF will help achieve the objectives of the Marcos administration’s “Agenda for Prosperity” and the eight-point socioeconomic roadmap.
According to Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva, the bill is not a priority of the president based on their recent Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) meeting.
“Wala, wala doon,” he said. “Wala sa listahan.”