Zubiri asks economic managers' presence in Senate for Maharlika debates

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 23) -- The Senate is racing against time to pass the proposed Maharlika Investment Fund with more than a week left before the adjournment of session.

Senate President Migz Zubiri on Tuesday asked Finance Secretary Ben Diokno and other economic managers to be present at the session hall on Wednesday "to show (that it is a) priority," although President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. already certified it as urgent.

READ: The proposed Maharlika Investment Fund: What you need to know

Asked if the Senate intends to approve the bill on third and final reading tomorrow, Zubiri said "not really, it's just better for them to show support for the measure and help rally the members to help pass the measure."

Zubiri said the target is to approve it by next Friday, June 2, when Congress adjourns session for a two-month break.

Economic managers earlier said they want the bill signed into law before Marcos' second State of the Nation Address on July 24.

READ: Pimentel: Why the rush to pass Maharlika fund bill?

To do this, the bill needs to secure the Senate's nod, the bicameral conference committee's approval, as well as the ratification of both houses of Congress -- all by next week. The House of Representatives may also adopt the Senate version to hasten the process.

The highly controversial House version was passed in December, dropping the Government Service and Insurance System and Social Security System as funding sources of the Maharlika fund amid public uproar.