Lawmaker: Red flags abound in choice of Maharlika CEO
November 14, 2023 | 11:42am
MANILA, Philippines — A Makabayan bloc lawmaker expressed concern on Tuesday about the appointment of Rafael Consing Jr. as the chief executive officer of the Maharlika Investment Corporation (MIC) — a leadership choice made by the president after delaying the implementing rules and regulations of the Maharlika Investment Fund Act.
In a statement, Rep. France Castro (ACT Teachers) pointed out that Consing’s appointment came days after Marcos greenlighted changes to the IRR removing the requirement of an advanced degree for the CEO and president positions.
“It seems that the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Maharlika Investment Fund Law was revised apparently to enable the appointment of Consing,” Castro said, adding that the tweaks had made the position appear “tailor-made” for him.
Marcos tapped Consing to lead the MIF on Monday, citing his background as an “accomplished, results-driven, and multi-awarded C-level executive” and his experience in “corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, global capital markets,” among others, according to a statement by the Presidential Communications Office.
Consing himself had defended the revised MIF IRR to give greater “flexibility” in the formation of its audit and risk management committees.
“The Revised MIC IRR grants the Board the flexibility to determine the optimal composition, qualifications, and reporting requirements of the MIC’s Audit Committee and Risk Management Committee,” Consing said in a statement.
The newly appointed MIC CEO also previously served as executive director of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Investment and Economic Affairs.
Private sector interests
Castro also expressed concern about Consing’s private sector background due to possible conflicts of interest.
Consing was previously senior vice president and chief financial officer of Enrique Razon’s International Container Terminal Services, Incorporated. He also held positions in the Aboitiz group.
“Other former employees of the Aboitiz group are now the top executives of the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), while Razon’s energy ventures are growing exponentially under the Marcos Jr. administration with the acquisition of the Malampaya Natural Gas platform and the comtrol of the Central Negros Electric Cooperative,” Castro said.
“We cannot blame people from thinking that with another one of their former employees heading the Maharlika Investment Corporation (MIC) their business ventures would again be favored,” she added.
House ways and means chairperson Rep. Joey Salceda (Albay, 2nd District), however, said that he is “confident” in Consing and that he is an “excellent fit for both the financial and the developmental functions” of the fund.
Salceda led the technical working group at the House that drafted the law creating the MIF.
“Maharlika is at the crossroads of finance, development, and public administration. Consing has a strong background in all three areas. For this reason, I am very confident in his appointment,” Salceda added. — Cristina Chi