DOJ: Dual citizens can join Maharlika Corp. board

By Benjamin Pulta

February 28, 2024, 4:25 pm

<p><em>(File photo)</em></p>

(File photo)

MANILA – The President can appoint Filipinos with dual citizenship as independent directors of the Maharlika Investment Corporation (MIC), the Department of Justice (DOJ) said Wednesday.

In Opinion No. 13, series of 2024 dated Feb. 19 and furnished to Presidential Management Staff head Undersecretary Elaine Masukat, Justice Undersecretary Raul Vasquez also said foreigners may not be appointed as directors of the state firm.

“(T)his department is of the opinion that foreign nationals cannot be appointed to become independent director of the MIC, while natural-born Filipino citizen with dual citizenship at birth may be appointed as an independent director of the MIC, without the need of renouncing his/her foreign citizenship,” the DOJ noted.

“(N)atural-born - (a) Filipino citizen who was naturalized in another country, and later on retained or re-acquired Filipino citizenship, may be appointed as an independent director of the MIC, provided that complies with the requirements imposed by the RA No. 9225 (Citizen Retention and Reacquisition Act of 2010) and the pertinent rules and regulations by the CSC (Civil Service Commission),” it added.

RA 11954 or the Maharlika Investment Fund Act, which established the MIC, provides for the three independent directors from the private sector appointed by the President upon the recommendation of an advisory body for a term of one year.

The three will be part of the nine-member MIC Board of Directors, which include the Secretary of Finance sitting as ex officio chairperson; the president and the chief executive officer (PCEO) of the MIC as vice-chairperson and the president and chief executive officer of the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) and two regular directors.

The DOJ ruling clarifies the law's silence on the citizenship requirements for the three independent directors.

It, however, said the law requires directors “shall not hold business or financial interests and other relationships which could, or could reasonably be perceived to, materially interfere with their responsibilities of independent judgment in carrying out their responsibilities”. (PNA)