House Speaker Arroyo: We'll wait for Senate on charter change

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 24) — Former President and newly-elected House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on Tuesday said the House of Representatives will wait for the Senate's decision on changing the Constitution to allow the shift to a federal form of government.

"Remember we already passed a resolution before to convene a Con-Ass... so we wait for the Senate," Arroyo told reporters as she arrived at the Batasang Pambansa for her first session as House Speaker.

Her stance is different from that of Pantaleon Alvarez, who was ousted Monday by a majority vote of lawmakers in favor of Arroyo. Alvarez had said the House would push through with revising the Constitution with or without the Senate.

The House of Representatives had approved a resolution that will convene Congress as a constituent assembly, but the Senate has yet to pass their measure. As of now, a resolution calling on Congress to convene into a constituent assembly is still pending at the Senate committee level.

The Senate has yet to decide on pertinent issues: Whether there is a need to amend the Constitution, and if so, whether it will be done by a constitutional convention or a constituent assembly.

In a constituent assembly, members of the House of Representatives and the Senate shall convene and decide on constitutional amendments themselves. A constitutional convention, meanwhile, requires nationwide elections to select delegates who will draft the constitutional amendments.

The shift to a federal form of government was among President Rodrigo Duterte's campaign promises, saying it would pave the way for more equitable distribution of wealth and political power and bring peace in Mindanao.

Arroyo on Tuesday also promised to push for the legislative agenda of the Duterte administration.

CNN Philippines' Joyce Ilas contributed to this report.