Arroyo counts on next Congress to pass charter change

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Arroyo says the House under her leadership will bring charter change 'as far as we can.' (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 1) — House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo conceded that Congress cannot pass charter change under her watch.

In a chance interview with reporters on Thursday, Arroyo said the proposed federal constitution which she herself penned is still "undergoing interpellation."

"Of course, we know that there will still be many steps. But the thing is, we will bring it as far as we can bring it in the hope that the next Congress can continue the work," Arroyo said.

She said the House will "be concentrating" on charter change in the coming week, 10 days before Christmas break.

Arroyo first told CNN Philippines in an exclusive interview in August that charter change may not come through by 2019 – when the 17th Congress ends session.

READ: Arroyo concedes Cha-cha may not be approved by 2019

Senators said there is no more time to tackle charter change because of deliberations for the 2019 budget, which they target to pass before the year ends.

Federalism was a campaign promise of President Rodrigo Duterte, with whom Arroyo is allied. After he called on the swift passage of charter change in his State of the Nation Address, the House of Representatives filed a resolution that supported a separate vote from the Senate on matter. This was among the contentious issues raised by the Senate.

But even with such compromise, some senators said charter change is "good as dead," as they suspect Arroyo would use it to stay in power, a claim the former President denied.