No more time to pass federalism - Zubiri

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 3) — Senate Majority Leader Migz Zubiri said there is no more time for the Senate this year to pass possible constitutional amendments in the shift to a federal form of government.

Asked on CNN Philippines' The Source on Monday about the chances of the federalism proposal passing in the Senate, Zubiri said, "We don't have time. We don't even have time on the [2019] budget."

Charter change is not among the list of Senate priority bills, according to a list previously presented to the media by Senate President Tito Sotto.

House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo conceded last week that Congress would not be able act on one of President Rodrigo Duterte's key campaign platforms.

Congress only has nine weeks to tackle bills before it adjourns for the Christmas break. Lawmakers are currently rushing approval of the proposed 2019 budget.

Malacañang acknowledged the Senate's limitations in approving proposed changes to the charter.

"The disposition of the Senate with respect to this proposal should be understood along with its current and tight situation of addressing the 2019 budget with not too ample time to spare," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.

The proposal for a federal government is still with the Senate constitutional amendments committee headed by opposition Senator Kiko Pangilinan. Senators have given Pangilinan's panel the green light to continue its consultative hearings on the matter.

Meanwhile, the House has begun plenary discussions on the proposed draft charter of Arroyo.

CNN Philippines' Senior Correspondent Ina Andolong contributed to this report.