MANILA- President Rodrigo Duterte did not ask the Senate to prioritize the country's shift to a federal form of government, Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III said Thursday.
"Di niya (Duterte) sinabing iprioritize, ang sinabi niya asikasuhin niyo na," Sotto told reporters.
(He didn't ask us to prioritize it, he asked us to handle it.)
The shift to a federal form of government is among the key campaign promises of Duterte.
The President has already approved the draft federal charter made by his consultative committee. Congress will still study the proposal.
What the chief executive asked lawmakers instead was the immediate approval of the Bangsamoro law, Sotto said.
Lawmakers on Wednesday convened in a bicameral conference on Wednesday and approved the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law which was renamed to the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.
The bill grants wider self-rule to the Muslim minority in the south, paving the way for Duterte to sign it into law before he delivers his third State of the Nation Address on Monday, July 23.
Sotto added that he has asked senators to submit their respective three priority bills which would be considered along the priority bills certified by the President.
A final list of priority bills which the Senate aims to pass before the formal closure of the 17th Congress will be released later, Sotto said.
Congress will open its third regular session on Monday morning ahead of Duterte's SONA.
On the same day, the Senate will also ratify the Bangsamoro Organic Act passed by the bicameral conference committee.
-report from Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News