RE-ELECTED Sarangani Representative Emmanuel Pacquiao and third-termer Rep. Jules Ledesma of Negros Occidental shared the top spot in the list of lawmakers who were frequently absent during sessions at the House of Representatives.
The two lawmakers had 60 absences out of 168 session days, edging out another controversial lawmaker, Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo of Ang Galing Pinoy party-list, who landed on second place with 56 absences.
The 15th Congress spanned from July 26, 2010 to June 6, 2013.
Despite their truancy, Pacquiao and Ledesma were re-elected in the last elections.
Pacquiao, the only boxer in the world to win eight titles in as many weight classes, incurred most of his absences due to training for his previous fights, the last of which was last December when he lost via a humiliating knockout to Juan Manuel Marquez.
House Rules provide that members will also be deemed present when they attend committee meetings authorized by the Committee on Rules, meetings of the Commission on Appointments, meetings of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal, meetings of bicameral conference committees and if they are on official mission as approved by the House Speaker.
Ledesma, husband of former starlet Assunta De Rossi, had for years been the top absentee in Congress. He claimed that he spent most of his days personally attending to the needs of his constituents in his home province.
Ledesma’s constituents did not mind his absences as he was re-elected for his third and last term as a House member last May 13.
Meanwhile, the eldest son of former President and now Rep. Gloria Arroyo of Pampanga province posted the second highest number of absences because of the controversies he was involved with, one of which was his supposed “misrepresentation” of lowly-paid security guards.
Interestingly, the young Arroyo only exceeded the absences of his detained mother by one day.
Mrs. Arroyo has been under hospital arrest for almost a year now for alleged plunder.
Rounding up the top 10 absentee lawmakers are Reps. Carmelo Lazatin of Pampanga with 53 absences, followed by Evita Arago of Laguna (52 absences), Augusto “Boboy” Syjuco of Iloilo (51 absences) Pastor Alcover of Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy party-list (50 absences), Muhammed Hussein Pangandaman of Lanao del Sur (49 absences), and Catalina Bagasina of Association of Laborers and Employees party-list (49 absences).
Unlike his brother and mother, Rep. Diosdado Ignacio “Dato” Arroyo of Camarines Sur was among those who posted a perfect attendance.
Arroyo and 18 other lawmakers were present in the 168 session days based on the Attendance Record of House members.
Dato also won a fresh mandate as Camarines Sur representative last May polls.
The others who never missed a plenary session were Representatives Giorgidi Aggabao of Isabela, Emmeline Aglipay of Democratic Independent Workers’ Association party-list, Assistant Majority Leader Jorge Banal of Quezon City, Leopoldo Bataoil of Pangasinan, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. of Quezon City, Winston Castelo of Quezon City, Rachel Marguerite del Mar of Cebu, Salvio Fortuno of Camarines Sur, Roilo Golez of Parañaque, Bernadette Herrera-Dy of Bagong Henerasyon party-list, House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales 2nd of Mandaluyong, Rosendo Labadlabad of Zamboanga del Norte, Edcel Lagman of Albay, Florencio Noel of AnWaray party-list, Reena Concepcion Obillo of Una ang Pamilya party-list, Angelo Palmones of Agham party-list, Roberto Puno of Antipolo, House Deputy Majority Leader Romero Quimbo of Marikina, Rene Relampagos of Bohol and Rufus Rodriguez of Cagayan de Oro.
House Assistant Majority Leader Sherwin Tugna of Citizens Battle Against Corruption also logged in a perfect attendance by being present in 152 session days, considering that he was proclaimed later than July 26, 2010.