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(Updated 4:32 p.m.) A little more than a tenth of the nearly 300 members of the House of Representatives have posted perfect attendance during the second regular session of the 15th Congress, the chamber's records said.
Only 34 out of the 288 members of the House of Representatives, or 12 percent, registered perfect attendance during the said session which ran for 52 days from July 25, 2011 to June 6, 2012.
Top absentees were Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Dinagat Island Representative Ruben Ecleo Jr. and IloIlo Representative Augusto Syjuco.
Among those present during all session days were Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., Albay Representative Edcel Lagman, and Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II.
The chamber’s Office of the Secretary General uses two categories to record attendance: deemed present and actually present.
For this year, a column on “Senate Impeachment” was added in the category, together with the Official Business (Foreign), under which the lawmaker may be deemed present even if he is not at the plenary hall.
The close to five months trial of then Chief Justice Renato Corona that started in January 19 could be partly blamed for the lack of warm bodies in plenary during session days.
To continue with their official business, the House leadership in a number of times merely suspended session, instead of adjourning, so that there would not be a need for a quorum the next session day.
Under Section 70 of the House Rules of the 15th Congress, the following are deemed present:
- members attending committee meetings as authorized by the committee on rules, upon written notification to the Secretary General by the secretary of the concerned committee;
- members attending meetings of the Commission on Appointments;
- members attending meetings of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal;
- members attending meetings of the bicameral conference; and,
- members on official missions approved by the Speaker.
But House Secretary General Marilyn Barua-Yap said actual attendance or physical presence of the lawmaker is the basis for determining the quorum.
Topping the list of absentees were Ecleo, who showed up on the floor for only eight session days; Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who was present only for 19 session days; and Saranggani Representative Manny Pacquiao, who was present only for 31 out of the 52 session days.
Ecleo has been in hiding since last year after being on the wanted list for a string of graft and homicide cases.
He was finally dropped from the roll of House members on May 31 this year. Arroyo is detained in a hospital suite at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City for an electoral sabotage case.
Previously, she has been confined at the hospital following a series of surgeries.
Besides Ecleo, Arroyo, and Pacquiao, those who had few attendance in sessions were:
Iloilo Rep. Augusto Syjuco (34 days);
Negros Occidental Rep. Julio Ledesma IV (35 days);
Cavite Rep. Erineo Maliksi (35 days);
Ang Galing Pinoy partylist Rep. Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo (36 days);
Agusan del Sur Rep. Valentina Plaza (36 days);
Cagayan Rep. Juan “Jack” Ponce Enrile Jr. (36 days);
Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. (36 days);
Southern Leyte Rep. Roger Mercado (36 days);
Nueva Ecija Rep. Rodolfo Antonino (37 days);
Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat Jr. (37 days);
Pampanga Rep. Carmelo Lazatin (38 days);
Pampanga Rep. Ana York Bondoc (38 days);
and, Kakusa partylist Rep. Ranulfo Canonigo (39 days).
Those who registered perfect attendance were:
1. Emmeline Aglipay (DIWA partylist)
2. Jorge Almonte (Misamis Occidental)
3. Leopoldo Bataoil (Pangasinan)
4. Diosdado “Dato” Arroyo (Camarines Sur)
5. Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. (Quezon City)
6. Mitzi Cajayon (Caloocan)
7. Jane Castro (Capiz)
8. Jesus Celeste (Pangasinan)
9. Enrique Cojuangco (Tarlac)
10. Simeon Datumanong (Maguindanao)
11. Rachel.Marguerite Del Mar (Cebu)
12. Erico Basilio Fabian (Zamboanga City)
13. Salvio Fortuno (Camarines Sur)
14. Albert Raymond Garcia (Bataan)
15. Roilo Golez (Paranaque)
16. Neptali Gonzales II (Mandaluyong)
17. Agapito Guanlao (BUTIL partylist)
18. Teodorico Haresco Jr. (Kasangga partylist)
19. David Kho (Senior Citizens partylist)
20. Antonio Lagdameo Jr. (Davao del Norte)
21. Edcel Lagman (Albay)
22. Isidro Lico (Ating Koop partylist)
23. Eleandro Jesus Madrona (Romblon)
24. Reena Obillo (Ang Pamilya partylist)
25. Angelo Palmones (Agham partylist)
26. Elmer Panotes (Camarines Norte)
27. Jesus Emmanuel Paras (Bukidnon)
28. Deogracias Ramos Jr. (Sorsogon)
29. Herminia Roman (Bataan)
30. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez (Leyte)
31. Pedro Romulo (Camiguin)
32. Nur-Ana Sahidulla (Sulu)
33. Cesar Sarmiento (Catanduanes)
34. Baby Aline Vargas-Alfonso (Cagayan) InterAksyon.com