‘Opposition’ leads in absences; Jinggoy, Sotto set perfect attendance

Published by rudy Date posted on July 16, 2011

They’re supposed to act as fiscalizers in the upper chamber, yet they appear to be nowhere in action, most of the time.

Those considered to be in the ranks of the “opposition” in the Senate have posted the most number of either absences or official leaves of absence in the last First Regular Session of the 15th Congress.

Except for Senators Panfilo Lacson and Antonio Trillanes IV, who both had to deal with some “legal issues,” and the reason they incurred 79 and 49 absences, respectively, and Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago who filed an indefinite sick leave due to hypothyroidism, one could only wonder on the excuses of their colleagues.

Senators Manuel Villar Jr., Alan Peter Cayetano, Loren Legarda, Edgardo Angara, Manuel “Lito” Lapid, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Pia Cayetano had the most number of instances where they failed to attend their regular plenary session due to “official missions.”

Villar had 30, six of which were official missions “abroad,” Cayetano with

21 and one abroad; Legarda with 12, two of which was abroad; Angara with seven and one abroad; Lapid with 10 and five abroad; same with Marcos with 10 and seven abroad; and Pia Cayetano with nine, seven of which were official missions overseas.

Those identified with the administration who were included in the “top 10” list of members with the most number of official missions were Senators Francis Pangilinan, Franklin Drilon and Ralph Recto.

Pangilinan was recorded to have 14, with three abroad while Recto had six and five were abroad and Drilon had four.

Coming in fourth in rank as “absentee,” after Lacson, Trillanes and Santiago, in the last 95 session days of the upper chamber were Lapid and Angara who were recorded absent nine times.

Fifth was Marcos who is a neophyte member with eight absences, including one sick leave and tied in sixth rank are Senators Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and Teofisto “TG” Guingona, also a neophyte member, with seven each.

Recto is ranked seventh with most number of absences followed by Sen. Alan with three, Villar with two and with one absent each were Senators Pangilinan, Francis “Chiz” Escudero, Legarda, Pia Cayetano and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.

For the so-called “horror roll” or those with record as “tardy,” having to arrive at the plenary session hall “after the roll call of members” were the following: Guingona with 42 times; Villar, 35; Sen. Sergio Osmeña III with 34; Pangilinan 31; Recto 25; Angara 21; Sen. Alan 19; Escudero 15; Marcos 14 and Trillanes 12.

As for the so-called “honor roll” or those with perfect attendance were only Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada and Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III.

It has been always noted in the past that Senate leaders – president, president pro tempore, majority and minority leaders — due to their role in the plenary, often post a perfect attendance.

In this case, however, the Senate president was on “on official mission” twice and undergone a sick leave once. –Angie M. Rosales, Daily Tribune

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