Manny Pacquiao is Senate’s top absentee

Rambo Talabong

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Manny Pacquiao is Senate’s top absentee

LeAnne Jazul

(UPDATED) Senator Manny Pacquiao records 12 absences from July 2018 to June 2019, according to data released by the Senate as Congress adjourns

WORST ATTENDANCE. Senator Manny Pacquiao is known for registering bad attendance records in Congress, usually attributed to training for his continuing boxing career. File photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Senator Manny Pacquiao posted the worst attendance record for senators in the 3rd and last session of the 17th Congress as it adjourned, according to data released by the Senate on Sunday, June 9.

Out of 61 plenary sessions from July 23, 2018 to June 4, 2019, Pacquiao attended 49 times, incurring 12 absences, said the Senate Public Relations and Information Bureau (PRIB).

In the times he was present, the boxer-turned-senator arrived twice after the roll call had been made.

The Senate PRIB said senators failed to attend plenary sessions because of two major reasons – official missions in the Philippines and abroad, or plain absences.

Senator Francis Pangilinan attended the least number of plenary sessions – 47 – but this was mostly because of official missions. Pangilinan had 12 official missions (10 local and two international), aside from two absences.

Pacquiao attended no official mission, but had 12 absences. He had the most number of absences after Senator Leila de Lima, who failed to attend all 61 plenary sessions because she is detained.

Below is the attendance sheet of senators as provided by the Senate PRIB:


Pacquiao has been known in Congress for committing absences, usually because of fights for his continuing boxing career. In January 2019, Pacquiao fought and won against US boxer Adrien Broner.

Following Pacquiao is Senator Bam Aquino, who incurred 10 absences then arrived after the roll call 9 times.

Seven senators, meanwhile, recorded a perfect attendance in the 3rd regular session.

The following senators attended all the 61 plenary sessions:

  1. Senate President Vicente Sotto III
  2. Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri
  3. Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon
  4. Senator Panfilo Lacson
  5. Senator Gregorio Honasan II
  6. Senator Joel Villanueva
  7. Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III

Of the 7, only Sotto and Lacson managed to record a perfect attendance for all the 3 sessions of the 17th Congress, which began in 2016.

Along with Sotto and Lacson, Honasan and Zubiri always arrived before roll calls ended during the 3rd session.

ADJOURNED. The 17th Congress adjourned on June 4. File photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

Almost entering the honor roll for attendance was Senator Nancy Binay, who missed one session while she was abroad for a mission that coincided with a session day.

The Senate PRIB also noted that Villanueva was the only neophyte senator who was able to get the perfect attendance record.

Other senators with high attendance records for the 3rd session were the following:

  1. Senator Win Gatchalian – 58 sessions
  2. Senator JV Ejercito – 58 sessions
  3. Senator Cynthia Villar – 58 sessions
  4. Senator Risa Hontiveros – 57 sessions
  5. Senator Antonio Trillanes IV – 57 sessions
  6. Senator Sonny Angara – 56 sessions
  7. Senator Grace Poe – 56 sessions
  8. Senator Loren Legarda – 56 sessions

As she remains incarcerated, Senator Leila de Lima recorded zero attendance. –

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.