What do the Arroyos, Pacquiao and Ecleo have in common?

Carmela Fonbuena
They're all absentee lawmakers

MANILA, Philippines – No surprise. Dinagat Islands Rep. Ruben Ecleo is last year’s top absentee congressman, attending only 8 out of a total of 59 session days in 2011.

The notorious congressman has been in hiding since a Cebu regional trial court canceled his bail and ordered his arrest in April 2011. He is facing a parricide charge for the death of his wife, Alona, in January 2002.

A second arrest warrant was later issued against Ecleo after the Sandiganbayan convicted him of violating the anti-graft law in connection with an allegedly overpriced public market and municipal building that he built in San Jose, Surigao del Norte, when he was mayor there.

Arroyos
Three Arroyo lawmakers are among the top absentees: Detained former President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo; her son Ang Galing Pinoy Rep. Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo; and brother-in-law Negros Occidental Rep. Ignacio “Iggy” Arroyo.

In contrast, Mikey Arroyo’s brother, Diosdado, had a perfect attendance. He was present in all 59 sessions.

The former President is detained at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center over charges of electoral sabotage in the 2007 elections. She was only able to attend 35 session days.

Ignacio Arroyo, on the other hand, has been absent for medical reasons, based on Congress records. Recent media interviews showed him seeking treatment in London.

There’s no clear reason why Mikey Arroyo has been frequently absent. He has the most number of “absences without notice,” 26. He has surpassed perennial absentee Negros Occidental Rep. Julio Ledesma with 22 absences without notice. (See table below

ABSENTEE CONGRESSMEN Session days
actually present
1. Dinagat Islands Rep. Ruben Ecleo 8
2. Davao Del Norte Rep. Anthony Del Rosario 25
3. Negros Occidental Rep. Ignacio Arroyo Jr. 26
4. Oriental Mindoro Rep. Rodolfo Valencia 26
5. Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel Pacquiao 27
6. Ilocos Sur Rep. Eric Singson Jr. 28
7. Negros Occidental Rep. Julio Ledesma IV 30
8. Agusan Del Sur Rep. Maria Valentina Plaza 30
9. Cagayan Rep. Juan Ponce-Enrile Jr. 30
10. Ang Galing Pinoy Rep. Juan Miguel Arroyo 33
11. Iloilo Rep. Augusto Boboy Syjuco 34
12. Manila Rep. Benjamin Asilo 35
13. Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo 35
14. Davao Oriental Nelson Dayanghirang 37
15. Masbate Rep. Narciso Bravo Jr. 37
16. Iloilo Rep. Ferjenel Biron 37
17. Abra Rep. Maria Jocelyn Bernos 38
18. Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. 38
19. Laguna Rep. Maria Evita Arago 40
20. Nueva Ecija Rep. Antonino Rodolfo 40
   

Boxing champ Emmanuel Pacquiao, who had several boxing matches last year, was only able to attend 27 sessions last year.

Many of the absentees recorded “official business” as reasons for their absences. Second top absentee congressman Davao Del Norte Rep. Anthony Del Rosario was recorded on “official business” for 33 session days. Based on records, he is “deemed present” for 58 session days.

Perfect attendance
Here’s a list of lawmakers who were “actually present” in all 59 sessions.

1. Speaker Feliciano Belmonte
2. Camarines Sur Rep. Dato Arroyo
3. Majority floor leader Neptali Gonzales II
4. Minority floor leader Albay Rep. Edcel Lagma
5. An Waray Rep. Florencio Noel
6. Marikina Rep. Romero Quimbo
7. Camiguin Rep. Pedro Romualdo
8. Sultan Kudarat Rep. Raden Sakaluran
9. Cagayan Rep. Baby Aline Vargas-Alfonso
10. Buhay Rep. Mariano Velarde
11. Quezon City Rep. Jorge Banal
12. Pangasinan Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil
13. Caloocan City Rep. Mary Cajayon
14. Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo
15. Pangasinan Rep. Kimi Cojuangco
16. Tarlac Rep. Enrique Cojuangco
17. Cebu City Rep. Rachel Del Mar
18. Camarines Sur Rep. Salvio Fortuno
19. Ang Kasangga Rep. Teodorico Haresco
20. Bukidnon Rep. Jesus Emmanuel Paras
21. Ating Koop Rep. Isidro Lico
22. Romblon Rep. Eleandro Madrona
23. South Cotabato and General Santos Rep. Pedro Acharon Jr.
24. Quezon Rep. Irvin Alcala
25. Senior Citizens Rep. David Kho
26. Parañaque City Rep. Roilo Golez

– Rappler.com

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