Senate of the Philippines

Who is the Senate’s top absentee?

Bonz Magsambol

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Who is the Senate’s top absentee?
Meanwhile, 12 senators have had a perfect attendance since the current session opened in July 2023

Manny Pacquiao, former senator, no longer holds the record of having the most absences as a member of the upper chamber.

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano is now the Senate’s top absentee.

According to Senate records, Cayetano attended only 36 of the 54 regular sessions from July 24, 2023 to February 21, 2024. He missed 18 sessions; four were due to official missions.

It seems the senator from Taguig is keeping up with a reputation. In 2017, he also had the most number of absences as senator, attending only 31 sessions from July 25, 2016 to May 31, 2017.

In the 2013 elections, Cayetano was seen only once in senatorial debates and one-on-one interviews. But in 2016, he had the audacity to hit then-vice presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for being absent from one of the televised debates during the campaign.

Rappler reached out to Cayetano’s office for comment, but they have yet to respond as of this posting.

Meanwhile, 12 senators tallied perfect attendance, as of February 2024:

  • Migz Zubiri
  • Loren Legarda
  • Joel Villanueva
  • Risa Hontiveros
  • Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa
  • Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada
  • Sherwin Gatchalian
  • Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go
  • Robin Padilla
  • Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.
  • Raffy Tulfo
  • Cynthia Villar

Meanwhile, the following senators had one to six absences:

  • Nancy Binay – 6
  • Sonny Angara – 5
  • Francis Escudero – 5
  • Grace Poe – 3
  • Imee Marcos – 2
  • Pia Cayetano – 1
  • Francis Tolentino – 1

Meanwhile, Binay was absent in three more sessions due to official missions; Escudero missed two sessions due to official missions; and Pia Cayetano and Tolentino also missed six sessions due to official missions.

Angara’s office said that the senator missed three sessions because of the bicameral conference committee meetings.

Some senators did not register perfect attendance because they were in official local and foreign missions. They were senators JV Ejercito, Lito Lapid, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, and Mark Villar.

In a statement on Tuesday, Zubiri said that “true leadership starts by showing up for the important work for the people.”

“Many of us show our commitment to our duty by being here most of the session days. Public service is a reward in itself, but we go to work knowing that our presence and our voices represent the people’s interests,” he said.

Zubiri has had perfect attendance since first being elected into the House of Representatives in 1998. –

1 comment

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  1. ET

    Would there be an award for the top absentee? Like that of the “Dirty Ashtray” award? There should be none. Congratulations to the 12 senators who have been in perfect attendance as of February 2024. Absenteeism seems to project that he needs to be more serious about his work as a Senator. This is more likely because he has something of greater priority than his work as a legislator, and the people he represents do not care. I agree with Senator Zubiri: “True leadership starts by showing up for the important work for the people.”

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Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler.