Drilon, Sotto score perfect attendance

Christina Mendez - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – Senate President Franklin Drilon and Sen. Vicente Sotto III registered perfect attendance among the 24 senators from the first regular session in July 2013 until December last year.

Among senators who were not in detention or undergoing major medical treatment, Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano and Sen. Teofisto Guingona III were the top truants in the chamber.

The two are at the tail-end of Senate attendance records, being present in just a little over half of 214 total session days from July 2013 to Dec. 16 last year,  spanning most of the 16th Congress.

Records culled by The STAR showed Cayetano attended only 136 out of the 214 session days until December 2015. ?During the first regular session, Cayetano responded 72 times out of 83 roll calls. He recorded 11 days on “official mission,” eight days of which he was on local trips and three spent abroad.

From July 28, 2014 to June 10, 2015,  Cayetano was present 54 days. He was marked on official mission for 14 days on local trip and seven days abroad. He also reported absent and sick three times each and four on medical leave.

During the third regular session, Cayetano was marked present 11 days; on official mission on local trips 35 times with no sick leave, absences or medical leave.

If Cayetano is unable to attend session, the Senate taps Senators Juan Edgardo Angara or Paolo Benigno Aquino IV to assume the post as majority leader. The post is critical because the majority leader assists the Senate President during open session.

Guingona, on the other hand, attended 110 days of session, reported 36 days on official mission within the country, and one day abroad, and was absent eight days during the first regular session.

Guingona, who is seeking reelection under the administration Liberal Party, responded 48 time during the 85 roll calls during the second regular session. He was on official mission for 29 days within the country and again absent for eight days.

During the third regular session, Guingona responded to the roll call 24 times. He was on official mission for 12 days (local), and was marked absent 10 times.

‘Perfect attendance’

On the other end are Drilon and Sotto, who scored “perfect attendance” for attending the Senate sessions on time. They were not marked tardy but “arrived after the roll call.”

Drilon and Sotto were also not marked absent or sick for medical reasons. Neither of them attended any official mission while the Senate was in session.

Bernardino Cailao, director of the Senate Journal Service said roll calls were made 83 times during the first regular session from July 22, 2013 to June 11, 2014; 85 roll calls conducted during second regular session from July 28, 2014 to June 10, 2015; while 41 rolls calls were made for third regular session, July 27 to Dec. 16, 2015.

Senators Gregorio Honasan and Nancy Binay ranked number three and four, respectively in terms of high attendance.

Honasan was absent only a day while Binay reported for work 208 days.

Senators Aquino and Joseph Victor Ejercito recorded 207 days present in session, followed by Sen. Francis Escudero who was present 201 days.

Senators Angara and Sergio Osmeña III were present for 196 days.

Out of the 196 days he was present at the Senate, Osmeña, however, was 67 days tardy or arrived after the roll call.

Sen. Grace Poe, who is running for president, was present in 193 out of 214 session days. Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto recorded 189; followed by Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, 187; Loren Legarda, 183; Cynthia Villar,  180; Lito Lapid, 177; Pia Cayetano, 176; Antonio Trillanes, 149; and Ferdinand Marcos Jr. at 146.

Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile, who was detained for pork-barrel related plunder charges, was present for 93 days—72 days recorded in the first regular session, and 21 during the third regular session.

He was absent during the entire second regular session because he was under hospital arrest until granted bail late last year.

Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. were recorded present only for 82 and 71 days, respectively, which were only during the first regular session.

They are also detained on charges of plunder before the Sandiganbayan. Both were unable to attend Senate sessions during the entire second and third regular session of the 16th Congress.

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, who has been sidelined for medical reasons had attended session for only five days – three during the first regular session, one day each during the second and third regular session.

Santiago earlier wrote the Senate leadership that she is on extended qualified medical leave.


Osmeña topped the list of senators who arrived after the roll call during the same periods. He was followed by Trillanes who was marked tardy for 56 days; Recto, 44 days; Escudero, 36; Poe and Pimentel, 35; Marcos, 34; Guingona, 14 and Aquino, 13.

Legarda and Angara were marked late 12 days.

Enrile and Alan Cayetano arrived after the roll call 10 times; followed by Revilla, nine days; Villar, eight days; Lapid, six times; Pia Cayetano, four; Binay two and Honasan, late for a day.

There are a total of 214 session days from the first regular session to the third regular session until Dec. 16 last year.

The STAR collated the attendance report up to Dec. 16, 2015. The nine session days, from the resumption this January until Congress again goes on recess this week, are not yet included in the report.

Congress will go into recess from Feb. 6 to May 22. It will resume session on May 23 to June 10 before going into sine die adjournment from June 11 to July 25,  2016.

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