By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Senators Aquilino Pimentel III and Panfilo Lacson have set an example to their colleagues in the Upper Chamber for not being absent or late during the second regular session of the 17th Congress.
Sotto, Pimentel, and Lacson recorded a clean and perfect attendance in all 79 session days of the Senate from July 24, 2017 to May 30 this year, without any mark of tardiness, sickness and official missions, according to a report by the Journal Service released late Tuesday afternoon.
The 17th Congress is currently on a seven-week recess and will convene for its third regular session on July 23.
Also registering a complete attendance was Senate Majority Floor Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri. He, however, arrived late for plenary discussion 10 times.
Following them was Sen. Nancy Binay, who responded to the 78 roll calls in the plenary. She missed one session day due to an official trip abroad.
Like Binay, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Sen. Gregorio Honasan attended 78 session days.
The two senators, on the other hand, were late in one or two session days and each had an official trip.
Minority Sen. Riza Hontiveros also maintained her good attendance record by being present 78 days with only one day of absence in the plenary.
Sens. Cynthia Villar and Joel Villanueva both attended 77 session days. Villar was out on two official trips, while Villanueva was absent for two days.
Sen. Grace Poe was able to attend 76 session days with two days of absence and an official mission in the country.
Sens. Sherwin Gatchalian and Richard Gordon came in 74 and 73 session days, respectively, both having officials trips and occasional sick leaves.
Following closely were other members of the Senate, namely: Sens. Joseph Victor Ejercito (71 session days present, one official mission, seven days absent); Loren Legarda (70 session days present, eight official missions, one day absent); Ralph Recto (69 session days present, four official missions, six days absent); Paolo “Bam” Aquino (68 session days present, seven official missions, four days absent); Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara (67 session days present, seven official missions, five days absent); and Francis “Chiz” Escudero (66 session days present, six official missions, seven days absent).
At the bottom of the list were Senators Francis Pangilinan, Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao and Antonio Trillanes IV who, notably, recorded the greatest numbers of official missions.
Pangilinan, who was present for 65 session days, had 12 official trips in the country. He was absent on two session days.
Pacquiao, meanwhile, attended 64 plenary sessions and was out for eight local missions and two official trips abroad. He missed five session days.
Of the senators, Trillanes recorded the largest number of official missions out of the country. He attended 52 session days but was on 20 official trips abroad and three in the Philippines. He was absent four times.
Trillanes had been invited in several engagements abroad and in one case met a United States senator who was known to criticize President Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs. Trillanes was also captured speaking to Filipino communities in other countries about his opposition to the Duterte administration.
Sen. Leila de Lima, being detained at the Philippine National Police’s Custodial Center in Camp Crame over drug charges, missed all 79 session days. She, on the other hand, kept active in filing bills and releasing statements through her regular dispatches.