MANILA, JULY 1, 2013 (PHILSTAR) By Paolo Romero - World boxing champion and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao and Negros Occidental Rep. Julio Ledesma IV led the lawmakers who registered the most absences, records from the House of Representatives showed.

Pacquiao and Ledesma attended only 108 plenary sessions each.

There were a total of 168 session days and there are 297 House members in the 15th Congress, which adjourned last June 6.

The two were followed by former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, her son Ang Galing Pinoy party-list Rep. Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo, Pampanga Rep. Carmelo Lazatin, and Laguna Rep. Ma. Evita Arago.

Pacquiao’s absences, however, were attributed to his international boxing bouts that are preceded by practice and training in the country and the US, while Arroyo remains under hospital detention at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City.

Six veteran lawmakers, meanwhile, died while in office in the 15th Congress, two had moved to the Senate, and 12 others were elected to local executive posts in the May 13 elections.

Some 21 lawmakers, led by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., however, posted perfect attendance since the start of the 15th Congress in 2010.

Aside from Belmonte, those who posted perfect attendance were Reps. Giorgidi Aggabao (Isabela), Emmeline Aglipay (DIWA party-list), Diosdado “Dato” Arroyo (Camarines Sur), Jorge Banal (Quezon City), Leopoldo Bataoil (Pangasinan), Vicente Belmonte (Iligan City), Winston Castelo (Quezon City), Marguerite del Mar (Cebu), Salvio Fortuno (Camarines Sur), Roilo Golez (Parañaque City), and Fernando Gonzalez of Albay, Bernadette Herrera-Dy (Bagong Henerasyon party-list), Rosendo Labadlabad (Zamboanga del Norte), Edcel Lagman (Albay), Florencio Noel (An Waray party-list), Reena Concepcion-Obillo (Una ang Pamilya party-list), Pedro Pancho (Bulacan), Roberto Puno (Antipolo), Romero Quimbo (Marikina City), Rene Relampagos (Bohol), and Rufus Rodriguez (Cagayan de Oro).

The House attendance records made a distinction between “deemed present,” and “actually present,” and had a sub-column labeled “constituency work,” under the “absence” column.

There was no explanation given for the labels but some House members in the past complained of either wrong attendance figures or negative publicity over their attendance record.

The Batasan Pambansa Complex, meanwhile, is being spruced up in preparation for President Aquino’s State of the Nation Address on the opening of the 16th Congress on July 22.

The session hall of the House and other parts of the main building and other structures are being repaired and spruced up in preparation for the event.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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