EIGHT senators, led by Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III physically attended all sessions of the Senate during the first regular session of the 18th Congress even while coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections soared in many parts of the country, especially in the capital region of Metro Manila.
Official Senate records showed Sotto recorded a perfect attendance and clocked in 67 times from July 22, 2019 up to June 4 this year. The Senate President came in on time and was never late for the 3 p.m. sessions.
Aside from Sotto, seven other senators were present in all 67 sessions. They include Senate majority leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, minority leader Franklin Drilon and Senators Nancy Binay, Ronald dela Rosa, Sherwin Garchalian, Risa Hontiveros, and Joel Villanueva.
Like Sotto, Zubiri was punctual and never came late.
The other senators who also posted perfect attendance arrived after the roll call.
The attendance of the other members of the upper chamber were: Senators Juan Edgardo Angara, 66 present, 1 official local mission; Pia Cayetano, 63 present, 1 official local mission, 3 absents; Christopher Go, 66 present, 1 official mission abroad; Richard Gordon, 62 present, 1 official mission abroad, 1 absent and 3 sick calls; Panfilo Lacson, 66 present, 1 absent; Lito Lapid, 59 present, 2 official local mission and 6 official missions abroad; Imee Marcos, 66 present, 1 absent.
Senators Emmanuel Pacquiao, 62 present, 1 official local mission, 2 absents and 2 sick calls; Francis Pangilinan, 58 present, 3 official local mission, 4 absents and 2 sick calls; Aquilino Pimentel III, 63 present, 4 absents; Grace Poe, 65 present, 2 absents; Senate president pro tempore Ralph Recto, 65 present, 2 absents; Ramon Revilla Jr, 63 present, 1 official local mission and 3 official missions abroad, Francis Tolentino, 66 present, 1 absent; and Cynthia Villar, 65 present, 2 absents.
Even when most lawmakers opted to strictly observe stay-at-home directives of the government during Congress’ Holy Week break, several senators led by Sotto went out and met with President Duterte and the leadership of the House of Representatives to discuss the salient provisions of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, which Congress approved in March during a special session requested by Malacaħang.