Dong records 93% attendance in Congress-A A +A
Monday, January 21, 2013
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- Representative Aurelio Gonzales Jr. (3rd district, Pampanga) has recorded a 93.4 percent attendance in the House of Representatives for 2012.
Based on the annual attendance report released recently by the chamber, Gonzales was present in 57 out of 61 plenary sessions from January 16 to December 19 last year.
Gonzales, who is on his second term, topped other Pampanga lawmakers in attendance. Based on the report, former President and Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (second district) had attended only 33 sessions or 54 percent, while Representative Anna York Bondoc (fourth district) and Representative Carmelo F. Lazatin (1st district) attended only 35 sessions or 57 percent.
Arroyo has not been able to attend the sessions because she has been under hospital arrest due to her medical condition at the Veterans Memorial Hospital since 2011, following the filing of plunder charges against her.
It is not known why Bondoc and Lazatin had low attendance records.
But two Kapampangan Party-list representatives had a higher attendance record than Gonzales -- ALE party-list Representative Catalina Bagasina with 58, and Butil party-list Representative Agapito Guanlao with 60, a near perfect attendance record.
Of the 283 lawmakers, only 25 made a perfect attendance, among them Camarines Sur Congressman Diosdado "Dato" Arroyo, the former president's son. Ang Galing party-list Representative Juan Miguel "Mikey" Arroyo was not listed in the House report, presumably because his party-list group has been disqualified by the Commission on Elections.
Under House rules, attendance in session falls under two categories: deemed and actual presence. Actual presence is the basis for declaring a quorum.
Gonzales said that since he became congressman in 2007, he has always tried to attend all sessions in the House.
"It's difficult to achieve that because your time is tightly divided between attending to the needs of your constituents and your district and attending the sessions which is really your principal duty," he said.
Gonzales, who is running for reelection, said that it takes discipline, commitment and stamina to be able to meet the demands of a lawmaker's job.
"You have to be physically and mentally fit, among others, to stay active, productive and focused on the job," he said.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on January 21, 2013.