Pacman the Cutman: Attendance in the Senate

by: JD Garcia

In case you haven’t heard, Batas Sportiva’s very own editor-in-chief, Mickey Ingles (a.k.a. LA Revilla) of the Mahindra Enforcers, was invited to take part of the PBA All-Star Blitz Game. (Give me a few more inches and some Thor-worthy biceps and we’d be twins! – Mickey) Unfortunately, he broke his nose in practice and will be unable to participate.

So the question now is who will be the bright up-and-coming baller to take his place? No other than the eight-division boxing world champion, Senator Manny Pacquiao (“MP”)! (Seriously? You have got to be kidding me??) Yes, the Pacman himself will be bringing his talents (i.e. that picture perfect Caidic shooting form) and sweet-looking moustache to the PBA All-Star Game.

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So this begs the question, why is he doing these things instead of focusing on his duties as a member of the Philippine Senate? We all know the pride that MP has brought to our country and that’s something that we should all appreciate, but he’s already done so many things in his lifetime that now, as a member of the Philippine Senate, it leaves a bad taste when the citizens he’s sworn to serve see him preoccupy himself with things other than what a senator usually does; for instance, attend sessions.

His attendance has been put into question since his days as a congressman and was even more publicized during his senatorial campaign. Needless to say, presence is the most basic requirement of any form of social institution. Even high school students are cognizant of the number of absences they are allowed to have. (Side note: I should have been expelled when I was in Grade 4 for incurring too many absences but I wasn’t – #ThugLyf).

So how many absences will it take for MP to be expelled? Do you think Kiko Pimentel will call MP to the principal’s office if he’s persistently absent?

Unfortunately (or fortunately, for senators who like to play hookie), there is no strict attendance requirement in the Rules of the Philippine Senate (you can check the Rules here if you have nothing better to do: Notwithstanding, senators are expected to be always present because, well, it’s their job and they swore to serve the public. The senate is designed in such a way that it will continue to function so long as there is a quorum. The Senate Rules state that “except during the election of officers, a majority of the senators shall constitute a quorum and, in its absence, a smaller number may adjourn from day to day and may compel the attendance of absent Members.” This smaller group of eager beavers can ask the Senate President or the presiding officer to order the Sergeant-at-Arms to require the appearance of the absent members, or if deemed necessary, to order their arrest so as to form a quorum.

Another consequence of persistent absences is that the delinquent senator can lose his/her membership in the senate committee he/she’s in. The rule is that unexplained absences in five successive committee meetings may operate to relinquish regular membership therein. Operative word being “may.” In MP’s case, if he does not submit excuse letters (likely stating that he had LBM) for five straight meetings of the committee on public works, then he may get booted out of there.

In sum, the next time you see MP training for a fight or doing his best to add to his three-point career scoring total in the PBA, remember that he can choose not to attend senate hearings unless he gets compelled or even arrested to do so.

Here’s to hoping that MP has a proactive staff in the senate, people who preferably have the same sweet-looking moustache as the Pacman has.

JD Garcia is an editor of Batas Sportiva. His step-back jumper is sweeter than ube.



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