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Renowned Filipino Designer Rocky Gathercole visits ABS-CBN Foundation’s Bantay Bata
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AFI head praises designer for “Rock The Runway” fundraiser on July 28 in Avalon Hollywood

(Leftmost) Celebrity designer Rocky Gathercole will feature a collection for the exciting “Rock the Runway” on July 28 at the landmark Avalon Hollywood.  (Center) From left, ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation, Inc. (ALKFI) Chief Finance Officer Noemi B. Samson, Rocky Gathercole, ALKFI Donor Management Head Josine Reyes and ABS-CBN Integrated Public Service Head and ABS-CBN Foundation International Managing Director Jerry Bennett during the visit of Gathercole to the Foundation office in Manila.  Gathercole chose one of the Foundation’s core programs – Bantay Bata (Child Watch) – as the beneficiary of “Rock the Runway”. (Photo by Marianne De Vera/ABS-CBN Global Corporate Affairs & PR). (Right) Couture and Compassion meet via “Rock The Runway”, a benefit event featuring the designs of Rocky Gathercole.

(Leftmost) Celebrity designer Rocky Gathercole will feature a collection for the exciting “Rock the Runway” on July 28 at the landmark Avalon Hollywood. (Center) From left, ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation, Inc. (ALKFI) Chief Finance Officer Noemi B. Samson, Rocky Gathercole, ALKFI Donor Management Head Josine Reyes and ABS-CBN Integrated Public Service Head and ABS-CBN Foundation International Managing Director Jerry Bennett during the visit of Gathercole to the Foundation office in Manila. Gathercole chose one of the Foundation’s core programs – Bantay Bata (Child Watch) – as the beneficiary of “Rock the Runway”. (Photo by Marianne De Vera/ABS-CBN Global Corporate Affairs & PR). (Right) Couture and Compassion meet via “Rock The Runway”, a benefit event featuring the designs of Rocky Gathercole.

HOLLYWOOD, CA  – A heartwarming lovefest ensued upon the recent visit of Rocky Gathercole, famed Filipino designer to the biggest music stars, to the ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya (Family Service) Foundation, Inc. or ALKFI. The designer to celebrities like Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Katy Perry, Gwen Stefani, Jennifer Lopez and Carrie Underwood dropped by to express his commitment to helping one of ALKFI’s core programs called, Bantay Bata (Child Watch), Asia’s model for child care services.

Gathercole was warmly welcomed by ALKFI Chief Finance Officer Noemi B. Samson, ALKFI Donor Management Head Josine Reyes and concurrent ABS-CBN Integrated Public Service Head and ABS-CBN Foundation International Managing Director Jerry Bennett during his visit.

Come July 28, at the landmark Avalon Hollywood, Gathercole will unveil a collection for the show, “Rock The Runway”, proceeds of which will benefit Bantay Bata.  The fashion fundraiser is presented by ABS-CBN’s Lifestyle Network in partnership with the Los Angeles-based For The Stars Fashion House.

What is drawing a lot of attention to “Rock The Runway” is that this is the first fundraiser show of the internationally famous Gathercole that is dedicated to the children of Bantay Bata.  The reason?

I see myself in the children being cared for by Bantay Bata,” Gathercole said. “I was a battered child. So, given the chance, I want to help the youth.  I was very fortunate that God and truly good people took me out of the dark when I lived in the streets after running away from home. I’ve been very, very blessed.  It’s time to give back. ‘Rock The Runway’ is my dream fashion show.  Helping the kids through my work – that is where my heart lies, that is what my life is about now.”

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ABS-CBN Foundation International, through Bennett, released this statement in grateful salute to Gathercole and supporters of “Rock The Runway”:

We are deeply grateful to Rocky Gathercole, Lifestyle Network, TFC and For The Stars Fashion House for supporting ABS-CBN Foundation International, specifically BANTAY BATA (Child Watch). Our abused and disadvantaged children will most definitely get to smile and laugh again.

Kids always see everything with fresh eyes, expecting something new and exciting and different every time they look. Sadly, it is not so with destitute children. They are deprived, even of excitement and imagination. Poverty is more than just material and physical deprivation for them. It is a loss of hope and dignity. Rocky Gathercole knows this only too well. And just as Rocky was able to get up and out of hopelessness through the compassion of people he met along the way, now he wants to give even more of himself for them. And so we have faith that a bright future is in store for these kids because of his kindness, goodness, and generosity of heart.

Once more, I sincerely want to thank Rocky, The Lifestyle Network, For The Stars Fashion House, TFC and all our donors and partners for providing the help and support needed by the abused, sick, and poor children in our country, through this avant-garde fashion show, ROCK THE RUNWAY.

Together, we are helping restore hope and dignity in the children’s lives.

Hollywood celebrities have already been invited to the show and a special pre-show entertainment will be provided.  To purchase tickets to “Rock The Runway”, visit https://RockyGathercole.eventbrite.com Ticket prices are at $250, $150, $75 and $40. Special VIP treatment including access to style stations, food and drinks are available to All Out and Preferred Levels Ticket Holders.  For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/LifestyleNetworkTV/

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Palace: PHL to pursue diplomatic path with China
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By Leslie D. Venzon

President Rodrigo R. Duterte welcomes the US Congressional delegation accompanied by US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg at the President’s Hall in Malacañan Palace on July 19.  (MNS photo)

President Rodrigo R. Duterte welcomes the US Congressional delegation accompanied by US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg at the President’s Hall in Malacañan Palace on July 19. (MNS photo)

MANILA, July 20 (PNA) – Malacañang on Wednesday said the government will continue to pursue the diplomatic path to achieve the country’s exclusive rights over the West Philippine Sea (WPS) granted by Netherlands-based arbitral tribunal.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella considered the Philippine sovereign economic rights granted by the Law of Nations to be “non-negotiable”.

“The Philippines continues along a diplomatic path to fully realize the EEZ (exclusive economic zone) rights granted by the Arbitration Court -engaging in bilateral talks to find mutually acceptable arrangements to RP, PROC; and consulting with our regional allies,” he said in a statement.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte welcomes US Ambassador Philip Goldberg and Deputy Political Counselor Matthew Cenzer at the Music room in Malacañan Palace on July 19. Also in the photo are Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez.(MNS photo)

President Rodrigo R. Duterte welcomes US Ambassador Philip Goldberg and Deputy Political Counselor Matthew Cenzer at the Music room in Malacañan Palace on July 19. Also in the photo are Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez.(MNS photo)

Abella added engagement with China towards the peaceful resolution of the issue must be compliant with the Constitution, International Law and the rule of law.

Last week, the international arbitral tribunal released a historic decision that the disputed WPS belongs to the Philippines. This, after more than three years since the Philippines filed an arbitration case against China.

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Past, present senators remember ‘trailblazer’ Helena Benitez
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DRILON’S EULOGY TO BENITEZ: Senate President Franklin M. Drilon delivers his eulogy to the late Senator Helena Benitez, who passed away last Thursday at the age of 102. “Senator Helena Benitez was one of the fortunate people who were blessed with a long life. She did not only bring honor to her family, community and country, she also opened doors that were previously closed to women. In her lifetime, she paved the way and inspired Filipino women to persevere and prosper in their fields of endeavor,” Drilon said.(MNS photo)

DRILON’S EULOGY TO BENITEZ: Senate President Franklin M. Drilon delivers his eulogy to the late Senator Helena Benitez, who passed away last Thursday at the age of 102. “Senator Helena Benitez was one of the fortunate people who were blessed with a long life. She did not only bring honor to her family, community and country, she also opened doors that were previously closed to women. In her lifetime, she paved the way and inspired Filipino women to persevere and prosper in their fields of endeavor,” Drilon said.(MNS photo)

MANILA  (Mabuhay) – Lawmakers from the present and past Congresses gathered at the Senate Tuesday to pay their last respects to former Senator Helena Benitez, who passed away on July 14 at the age of 102.

The necrological services began shortly past 10 a.m., after the urn containing Benitez’s ashes was brought to the Senate session hall.

Among the lawmakers who attended the event were outgoing Senate President Franklin Drilon, Senators Risa Hontiveros, Loren Legarda, Vicente Sotto III and Leila de Lima, and former senators Wigberto Tañada, Leticia Ramos Shahani and Santanina Rasul.

SENATE RESOLUTION: Senate President Franklin M. Drilon (4th from right) presents a Senate resolution expressing its sympathy and sincere condolences to the family of former Senator Helena Z. Benitez, during a necrological service at the Senate, July 19, 2016. Benitez died at the age of 102. In photo are Benitez’s family, led by her niece, Petty Benitez-Johannot (fourth from left), Commission on Higher Education chair Patricia B. Licuanan (3rd from left), and (from right) Senators Leila De Lima, Risa Hontiveros, and Loren Legarda.(MNS photo)

SENATE RESOLUTION: Senate President Franklin M. Drilon (4th from right) presents a Senate resolution expressing its sympathy and sincere condolences to the family of former Senator Helena Z. Benitez, during a necrological service at the Senate, July 19, 2016. Benitez died at the age of 102. In photo are Benitez’s family, led by her niece, Petty Benitez-Johannot (fourth from left), Commission on Higher Education chair Patricia B. Licuanan (3rd from left), and (from right) Senators Leila De Lima, Risa Hontiveros, and Loren Legarda.(MNS photo)

In his eulogy, Drilon hailed Benitez as a “trailblazer” who left a lasting mark in the fields of education, public service, diplomacy, international relations, arts and culture, environment and women empowerment.

Drilon said that as a lawmaker from 1967 to 1972, Benitez championed the cause of women and youth by authoring the National Manpower and Youth Development Act, which eventually paved the way for the creation of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

A known environmentalist, Benitez also authored laws protecting the Philippine eagle and the tamaraw, both which are both endangered species.

BENITEZ, 102: Senate President Franklin M. Drilon (3rd from right) receives the urn containing the ashes of former Senator Helena Z. Benitez, who passed away last Thursday. Benitez, the 7th woman elected as senator in Philippine history, authored laws on education, culture, arts and the environment, such as the Philippine Eagle Protection Act and Republic Act No. 6148 declaring Mount Iglit, Mount Baco and adjoining areas in Mindoro island as a national park. She died at the age of 102. In photo are, from left, Senators Risa Hontiveros (partly hidden), and Vicente Sotto III, Mrs. Mila Drilon, and Negros Occidental 3rd District Representative Alfredo Benitez. (MNS photo)

BENITEZ, 102: Senate President Franklin M. Drilon (3rd from right) receives the urn containing the ashes of former Senator Helena Z. Benitez, who passed away last Thursday. Benitez, the 7th woman elected as senator in Philippine history, authored laws on education, culture, arts and the environment, such as the Philippine Eagle Protection Act and Republic Act No. 6148 declaring Mount Iglit, Mount Baco and adjoining areas in Mindoro island as a national park. She died at the age of 102. In photo are, from left, Senators Risa Hontiveros (partly hidden), and Vicente Sotto III, Mrs. Mila Drilon, and Negros Occidental 3rd District Representative Alfredo Benitez. (MNS photo)

Tañada said the former senator lived “a life well lived” because of the various accomplishments she has gained while serving the country.

After the delivery of eulogies, Drilon presented a resolution honoring the former senator to her family.

Benitez, the seventh woman elected to the Senate, holds the distinction of being the first Filipina chairperson of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, and the first Filipina recipient of the Order of Sikatuna with the rank of Datu (Grand Cross).

Before her passing, she chaired the board of trustees of the Philippine Women’s University. (MNS)

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Pia wants to be tourism ambassador for PHL
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Miss Universe Pia Alonzo-Wurtzbach visits the new Department of Tourism Office: Miss Universe Pia Alonzo-Wurtzbach receives a token of appreciation from Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo during the former's visit at the new DOT Headquarters along Sen. Gil Puyat Ave. in Makati City on Monday (July 18, 2016). In a press conference after their meeting, Secretary Teo said she is grateful for the full support the reigning Miss Universe is giving to DOT's efforts to host the upcoming Miss Universe contest in the country. "We are really hopeful that President Rodrigo R. Duterte will grant our request, especially now that this undertaking would practically entail no expense on the part of government. More importantly, it would give a big boost to businesses and livelihood of millions of people, in line with our 'shared tourism' program," the DOT Chief said. (PNA photo by Jess M. Escaros Jr.)

Miss Universe Pia Alonzo-Wurtzbach visits the new Department of Tourism Office: Miss Universe Pia Alonzo-Wurtzbach receives a token of appreciation from Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo during the former’s visit at the new DOT Headquarters along Sen. Gil Puyat Ave. in Makati City on Monday (July 18, 2016). In a press conference after their meeting, Secretary Teo said she is grateful for the full support the reigning Miss Universe is giving to DOT’s efforts to host the upcoming Miss Universe contest in the country. “We are really hopeful that President Rodrigo R. Duterte will grant our request, especially now that this undertaking would practically entail no expense on the part of government. More importantly, it would give a big boost to businesses and livelihood of millions of people, in line with our ‘shared tourism’ program,” the DOT Chief said. (PNA photo by Jess M. Escaros Jr.)

MANILA (MABUHAY) – Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach paid a courtesy call on the Department of Tourism on Monday ahead of her meeting at Malacañang with President Rodrigo Duterte.

During her brief visit to the department, Wurtzbach said it has always been her dream to become an ambassador for the Philippines and promote tourism.

“I still continue on pursuing that goal of being a great ambassador as I go throughout my reign, as I visit different countries around the world as Miss Universe. I will continue on doing that,” she said.

The reigning Miss Universe has been consistent in supporting the DOT in its efforts to host the international pageant in the country.

“It’s my personal dream and the dream of a lot of Filipinos that someday we’ll see the Miss Universe pageant to be held here. We are keeping our fingers crossed,” she said.

President Duterte has a selfie with Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach after a courtesy call at the Malacanan Palace on Monday. Wurtzbach, representatives of Miss Universe, and Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo discussed the possibility of holding the 2016 Miss Universe in the Philippines. (MNS photo)

President Duterte has a selfie with Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach after a courtesy call at the Malacanan Palace on Monday. Wurtzbach, representatives of Miss Universe, and Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo discussed the possibility of holding the 2016 Miss Universe in the Philippines. (MNS photo)

While an official announcement on where Miss Universe will be held has yet to be made, Wurtzbach said she will continue to promote the Philippines wherever she goes.

“As I go through my reign, this year and for the years to come—it doesn’t end when I pass on my crown—I will still proudly wear the Philippines wherever I go,” she said.

Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Wanda Teo earlier said that if the international beauty contest would be held in the country, she wants to have it moved to May instead of January.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte meets with Miss Universe 2016 Pia Wurtzbach during a courtesy call at the Music Room of the Malacañan Palace on Monday July 18, 2016. (MNS photo)

President Rodrigo R. Duterte meets with Miss Universe 2016 Pia Wurtzbach during a courtesy call at the Music Room of the Malacañan Palace on Monday July 18, 2016. (MNS photo)

Teo cited other big events scheduled at the start of the year such as the Chinese New Year celebration and the Sinulog festival.

Teo said that she will begin talking with possible sponsors once it is confirmed that the Philippines is the next host country.

The DOT chief said that the government will need to raise a budget of $12 million (around P560 million) for the event.

The Philippines last hosted the Miss Universe pageant in 1994.

For this year’s pageant, the country will be fielding Maxine Medina, a 25-year-old interior designer who has been modelling since 2008. She will attempt to succeed Wurtzbach, the first Filipina to win the title in over four decades. (MNS)

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Arroyo: ‘Justice, righteousness prevailed’
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By Cielito M. Reganit

Former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo arrives with husband, Jose Miguel, at the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court in Quezon City, Metro Manila, April 11, 2012. Arroyo entered a plead of not guilty to allegations of graft and corruption in the tainted telecommunications deal with China in 2007. REUTERS/Cheryl Ravelo (PHILIPPINES - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW)

Former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo arrives with husband, Jose Miguel, at the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court in Quezon City, Metro Manila, April 11, 2012. Arroyo entered a plead of not guilty to allegations of graft and corruption in the tainted telecommunications deal with China in 2007. REUTERS/Cheryl Ravelo (PHILIPPINES – Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW)

MANILA  (PNA) – Former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Tuesday lauded the Supreme Court decision that acquitted her from plunder charges and said that justice and righteousness have once again prevailed over injustice and wrongdoing.

In a statement released after the landmark ruling, the former leader also urged the public to keep faith in the justice system.

“With the High Tribunal rendering a final decision on this unfortunate episode, I sincerely hope that everyone will respect and recognize the truth that has been established,” she said.

Voting 11-4, the high tribunal granted Arroyo’s petition seeking the dismissal of her remaining plunder case at the Sandiganbayan over the alleged misuse of the Php 366-million confidential intelligence fund of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

In the statement, Arroyo thanked the High Court for finally stopping the persecution she had unjustly gone through for the last five years.

She also thanked her supporters for their prayers and immeasurable help in keeping her faith and conviction that truth and justice will ultimately prevail.

“It is my fervent hope that nobody else will suffer the persecution that had been levied on me through self-serving interpretation and implementation of the law. And that the disregard of truth for which I was made to suffer be dealt with accordingly at the soonest possible time,” she said.

The third-term Pampanga representative likewise praised President Rodrigo Duterte for “allowing due process to take its course totally unhampered.”

In the campaign trail, Duterte promised he would release Arroyo from detention if elected President due to weak evidence, an offer that the former president declined.

“I also extend my heartfelt appreciation to His Excellency, President Rodrigo Duterte, and to the honorable members of the Supreme Court,” Arroyo said.

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Duterte’s first SONA won’t be a fashion show
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President Rodrigo R. Duterte delivers a speech before the San Beda Law Alumni Association during the Testimonial Dinner Reception at the Kalayaan Hall of Club Filipino in San Juan City on July 14. (MNS photo)

President Rodrigo R. Duterte delivers a speech before the San Beda Law Alumni Association during the Testimonial Dinner Reception at the Kalayaan Hall of Club Filipino in San Juan City on July 14. (MNS photo)

MANILA, July 18, (Mabuhay) – Incoming Finance Department spokesperson Paola Alvarez on Monday said the first State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte will no longer be a collision of politics and Filipino fashion in an attempt to “step away from the norm.”

Alvarez, daughter of incoming House Speaker Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez who also served as the spokesperson of PDP-Laban during the campaign period and currently helping with the SONA preps, said that the event on July 25 will center on the message of the President that guests, especially the ladies, will be asked to tone down their sartorial picks.

“We will downplay the event. It will not be a fashion show. We want to center on the what the President’s message is to our people especially it’s his first State of the Nation Address. So it will be a different take because our guests will be requested not to wear their gowns as what we have previously been seeing in the past SONAs,” she said.

Guests will be asked to wear business attire. Female guests have the option to wear a Filipiniana but only if it is knee-length. She said that this will be SONA’s new dress code under the Duterte administration.

“During the previous SONAs, most people see that this is an occasion where people tend to flaunt their gowns, their dresses. We want to step away from this norm that has become and we want to bring back the real essence of the State of the Nation,” Alvarez explained.

In keeping with their goal to focus on Duterte’s message, she also said that they also planned to minimize the number of people who will greet the President when he arrives at the Batasan Pambasa. Only the House Speaker and the Senate President will be there to greet him and the majority leaders of both Houses will escort him inside the plenary hall.

“Director Brillante Mendoza wants to emphasize on how the formalities are done,”  Alvarez said. (MNS)

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Pacquiao present only once in 52 session days
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Congressman Pacquiao has “Bigger dreams for our people” while in ALABEL, Sarangani (October 7, 2015) - “In the coming days, I will be embracing new levels of responsibility,” says Manny Pacquiao, “I will be confronting tougher challenges. Yes, I will be dreaming bigger dreams for our people and for our nation.” This statement stirs the crowd to applaud lone district Congressman Manny Pacquiao in his State of the District Address at the Capitol gym Monday, October 5. (Jake Narte/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Congressman Pacquiao has “Bigger dreams for our people” while in ALABEL, Sarangani (October 7, 2015) – “In the coming days, I will be embracing new levels of responsibility,” says Manny Pacquiao, “I will be confronting tougher challenges. Yes, I will be dreaming bigger dreams for our people and for our nation.” This statement stirs the crowd to applaud lone district Congressman Manny Pacquiao in his State of the District Address at the Capitol gym Monday, October 5. (Jake Narte/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

MANILA, July 18, (MABUHAY) – Senator Manny Pacquiao only showed up for plenary session at the Lower House on his last year as Sarangani Representative.

Based on the attendance report released by the House of Representatives covering the 3rd regular session from July 27, 2015 to June 6, 2016, Pacquiao was actually present only on one session day out of the 52 session days for the period.

Pacquiao has promised to prioritize his new role as a senator. However, his duties as a lawmaker may again be affected by a possible return to the boxing ring.

Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum, said on Tuesday that the eight-division world champion planned to fight on either October 29 or November 5 as a main event bout in Las Vegas.

Sixteenth Congress Negros Occidental Rep. Julio Ledesma, Davao del Sur Rep. Franklin Bautista attended 3 session days while Zamboanga del Norte Rep. Seth Frederick Jalosjos, Albay Rep. Edcel “Grex” Lagman and Iloilo Rep. Hernan Biron Jr. attended four.

Nueva Ecija Rep. Magnolia Antonino, Manila Rep. Ma. Theresa Bonoan, and Pangasinan Rep. Kimi Cojuangco attended five session days, while Cavite Rep. Luis “Jon-Jon” Ferrer IV, Kalinga party-list Rep. Abigail Faye Ferriol, Tawi-Tawi Rep. Ruby Sahali and Ilocos Sur Rep. Ronald Singson were present in 6.

Surigao del Norte Rep. Guillermo Romarate Jr. and Iligan City Rep. Vicente Belmonte Jr. attended 7 session days, while Quezon City Rep. Francisco Calalay Jr., Cebu Rep. Joseph “Ace” Durano, Palawan Rep. Douglas Hagedorn, Surigao del Norte Rep. Francisco “Lalo” Matugas and Southern Leyte Rep. Damian Mercado attended 8 session days.

Those who were present 9 session days were Davao Oriental Rep. Nelson Dayanghirang, Rizal Rep. Joel Roy Duavit, Aklan Rep. Teodorico Haresco Jr., Manila Rep. Maria Zenaida Angping, and LPG-MA party-list Rep. Arnel Ty.

The list excludes Rep. Gloria Arroyo, who is detained on a plunder charge since the first regular session of the 16th Congress.

Lanao del Norte Rep. Abdullah Dimaporo was ordered arrested by the Sandiganbayan on August 5, 2013.

Rep. Elmer Panoted died September 9, 2015 while Rep. Mel Senen Sarmiento was appointed Interior Secretary on September 22, 2015.

Rep. Doy Leachon was under a 90-day preventive suspension starting December 19, 2015.

Rep. Regina Ongsiako Reyes was dropped from the roll on February 1, 2016 and replaced by Lord Allan Velasco.

Rep. Roy Seneres died on February 8, 2016, while Reps. Harlin Abayon and Philip Pichay were dropped from the roll on May 23, 2016. Abayon was replaced by Rep. Raul Daza while Pichay was replaced by Mary Eliabeth Ty-Delgado.

The list was broken down according to days actually present, and days deemed present. The days deemed present refers to days when they are not physically in session but are out on official business.

A list of congressmen whose absences were either with or without notice was also provided.

There were 29 session days when the roll call was dispensed with.(MNS)

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