Four more members of the House of Representatives yesterday said they were among those wrongly named as absent — according to a list provided by Speaker Prospero Nograles to the media – during the roll call at the Session Hall last Friday, June 4, when the ratification of the Freedom of Information Act was scuttled for supposed lack of a quorum.
The four bring to eight the number of lawmakers erroneously tagged as not physically present during the roll call.
The eight bring to 136 – one more than the 135 threshold for a quorum in the 269-member House – the number of lawmakers that was needed to constitute a quorum and act on the motion to ratify the FOI bicameral conference committee report.
Earlier, media reports had quoted four lawmakers as saying they were actually present during the roll call on Friday – Senior Deputy Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II, Rizal Rep. Michael John “Jack” Duavit, AMIN Party-List Rep. Mujiv Hataman, and South Cotabato Rep. Arthur Pingoy.
The four additional lawmakers who were also present include Valenzuela Rep. Magtanggol Gunigundo – according to video taken by the PCIJ at the Session Hall during the roll call on Friday – as well as Bantay Party-List Rep. Jovito Palparan, Cebu Rep. Pablo P. Garcia, and Caloocan City Rep. Oscar Malapitan.
Until last night, however, the office of the House Secretary-General, Atty. Marilyn Barua-Yap, has not responded to PCIJ’s inquiries about an official list of the lawmakers who were present and absent last June 4.
Also attached is a letter from the House’s Journal Service Director, Ma. Queenette DL. Masangkay, in response to a request from Quezon Rep. Erin Tanada for a copy of the official list of House members present last June 4.