Military top brass skip Senate votes

Military top brass skip Senate votes

Senators don masks and sit a safe distance from each other during the first Upper House session after parliament reconvened on Monday. Chanat Katanyu
Senators don masks and sit a safe distance from each other during the first Upper House session after parliament reconvened on Monday. Chanat Katanyu

The leaders of the three armed forces have the worst track records when it comes to Senate voting, according to the Internet for People's Laws Project, or iLaw. The records were confirmed by Senate Speaker Pornpetch Wichitcholchai on Monday.

According to the civic group advocating human rights, democracy and social justice, navy chief Adm Luechai Ruddit, army chief Gen Apirat Kongsompong and retired and incumbent air force chiefs ACM Chaipruek Dissayasarin and ACM Manaat Wongwat are the least involved senators in the military-appointed Upper House.

Out of 145 votes called by the Senate, Adm Luechai missed 144, followed by Gen Apirat (143) and ACM Chaipruek and ACM Manaat (143).

The armed forces leaders are among six state officials serving as senators under the 2017 charter. The three others are the supreme commander, the defence permanent secretary and the national police chief.

ACM Manaat succeeded ACM Chaipruek as a senator on Nov 7 last year after the latter's mandatory retirement.

Supreme commander Pornpipat Benyasri missed 136 votes while defence permanent secretary Nat Intaracharoen missed 135 votes. National police chief Chakthip Chaijinda was the most productive among the six, missing only 99 votes out of 145.

Gen Ood Buengbon and Gen Jirasak Chomprasop were the most productive senators and never missed a single vote.

Mr Pornpetch on Monday apologised for the poor records and promised to that he would instruct his colleagues to shape up and take all the meetings and votes seriously.

However, Mr Pornpetch pointed out that most of the 145 votes involved meeting regulations and only seven votes involved key legislative drafts.

Defence spokesman Kongcheep Tantravanich said on Monday the issue had not been raised during the Defence Council meeting chaired by Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

Lt Gen Kongcheep added that the military leaders could explain for themselves if asked to clarify the issue.

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