Assunta explains why hubby always absent from Congress
Assunta says husband to donate 60% of land to workers
MANILA -- Negros Occidental Rep. Julio Ledesma IV, according to his wife, had a "compelling reason" for his frequent absence from Congress during his second term in office.
Actress Assunta de Rossi, Ledesma's spouse of over 10 years, said the lawmaker had been busy with setting up a trust for the benefit of farm workers in his home province.
Speaking with ABS-CBN News' Anthony Taberna, the 32-year-old TV personality acknowledged that her husband was among the elected officials with the most number of absences from the 15th Congress.
"Before, yes. [Dahil iyon sa] trust, importante 'yon. It's related to the CARP (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program). It's a compelling reason. Hindi siya nagbabakasyon o naglalakwatsa," she said in an interview on "Tapatan ni Tunying" aired Thursday.
Having incurred 45 absences without notice, Ledesma was among the top six absentees in the last Congress, along with Juan Miguel "Mikey" Arroyo, with 53 absences; Augusto Syjuco, 42; Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao, 37; and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Ranulfo Canonigo, 30 each.
On San Carlos 'hacienda'
Explaining "[their] own version of CARP," de Rossi said she and Ledesma have been making steps to formalize the distrubtion of their San Carlos City property to hundreds of farm workers.
Sixty percent of the Ledesma-owned, 3,000-hectare farm will be distributed among 900 workers, according to the actress.
Recalling a conversation with her husband of the "philanthropic" move, de Rossi said, "'What happens,' sabi ko, 'when you give away your lupain?'
"Sabi niya, 'Gano'n lang, ibibigay mo lang. 'Yun nga lang, ang problema, kung may utang, sila sasalo. Would you want that on your conscience?' Sabi ko, 'Hindi!'" she said.
When she asked Ledesma how he plans to approach the situation, de Rossi recalled her husband answering, "We take over, and we give it to the farmers, free and clear, na wala silang babayaran kahit singko. But we have to put it in a trust."
Asked when they intend to formalize the land distribution, de Rossi said, "It's a long process, it takes years. Alam mo, kung pwede lang mangyari ito bukas, ibibigay ko lahat -- lahat! -- kahit itong suot ko nalang ang matira."