PRC to swear in passers of nurses’ test

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — THE Philippine Regulation Commission will administer the oath to all nursing graduates who passed the leak-tainted bar exams in June once a temporary restraining order on the agency lapses on Oct. 18, its top official said.

“As soon as the TRO is lifted we will administer the oath to all passers. Our position is no retake,” PRC Chairman Leonor Rosero told the Senate yesterday. That put her at odds with Malacañang, which favors a new exam as a way of restoring the test’s credibility.

Senator Panfilo Lacson, chairman of the committee on civil service and government reorganization, appealed to Malacañang to wait for a Court of Appeals ruling before taking action.

“The issue has become too complicated. Malacañang has its own stand, the Professional Regulation Commission has its own stand, and even the board passers [are] divided,” Lacson said.

“But there is a pending case before the Court of Appeals. Won’t it be prudent to wait?”

The National Bureau of Investigation yesterday recommended the filing of criminal charges against 17 officers and owners of three private nursing board review centers, who are accused of photocopying sections 3 and 5 of the June test and then leaking them to examinees.

NBI Director Nestor Mantaring endorsed the indictment of Ricarte Gapuz, Evangeline Gapuz, Ma. Elena Altarejos, Elizabeth Iciano, Eleanor Artemia Cruz of RA Gapuz Review Center; George Cordero, Adela Cordero, Jerry Cordero, Corazon Sabado, Macjohn Fabian, Lolita Barlahan, Eugenia Alcantara of Ingress Review Center Inc.; and Gerald Andamo, Glenn Luansing, Mike Jimenes, Jerome Balisnomo, and Freddie Valdez of Pentagon Review Specialist Inc.

The bureau said the 17 could be held criminally liable for violating the Professional Regulation Commission Law.

Under the law, any person who manipulates or rigs licensure examination results, secretly informs or makes known test questions before the examination or tampers with the grades in professional licensure examinations faces six years in jail and a fine of P50,000 to P100,000.

If the offender is an employee or officer of the commission, he may be removed from office.

Accomplices face imprisonment of four to six years, and fines of P20,000 to P49,000.

“The evidence recently secured is sufficient to establish that Ingress and Gapuz review centers have much to do with the proliferation of the [leaks],” the bureau said in its letter to the justice department.

The bureau cited the eyewitness account of one Dennis Bautista, but it did not recommend indicting the students who took part in the cheating.

“To push for the prosecution of the reviewees is not only difficult but impractical,” Mantaring said.

This is apart from the fact that this bureau would not be willing to serve as an instrument in depriving the students of their professional advancement.”

Mantaring said the commission solved the problem when it invalidated 20 questions from test 3 and recomputed the grades in test 5, which was “a sensible way” of reducing the impact of the leaks.

Earlier, the bureau recommended charges against Anesia Dionisio and Virginia Madeja, both members of the Board of Nursing and examiners during the June exams.