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Arroyo dentist won’t quit as PRC chair

Arroyo dentist won’t quit as PRC chair

By Alcuin Papa
Last updated 05:42am (Mla time) 08/28/2006

Published on page A1 of the August 28, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

THE LEAK in the last nursing board exams may be a more intractable problem for Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) Chair Leonor Tripon-Rosero than any toothache she has had to deal with in her nearly 40 years as a dentist.

But Rosero, in charge of the most important set of pearly whites in the country -- those of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s -- is not about to give up.

As the controversy over the leakage in the exams continued to rage, Ms Arroyo’s personal dentist rejected calls for her to resign as PRC chief, saying she would not allow herself to be pressured out of her job.

Rosero sat down with reporters late last week to answer allegations that she was “untouchable” because of her close links to the President.

“This is my job where I really have to do my best and I don’t want to be pressured by any group,” she said. “As long as I feel I am fit for this position, I will do my very best.”

Rosero was appointed a board examiner for dentistry in 2002. The next year, she was appointed PRC commissioner. In January 2005, she was promoted to her current job of chair.

Rosero insisted that her qualifications alone, and not her close ties with Ms Arroyo, propelled her to her post.

“I am qualified for this position. That’s why she saw me in the best position to be appointed here,” she said.

Rejecting calls for her to step down, Rosero said: “I don’t think it is right for (my detractors) to say that … I have a term of office. If my term of office is finished, then I will immediately leave.”

“If the President wants me out, I will leave because I am a presidential appointee. If anyone says I have to resign, I have a term of office. I will not resign.”

Just a short upper lip

According to Rosero, she was Ms Arroyo’s dentist even before the President began smiling that now distinct smile, with a slight overbite, all the way to Malacañang.

“She (Ms Arroyo) has a good set of teeth,” a candid Rosero said.

When reporters pointed out Ms Arroyo had an overbite, Rosero shook her head. “It’s just that she has a short upper lip,” Rosero said.

She found Ms Arroyo, as a patient, to be “very cooperative.”

“She would just close her eyes and relax,” she said.

First Gentleman

Rosero last examined Ms Arroyo in July as part of her twice-a-year checkup at the clinic in the Malacañang compound.

“She asked me about the nursing leakage and I told her we had already investigated the matter, that there was indeed a leakage. She gave a sour face,” recalled Rosero.

The fate of the more than 17,000 examinees who passed the nurse licensing exams in June has remained in limbo after the Court of Appeals ordered a halt to the oath-taking of the passers while it studies a petition calling for new examinations.

“She (Ms Arroyo) is my patient. She has been my patient even before she became President,” Rosero said.

“First Gentleman (Jose Miguel) Mike Arroyo is also my patient. But I don’t tell everyone because it’s a personal patient-dentist relationship. We have a code of ethics that says we don’t have to tell everyone who your clients are. And they are not the only clients I have.”

A matter of trust

On the other hand, Rosero said the patient-dentist relationship she has with Ms Arroyo must have counted for something.

“I think it’s just the trust and confidence of the President given to anybody she appoints. It means she trusts that person. Just like a dentist-patient relationship, she will not agree I treat her if she doesn’t have trust in me,” she said.

She was also candid about the links between her husband, Mabuhay Rosero, and the First Gentleman. “They belong to the Rotary Club of Makati Central.”

Another member of the Rotary Club is Efraim Genuino, chair of Philippine Gaming Corp. Rosero’s husband is head of Pagcor’s surveillance department.

Family of dentists

“We (their families) are not really very close but we are friends,” she said.

Rosero comes from a family of dentists. Four of her seven siblings are also dentists, as well as her son.

She earned her Doctor of Dental Medicine degree at the University of the East, graduating cum laude. She took the dentist licensure examination in 1968 and placed second.

Her clinic used to be located at the Sunvar Plaza in Makati City. Today, her clinic is at the Bonifacio Technical Center at The Fort.


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