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Nursing board members show up but say nothing about leakage

Nursing board members show up but say nothing about leakage

By Michael Lim Ubac

Published on page A5 of the September 20, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

TWO former members of the Board of Nursing (BON), who had been identified by the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) as being the source of the leaked questions in the June nursing licensure exams, finally showed up at the congressional inquiry into the cheating scandal yesterday.

But Anesia Dionisio and Virginia Madeja would not comment on the cheating controversy that has affected the professional future of 42,006 nursing graduates from all over the country who took the exams on June 11 to 12.

“No comment,” said Madeja, who invoked her constitutional right to due process and objected to being grilled further by members of the joint House committees on civil service and professional regulation, justice and good government.

Explaining why she suddenly disappeared when the scandal broke out in late June, Madeja said she was afraid to come out “because people have prejudged the issue already.”


She also said she didn’t want to incriminate herself as the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has filed a case against her with the Office of the Ombudsman.

Dionisio said she would be willing to answer the charges in the proper forum while insisting that she did not do what she was being accused of doing.

But officials of the PRC, the government agency in charge of licensing professionals in the country, pointed an accusing finger at Dionisio and Madeja, saying they had been negligent.

PRC Chair Leonor Tripon Rosero said the agency’s system was secure and that the leak was the fault of the two BON board members.

“Actually, we cannot say that they leaked the questions. What we always say is that they owned the manuscripts,” said Rosero.

PRC Commissioner Renato Valdecantos, who headed the PRC committee that handled the internal investigation into the incident, said it was tantamount to “neglect of duty.”

He said the committee had submitted its report to the NBI in which it recommended the filing of administrative charges against Madeja and Dionisio.

“Based on the evidence we gathered, their test manuscripts were the source of the leakage. That is why the charge is for neglect of duty,” Valdecantos said.

He said Dionisio had admitted to him that she had lost her manuscript of test questions, finding out about it long after the June exams were over.

He explained that the 18 pages of leaked test questions were actually handwritten notes for Tests III (20 questions) and V (90 questions), which “came from the manuscripts of Mrs. Dionisio and Mrs. Madeja.”

Valdecantos said the real test questions were not the ones that were circulated.

He said the leaked notes showed that the questions had been copied almost verbatim, even down to the sequence and the names of the persons mentioned in the examinations papers.

No cover up

Valdecantos decried accusations that the PRC was trying to cover up the controversy, saying “we would not have come up with anything against anybody” if that were the case.

“The PRC was never involved in this leakage. The leakage came from the Board of Nursing,” he said.

Lawyer Cheryl Daytec-Yangot accused both the BON and PRC of conspiracy to hide the truth from the public. She said the PRC was “dictating” the outcome of the NBI’s investigation into the scandal.

He lamented that the PRC could only determine neglect of duty in its investigation.

“There might be co-conspirators or participants but we don’t have hard evidence. That is why we requested the NBI to conduct further investigations,” he said.

Charles Santiago, the PRC legal officer who is alleged to have been the source of the leak in Baguio City, also professed innocence.

He said he had to leave the “confidential room” while the test questions were being printed to get their allowance from the cashier because they had run out of food.

Officemate Edward Tajeda corroborated Santiago’s statement but Rosero said staff members detailed at the confidential room had orders to stay inside.

NBI regional director Elfren Meneses, chief of the anti-fraud and computer crimes division, said the bureau would complete its investigation and file additional charges soon.


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