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Nursing exam results should be voided

Most cheating occurred in Luzon, Ermita says
By Joyce Pangco Pañares

MOST of the nursing graduates who must retake their licensing exams come from Luzon because investigators believe that is where most of the cheating happened, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said yesterday.

“The NBI [National Bureau of Investigation] has informed us that most of the review centers that had obtained copies of the leaked exam were based in Luzon,” Ermita said without identifying specific areas.

He echoed the Philippine Regulation Commission’s view that a new law must be passed to regulate the operation of review centers.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo earlier announced that she would sign an executive order that would put review centers under the direct supervision of the Commission on Higher Education and spell out possible penalties for leaks.

As this developed, the commission recommended administrative sanctions against examiners Virginia Madeja and Anesia Dionisio for gross negligence that resulted in the leak.

But the NBI asked for a one-week extension of the deadline set by the President to give it time to determine the criminal liability of some officials of the Board of Nursing.

Senator Richard Gordon said Madeja and Dionisio were sacrificial lambs given up to hide the real culprits. He pressed the Senate to issue a subpoena to PRC commissioners and bureau officials who snubbed two hearings of the Senate committee on civil service and government reorganization.

Earlier, the President rejected the recommendation of Dante Ang, chairman of the Commission on Overseas Filipinos, for all examinees who took the nursing board exams to retake the test.

Ang made the recommendation after certain foreign employers, including those from the American state Arizona, imposed a ban on the hiring of Filipino nurses who passed the June 2006 board exams.

Mrs. Arroyo instead made a public appeal for the ban to be lifted and ordered the exam readministered in areas where the leaks were confirmed.

“We are earnestly appealing to all public and private hospitals to reconsider their decision to freeze the hiring of the 2006 nursing licensure test passers, for we believe that those who passed this board exam fairly should not suffer from the dishonest acts of an erring few,” Presidential Spokesman Ignacio Bunye said. With Roy Pelovello

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