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PRC officials testify, avoid Sabio’s fate

PRC officials testify, avoid Sabio’s fate

By Roy Pelovello

AFTER snubbing three Senate hearings on the alleged leakage in the nursing licensure examinations, officers of the Professional Regulatory Commission finally showed up at the hearing of the Senate committee on civil service and government reorganization yesterday.

PRC Chairman Leonor Tripon-Rosero, Commissioners Avelina dela Rea and Renato Valdecantos took turns in answering senators’ questions on why they decided to swear in examinees who passed the nurses’ licensure test.

By heeding the summons to testify, the PRC officials avoided the fate of PCGG Chairman Camilo Sabio, whom the Senate had detained for ignoring an invitation to clarify issues on state-sequestered telecom companies.

The commissioners said it was only right to induct the examinees because they were not proven to have cheated or even accused of cheating in the test.

Lawyer Elfren Meneses, chief of the National Bureau of Investigation’s antifraud and computer crimes division, also showed up to explain the status of the cases filed against the two examiners who allegedly leaked the test questions to a nursing review center.

At the same time, Senator Richard Gordon, one of the three senators who filed a resolution calling for the inquiry into the leakage, reiterated his proposal for the abolition of review centers, particularly in nursing, saying the schools should be responsible for the performance of their graduates.

Gordon also took the Commission on Higher Education to task for the low quality of the education in the country, noting that many poor-performing schools in the country continue to operate.

CHED executive director Julito Vitriolo, said the commission has already recommended the upgrading of the standard to a 30 percent cutoff but they were prevented from implementing it after some schools sued CHED and managed to secure a restraining order from the courts.

The PRC commissioners said they supported the CHED recommendation to close down review centers that fail to get more than 5 percent of its graduates pass the licensure exams.

At the same time, Senator Rodolfo Biazon, the committee chairman, said they are also looking into the possibility that George Cordero, owner of Philippine College of Health Sciences and INRESS review center that was implicated in the leakage scandal, may have given false testimony during the last hearing of the committee.

Cordero earlier denied charges that the leaked test questions formed part of the “final coaching” that INRESS made for its reviewees at the SM theater in Manila before the examination. But Cordero was not able to attend yesterday’s hearing purportedly because of a medical illness.

After the hearing, Biazon said it was a good thing that the witnesses were able to come to the hearing because had the PRC and NBI officials failed to appear in yesterday’s hearing, the Senate would have likely ordered their arrest.

Biazon said he also understands the situation of the bureaucrats because they are only following orders, noting the Supreme Court decision on Executive Order 464 has yet to become final and that there is also the existing Memorandum Order 108.

EO 464 requires officials from the Executive department to get prior presidential permission before appearing in any legislative hearing, but the Supreme Court has ruled against it.


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