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Palace now says ‘no position’ on nursing board flap

By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez
Last updated 05:00pm (Mla time) 10/04/2006

AFTER several announcements by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo that she favored a partial retake of the leak-tainted June 2006 nursing licensure examinations, Malacañang on Wednesday backtracked and said it actually had no position yet on the matter.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said Arroyo has decided to wait for the report of the National Bureau of Investigation in the nursing board exam and the decision of the Court of Appeals on a pending petition to annul the test results and halt the oath-taking of successful examinees.

Asked if this meant the Palace had no position at the moment on the retake issue, Ermita said: "Precisely."

Wednesday last week, Ermita announced that Arroyo favored a retake and described this as a “policy position.”

A day after, during a chance meeting with nursing students near Malacañang, Arroyo said she would order a retake of tests 3 and 5.

But on Friday, Ermita said the Palace had chosen to “go slow” because of the pending case before the appellate court only to announce on Monday that Arroyo would be issuing an executive order (EO) on whether or not a retake is necessary and laying down the rationale and guidelines for the decision.

That same day, after conferring awards on billiard greats Efren Reyes and Francisco Bustamante, Arroyo herself said a retake of tests 3 and 5 would take place, only to have her chief of staff remind her about the pending CA case.

This prompted her to say she would no longer discuss the matter because it could be sub judice.

On Tuesday, Labor Secretary Arturo Brion submitted a draft of the EO and a recommendation for a retake for all those who took the June exam. However, after the Cabinet meeting, Ermita said the EO could not be released yet because Arroyo was editing portions of it.

Ermita acknowledged that there were discussions within the Cabinet that any executive action, such as issuance of an executive order, might be considered sub judice.

"What I am saying is that Secretary Brion is considering the (case before the) CA and the report of the NBI,” as well as the positions of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) and other stakeholders, “and will present these to the Cabinet," Ermita said Wednesday.

The PRC has been placed under the supervision of the Labor department.

The NBI had earlier recommended the filing of charges against two examiners allegedly involved in the leakage of test questions. It is now conducting an investigation on the culpability of review centers who allegedly made the questions available to examinees.

Ermita said that currently, two review centers have been found involved and three others are being investigated. All the review centers are in Luzon.

The NBI findings could determine which areas the actual leakage took place and the names of the students enrolled in the review centers that took part in the leak, Ermita said.

The NBI is expected to release their report on or before October 15, Ermita added

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