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Go win-win, court urged on test leak

Go win-win, court urged on test leak
Labor chief calls for conciliatory approach

First posted 01:23am (Mla time) Oct 16, 2006
By Leila Salaverria, Christine Avendaño

Editor's Note: Published on page A1 of the October 16, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

ENTRUSTED with the task of defusing a controversy affecting thousands of aspiring new nurses, Labor Secretary Arturo Brion yesterday called for a “win-win” solution and said the Court of Appeals could do its bit by promoting a “conciliatory approach” to the problem.

Brion told the Inquirer that his plan for resolving the nursing examination leakage issue -- which would involve a meeting of the various stakeholders -- had the approval of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita.

Brion said he would write the Court of Appeals today to formally broach his plan.

But closing the book on the emotionally charged leakage issue would not mean that the Professional Regulation Commission was in the clear, Brion indicated.

He said the PRC would still be investigated to determine whether its officials had any administrative liability for the leakage.

But he added such a probe would come after the resolution of the leakage controversy and after the next nursing licensure examination in December.

“This (the PRC) is not a top priority at the moment,” Brion said in a phone interview.

What concerns the government at present is putting closure to a scandal that has tainted the Philippine nursing profession’s image, and Brion believes a solution in which the appellate court would have a role could stop the filing in court of motions for reconsideration that could delay the resolution of an issue that has polarized many sectors in the country.

“I intend to write the Court of Appeals a letter suggesting a conciliatory approach,” Brion, a former appellate court justice, said. “I can see that we can still come up with a win-win solution.”

He said he had talked to CA Justice Vicente Veloso to inform him of his plan, and was told that the court would consider the suggestion.

Role for CA

“He told me, ‘By all means, send it. Once we receive it, we will consider it.’ He is not saying he’ll approve it,” Brion said of his talk with Veloso.

Asked what role he hoped the appellate court could play, Brion said: “The court can set up a meeting between the stakeholders.”

Asked what the stakeholders could discuss in a conciliatory meeting, Brion said the various parties could talk about the courses of action they could take in line with the court’s decision on Friday, which requires a selective retake of the June examination’s Tests III and V which were affected by the leakage.

Airing out grievances

The court also ruled that the 1,687 graduates who were added to the list of passers after the PRC’s recomputation of scores should retake the two tests.

It also ordered the reinstatement to the list of passers the 1,186 graduates whose names were removed following the recomputation.

The appellate court also allowed the passers who took the tests outside Metro Manila and Baguio City and who did not take the final coaching sessions at the review centers implicated in the leakage to take their oath as nurses.

The PRC had said that more than 17,000 of the estimated 42,000 nursing candidates passed the exam.

A new nursing board

Brion also said that in a conciliatory meeting, the stakeholders could air their sentiments about and suggest solutions to the various issues they had been facing.

He added that a conciliatory meeting would place the parties involved in the issue in a friendlier situation.

“These stakeholders had not met together in a non-adversarial atmosphere,” he said, adding that they probably had only crossed paths when they filed their legal petitions before the appellate court and during oral arguments called by the court.

Brion also said that aside from resolving the leakage issue, the government was intent on ensuring that the next nursing licensure exam in December would not be tainted, and on reconstituting the Board of Nursing whose members had resigned.

After these matters had been taken care of, he said the focus would shift to the PRC.

“We will check its present leaders’ administrative liability. Then we will look at the system of the PRC,” Brion said.

Presidential orders

The PRC had been criticized by those calling for a retake of the exams for its decision to recompute the grades after the discovery of the leakage.

PRC Chair Leonor Tripon-Rosero has maintained that the commission is against a retake because it believes that its recomputation of the grades had nullified the leakage’s effects.

Rosero earlier also accused Brion and Dante Ang, who heads the Commission on Filipinos Overseas, of “intruding” into the PRC’s affairs. Brion and Ang both advocated a nationwide retake of the nursing exam portions affected by the leakage.

Intent on moving on, Ms Arroyo has ordered the agencies concerned to undertake measures to ensure there would be no repeat of the cheating scandal.

Presidential directives have been sent to the Department of Labor and Employment, the PRC, the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) and other agencies, Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said yesterday.

Never again

“All stakeholders should join hands to ensure that this never happens again,” Bunye said, noting that the controversy had “struck a blow and unfairly brought a stigma to Filipino professionalism.”

“We have to protect the integrity and competitiveness of our students and professionals who comprise our principal and most important resource,” the presidential spokesperson said.

When I read the messages in this Blogsite, I feel that I would not subject my health to the care of the alleged passers who post messages that are below the belt. Where is the Florence Nightingale spirit in you? You are supposed to uphold life and not diminish its dignity. Babastos ng nasusulat. Dapat talagang magretake lahat.

If PRC Chairman Rosero acted on the leakage issue in a competent manner, di sana tayo nakarating sa ganitong gulo. Bakit nakaupo pa rin siya? Bakit ang lakas niya sa government? Dahil ba allies ni GMA ang lahat ng mandaraya?

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