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NBI files raps vs culprits in nursing exam leakage

11 - NBI files raps vs culprits in nursing exam leakage
Wednesday, October 11 2006 @ 06:52 PM BST

News affecting OFW's
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is set to file before the justice department charges against 17 persons implicated in the leakage that marred the June 2006 nursing licensure examination.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita and NBI Director Nestor Mantaring said the charges will be filed against them either Wednesday or Thursday for violating Republic Act 8981, the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) Modernization Act of 2000.

Mantaring said manuscripts containing test questions, which Board of Nursing members Anesia Dionisio and Virginia Madeja prepared, are among the NBI's documentary evidence proving occurrence of the leakage.

Both officials said suspects the NBI will charge are all officers of three nursing review centers but they neither revealed their identities nor named these institutions involved.

"For fairness' sake, we'll allow NBI to first file the cases before divulging such information," Ermita said during a Palace briefing Wednesday.

Mantaring said the NBI conducted a nationwide probe on the leakage but found evidence showing such irregularity occurred in Baguio City and Manila only.

To help facilitate prosecution of parties involved, he said the NBI's report includes each of the three review centers' list of registrants so these can be matched with the list of June 2006 nursing board examinees which the PRC maintains.

The matching aims to identify who among the examinees could have possibly benefited from the leakage.

Ermita said the NBI will furnish Labor Secretary Arturo Brion a copy of its report so he can review this and recommend to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo whether a re-take of the examination is necessary.

Malacanang expects Brion to give on Saturday morning at the latest his recommendation on the matter so Ermita can in turn submit a corresponding report to the Chief Executive who is expected to decide on the issue early next week.

Mrs. Arroyo earlier tasked Brion to consult with authorities concerned and decide on whether or not a re-take is in order so that such option can be recommended for the Palace's action.

Brion earlier expressed preference for a re-take, however, to help clarify the issue.

Some sectors are expressing concern over possible escape of people implicated in the leakage to avoid prosecution, although Mantaring said the NBI hasn't received information about such move.

"We don't consider them as flight risks since they're professionals," he said.

PRC Chairperson Leonor Rosero said the agency stands pat on a no-retake decision since repeating the examination would be tantamount to punishing examinees who passed the board fairly.

Instead, she said the PRC is batting for investigation of Dionisio and Madeja to uncover the truth behind the leakage.

The PRC concluded its probe on both women and implicated them in the scam.

Mantaring said they will face charges also if evidence warrants such.

Based on RA 8981, "any person who manipulates or rigs licensure examination results, secretly informs or makes known licensure examination questions prior to the conduct of the examination or tampers with the grades in professional licensure examinations shall, upon conviction, be punished by imprisonment of not less than six years and one day to not more than 12 years or a fine of not less than PhP50,000 to not more than PhP100,000 or both such imprisonment and fine at the discretion of the court."

RA 8981 also provides that if offender is an officer or employee of PRC or a member of the regulatory board, he or she "shall be removed from office and shall suffer the penalty of perpetual absolute disqualification from public office in addition to the penalties prescribed in the preceding section of this Act." (PNA)

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