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Nursing groups seek reconsideration of CA order

Nursing groups seek reconsideration of CA order

By Armand Nocum
Last updated 02:29am (Mla time) 10/17/2006

Published on page A1 of the October 17, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

NURSING GROUPS yesterday asked the Court of Appeals to reconsider its order for a selective retake of the nursing licensure exam, saying that the court did not act on the leak.

Claiming that the leakage occurred all over the country, the petitioners asked the appellate court to order a retake of Tests III (medical-surgical nursing) and V (psychiatric nursing) by all those who took the licensure exam on June 11-12.

The petitioners were Rene M. Tadle, Earl Francis R. Sumile and Michael Angelo S. Brant, heads of the University of Santo Tomas College of Nursing Faculty Association, the League of Concerned Nurses and the Binuklod na Samahan ng Mga Student Nurses, respectively.

They sought the issuance of a “status quo order” while the motion for reconsideration was being heard.

In a 15-page motion, the petitioners said the court glossed over the leakage when it did not count on the “likelihood that the favored examinees subsequently passed on these leaked questions to others.”

They said that about “3,700 or one-fifth of the 17,000-plus” successful examinees were believed to have benefited from the leak when they attended the “final coaching” sessions at the R.A. Gapuz Review Center and the Inress Review Center branches in Manila and Baguio City.

They noted that during the oral arguments, the lawyer for Gapuz admitted that the review center and its sister company, Millenium Review Specialists, “have 21 branches nationwide.”

The petitioners said “this multiplied the chances that the leaked test questions were extensively disseminated.”

“If the effect of the leakage remains in the (exams), the integrity of the examination remains in question. This cannot be separated, and cannot be solved by tolerating the leak, thereafter pronouncing that since it was not widespread, it does not affect the (exams) on the whole,” they said.

Via satellite

They said they did not agree with the court’s ruling that the leak did not go beyond Manila and Baguio, “especially because one of the review centers identified had branches in the Visayas and Mindanao.”

“Witness Dennis Bautista tried to tell the (National Bureau of Investigation) that at the final coaching of the Gapuz Review Center in Manila, Ricarte A. Gapuz himself boasted that the coaching was done live via satellite, including to the Cebu and Davao branches of the review center,” they said.

“Petitioners needed to be informed of the details of the report of investigation on how the leakage spread and who could be held liable for the trouble the leaked caused.”

The petitioners also questioned the court order for a retake by the 1,687 examinees whose names were merely added to the list of passers after the Board of Nursing and the Professional Regulation Commission ordered a recomputation of the scores for Tests III and V.

Discriminated against

By ordering a “selective retake,” the court “discriminated against those who passed but did not cheat, and those who did not pass and who did not cheat; and it favored those who passed and cheated,” they said.

By “singling out” the 1,687 examinees, the petitioners said the court’s move “runs against the constitutional right to equal protection of laws, or the right of a person belonging to a particular group not to be treated differently because of who or what he is or what he possesses.”

Thus, the petitioners said the 1,687 were “unreasonably classified as only those entitled to a retake because of the leak, and defeats the right to equal protection of the law of the other examinees in the same situation.”

“To erase this discrimination, and treat all examinees fairly, retake of Tests III and V for everyone is still the best option,” they said. “(T)he inconvenience of retaking one test is not intolerable given its benefit to all.”

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