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The wrong treatment

The wrong treatment

Last updated 04:32am (Mla time) 10/15/2006

Published on page A12 of the October 15, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

WHEN various government officials were reached by TV and radio news crews for their reaction to the Court of Appeals’ Friday the 13th decision, which ordered a selective retake of the June nursing board examinations, an almost palpable sense of relief could be heard on the airwaves.

In various ways, for various reasons, officials expressed their eagerness to follow the court order. Labor Secretary Arturo Brion, who had been tasked by Malacañang with the unenviable responsibility of deciding on the official response to the controversy, said he would no longer issue a separate decision. Professional Regulation Commission chair Leonor Tripon-Rosero, who had called Brion and presidential adviser Dante Ang “intruders” and hinted that she would not follow any Palace decision to order a complete retake, welcomed the decision without indulging in the sense of vindication she must have felt. (She did say she wanted to resume the oath-taking for the new nurses on an earlier day.)

Presidential Chief of Staff Michael Defensor issued a motherhood statement that could also be read as yet another sign of official weariness. The ruling “strengthened and validated the Palace position that the decision will be fair to all concerned,” he said. Translation: Malacañang, which earlier ordered a complete retake without waiting for the court to resolve the case, would not fight the decision.

The CA decision is not—in Ramos-speak—a “win-win” solution. But the administration will paint it in precisely those colors, for the most practical of reasons. Too much damage has been inflicted on the nursing profession and the country’s reputation, and it is time, as various government officials have started to say, to “move on.”

The decision effectively narrows the scope of the scandal: to Metro Manila and Baguio, and to three review centers. To be exact: to those examinees who attended the “final coaching” sessions of the three review centers.

“The tests that were conducted outside of Manila and Baguio were observed by both the respondents and the NBI [National Bureau of Investigation] to have been clean. The successful examinees thereat are therefore entitled to an immediate oath-taking and license,” the ruling written by Associate Justice Vicente S. E. Veloso read. Additionally, “the Manila and Baguio examinees who did not review at Gapuz, Inress and Pentagon review centers and those who reviewed thereat but did not attend their final coaching” could also take their oath and receive their license immediately.

Then the hard part: “For pertinently, as hereafter ordered, only the examinees who may later be identified by respondents and/or the NBI to have attended the final coaching at Gapuz, Inress and Pentagon review centers are to be penalized with a retaking of Tests III and V.”

As these excerpts already show, more work needs to be done to identify precisely who cheated or benefited from the leaks. The CA’s rejection of the recomputation employed to compensate for the tainted tests will also likely add more names to the list of board passers. And yet the reaction of various officials, even those who had publicly taken contrary positions about how the scandal should be resolved, has been an almost uniform sense of relief. (Some even expressed the hope that no motion for reconsideration would be filed, so that the court order could take effect sooner.) That must be because they are all weary of the controversy, and simply want to “move on.”

And yet the scandal was wearying partly because the administration’s inept and irresolute handling made it so. The stakes were as high as they could go, with serious consequences for both critical institutions (the health care system, the labor export market) and a mass of dedicated, highly educated individuals (some 17,000 new nurses). And yet the administration acted in a baffling way: at first it took its time, then refused to cooperate with congressional inquiries, then it ordered a retake, then took back the order, and then it watched while various officials bickered. The self-defeating behavior continues, with the NBI detecting a pattern of leaks over the years and yet, confusingly, praising the PRC.

That is what happens, when even a nursing scandal is treated by the doctors of politics. The plea to “move on” is thus merely an appeal—made familiar in other crises, in other contexts—to forget.

This paper now really need to be cared by the 2006 board passer nurse, for hallucination, dementia blindness and amnesia. They kept pointing to the government when in the first place they are one of the first in media who without even going to Baguio and metromanila and without scratching a little and exercise the minimum of "investigative journalism" kuno and "balanced views immediately editorialized a hardened retake recommendation.Ano ba ngayon tong PDI na'to. Ang kapal pang magtuturo ng iba eh sila nga itong pinakamalakas manggatong at mangantiyaw. PDI, you have no right to editorialized since you miserably failed to help in practicing balanced views!. Sabi nyo widespread , di ba?. Sabi nyo may stigma na sa buong 'merika di ba? Kung balanced kayo at di nyo ginatungan ng ginatungan kaya pati malacanang nataranta, di lalaki ng ganito ang isyu. Bago kayo magtuturo ng iba, nalikan nyomuna ang pinaggagawa nyo!

Moving on does not mean forgetting... It means learning a lesson and living with it.

God forbid anyone forgets this... least of all the examinees, most of all the passers... You cannot even begin to imagine what they had to go through...

Maybe you can dismiss it so easily because this is just another story for you to tell or to comment on... You're outside looking in...But for others this a part of life they had to live with...


For two days in a row, PDI headlined the alleged leakage in tests 1 and 2 as mouthed by 5 new Baguio witnesses under the wings of Tadle. Email was sent to PDI editor requesting them to at least inform their readers as to whether the 5 new witnesses are passers or flunkers, together with their grades in the subjects with leakage, so the public will have an idea as to their credibility and not be misled. PDI never provided this information to its readers--a clear case of biased reporting by a paper that professed to present balanced views and fearless views.


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