17 review center execs face raps
The Manila Times

By Katrice R. Jalbuena, Reporter

The National Bureau of Investigation has recommended the prosecution of 17 officials of three review centers for alleged involvement in the leak that marred the June nursing board examinations.

NBI Director Nestor Man­taring said Thursday that the bureau had submitted its recommendations to the Department of Justice.

He said the NBI found the leakage was confined to Metro Manila and Baguio, and not as widespread as had been reported earlier.

“We found no sufficient evidence that there were leakages in Davao and Tacloban,” he said.

Recommended for prosecution were:

• Ricarte A. Gapus Jr., Evan­geline A. Gapus, Maria Elena Altareros, Elizabeth G. Iciano and Eleonor Artemia Gapus of the R.A. Gapus Review Center, Inc.

• George Cordero, Adela C. Cordero, Gerry C. Cordero, Corazon Sabado, MacJohn C. Fabian, Lolita C. Borlajan, Eugenia A. Alcantara of the Ingress Review Center.

• Gerald Andamo, Glenn Luwansing, Mike Jimenes, Jerome Balisnomo and Freddie Valdez of Pentagon Review Specialist, Inc.

Mantaring said there is strong evidence the officials violated Section 15 of the Philippine Regulatory Committee Modernization Act of 2000 (Republic Act 8981) on the manipulating or rigging of licensing examination results.

The penalty is a 6- to 12-year prison term and a fine of P50,000 to P100,000.

Mantaring said the NBI looked at sworn statements from people present at review classes conducted by the three review centers where a Powerpoint presentation containing verbatim review questions from the leaked exams were shown.

The bureau also gathered documents showing that the review materials given out by the centers were reproductions of the leaked manuscript of Tests 3 and 5.

“The investigation showed that the leaked material came from Tests 3 and 5 only. The earlier NBI investigation has found the examiners who made these tests, Anesia Dioniso and Virginia Madeja, liable,” Mantaring said.

Now that the NBI has concluded its investigation, the question now is not whether there will be a retake but who will take it and what it will cover, Labor Secretary Arturo Brion said Thursday.

“I am studying it now and all other inputs,” Brion said in a telephone interview.

But he would not say whether all of the examinees would have to take the tests again, or only those who took it in Baguio and Metro Manila, and whether the examination would cover only Tests 3 and 5.

“I don’t want to preempt my recommendation. I am studying it carefully and I would submit my recommendation to the President not later than Monday next week,” he said.

The NBI report would be an important consideration, Brion said.

Brion, along with Secretary Dante A. Ang of the Commission on Overseas Filipinos, has been pushing for a general retake of Tests 3 and 5.

Although he did not fully disclose the content of the NBI partial report, “I am eager as everyone else to put a closure to this issue, so I am not waiting for the Court of Appeals decision before coming out with our own,” he said.

Ang said a general retake would be a step toward mending the damage to the licensure system caused by the leakage.

“I pity the students and I sympathize with them. I don’t have any intention to punish them. But what I am after is the damage done to the system,” Ang said in an interview on DZMM radio.

“My position is for a general retake. But I have yet to see the NBI report,” he said.

It is important, Ang stressed, that the full NBI report be made public to avoid suspicions of a whitewash and to establish the credibility of the results of the investigation.

Ang was the first to be tapped by the President to find a solution to the board exam controversy.

The labor department entered the picture after President Arroyo, through Executive Order 565, gave the department supervision and control of the Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC), which used to be under the Office of the President.

Brion initially recommended a retake of Tests 3 and 5. Malacañang, however, returned the recommendation to him and advised him to wait for the results of the NBI investigation and consultation with stake­holders.

House leaders and members of a congressional panel investigating the leakage said on Thursday that the retake should be confined only to Metro Manila and Baguio.

Lakas-CMD Reps. Joel Mayo Almario, chairman of the House Committee on Games and Amusements, and Exequiel Javier of Antique, chairman of the Committee on Economic Affairs, said it would be unreasonable to have a retake in other areas where no leakage was found.
–With William B. Depasupil and Maricel V. Cruz

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