Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Friday, September 22, 2006

Gordon urges PRC officials to resign

By Ronnie E. Calumpita, Manila Times Reporter

Sen. Richard Gordon on Wednesday told officials of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) pointblank to resign for failing to ensure fairness in the June nursing board examination and tarnishing the integrity of the nursing profession.

“What is involved here is the integrity of the profession and the responsibility of the commission and the board [of nursing],” Gordon told the officials at the hearing of the Senate Committee on Civil Service and Government Reorganization.

The committee is looking into the leak that marred the licensure examination.

“The big deal is that there is no explanation on how we are dealing with the problem, with the whole system. I think all of you should resign,” he said.

Gordon also wanted to know why the PRC was trying to cover up the leak by authorizing the oath-taking of successful examinees while the National Bureau of Investigation and the Senate were still looking into the anomaly.

“I don’t understand why you allowed the oath-taking,” Gordon told PRC Chairman Leonor Tripon-Rosero.

Rosero insisted she would not resign over the controversy, and that the PRC was only recognizing the rights of board examinees who passed. “We will revoke or suspend their license” if those who took the oath before the issuance of a temporary restraining order by the Court of Appeals are found to have benefited from the leak,” she said.

Questions in the exam were reportedly shown during the final coaching conducted by the Inress Review Center and Philippine College of Health Sciences owned by George Cordero, who recently resigned as president of the Philippine Nurses Association.

Cordero, who was also implicated in the leak, did not attend Wednesday’s hearing. He said he was rushed Monday to the Saint Luke’s Medical Center for the “recurrence of my previous surgical condition, a fistula which has been profusely bleeding.”

Other officials of the PRC, Commission on Higher Education and NBI attended the hearing, apparently avoiding being served arrest warrants by the Senate, just like it did Presidential Commission on Good Government Chairman Camilo Sabio.

“They know the law and the detention of a big fish [Sabio] in the Senate really helped,” Gordon said.

“It vindicates the fact that the Senate is a very responsible institution and because of the answers we’re getting we’re going come up with a better law and better nurses. To me it shows that the check-and-balance function [of the Senate] is working. In these investigations we see the qualities of the people we put in the PRC, Board of Nursing and CHED,” he added.

Sen. Rodolfo Biazon said that if the PRC commissioners snub the hearing, the Senate will cite them in contempt and serve arrest warrants on them.

“I’m just completing the process; we’ve issued two invitations, then subpoenas, which they also snubbed. We then ordered them to show cause why they should not be cited in contempt but failed to respond. The last ones we issued were subpoenas to appear in today’s hearing, which they did,” Biazon said.

Julito Vitriolo, CHED deputy executive director, also attended Wednesday’s hearing although the Senate has not issued a subpoena against him. It was the first time a CHED official appeared in the investigation.


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