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Examiners Charged in Philippines Nursing Test Scandal

Two Philippines examiners were charged with corruption Friday for leaking questions for a nursing examination, officials said, in a scandal that cast a shadow over the country's labour exports.

They are the first two people to be charged in connection with the affair, which led to a US commission issuing a temporary ban on the 17,000 nurses who had passed last year's tests.

Nurses from the Philippines are in demand overseas, notably in the United States, Europe and the Middle East.

Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez said she had ordered criminal charges to be filed against Virginia Madeja and Anesia Dionisio for leaking test questions during the June 2006 exams for nursing graduates seeking licenses.

An inquiry found that 56 elements from a medical surgery section leaked to students in the northern Philippines were traced back to Mandeja, who was the assigned examiner for the subject, Gutierrez said in a statement.

Handwritten and printed notes traced to Dionisio, the assigned examiner in psychiatric nursing, found their way to nursing graduates at the same centre, as well as at another in Manila.

Gutierrez said the leaks enabled the students enrolled in those schools to sail through the test sections. She said a number of other unidentified people were being investigated for possible collusion.

Some 42,000 students sat the nursing examination last year but only about 17,000 passed. President Gloria Arroyo has since ordered all 17,000 to re-take the exams, sparking an uproar from nurses who denied any involvement in wrongdoing.


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