Cheating cops copy wrong test answersBy Niña P. Calleja
Philippine Daily Inquirer
A total of 205 aspiring policemen and 20 rookie policemen in Mindanao cheated in the entrance and promotional exams given last year, the Napolcom announced on Tuesday. The agency is tasked with administering the tests.
“We don’t want dishonest cops to come in. We don’t want to undermine the credibility of the Philippine National Police. Who would believe the PNP if cheaters can be policemen?” Eduardo Escueta, Napolcom vice chair and executive officer, told the Inquirer.
Escueta said the results of the tests taken by the 225 examinees had been nullified after cheating became obvious to the agency’s experts, including copying ready-made answers—even the wrong ones.
The exams were conducted in various test centers across the country on April 29, 2012, and Oct. 14, 2012. These included current events, job knowledge, familiarity with the law and law enforcement.
Police applicants need a rating of at least 75 percent to pass the exam and qualify for the next tests, which cover psychology, medical and physical agility. If they pass all the tests, they will be admitted to a one-year training program at Philippine Public Safety College.
Every year, an average of only 20 percent of the examinees obtain passing marks.
The Napolcom discovered the latest incident of cheating through a computer-generated answer pattern analysis. It regularly conducts the activity to prevent unqualified people from entering the PNP and maintain the credibility and integrity of the police exams.
The results of last year’s tests taken by 151 applicants on April 29, 2012, and 54 others on Oct. 14, 2012, were found to have a high percentage of similar patterns of wrong answers ranging from 50 percent to 100 percent.
A high percentage of similar patterns of wrong answers was discovered in the results of the April 29 tests taken by 20 police officers 1 (PO1).
According to Escueta, the “high percentage of homogeneity of wrong answers” is statistically improbable.
The results of the pattern analysis have also been regarded as “prima facie evidence” that points to an irregularity or cheating as cited in Section 4 of Republic Act No. 9416, otherwise known as the Anti-Cheating Law of 2007.
Those found to have cheated will be barred from taking the PNP entrance exams for three years, according to Napolcom Memorandum Circular No. 2000-007. The circular prescribes sanctions in case of cheating, collusion, misrepresentation, substitution or any anomalous acts in connection with the administration of the police exams.
“They could also be charged for dishonesty and be meted the penalty of dismissal from the service,” Escueta said. He even proposed a lifetime ban from taking police exams on cheaters.
The Napolcom official said the desire of applicants to become policemen was more intense in Mindanao than in other parts of the country. “Probably because they thought that getting a job in the police was easier,” he said.
“Now they learned their lessons the hard way. It was not that easy to cheat police exams,” Escueta said.
He noted that the number of cheaters had declined from 2008 when some 400 were found to be bearing kodigo (secret answer guide).
Escueta said the Napolcom was determined to weed out “anyone who undermines the sanctity and integrity” of the police exams.
He said those qualified to enter the police service must continue to imbibe important values, such as honesty, integrity and merit, and fitness principles.