Ex-nursing board exec Anesia Dionisio found guilty
MANILA, Philippines—The Sandiganbayan has found former Board of Nursing official Anesia Dionisio guilty of giving an unauthorized person access to sensitive data consisting of the test questions for the nursing licensure exam in 2006.
The anti-graft court’s Fourth Division sentenced Dionisio to six years’ imprisonment and barred her from ever holding public office for the offense, a violation of the anti-graft law.
But the court cleared Dionisio of allegations that she had actually leaked the questions prior to the examination in violation of the Professional Regulation Commission charter, saying there was insufficient evidence presented to connect her to the alleged leakage notes.
Dionisio was the one tasked with coming up with the test questions for the psychiatric nursing portion of the 2006 licensure exam.
When news that the questions were leaked surfaced, she was among those who were charged. The scandal also tainted the tests and put many of the examinees under a cloud of doubt. As a result, many of them chose to retake the test.
In its ruling penned by Justice Gregory Ong, the court said there was no dispute that Dionisio had asked her former secretary Evelyn Asinas to type the test questions for the June 2006 licensure exam for her. The questions were valuable confidential information, it noted.
Dionsio sought Asinas’ help, telling the court later that she was not computer-literate and her foster son, who used to type the questions for her, was no longer around after getting married and living in his own home.
But the court said Dionisio should have secured authorization from the PRC chair, as Asinas was not a PRC personnel and had nothing to do with the licensure examination for nurses in an official capacity.
It emphasized the importance of PRC rules requiring members of regulatory boards to protect and preserve the confidentiality and security of the manuscripts of test questions at all times.
It further said Dionisio presented no evidence to show that she had sought the PRC chair’s approval before asking Asinas to type the questions, and only stated that BON members knew that she had always asked somebody to type the questions for her. The anti-graft court, however, said this did not constitute consent of the proper authority.
“Without the prior consent or approval of the chairperson of the PRC, Asinas is not authorized to acquire knowledge about the contents of the test questions manuscript of the accused, but she did, because the accused voluntarily and intelligently allowed her to do so by engaging her to type it,” it said.
On the other hand, the cour ruled that there was not enough proof to link Dionisio to three types of leakage materials. As such, it could not say that she had deliberately disclosed the test questions before the exam.
“There is no sufficient evidence to connect the accused with moral certainty to the alleged leakage notes that supposedly circulated prior to the conduct of the June 2006 NLE; hence, it cannot be said that the accused disclosed or revealed or divulged or made known her test questions for her assigned subject in the NLE prior to the conduct thereof,” it said.
It noted that one of the leaked materials, a manuscript bound in blue cover by a spiral, was not even presented in court, and neither was its copy or reproduction. It said it could not rely on the statements of the prosecution and its witnesses about the manuscript, without it being able to examine the document.
Two other leaked materials consisting of handwritten and typewritten notes were marked as exhibits, but the court said none of the witnesses were able to satisfactorily testify that Dionisio or or someone acting in her behalf leaked them.
It further said there was no evidence to show that handwriting on the notes belonged to Dionisio. It also said the handwritten notes were supposed to total 18 pages, but only six pages were submitted to the court.
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