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Cheating Has No Place in the Career Service

One of the big hazards that exam takers face all over the world is the temptation to seek instant gratification through cheating. I was reminded of this when I came across a news clip about the sophisticated cheating in China’s October 2014 national licensing examination for pharmacists.

I call it sophisticated because of the way it was planned and executed by using technology and remarkable human memory. Reports say that the examination proctors detected abnormal radio signals in seven testing locations and caught 2,440 candidates with an earpiece receiving answers in code. Their investigation also revealed that organizers of the scam entered false candidates into the tests to rapidly memorize the questions, leave quickly, work on the answers, and transmit them for a considerable fee[1]. If that is not sophisticated enough for you, I don’t know what is.

The Philippines had its share of examination scandals. In 1993, the Philippine Physician Licensure Examination was tainted with a record-breaking cheating controversy when more than 70 examinees from one school got unusual and exceptionally high rates in two of the most difficult subjects of the exam. In 2003, the Supreme Court had to nullify the bar examination in Mercantile law because of a confirmed leakage in the subject. In 2012, the National Police Commission also had to invalidate the results of their April 2011 entrance examination for Philippine National Police applicants administered in Mindanao after finding that too many of the same wrong answers to several test questions.

Even the civil service examinations have not been spared in the past years from cheats and impersonators. As part of the Legal Services Division of CSC Region 5, I am a witness to the number of administrative cases involving these matters and it gets dismaying at times to see how far some people are willing to go just to pass the exam. At this point, advocates of honesty in examinations will probably find themselves cringing. The government, nonetheless, has been consistent in its efforts to effectively implement the Anti-Cheating Law (Republic Act No. 9416) for all civil service examinations.

In the Anti-Cheating Law’s Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR), cheating is defined as any act or omission before, during or after any Civil Service Examination that will directly or indirectly undermine the sanctity and integrity of the examination, such as, but not limited to, the following:

  1. Impersonation;
  2. Use of ‘codigo’ or ‘crib sheets’;
  3. Employing a ‘poste’;
  4. Tampering with examination records;
  5. Collusion of whatever nature between examines and examination personnel;
  6. Examinee number switching;
  7. Possession and/or use of fake certificate of eligibility; and
  8. Such other acts of similar nature which facilitate the passing of examination including those committed by review centers or entities offering refresher courses or tutorials.

The Civil Service Commission and its regional offices are vested with exclusive jurisdiction to investigate and decide over administrative cases involving cheating in civil service examinations. In these types of cases, it is important to remember that CSC examiners are conclusively deemed to have regularly performed their duties in relation to the administration of the civil service examination. In fact, in Civil Service Commission vs. Maria Riza G. Vergel De Dios[2], the Supreme Court had the occasion to clarify that the presentation of the room examiners is not required to prove the observance of the procedure in implementing the civil service examination. The Supreme Court also emphasized that there is no need to present the room examiners to establish the authenticity and due execution of the picture seat plan because it is considered as a public document that is admissible in evidence without need of proof.

Apart from the enumerated acts of cheating, the unauthorized possession, use, reproduction and dissemination of examination-related materials also constitute serious dishonesty, grave misconduct and falsification of official documents. If found guilty, an offender who is also a government employee will suffer these painful consequences – (a) cancellation of eligibility; (b) forfeiture of retirement benefits, except terminal leave pay and personal contribution to GSIS premiums[3]; (c) bar from taking any Civil Service Examination; and (d) perpetual disqualification from re-entering the government service. For non-government employees, on the other hand, perpetual bar from entering the government service and taking any Civil Service Examination will be imposed.

This is a timely reminder to all those who will be taking the May 3, 2015 Civil Service Examination – Paper and Pencil Test (CSE-PPT).

For those who have already committed blunder, do not be too sure. Take wisdom in the words of Proverbs 10:9 – Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.

[1] Source: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2000-chinese-students-caught-cheating-national-pharmacist-test/

[2] G.R. No. 203536, February 4, 2015

[3] Carmelito Lledo vs. Atty. Cesar V. Lledo, AM No. P-95-1167, February 9, 2010

***This article is originally written for Bicol Racer – the official newsletter of CSC Region 5. To access click here.

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