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A Crisis Over Alleged Exam Fraud Simmers At The U.P. College Of Medicine (With Initial Reaction From U.P.)

August 27, 2009


Honesty and integrity are inseparable values.

More so, in professions that impact on the well-being of society as a whole.

Politics while arguably a dirtier landscape also puts highest premium on honesty and integrity as operative qualities of good governance.

That’s the preface to this post by way of underlining a simmering academic crisis over at the venerable U.P. College of Medicine.

upcm montage 1

The facts of the case as they have come to our attention here of At Midfield:

1.    22 students from Batch 2009 are being accused of cheating by the Department of Internal Medicine. These students have recently graduated and have just recently taken their board exams.

2.    The accusation ostensibly stemmed out from a complaint written by their class president that some of his classmates purportedly cheated in their final Internal Medicine exam last April 2009. The allegation was vague and based on the speculation that some of their classmates got good grades in the said exam when “some” of these guys do not traditionally get high grades in exams. The same complaint further alleged that these guys are themselves members of an organization. The Dept of Internal Medicine, devoid of any preliminary investigation, arbitrarily and unilaterally invalidated the said final exam and administered a new one, to the prejudice of all, for which the whole class got a lower score. The exam results where then subjected to a comprehensive statistical analysis that has showed probability that cheating might have occurred particularly involving these 22 students.

3. The Dept of Internal Medicine submitted a report to the Dean’s office in the last week of April. The Dean, even without conducting a preliminary investigation to establish probable cause had elevated the matter immediately to the Chancellor’s office. Some 2 weeks later the College Council, although presided by the Dean, failed to put into the agenda the said case. And in fact, the College Council moved for the approval of the graduation of all members of Class 2009 (including the 22 students in question) which was subsequently implemented. Likewise the Dean himself, in the University Council (UC) Meeting recommended the graduation of the said class, which the UC approved subsequently. Therefore they have attended the University and College Graduation ceremonies last April 23 and May 17 respectively.

4. Just a week before the final submission of requirements for the physicians’ licensure examination, a memo from the Chancellor’s office was handed down, instructing the Dean’s office to withhold the Transcript of Records and Certificate of Good Moral Character of our 20 Brods and 2 Sisses, – 2 very important pre-requisites for the Board Exams. This virtually punitive order was issued on the eleventh hour without any formal investigation, neither formal charges, simple explanations nor any attempts to notify the concerned students.

5. Recently, the Dean sent a directive to all clinical departments at the Philippine General Hospital to not accept any of our “accused” students to any residency program- without formal charges being filed nor a formal investigation being carried out to substantiate these charges.

Further, other equally vital facts include:

– UP College of Medicine has failed to conduct any preliminary formal investigation after receiving the complaints from the class president and the report from Internal Medicine Dept. and even subsequently cleared the 22 students to graduate from the University and College

– The Chancellor’s Office, although (also) initially ordering that their transcripts be withheld, subsequently cleared the release. Likewise the same office has initiated the filing of formal charges against these students(AGAIN DESPITE THE ABSENCE OF A FORMAL PRELIMINARY INQUIRY), even going further in distributing CHARGE SHEETS, only to abruptly withdraw them.

– The aborted release of formal charges to the students was suspiciously and seemingly maliciously timed. It could have been and should have been done 2 months ago, but instead was done a week before the Board Exams when they almost failed to comply with their Board requirements and when this alleged charges can mentally and emotionally affect their ongoing review.

– A formal investigation in the matter has just started last August 5 by the legal office of UP Manila. According to the Students Manual- Cheating allegations should be investigated immediately within 15 days of occurrence. The supposed cheating occurred in April 2009.

This writer us making further inquiries.

For the moment, it is important that the U.P. C. M. Management be circumspect and just in its handling of the problem, and while it certainly has full independence to adjudicate the matter,it behoves those concerned to give due regards to the rights of the those whose names have been put into question, while preserving the integrity and hinor of the country’s premier medical school.

Zooming out: paging the Professional Regulation Commission, the Board of Medicine, and the Philippine Medical Association.

Abangan po ang susunod na kabanata.


You Midfielder has now received a brief initial reaction from the U.P. Management.

Pending a detailed talk with them, let me share the salient portion of the e-mail from the U.P. official whose name I am witholding for the moment:

The post fails to consider the view of the UPCM administrators and is only an incomplete summary of what happened.

There is, in fact, a fact finding committee formed by the UPCM Chancellor to discover what truly happened.  It is precisely in the interest of ensuring basic fairness that the legal steps were taken with a great deal of care, ensuring that no innocents are affected adversely and only those who are truly guilty are punished.

Fair enough. Let’s await further details.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. rasulassoc permalink
    August 28, 2009 7:33 am

    Thank you for emphasizing the unfairness with which the medical interns of the University of the Philippines College of Medicine were dealt with by the college administration. Without any formal investigation, no objective evidence, just based on allegations, these young doctors were subjected to emotional torture and suffering just weeks before the medical board exams.
    Whatever happened to innocent until proven otherwise?
    I belong to the Mu Sigma Phi Fraternity of the UP College of Medicine- we have an honorable legacy that we are proud of. We do not condone unethical behavior. But we should also not tolerate harsh punishments based only on allegations and statistical probabilities. These young doctors are restricted from pursuing specialty training.
    Please continue with your objective reporting.

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