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Poe on proof of SSN: I need to personally get it in US

BULACAN, Philippines – More than a month after requesting her student records from her university in the United States, presidential bet Grace Poe now said she has to personally get them.

On March 4, Poe said she already wrote to Boston College, where she studied from 1988 to 1991, to request an official copy of her student number.

Asked for updates, Poe said: “Oo, kaso kailangan nila…sabi nila naka-archive na raw ‘yon, kailangan ko pang puntahan doon, okay?"

"(Yes, but they need...they said it was already archived, so I need to personally go there, okay?)

Critics have accused Poe of using two social security numbers (SSNs) in the US –  SSN 538-25-2008 and SSN 005-03-1988. The latter, they alleged, is "fake," as it supposedly belonged to a deceased person.

Poe earlier denied having two SSNs and said the one in question, SSN 005-03-1988, was her student number which corresponds to her college enrolment date  in 1988.

Various online checks done by Rappler showed that 005-03-1988 is an SSN issued by the US Social Security Administration before 1951.

According to the agency, an SSN is needed to get a job, collect social security benefits, and avail of loans, among others.

She has nothing to hide, Poe said. After all, she said they lived legally in the US.

Poe married husband Neil Llamanzares, a citizen of both the US and the Philippines since birth, in 1991. Poe herself became a naturalized US citizen in 2001. From 2006 to 2010, she was a citizen of both countries, until she renounced her US citizenship in October 2010. (READ: TIMELINE: Grace Poe's citizenship, residency)

“Pero para sa akin, sa ating mga kababayan, wala akong tinatago diyan. Maayos po ang aking pagtira doon. Wala naman kaming itinatago tungkol sa kung ano pa mang mga inutang namin o kung anong mga bagay," Poe told reporters in a chance interview on Tuesday, April 19.

(But for me, to our fellowmen, I am not hiding anything. Everything was in order when we lived there. We are not hiding anything about our loans or anything else.)

Nothing to hide, nothing to fear

While she maintained that the alleged fake SSN was her college student number, an online news report countered her claims.

The report said student numbers in Boston College – both in recent years and in the early 1990s when Poe graduated – only consisted of 8 digits. The one Poe claims is hers – 005-03-1988 – has 9 digits.

Another contention by critics is this: If the enrolment date would be the basis, then many other students who enrolled at the same time would have the same student numbers.

But Poe stood by her earlier statement, saying she is ready to face the allegations.

Boston College, she asserted, made use of 9 digits in student numbers prior to 1992.

“Ganito ko na lang ipapakita ha: Ang Boston College prior to 1992 iba ang series ng numbers. Basta ito ‘yung malinaw: Legal akong nandoon, walang dahilan – first as a student, tapos bilang asawa. ‘Yung aming mga dokumento sa pagbili ng mga kagamitan….Wala akong takot diyan. Kung gusto nila, haharapin ko. Wala akong tinatago,” Poe said.

(This is how I'll show it: Boston College had a different series of numbers prior 1992. This is clear: I stayed there legally. There is no reason – first as a student, then as a wife. Our documents on our purchases....I have no fear in that regard. If they want, I will face [them]. I am not hiding anything.)

Asked when she could present the document, Poe failed to give a specific period.

“Sasabihin ko sa ’yo kung meron na  (I will tell you when I get it),” she said. – Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com

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