As though her problems with her citizenship and residency status were not formidable enough, it appears that Sen. Grace Poe-Llamanzares will have yet another mountain to climb.
In a major scoop, the Daily Tribune yesterday, with its editor Ninez Cacho- Olivares herself reporting, reported that Ms. Poe has been found to have committed a US federal felony of identity theft or fraud while living in the United States.
Ms. Poe obtained and used illegally, a US Social Security SS number (SSN) from a dead person, but using her name, Grace Poe Llamanzares.
In the US, a person can only have one SSN; having more than one SSN is a crime of identity fraud and identity theft. This is a federal crime in the United States and Canada.
Grace Poe Llamanzares has been listed as having two SSNs, one in her name, with SSN 005-03-1988, first issued as stated in one document, in 1934-1951 in ME. This SSN has been recorded as belonging to a deceased person, according to the documents obtained by The Tribune.
But Ms. Poe has another SSN 538-25-2008 also in the name of Grace Poe Llamanzares, issued in 1992. This is probably her real SSN. She was married to Teodoro Llamanzares in 1991.
SSN invaluable to Filipino TNTs
A Tribune source, a Filipino who lives in the US, when asked how one could have two SS numbers in her name, explained “that in Filipino communities, where those who entered the US without the necessary papers, and have to find employment, some enterprising Filipinos and even foreigners, assist them in getting an SSN from a deceased person.
“There are many Filipinos and even other foreigners, who are TNTs in the US who would pay to have an illegally obtained SSN, because of their illegal immigrant status. Also, they can’t get good and decent jobs without an SSN,” the source told the Tribune.
Poe on stealing, lying and cheating
Ms. Olivares of the Tribune is treating her paper’s discovery as a major issue, because Ms. Poe, when asked during the first presidential debate about her inexperience in government, righteously replied: “It is true I have little experience in government, but I can say that I have no experience in stealing, lying or cheating.”
To the contrary, the documents and information obtained by the Tribune appear to show her stealing (from a dead person), lying to the US government, and cheating.
Under US law, what Ms. Poe has committed is, identity theft and/or identity fraud, which is punishable with a prison term. It is a federal felony.
A search done on US Social Security Number records showed that a Grace Poe Llamanzares used the Social Security No. 005-03-1988, which belongs to a dead person three times, in 1999 and once in 2006.
The records showed that it was first used for 2914 Post Office Box in Fairfax county in Merrifield, Virginia, 22116-2914 on February 2, 1999. It was last used at 42931 Shelbourne SQ, Chantilly, Virginia in Loudon County on May 1, 2006.
The US Justice Department Web site says the following about identity theft as a crime.
“The short answer is that identity theft is a crime. Identity theft and identity fraud are terms used to refer to all types of crime in which someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person’s personal data in some way that involves fraud or deception, typically for economic gain.
“In one notorious case of identity theft, the criminal, a convicted felon, not only incurred more than $100,000 of credit card debt, obtained a federal home loan, and bought homes, motorcycles, and handguns in the victim’s name….This case, and others like it, prompted the US Congress in 1998 to create a new federal offense called identity theft.”
Pattern of deception
Ms Olivares concluded her review of the evidence with the observation that Ms. Poe has exhibited a pattern of deception in her life, “not only in her use of a dead person’s identity, but also in many other official documents she had submitted to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET).”
Olivares recounted the pattern as follows: “It will be recalled that Poe had submitted at least two birth certificates, a document given to the Bureau of Immigration (BI) when she applied for dual citizenship status stating that she was born to spouses Ronald Allen Poe (a.k.a Fernando Poe Jr.) and Jesusa Sonora (Susan Roces) claiming that she is a natural born Filipino, which the BI requires of a Filipino citizen who seeks dual citizenship. Nowhere was it mentioned in the document that she is a foundling and adopted by the Poe couple.
“Yet another show of deception was noted when Grace Poe, in 2012, running for the Senate, wrote down in the space for years of residency in the country in her certificate of candidacy (CoC) for senator, ‘Six years and six months.’ ”
Finally, with her eye on the presidency, in 2015 she filed a CoC wherein she claimed to have resided in the Philippines for 10 years and 11 months.
Poe claimed before the Commission on Elections that she committed an “honest mistake.”
That defense will not wash in her felonious use of a dead person’s SSN in the US. The crime will survive to spook her.
Mistake of fact
Intrigued by the idea that Ms. Poe on the advice of her lawyers invoked “the honest mistake” defense before the Comelec, I researched the concept on the web.
An honest mistake is often also called a mistake of fact. It means an error that is not caused by the neglect of a legal duty on the part of the person committing the error but rather consists of an unconscious ignorance of a past or present material event or circumstance.
A mistake of fact can be a factor in reducing or eliminating civil liability or criminal culpability.
In Criminal Law an honest and reasonable mistake of fact can eliminate the mens rea element of criminal responsibility. Mens rea is Latin for “guilty mind.” Criminal intent is required before a person can be held criminally responsible for most crimes.
In some criminal and civil cases, no mens rea is required for liability. Such cases involve Strict Liability crimes, which are generally those that endanger the public welfare.
This I find engrossing. If it can be shown that Ms. Poe with her pattern of deception in her candidacy for the presidency is endangering not only the public welfare, but the very foundations of our government, then surely her honest mistake defense must not be allowed to stand.
Her ambition to be president and her many deceptions against the authorities and the Filipino public has cost our nation plenty.
I submit that for her many deceptions she should be held to account by the Supreme Court, the Commission on Elections, and therefore by the people.
If our government does not get her, the US government will.