Preen reached out to the Ramona S. Tirona Memorial School (RSTMS), DepEd Tayo Dasmariñas City, the office of Barangay San Agustin II, and the office of the Dasmariñas City mayor for comment. Today, Aug. 4, we have received their responses, save for the barangay office.
RSTMS and DepEd Tayo Dasmariñas City sent us a copy of the school’s official statement signed by officer-in-charge Ana Grace M. Filio.
“On Aug. 02, we received an (sic) information that Ms. Kathleen Joy R. Poblete was not affiliated with the UP Manila Political Science Program and neither was she a recipient of the awards and recognitions that she claims to have obtained from the said university,” the school said. “The opportunity to serve as guest speaker was offered to Ms. Poblete on account of her being an alumna of RSTMS. As such, full faith and confidence was afforded to her credentials in respect of her former affiliation in (sic) the school.”
“However, the school believes that the incident could have been avoided had it exercised thorough evaluation of the credentials submitted by Ms. Poblete. The virtual conduct of the graduation ceremony, which the school has experienced last July 15, has demanded most attention (sic) of the members of the graduation committee particularly, on the technical aspect of streaming the event.”
“In this regard, the school expresses its sincerest apology to the University of the Philippines-Manila and the Political Science Program of the university as well as to the graduates of RSTMS and to others affected by the untoward incident including Cavite State University where Ms. Poblete was formerly affiliated. Rest assured that the school will do its best to set right what has transpired and take all the actions necessary in the circumstances,” the school stated.
A representative from the office of the Dasmariñas City mayor informed us that they “are currently working on it.” We await further updates from their office.
We thought we saw the last of catfishing with serious consequences in 2020. However, several viral posts that circulated on Aug. 2 brought attention to one Kathleen Joy R. Poblete, who has allegedly made false claims about her academic background and used another person’s identity to date online.
Poblete’s credentials came into question when she was invited as the guest of honor for a virtual graduation ceremony on July 15, particularly that of Cavite’s Ramona S. Tirona Memorial School (RSTMS). Poblete gave her speech while wearing a UP Sablay.
The event was streamed on the now-deleted DepEd Tayo Ramona S. Tirona MS – Dasmariñas City page. In the event publicity material, she is said to be an RSTMS Batch 2012 alumna and a summa cum laude graduate of the UP Manila Political Science program with Juris Doctor. During the ceremony, she was also introduced as a former dean’s lister of the Cavite State University’s (CvSU) Political Science program and was said to be enrolled in the non-existent UP Manila College of Law.
Several institutions have since debunked Poblete’s list of affiliations and recognitions. CvSU wrote in a statement, “As per our records, Ms. Poblete had been enrolled in our AB Political Science program for three semesters only, A.Y. 2018-2019 and first semester of 2019-2020. She is neither a college scholar or a dean’s lister. Moreover, no request for official documents was made by Ms. Poblete for her transfer to another university or school.”
UP Manila’s Department of Social Sciences stated that it “strongly denounces the brazen fabrications” and “categorically denies any affiliations with Ms. Poblete.” It added, “There has only been one summa cum laude from the UP Manila Political Science program—Ms. Georgina Mia B. Gato—who graduated in 2019.”
Law practitioners and professors have also spoken about the matter. Political Science professor Atty. Rowena Soriano wrote, “Ms. Kathleen Joy Ravelo Poblete’s acts do not only constitute an offense but a grave disrespect to the University of the Philippines Manila as an institution and a mockery of the UPM Political Science Program and UP College of Law Juris Doctor Program. By her false representations, she insulted not only the members of the faculty, but also our students and graduates, the true Iskolar ng Bayan, along with their hard-earned legitimate diplomas and awards.”
To legitimize her own claims, it seems Poblete also created false certificates, edited screenshots of her grades using the format on SAIS (UP’s online student records system), and edited her name into the university’s list of academic awardees. The posts were shared on her mother’s Facebook page. Both of their social media accounts have been deleted.
Dating scammer too?
After the story went viral, another netizen came forward with another tale of Poblete’s catfishing. The netizen alleged that Poblete dated a lot of men using his sister’s identity and has been doing so for years. He stated that his family have reported it to the National Bureau of Investigation in 2020 to no avail.
The netizen said that a number of catfished men have visited his family’s home, only to realize that they’ve been duped. He also alleged that his father tried to file a complaint but didn’t receive help from the local government unit. He claims that it might be because Poblete and her mother both work for the LGU. There are circulating photos of Poblete from now-deleted Facebook pages that recognize her as a Brgy. San Agustin II Dasmariñas Sangguniang Kabataan kagawad.
Should all these allegations be true, they are a blow to the credibility of the local government offices and officials that did not fact-check Poblete’s claims and let her off the hook for stealing someone’s identity and possibly endangering that individual’s family. It is a disgrace, especially during a pandemic when so many people are relying on public servants. Let’s all raise our standards and demand accountability.
Preen has tried reaching out to the Ramona S. Tirona Memorial School, DepEd Tayo Dasmariñas City, the office of Barangay San Agustin II, and the office of the Dasmariñas City mayor for comment and have yet to hear back.
Poblete and her mother have taken down their social media accounts. Preen welcomes their statement on the matter.