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Busted: BOC employee caught pulling out SLR camera from balikbayan box? It’s satirical news!

The Bureau of Customs has become the subject of fake news after a story circulated claiming that a BOC employee was caught getting an SLR camera out of a balikbayan box, but the BOC has already denied the issue.
The story bearing the title originated from Pinoy Observer, which we used to tag as a fake news site but it has recently added a disclaimer saying that it has classified itself as a satirical blog. It has been shared almost 17,000 times since it was published by the website on July 22. The story was also picked up by


Pinoy Observer claimed that the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) arrested on July 21 the BOC employee involved, a certain Grace Honrade, and two other contractual employees for theft. The incident was said to have been reported by a CCTV technician, Arthur Libro, after seeing the videos monitoring the BOC warehouse in Pasay City. The technician allegedly testified that the incident happened on July 10.

The videos were reportedly shown to the media, still on July 21. They caught Honrade and the others busily opening the balikbayan boxes and stealing several items, including designer bags, sneakers, watches, mobile phones, and a P67,000 SLR camera. Honrade was said to have admitted to her crimes.
A certain Atty. Rex Pabalete, who was reported to be a BOC board member, was said to have reminded the shippers to stop sending valuable items worth over P5,000 via balikabayan boxes to avoid theft in the future.

However, we’ve long noted Pinoy Observer for sharing fake articles before. Now that it has claimed to be a satirical blog, it has admitted to using 50% fiction and 50% lies in its stories. We could not find any relevant report about the incident indicated above involving a certain Grace Honrade and an SLR camera, so these details are likely to be lies, all made up by the blog.

The BOC also denounced the story to be fake news on July 25 through a Facebook post.

“The Bureau of Customs described as “fake news” an article circulating online alleging that one of its employees was caught pulling items inside a balikbayan box from a warehouse in Pasay City. The alleged BOC employees Grace Honrade and Atty. Rex Pabalete are not from the roster of BOC personnel,” its statement read.

Pinoy Observer published fake articles such as those claiming that BBC anchor Stephen Sackur advising Filipinos to hire more intelligent senators next time, an Ofxord law professor saying Duterte cannot be prosecuted by the ICC because of his high approval ratings, and CBCP urged Bulacan massacre kin to forgive and forget. It also published satirical articles such as those about Senator Risa Hontiveros calling CPP founder Joma Sison a hero and BAYAN’s Renato Reyes asking Duterte for an executive job.

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