‘Giving seized gadgets to students a good idea but it’s not allowed by law,’ says Roque

Malacañang said distributing the smuggled gadgets confiscated by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to students would be a good idea.  However, he said, this could not be implemented as local laws do not allow such a move.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. (YANCY LIM/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement in rection to an appeal made by Senator Maria Josefa Imelda “Imee” Marcos to the BOC at the time when students are required to use electronic devices because face-to-face classes are prohibited in the country due to the threat of COVID-19.

In a press briefing, Roque agreed that distributing the said smuggled items is a good idea and left the decision whether or not to heed it to the BOC.

"I think it's a good idea coming from Senator Marcos," he said.

"Tingin ko po magandang suhestiyon 'yan pero ang Presidente po hindi nagma-micromanage. Hinahayaan po natin 'yan sa Bureau of Customs (I think that's a good suggestion but the President does not micromanage. We leave that to the BOC)," he added.

However, Roque suggested that Marcos's recommendation does not conform with the country's laws.

"Kung hindi ako nagkakamali, meron din kasing batas na nagsasabi kung paano po idi-dispose ng Customs yung mga nahuling mga smuggled articles (If I'm not mistaken, there is a law that dictates the proper disposal of smuggled articles seized by the BOC)," he said.

"Kung hindi siya sisirain, eh, baka magkaroon ng paraan ang smuggler para mabawi ang kanyang smuggled items (If those items will not be destroyed, then smugglers may find a way to get their items back)," he added.

Despite this, Roque said that there is still a chance Marcos's recommendation will see the light of day.

"Sa panahon naman po ng pandemya, lahat naman po ay pwedeng i-konsidera at pag-isipan (At the time of the pandemic, everything can be considered and studied)," he said.

Students in the country are forced to use gadgets for online learning during at least for the first half of Academic Year 2020-2021 because of the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.