Magallona v Ermita.docx - Case Digest GR No 187167 1 Comment Prof Magallona Hontiveros Prof Roque and 38 UP College of Law Students-vsErmita Exec.Sec

Magallona v Ermita.docx - Case Digest GR No 187167 1...

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Case Digest: GR No. 187167 2/2/2015 1 Comment Prof. Magallona, Hontiveros, Prof. Roque and 38 UP College of Law Students -vs- Ermita Exec.Sec., Romulo Sec DFA, Andaya Sec DBM, Ventura Administrator National Mapping & Resource Information Authority and Davide Jr. -writ of certiorari and prohibition assailing the constitutionality of RA 9522 Facts: RA 3046 was passed in 1961 which provides among others the demarcation lines of the baselines of the Philippines as an archipelago. This is in consonance with UNCLOS I. RA 5446 amended RA 3046 in terms of typographical errors and included Section 2 in which the government reserved the drawing of baselines in Sabah in North Borneo. RA 9522 took effect on March 2009 amending RA 5446. The amendments, which are in compliance with UNCLOS III in which the Philippines is one of the signatory, shortening one baseline while optimizing the other and classifying Kalayaan Group of Island and Scarborough Shoal as Regimes of Island. Petitioners in their capacity as taxpayer, citizen and legislator assailed the constitutionality of RA 9522:- it reduces the territory of the Philippines in violation to the Constitution and it opens the country to maritime passage of vessels and aircrafts of other states to the detriment of the economy, sovereignty, national security and of the Constitution as well. They added that the classification of Regime of Islands would be prejudicial to the lives of the fishermen. Issues: 1. WON the petitioners have locus standi to bring the suit; and 2. WON RA 9522 is unconstitutional Ruling: Petition is dismissed. 1st Issue: The SC ruled the suit is not a taxpayer or legislator, but as a citizen suit, since it is the citizens who will be directly injured and benefitted in affording relief over the remedy sought. 2nd Issue: The SC upheld the constitutionality of RA 9522. First, RA 9522 did not delineate the territory the Philippines but is merely a statutory tool to demarcate the country’s maritime zone and continental shelf under UNCLOS III. SC emphasized that UNCLOS III is not a mode of acquiring or losing a territory as provided under the laws of nations. UNCLOS III is a multi-lateral treaty that is a result of a long-time negotiation to establish a uniform sea-use rights over maritime zones (i.e., the territorial waters [12 nautical miles from the baselines], contiguous zone [24 nautical miles from the baselines], exclusive economic zone [200 nautical miles from the baselines]), and continental shelves. In order to measure said distances, it is a must for the state parties to have their archipelagic doctrines measured in accordance to the treaty—the role played by RA 9522. The contention of the petitioner that RA 9522 resulted to the loss of 15,000 square
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nautical miles is devoid of merit. The truth is, RA 9522, by optimizing the location of base points, increased the Philippines total maritime space of 145,216 square nautical miles.
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  • Law, Territorial waters, United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, Spratly Islands, UNCLOS III

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