Case Digest: GR No.1871672/2/20151 CommentProf. Magallona, Hontiveros, Prof. Roque and 38 UP College of Law Students-vs-Ermita Exec.Sec., Romulo Sec DFA, Andaya Sec DBM, Ventura AdministratorNational Mapping & Resource Information Authority and Davide Jr.-writ of certiorari and prohibition assailing the constitutionality of RA 9522Facts:RA 3046 was passed in 1961 which provides among others the demarcation lines of thebaselines 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 whichthe 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 incompliance with UNCLOS III in which the Philippines is one of the signatory, shortening onebaseline while optimizing the other and classifying Kalayaan Group of Island andScarborough Shoal as Regimes of Island.Petitioners in their capacity as taxpayer, citizen and legislator assailed the constitutionalityof RA 9522:- it reduces the territory of the Philippines in violation to the Constitution and itopens the country to maritime passage of vessels and aircrafts of other states to thedetriment 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 ofthe fishermen. Issues:1. WON the petitioners have locus standi to bring the suit; and2. WON RA 9522 is unconstitutionalRuling:Petition is dismissed. 1st Issue: The SC ruled the suit is not a taxpayer or legislator, but as a citizen suit, since it is thecitizens who will be directly injured and benefitted in affording relief over the remedysought. 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 todemarcate the country’s maritime zone and continental shelf under UNCLOS III. SCemphasized that UNCLOS III is not a mode of acquiring or losing a territory as providedunder the laws of nations. UNCLOS III is a multi-lateral treaty that is a result of a long-timenegotiation to establish a uniform sea-use rights over maritime zones (i.e., the territorialwaters [12 nautical miles from the baselines], contiguous zone [24 nautical miles from thebaselines], exclusive economic zone [200 nautical miles from the baselines]), andcontinental shelves. In order to measure said distances, it is a must for the state parties tohave their archipelagic doctrines measured in accordance to the treaty—the role played byRA 9522. The contention of the petitioner that RA 9522 resulted to the loss of 15,000 square
nautical miles is devoid of merit. The truth is, RA 9522, by optimizing the location of basepoints, 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