Magallona Vs Ermita Case Digest

Magallona Vs Ermita Case Digest – G.R No. 187167 August 16, 2011

Magallona Vs Ermita Case Digest


This original action for the writs of certiorari and prohibition assails the constitutionality of Republic Act No. 95221 (RA 9522) adjusting the country’s archipelagic baselines and classifying the baseline regime of nearby territories.


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Facts

Congress amended RA 3046 by enacting RA 9522 in March 2009 demarcating the maritime baseline of the Philippine archipelago. The former is a rectangular baseline based on the Treaty of Paris and UNCLOS I while the latter followed a straight baseline method prescribed by UNCLOS III. Measurement of maritime zones will begin from these baselines.

Issue

Whether RA 9522 violated Article 1 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution.

Ruling

No.

UNCLOS III has nothing to do with the acquisition or loss of territory. It is just a codified norm that regulates the .conduct of states.

The RA 9522 is a baseline law to mark out basepoints along coasts, serving as geographic starting points. Also, RA 9522 includes provisions that enforce our claims to the KIG, SS, and Sabbah.

RA 9522 is not unconstitutional, the Petition was dismissed.


RA 9522 and the Philippines’ Maritime Zones

Petitioners hold the view that, based on the permissive text of UNCLOS III, Congress was not bound to pass RA 9522.54 We have looked at the relevant provision of UNCLOS III55 and we find petitioners’ reading plausible. Nevertheless, the prerogative of choosing this option belongs to Congress, not to this Court. Moreover, the luxury of choosing this option comes at a very steep price. Absent an UNCLOS III compliant baselines law, an archipelagic State like the Philippines will find itself devoid of internationally acceptable baselines from where the breadth of its maritime zones and continental shelf is measured. This is recipe for a two-fronted disaster: first, it sends an open invitation to the seafaring powers to freely enter and exploit the resources in the waters and submarine areas around our archipelago; and second, it weakens the country’s case in any international dispute over Philippine maritime space. These are consequences Congress wisely avoided.

The enactment of UNCLOS III compliant baselines law for the Philippine archipelago and adjacent areas, as embodied in RA 9522, allows an internationally-recognized delimitation of the breadth of the Philippines’ maritime zones and continental shelf. RA 9522 is therefore a most vital step on the part of the Philippines in safeguarding its maritime zones, consistent with the Constitution and our national interest.

Magallona Vs Ermita Case Digest

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