Magallona vs Ermita; G.R. No. 187167; 16 Aug 2011; 655 SCRA 476

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Magallona vs Ermita; G.R. No. 187167; 16 Aug 2011; 655 SCRA 476

Congress enacted RA 9522, amending RA 3046 and making it compliant with the terms of the UNCLOS III. In so doing, RA 9522 shortened one baseline, optimized the ocation of some basepoints around the Philippine archipelago and classified adjacent territories, namely, the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG) and the Scarborough Shoal, as “regimes of the islands” whose islands generate their own applicable maritime zones.

Whether or not RA 9522 is unconstitutional.

YES. RA 9522 is a statutory tool to demarcate the country’s maritime zones and continental shelf under UNCLOS III, not to delineate Philippine territory. Baseline laws such as RA 9522 are enacted by UNCLOS III States to mark out specific basepoints along their coasts from which baselines are drawn, either straight or contoured, to serve as geographic starting points to measure the breadth of the maritime zones and continental shelf. UNCLOS III and its ancillary baseline laws play no role in the acquisition, enlargement or diminution of territory. States acquire (or lose) territory through occupation, accretion, cession and prescription.

The petition is DISMISSED.

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