PROF. MERLIN M. MAGALLONA, et.al v . HON. EDUARDO ERMITA, IN HISCAPACITY AS EXECUTIVE SECRETARY , et.al G.R. No. 187167, 16 July 2011, EN BANC (Carpio, J.

) Facts: The conversion of internal waters into archipelagic waters will not risk thePhilippines because an archipelagic State has sovereign power that extends tothe waters enclosed by the archipelagic baselines, regardless of their depth or distance from the coast. R.A. 9522 was enacted by the Congress in March 2009 to comply with theterms of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III),which the Philippines ratified on February 27, 1984. Such compliance shortenedone baseline, optimized the location of some basepoints around the Philippinearchipelago and classified adjacent territories such as the Kalayaan IslandGround (KIG) and the Scarborough Shoal as “regimes of islands” whose islandsgenerate their own applicable maritime zones.Petitioners, in their capacities as “citizens, taxpayers or legislators” assailthe constitutionality of R.A. 9522 with one of their arguments contending thatthe law unconstitutionally “converts” internal waters into archipelagic waters,thus subjecting these waters to the right of innocent and sea lanes passageunder UNCLOS III, including overflight. Petitioners have contended that thesepassage rights will violate the Constitution as it shall expose Philippine internalwaters to nuclear and maritime pollution hazard. ISSUE: Whether or not R.A. 9522 is unconstitutional for converting internal watersinto archipelagic waters

HELD: Petition DISMISSED. The Court finds R.A. 9522 constitutional and is consistent with thePhilippine’s national interest. Aside from being a vital step in safeguarding thecountry’s maritime zones, the law also allows an internationally-recognizeddelimitation of the breadth of the Philippine’s maritime zones and continentalshelf. The Court also finds that the conversion of internal waters intoarchipelagic waters will not risk the Philippines as affirmed in the Article 49 of the UNCLOS III, an archipelagic State has sovereign power that extends to thewaters enclosed by the archipelagic baselines, regardless of their depth ordistance from the coast. It is further stated that the regime of archipelagic sealanes passage will not affect the status of its archipelagic waters or the exerciseof sovereignty over waters and air space, bed and subsoil and the resourcestherein. Furthermore, due to the absence of its own legislation regarding routeswithin the archipelagic waters to regulate innocent and sea lanes passage, thePhilippines has no choice but to comply with the international law norms. ThePhilippines is subject to UNCLOS III, which grants innocent passage rights overthe territorial sea or archipelagic waters, subject to the treaty’s limitations andconditions for their exercise, thus, the right of innocent passage, being acustomary international law, is automatically incorporated in the corpus of Philippine law. If the Philippines or any country shall invoke its sovereignty toforbid innocent passage, it shall risk retaliatory measures from the internationalcommunity. With compliance to UNCLOS III and the enactment of R.A. 9522, theCongress has avoided such conflict.Contrary to the contention of the petitioners, the compliance to UNCLOSIII through the R.A. 9522 will not expose Philippine internal waters to nuclearand maritime pollution hazard. As a matter of fact, if the Philippines did notcomply with the baselines law, it will find itself devoid of internationallyacceptable baselines from where the breadth of its maritime zones andcontinental shelf is measured and which will produce two-fronted disaster: (1)open invitation to the seafaring powers to freely enter and exploit the resourcesin the waters and submarine areas around the archipelago and (2) it shallweaken the country’s case in any international dispute over Philippine maritimespace. Such disaster was avoided through the R.A. 9522

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