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Answers to Phil Bar Exams 1987-2006 Political Law

Answers to Phil Bar Exams 1987-2006 Political Law

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12/10/2012

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No. 21: The Filipino seamen detained at Kota
Kinabalu, allegedly fishing in Malaysian
territorial waters, had been acquitted, after trial,
by the sessions court in the same city. They
could not be released and returned to the
Philippines, because the prosecution had
appealed the judgment of acquittal to the
Supreme Court of Malaysia.

Assume the situations had been reversed and a
Malaysian had been apprehended in Shasi,
Sulu, for an alleged offense, charged before the
Regional Trial Court and after trial acquitted.

May the Provincial Fiscal of Sulu appeal such
judgment of acquittal to the Supreme Court, like
what the Malaysians did in the case of the
Filipino fishermen at Kota Kinabalu? Explain
your answer.

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

No, because it would place the accused in
double jeopardy, contrary to Art. III, sec. 21 of
our Constitution. PD No. 1599 prohibits any
person not a citizen to explore or exploit any of
the resources of the exclusive economic zone

BAR Q&A (as arranged by Topics) – POLITICAL LAW (1987-2006)

31

and makes violation of the prohibition a crime
punishable by a fine of P2,000.00 to
P100,000.00 and/or imprisonment of not less
than 6 months nor more than 10 years. If aliens
are arrested for fishing within this zone but for
some reason are acquitted, the decision against
them cannot be appealed to the Court of
Appeals because that would place them in
double jeopardy. This is so well established that
the Supreme Court turned down many pleas for
re-examination of the doctrine first announced
in Kepner v. United States. 11 Phil. 669 (1904).
The doctrine is said to be part and parcel not
only of settled jurisprudence but also of
constitutional law. Nor does it matter that the
accused are aliens. This guarantee has been
applied even to aliens without thought of their
citizenship. (See e.g., People v. Ang Chio Kio, 95 Phil. 475
(1954) (Chinese previously convicted of murder); People v.
Pomeroy, 97 Phil 927 (1955) ( American previously convicted
of rebellion with murder, arson and robbery).

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