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Laguna Lake Development Authority vs CA

The Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) was created through Republic Act No. 4850. It was granted,
inter alia, exclusive jurisdiction to issue permits for the use of all surface water for any project or activity in or
affecting the said region including navigation, construction, and operation of fishpens, fish enclosures, fish
corrals and the like.
Then came RA 7160, the Local Government Code of 1991. The municipalities in the Laguna Lake region
interpreted its provisions to mean that the newly passed law gave municipal governments the exclusive
jurisdiction to issue fishing privileges within their municipal waters.

Who should exercise jurisdiction over the Laguna Lake and its environs insofar as the issuance of permits for
fishing privileges is concerned, the LLDA or the towns and municipalities comprising the region?

LLDA has jurisdiction over such matters because the charter of the LLDA prevails over the Local Government
Code of 1991. The said charter constitutes a special law, while the latter is a general law. It is basic in statutory
construction that the enactment of a later legislation which is a general law, cannot be construed to have
repealed a special law. The special law is to be taken as an exception to the general law in the absence of special
circumstances forcing a contrary conclusion.
In addition, the charter of the LLDA embodies a valid exercise of police power for the purpose of protecting and
developing the Laguna Lake region, as opposed to the Local Government Code, which grants powers to
municipalities to issue fishing permits for revenue purposes.

Thus it has to be concluded that the charter of the LLDA should prevail over the Local Government Code of
1991 on matters affecting Laguna de Bay.


In March 2009, R.A. 9522 was enacted by the Congress to comply with the terms of the United Nations
Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III), which the Philippines ratified on February 27, 1984.

Professor Merlin Magallona et al questioned the validity of RA 9522 as they contend, among others, that the
law decreased the national territory of the Philippines. Some of their particular arguments are as follows:
RA 9522 reduces Philippine maritime territory, and logically, the reach of the Philippine state’s sovereign
power, in violation of Article 1 of the 1987 Constitution, embodying the terms of the Treaty of Paris and
ancillary treaties.
RA 9522 opens the country’s waters landward of the baselines to maritime passage by all vessels and aircrafts,
undermining Philippine sovereignty and national security, contravening the country’s nuclear-free policy, and
damaging marine resources, in violation of relevant constitutional provisions.
RA 9522’s treatmentof the KIG as “regime of islands” not only results in the loss of a large maritime area but
also prejudices the livelihood of subsistence fishermen.

Hence, petitioners files 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.

Whether or not RA 9522, the amendatory Philippine Baseline Law is unconstitutional.

The provision of Art I 198 Constitution clearly affirms the archipelagic doctrine, which we connect the
outermost points of our archipelago with straight baselines and consider all the waters enclosed thereby as
internal waters. RA 9522, as a Statutory Tool to Demarcate the Country’s Maritime Zones and Continental Shelf
Under UNCLOS III, gave nothing less than an explicit definition in congruent with the archipelagic doctrine.

No. The Court finds R.A. 9522 constitutional. It is a Statutory Tool to Demarcate the Country’s Maritime Zones
and Continental Shelf Under UNCLOS III, not to Delineate Philippine Territory. It is a vital step in safeguarding
the country’s maritime zones. It also allows an internationally-recognized delimitation of the breadth of the
Philippine’s maritime zones and continental shelf.

Additionally, The Court finds that the conversion of internal waters into archipelagic 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 the waters enclosed by the archipelagic baselines, regardless of their depth or distance from the coast.
It is further stated that the regime of archipelagic sea lanes passage will not affect the status of its archipelagic
waters or the exercise of sovereignty over waters and air space, bed and subsoil and the resources therein.

The Court further stressed that the baseline laws are mere mechanisms for the UNCLOS III to precisely
describe the delimitations. It serves as a notice to the international family of states and it is in no way affecting
or producing any effect like enlargement or diminution of territories.