CASE DIGEST: Asaali v. Commissioner of Customs (G.R. NO. L-24170)

CASE DIGEST: ILLUH ASAALI, ET AL. V. COMMISSIONER OF CUSTOMS; G.R. NO. L-24170, DEC. 16, 1968.

FACTS: On Sept. 10, 1950, at about noon time, a Philippine customs patrol team on board Patrol Boat ST-23 intercepted fi ve (5) sailing vessels on the high seas between British North Borneo and Sulu, while they were heading towards Tawi-tawi, Sulu. The vessels were all of Philippine registry, owned and manned by Filipino residents of Sulu. The cargo consisted of cigarettes without the required import license, hence, smuggled. They were seized by the patrol boat.

ISSUE: May the seizure be made although the vessel was on the high seas?

HELD: Yes, for the following reasons: (a) The vessels were of Philippine registry, hence under the Revised Penal Code, our penal laws may be enforced even outside our territorial jurisdiction. (b) It is well-settled in international law that a state has the right to protect itself and its revenues, a right not limited to its own territory, but extending to the high seas. (Church v. Hubbart, 2 Cranch 187, 234).

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