Piracy in General and Mutiny on the High Seas

ART. 122

Piracy in general and mutiny on the high seas. - The penalty of reclusion temporal shall be inflicted upon any person who, on the high seas, shall attack or seize a vessel or, not being a member of its complement nor a passenger, shall seize the whole or part of the cargo of said vessel, its equipment, or personal belongings of its complement or passengers.

1. By attacking or seizing a vessel on the high seas or in the Philippine waters (PD 532);
2. By seizing the whole or part of the cargo of said vessels, its equipment, or personal belongings of its complement or passengers, the offenders being strangers to the vessels.

PIRACY – it is robbery or forcible depredation on the high seas, without lawful authority and done with animo furandi and in the spirit and intention of universal hostility.

MUTINY – the unlawful resistance to a superior, or the raising of commotion and disturbances on board a ship against the authority of its commander.

1. A vessel is on the high seas or Philippine waters;
2. Offenders – not members of its complement nor passengers of the vessel; and
3. That the offenders –
a. attack or seize vessel (if committed by crew or passengers, the crime is not piracy but robbery in the high seas), or
b. seize whole or part of vessel’s cargo, equipment, or personal belongings of its complement or passengers.


High seas - any waters on the sea-coast which are without the boundaries of the low water mark although such waters may be in the jurisdictional limits of a foreign government; parts of the sea that are not included in the exclusive economic zone, in the territorial seas, or in the internal waters of a state, or in the archipelagic waters of an archipelagic state (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea).

Philippine waters – all bodies of water, such as but not limited to seas, gulfs, bays, around, between and connecting each of the islands of the Philippine Archipelago, irrespective of its depth, breadth, length or dimension, and all waters belonging to the Philippines by historic or legal title, including the territorial sea, the sea- bed, the insular shelves, and other submarine areas over which the Philippines has sovereignty and jurisdiction. (Sec. 2, P.D. No. 532)

Now, Art. 122, as amended by R.A. 7659 Piracy and Mutiny in Philippine waters is punishable.

Before R. A. 7659 amended Art 122, piracy and mutiny only on the high seas was punishable. However, the commission of the acts described in Arts. 122 and 123 in Philippine waters were under P.D. No. 532.

Piracy in high seas – jurisdiction of any court where offenders are found or arrested.

Piracy in internal waters – jurisdiction of Philippine courts.

For purposes of the Anti-Fencing Law, piracy is part of robbery and theft.

piracy and mutiny on the high seas

1. PD 532