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Rules on crime committed on the high seas

Crimes committed on the high seas

After drinking one (1) case of San Miguel beer and taking two plates of "pulutan", Binoy, a Filipino seaman, stabbed to death Sio My, a Singaporean seaman, aboard M/V "Princess of the Pacific", an oversees vessel which was sailing in the South China Sea.

The vessel, although Panamanian registered, is owned by Lucio Sy, a rich Filipino businessman. When M/V "Princess of the Pacific" reached a Philippine port at Cebu City, the Captain of the vessel turned over the assailant Binoy to the Philippine authorities.

An information for homicide was field against Binoy in the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City. He moved to quash the information for lack of jurisdiction.

If you were the Judge, will you grant the motion?

Yes, the Motion to Quash the information should be granted. The Philippine court has no jurisdiction over the crime committed since it was committed on the high seas or outside of Philippine territory and on board a vessel not registered or licensed in the Philippines.(US vs. Fowler, 1 Phil 614)

It is the registration of the vessel in accordance with the laws of the Philippines, not the citizenship of her owner, which makes it a Philippine ship. The vessel being registered in Panama, the laws of Panama govern while it is on the high seas.

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