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ILLUH ASAALI et al vs.

THE COMMISSIONER OF CUSTOMS

G.R. No. L-24170 December 16, 1968

FACTS:

A customs patrol team intercepted the five (5) sailing vessels on the high seas, between British North Borneo and
Sulu while they were heading towards Tawi-tawi, Sulu. After ordering the vessels to stop, the customs officers
boarded and found on board, 190 cases of cigarettes, and some pieces of rattan chairs. The sailing vessels are all
of Philippine registry, owned and manned by Filipino residents of Sulu. They came from Sandakan, British North
Borneo, but did not possess any permit from the Commissioner of Customs to engage in the importation of
merchandise into any port of the Sulu sea, as required by Section 1363(a) of the Revised Administrative Code. Their
cargoes were not covered by the required import license under Republic Act No. 426, otherwise known as the
Import Control Law.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the interception and seizure by customs officials on the high seas are valid considering that
importation had not yet begun and that the seizure was effected outside Philippine territorial waters?

HELD:

Yes. It has been established that the five vessels came from Sandakan, British North Borneo, a foreign port, and
when intercepted, all of them were heading towards Tawi-tawi, a domestic port within the Sulu sea. Laden with
foreign manufactured cigarettes, they did not possess the import license required, nor did they carry a permit from
the Commissioner of Customs to engage in importation into any port in the Sulu sea. Their course announced loudly
their intention not merely to skirt along the territorial boundary of the Philippines but to come within our limits and
land somewhere in Tawi-tawi towards which their prows were pointed. In fact, they were about to cross our aquatic
boundary but for the intervention of a customs patrol which, from all appearances, was more than eager to
accomplish its mission.

Further, t is unquestioned that all vessels seized are of Philippine registry. The extra-territoriality applied
under the Revised Penal Code is likewise applicable to violations of provisions of the Revised Administrative Code
committed while on board vessels of Philippine Registry.
FELIClDAD VIERNEZA, vs. THE COMMISSIONER OF CUSTOMS

G.R. No. L-24348 July 30, 1968

FACTS:

Acting upon a confidential information, Customs authorities of the port of Cebu conducted a search of M/V
Legaspi, which yielded 760 cartons of imported cigarettes without the required Internal Revenue strip
stamps. Upon investigation it was also discovered that the subject merchandise was covered by a Bill of
Lading which declared its contents as "personal belongings" and correspondingly entered into the manifest
of the vessel as such.likewise with "personal belongings" as the noted description. Further investigation
revealed that herein petitioner Vierneza accompanied the subject merchandise and holds the related bill of
lading however when questioned during the course of the search, petitioner disclaimed under oath
ownership of the merchandise. The Collector of Customs of Cebu seized the merchandise and instituted the
forfeiture proceedings therefor. Petitioner questions the validity of the seizure and forfeiture of the subject
cigarettes alleging lack of jurisdiction on the part of Collector of Customs of Cebu because it is the
Collector of Customs of Jolo who has jurisdiction over over all matters arising from the enforcement of tariff
and customs laws within his collection district.

ISSUE:

Whether or not a District Collector of Customs can may only enforce tariff and customs laws within his collection
district?

Ruling;

No. Section 703, on which petitioner's conclusion is premised, is legally non-existent, the same having been vetoed
by the President.1 Secondly, the Tariff and Customs Code clearly empowers the Bureau of Customs to prevent and
suppress smuggling and other frauds upon the Customs over all seas within the jurisdiction of the Philippines and
over all coasts, ports, airports, harbors, bays, rivers and inland waters navigable from the sea and, in case of "hot
pursuit/", even beyond the maritime zone . For the due enforcement of this function, a Collector, among others, is
authorized to search and seize, at any place within the jurisdiction of the said Bureau (Sec. 2204, sec. par.), any
vessel, aircraft, cargo, article, animal or other movable property when the same is subject to forfeiture or liable for
any fine imposed under customs and tariff laws. It is of no moment where the introduction of the property subject to
forfeiture took place. It is the right of an officer of the customs to seize goods which are suspected to have been
introduced into the country in violation of the revenue laws not only in his own district, but also in any other district
than his own".