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B. Relationship between international and Philippine domestic law

a. DOCTRINE OF INCORPORATION

The Philippines renounces war as an instrument of national policy, adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land and adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation, and amity with all nations. (Section 2, Article II, 1987 Constitution)

Doctrine of incorporation – is expressed in Section 2, Article II of the Constitution, wherein the Philippines adopts the generally accepted principles of international law and international jurisprudence as part of the law of the land and adheres to the policy of peace, cooperation, and amity with all nations. (Bayan Muna v. Romulo, En Banc, G.R. No. 159618, 01 February 2011)

1) When applied

The doctrine of incorporation is applied whenever municipal tribunals (or local courts) are confronted with situations in which there appears to be a conflict between a rule of international law and the provisions of the constitution or statute of the local state. Efforts should first be exerted to harmonize them, so as to give effect to both since it is to be presumed that municipal law was enacted with proper regard for the generally accepted principles of international law in observance of the observance of the Incorporation Clause in the above-cited constitutional provision (Cruz, Philippine Political Law, 1996 ed., p. 55). (Secretary of Justice v. Lantion, En Banc, G.R. No. 139465, 18 January 2000)

In a situation, however, where the conflict is irreconcilable and a choice has to be made between a rule of international law and municipal law, jurisprudence dictates that municipal law should be upheld by the municipal courts… for the reason that such courts are organs of municipal law and are accordingly bound by it in all circumstances (Salonga & Yap, op. cit., p. 13). (Ibid.)

The fact that international law has been made part of the law of the land does not pertain to or imply the primacy of international law over national or municipal law in the municipal sphere. The doctrine of incorporation, as applied in most countries, decrees that rules of international law are given equal standing with, but are not superior to, national legislative enactments. Accordingly, the principle lex posterior derogat priori takes effect — a treaty may repeal a statute and a statute may repeal a treaty. In states where the constitution is the highest law of the land, such as the Republic of the Philippines, both statutes and treaties may be invalidated if they are in conflict with the constitution (Salonga & Yap, op. cit., p. 13). (Ibid.)

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