Doctrine of Operative Fact- Acts done pursuant to a law which was subsequently declared unconstitutional remain valid, but not when the acts are done after the declaration of unconstitutionality.
As a general rule, an unconstitutional act is not a law; it confers no rights; it imposes no duties; it affords no protection; it creates no office; it is inoperative as if it has not been passed at all. The general rule is supported by Article 7 of the Civil Code.1
Exception to the general rule, the doctrine of operative fact:
The Doctrine of Operative Fact serves as an exception to the aforementioned general rule. In Planters Products, Inc. vs. Fertiphil Corporation 2, the Cout held: The doctrine of operative fact, as an exception to the general rule only applies as a matter of equity and fair play. It nullifies the effects of an unconstitutional law by recognizing that the existence of a statute prior to a determination of unconstitutionality is an operative fact and may have consequences that which cannot always be ignored. The past cannot always be erased by a new judicial declaration. The doctrine is applicable when a declaration of unconstitutionality will impose an undue burden on those who have relied on the invalid law. Thus, it was applied to a criminal case when a declaration of unconstitutionality would put the accused in double jeopardy or would put in limbo the acts done by a municipality in reliance upon the law creating it. 3
1Yap vs. Thenamaris Ship's Management, G.R. No. 179532, May 30, 2011
2G.R. No. 166006, March 14, 2018
3Yap vs. Thenamaris Ship's Management, G.R. No. 179532, May 30, 2011