Effect and Application of Laws- Publication


Laws must be published. Otherwise they are not effective. Laws take effect only after the mandatory requirement of publication in a newspaper of general circulation or the Official Gazette. According to the Supreme Court:


Publication is indispensable in every case, but the legislature may in its discretion provide that the usual fifteen-day period shall be shortened or extended. The clause "unless otherwise provided" refers to the date of effectivity and not to the requirement of publication itself, which cannot in any event be omitted. Publication must be in full or it is no publication at all since the purpose of publication itself is to make the public aware of the contents of the laws.1


Supreme Court decisions also form part of the law of the land. Does this mean they must also be published? The answer is in the negative. Supreme Court decisions need not be published as enshrined in the following case law:


However, there is no law requiring the Publication of Supreme Court Decisions in the the Official Gazette before they can be binding and as a condition to their becoming effective. It is the bounden duty of the counsel as lawyer in active law practice to keep abreast of decisions of the Supreme Court.2


1Tanada vs. Tuvera, G.R. No. L-63915, December 29, 1986.

2De Roy vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. L-80718, January 29, 1988.