Notes on Article 2: Publication of Laws

Article 2. Laws shall take effect after fifteen days following the completion of their publication in the Official Gazette, unless it is otherwise provided. This Code shall take effect one year after such publication.

Note: This article was repealed and modified by EO 200. Article 2 now reads: Laws shall take effect after fifteen days following the completion of their publication either in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines, unless it is otherwise provided.

Note that this Article requires that laws, before they are deemed effective, should generally have a 15-day publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines. Only after this 15-day publication period, or otherwise provided for by law, can a law be deemed in legal force and effect, as a general rule.

Note further that Article 2 provides "after fifteen days following..." not "fifteen days after...." Therefore, if an act was signed into law on January 1, a 15-day publication will follow. The last day of the publication shall be January 16. January 17 is the effectivity of the law.

Note finally that the publication should be in the Official Gazette or in any newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines. A newspaper of general circulation is that which has the capability and the business of distributing its news all over the Philippines.

What issuances are covered by this Article?

This Article generally applies to all laws and even to the Civil Code. It also generally applies to general orders, presidential decrees, executive orders, letters of instruction, letters of implementation, circulars and proclamations issued in times of martial law.

What are the principles laid down by the Supreme Court in the case of TaƱada vs. Tuvera (G.R. No. L-63915; December 29, 1986)?

[1] Issuances internal in nature need not be published.
[2] The phrase "unless otherwise provided" refers not to the requirement of publication but for the length of time of publication. 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.
[3] Publication of laws is an element of due process.
[4] Interpretative regulations need not be published.
[5] All statutes must be published, including those which are local or private in application.
[6] Administrative rules and regulations enforcing existing laws must be published.
[7] Charters of cities must be published.
[8] Circulars intended to fill in details of acts passed by Congress must be published.
[9] Publication must be full or there is no publication at all.
[10] All issuances punitive in nature must be published.

Should all publications be done for 15 days?

No, that is the general rule. The law making body may shorten or extend this but they cannot dispense with the publication requirement.

Law X took effect at the 12th hour of January 1. This law made criminal the drinking of coffee. A drank a cup of coffee on the 7th hour of that same day, January 1. May A be held liable?

Yes. Laws take effect on days not on certain hours of the day. Therefore, it is deemed to have been effective since the very first minute of that day. If this be not so, they, according to the Highest Court, "we would be confronted with a situation where the fixing of the date of effectivity would depend on the unreliable memory of man.

The last day of Law X's 15-day publication is January 1. Did it already acquire the legal force and effect on that day?

No. Although the old Code provides "at the beginning of the fifteenth day after the completion of the publication," the new Code provides that laws shall take effect after 15 days following their publication.

Paras, the great author, mentioned in his commentary: "after Wednesday means Thursday, not Wednesday." So, if a law takes effect after 2 days following Monday, we refer to Thursday.