Publication of laws must be in full

The publication of laws must be in full. Otherwise, it is no publication at all. This is because the purpose of such publication is to inform the public of their contents. It must be made in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines, not anywhere else, as a requirement for their effectivity. After 15 days following such publication or after a different period provided by the legislature, the law shall become effective, binding and enforceable even against those who have not read the newspaper.

The mere mention of the number of the presidential decree, the title of such decree, its whereabouts (e.g., "with Secretary Tuvera"), the supposed date of effectivity, and in a mere supplement of the Official Gazette cannot satisfy the publication requirement.

"Immediately upon approval" means "immediately after publication." A law cannot have a valid force and effect without publication because the due process clause abhors secret laws.

According to the Supreme Court, the days of the secret laws and the unpublished decrees are over. This is once again an open society, with all the acts of the government subject to public scrutiny and available always to public cognizance. This has to be so if our country is to remain democratic, with sovereignty residing in the people and all government authority emanating from them. (G.R. No. 63915)

PRIOR TO THE AMENDMENT ALLOWING PUBLICATION IN A NEWSPAPER OF GENERAL CIRCULATION, the Supreme Court said, "There is much to be said of the view that the publication need not be made in the Official Gazette, considering its erratic releases and limited readership. Undoubtedly, newspapers of general circulation could better perform the function of communicating, the laws to the people as such periodicals are more easily available, have a wider readership, and come out regularly. The trouble, though, is that this kind of publication is not the one required or authorized by existing law. As far as we know, no amendment has been made of Article 2 of the Civil Code. The Solicitor General has not pointed to such a law, and we have no information that it exists. If it does, it obviously has not yet been published." (G.R. No. 63915)
According to Paras (2008), when an ordinary law or presidential decree has completed its publication in an issue of the Official Gazette dated September 12, 2002, it becomes effective, unless otherwise provided, on September 28, 2002. This is the 16th day after its publication. He emphasizes that the laws say "after 15 days following," meaning on the 16th day following publication, not on the 15th. He gave this example: "After Wednesday" means Thursday, and not Wednesday.

The discussion above is based on an outline by Paras (2008) in the first volume of his commentaries on the New Civil Code of the Philippines. His books are available in fine bookstores nationwide. SOURCE: Justice Edgardo Paras (2008). Civil Code of the Philippines Annotated. Volume I on Persons and Family Relations. Rex Book Store. 978-971-23-7989-5.