Publication requisite doesn't apply to all circulars


"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." This provision of law now says "or in a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines."

The rule relating to the effectivity of a law applies to circulars issued by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP, formerly Central Bank of the Philippines) This was discussed in People v. Que Po Lay (GR L-6791).

In said case, Po Lay was accused of violating Circular No. 20 of the Central Bank compelling those who had foreign currency to sell the same to the latter. Po Lay alleged that as the circular had not yet been published in the Official Gazette before he committed the act, the circular should have no effect on his act and that therefore he should be acquitted.
It was held that Po Lay was correct because the circular had the force and effect of law, and should have been published. Moreover, as a rule, circulars which CARRIES WITH THEM A PENALTY for their violation should be published before becoming effective. This is based on the general principle and theory that before the public is bound by its contents, especially its penal provisions, a law, regulation, or circular must first be published. This publication officially and specifically inform the people of the contents thereof and the penalties for their violation.

The fact that the circular is PUNITIVE in character is the principal reason why publication should be made. Implementing rules and regulations, for example, which, according to law, prescribe penalty must be published.

However, in Victorias Milling v. SSC, the Court said: "We find, therefore, that Circular No. 22 purports merely to advise employers-members of the System of what, in the light of the amendment of the law, they should include in determining the monthly compensation of their employees upon which the social security contributions should be based, and that such circular did not require presidential approval and publication in the Official Gazette for its effectivity." Therefore, circulars which are mere statements of general policy as to how the law should be construed DO NOT need presidential approval and publication in the Official Gazette for their effectivity.

Paras (2008) explained that Circular 22 of the Social Security Commission was merely to advise employers-members of the System that, in the light of the amendment of the law, they should include in determining the monthly compensation of their employees, upon which compensation the social security contributions should be based. The circular is within the authority of the Social Security Commission to promulgate.

The discussion above is based on an outline by Paras (2008) in his book on persons and family relations. 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. https://www.rexestore.com/cloth-bound/1582-civil-code-of-the-phils-annotated-vol-i-clothbound-.html

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