When laws take effect


Article 2 of the Civil Code: "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." (Executive Order 200)

The clause "unless it is otherwise provided" refers to the date of effectivity and not to the requirement of publication itself, which cannot, in any event, be omitted. In Tañada v. Tuvera, laws as a rule should always be published. Congress, however, can shorten and lengthen the period within which the law will remain not effective (or, after which the law shall become effective).

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. In fact, Congress can also mandate that the law take effect "upon approval" and, even in such a case, the law cannot take effect without publication.

Commissioner vs. Hypermix rules that, when administrative rules and regulations go beyond merely providing for the means that can facilitate or render least cumbersome the implementation of the law but substantially increase the burden of those governed, it behooves the agency to accord at least to those directly affected a chance to be heard, and thereafter to be duly informed, before the new issuance is given the force and effect of law. An exception to this would be interpretative regulations and those internal in nature.

In short, if the rule carries with it a penalty, publish.

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