Article 2: Effectivity of Laws

Laws shall take effect after fifteen days following the completion of their publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines, unless it is otherwise provided. This Code shall take effect one year after such publication. (Article 2 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines)

There are a few questions we should be able to answer as we study Article 2 of the Civil Code. They are the following:

1. When does a law take effect?
2. What is the Official Gazette?
3. What is a newspaper of general circulation?
4. Is effectivity same with validity?
5. What does publication mean?
6. Why is publication required?
7. Is the publication requirement absolute?
8. Is the 15-day rule absolute?
9. What is the law says "effective upon the signature of the President" or "effective immediately"?
10. When is publication not required?WHEN DOES A LAW TAKE EFFECT? Laws take effect after 15 days following the completion of their publication. Take note that it is not "on the 15th day after" but "after 15 days following." Therefore, if the law's publication gets completed on the 5th of September, the 15th day following would be September 20 but the law would take effect on September 21 because that (September 21) is the day "after 15 days following the completion" of its publication.

WHAT IS THE OFFICIAL GAZETTE? The Official Gazette, which is printed by The National Printing Office, is the public journal and main publication of the government of the Republic of the Philippines.

WHAT IS A NEWSPAPER OF GENERAL CIRCULATION? To be a newspaper of general circulation, it is enough that "it is published for the dissemination of local news and general information; that it has a bona fide subscription list of paying subscribers; that it is published at regular intervals." (G.R. No. 115068)

EFFECTIVITY v. VALIDITY. Effectivity is different from validity. A law is valid as long as it does not go against any constitutional principle or provision. On the other hand, effectivity relates to whether the law can be validity enforced on people despite its validity.

PUBLICATION. Publication under Article 2 refers to informing the people of the law before it takes effect via printing on the Official Gazette or in any newspaper of general circulation. Note that the law says "or."

WHY PUBLISH? Publication is an indispensable requirement to comply with due process. The people cannot be expected to follow a law of which they have not been informed. The Philippines is not a society of secret laws and decrees; laws should be out in the open.

PUBLICATION IS ABSOLUTELY REQUIRED. Publication is, as a rule, always required, especially if the law is penal in nature. The phrase "unless it is otherwise provided" does not refer to the publication requirement.

THE 15-DAY RULE IS NOT ABSOLUTE. The phrase "unless it is otherwise provided" refers to "15 days." This means that Congress can shorten or lengthen the period.

EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY. If the law says it shall take effect immediately or upon the President's approval, this means that publication is still required. "Immediately" and "upon approval" means "immediately after publication."

PUBLICATION NOT REQUIRED. Publication is not required for Supreme Court decisions, interpretative regulations, letters of instruction and internal rules affecting only the personnel of an administrative agency.