G.R. No. L-63915, 24 April 1985
Petitioners sought a writ of mandamus to compel respondent public officials to publish, and/or cause the publication in the Official Gazette of various presidential decrees, letters of instructions, etc., invoking the right to be informed on matters of public concern as recognized by the 1973 constitution. Respondents argue that said publication is not necessary when the date of effectivity is already provided in the law itself as evidenced by the phrase in Article 2 of the Civil Code: “…as otherwise provided.”
Whether or not the publication of presidential decrees, letters of instructions, general orders, etc. is necessary before its enforcement.
Yes. Publication is mandatory.
Article 2 of the Civil Code provides that “laws shall take effect after fifteen days following the completion of their publication in the Official Gazette, unless it is otherwise provided. The latter part of Article 2, as aforementioned in the facts, does not preclude the requirement of publication in the Official Gazette, even if the law itself provides for the date of its effectivity.
Laws that provide for penalties and of public interest must be published, for without such notice, there would be no basis for the application of the maxim “ignorantialegis non excusat.” It would be the height of injustice to punish or otherwise burden a citizen for the transgression of a law of which he had no notice whatsoever, not even a constructive one.
* Case digest by Ariel M. Acopiado, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018