G.R. No. L-6791, 29 March 1954



Defendant-appellant Que Po Lay was in possession of foreign exchange consisting of U.S. dollars, U.S. checks and U.S. money orders amounting to about $7,000. He failed to sell the same to the Central Bank through its agents within one day following the receipt of such foreign exchange as required by Circular No. 20. The appeal is based on the claim that said circular No. 20 was not published in the Official Gazette prior to the act or omission imputed to the appellant, and that consequently, said circular had no force and effect.

Defendant-appellant contended that Commonwealth Act. No., 638 and Act 2930 both require said circular to be published in the Official Gazette, it being an order or notice of general applicability. The Solicitor General answering this contention says that Commonwealth Act. No. 638 and 2930 do not require the publication in the Official Gazette of said circular issued for the implementation of a law in order to have force and effect.


Whether the circular should be published first to have the force and effect of law.


Yes. Section 11 of the Revised Administrative Code provides that statutes passed by Congress shall, in the absence of special provision, take effect at the beginning of the fifteenth day after the completion of the publication of the statute in the Official Gazette.

Article 2 of the new Civil Code equally provides that “Laws shall take effect after fifteen days following the completion of their publication in the Official Gazette, unless it is otherwise provided. It is true that Circular No. 20 of the Central Bank is not a statute or law but being issued for the implementation of the law authorizing its issuance, it has the force and effect of law according to settled jurisprudence.

Moreover, as a rule, circulars and regulations especially like the Circular No. 20 of the Central Bank in question which prescribes a penalty for its violation should be published before becoming effective, this, 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 and the people officially and specifically informed of said contents and its penalties.

In the present case, although circular No. 20 of the Central Bank was issued in the year 1949, it was not published until November 1951, that is, about 3 months after appellant’s conviction of its violation. It is clear that said circular, particularly its penal provision, did not have any legal effect and bound no one until its publication in the Official Gazzette or after November 1951.

* Case digest by Neah Hope L. Bato, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018