Thursday, November 11, 2010

Case Digest of Tanada vs. Tuvera

TANADA V. TUVERA [136 S 27] - F: Invoking the people's right to be informed on matters of public concern, a right recognized in the Constitution, as well as the principle that laws to be valid and enforceable must be published in the OG or otherwise effectively promulgated, petitioners seek a writ of mandamus to compel respondent public officials to publish, and/or cause the publication in the OG of various PDs, LOIs, general orders, proclamations, EOs, letters of implementation and administrative orders. Respondents contend, among others that publication in the OG is not a sine qua non requirement for the
effectivity of laws where the laws themselves provide for their own effectivity dates. It is thus submitted that since the presidential issuances in question contain special provisions as to the date they are to take effect, publication in the OG is indispensable for their effectivity. The point stressed is anchored on Art. 2 of NCC.

HELD: The interpretation given by respondent is in accord w/ this Court's construction of said article. In a long line of decisions, this Court has ruled that publication in the OG is necessary in those cases where the legislation itself does not provide for its effectivity date-- for then the date of publication is material for determining its date of effectivity, w/c is the 15th day following its publication-- but not when the law itself provides for the date when it goes into effect.
Respondent's argument, however, is logically correct only insofar as it equates the effectivity of laws w/ the fact of publication. Considered in the light of other statutes applicable to the issue at hand, the conclusion is easily reached that said Art. 2 does not preclude the requirement of publication in the OG, even if the law itself provides for the date of its effectivity.
xxx The publication of all presidential issuances "of a public nature" or "of general applicability" is mandated by law. The clear object of the law is to give the general public adequate notice of the various laws w/c are to regulate their actions and conduct as citizens. W/o such notice and publication, there would be no basis for the application of the maxim "ignorantia legis non excusat." It would be the height of injustice to punish or otherwise burden a citizen for the transgression of a law of w/c he had no notice whatsoever, not even a constructive one. It is needless to say that the publication of presidential issuances "of a public nature" or "of general applicability" is a requirement of due process. It is a rule of law that before a person may be bound by law, he must first be officially and specifically informed of its contents.

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