Posted by: Elmer Brabante | September 1, 2009

Tañada vs. Tuvera


136 SCRA 27 (April 24, 1985) 


Invoking the right of the people to be informed on matters of public concern as well as the principle that laws to be valid and enforceable must be published in the Official Gazette, petitioners filed for writ of mandamus to compel respondent public officials to publish and/or cause to publish various presidential decrees, letters of instructions, general orders, proclamations, executive orders, letters of implementations and administrative orders. 

The Solicitor General, representing the respondents, moved for the dismissal of the case, contending that petitioners have no legal personality to bring the instant petition.


Whether or not publication in the Official Gazette is required before any law or statute becomes valid and enforceable. 


Art. 2 of the Civil Code does not preclude the requirement of publication in the Official Gazette, even if the law itself provides for the date of its effectivity.  The clear object of this provision is to give the general public adequate notice of the various laws which are to regulate their actions and conduct as citizens.  Without such notice and publication, there would be no basis for the application of the maxim ignoratia legis nominem excusat.  It would be the height of injustive to punish or otherwise burden a citizen for the transgression of a law which he had no notice whatsoever, not even a constructive one. 

The very first clause of Section 1 of CA 638 reads: there shall be published in the Official Gazette…. The word “shall” therein imposes upon respondent officials an imperative duty.  That duty must be enforced if the constitutional right of the people to be informed on matter of public concern is to be given substance and validity. 

The publication of presidential issuances of 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.  The Court declared that presidential issuances of general application which have not been published have no force and effect.



146 SCRA 446 (December 29, 1986) 


This is a motion for reconsideration of the decision promulgated on April 24, 1985.  Respondent argued that while publication was necessary as a rule, it was not so when it was “otherwise” as when the decrees themselves declared that they were to become effective immediately upon their approval. 


  1. Whether or not a distinction be made between laws of general applicability and laws which are not as to their publication;
  2. Whether or not a publication shall be made in publications of general circulation. 


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.  This clause does not mean that the legislature may make the law effective immediately upon approval, or in any other date, without its previous publication. 

“Laws” should refer to all laws and not only to those of general application, for strictly speaking, all laws relate to the people in general albeit there are some that do not apply to them directly.  A law without any bearing on the public would be invalid as an intrusion of privacy or as class legislation or as an ultra vires act of the legislature. To be valid, the law must invariably affect the public interest eve if it might be directly applicable only to one individual, or some of the people only, and not to the public as a whole. 

All statutes, including those of local application and private laws, shall be published as a condition for their effectivity, which shall begin 15 days after publication unless a different effectivity date is fixed by the legislature. 

Publication must be in full or it is no publication at all, since its purpose is to inform the public of the content of the law. 

Article 2 of the Civil Code provides that publication of laws must be made in the Official Gazette, and not elsewhere, as a requirement for their effectivity.  The Supreme Court is not called upon to rule upon the wisdom of a law or to repeal or modify it if it finds it impractical. 

The publication must be made forthwith, or at least as soon as possible. 

J. Cruz: 

Laws must come out in the open in the clear light of the sun instead of skulking in the shadows with their dark, deep secrets.  Mysterious pronouncements and rumored rules cannot be recognized as binding unless their existence and contents are confirmed by a valid publication intended to make full disclosure and give proper notice to the people.  The furtive law is like a scabbarded saber that cannot faint, parry or cut unless the naked blade is drawn.

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