Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tanada vs. Tuvera

Facts:
Due process was invoked by the petitioners in demanding the disclosure of a number of presidential decrees which they claimed had not been published as required by law. The government argued that while publication was necessary as a rule, it was not so when it was "otherwise provided," as when the decrees themselves declared that they were to become effective immediately upon their approval.

Issue: WON publication is needed for laws that were to become effective immediately.

Held:
                It is not correct to say that under the disputed clause publication may be dispensed with altogether. The reason is that such omission would offend due process insofar as it would deny the public knowledge of the laws that are supposed to govern the legislature could validly provide that a law is effective immediately upon its approval notwithstanding the lack of publication (or after an unreasonably short period after publication), it is not unlikely that persons not aware of it would be prejudiced as a result and they would be so not because of a failure to comply with but simply because they did not know of its existence, Significantly, this is not true only of penal laws as is commonly supposed. One can think of many non-penal measures, like a law on prescription, which must also be communicated to the persons they may affect before they can begin to operate.

The term "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. An example is a law granting citizenship to a particular individual, like a relative of President Marcos who was decreed instant naturalization. It surely cannot be said that such a law does not affect the public although it unquestionably does not apply directly to all the people. The subject of such law is a matter of public interest which any member of the body politic may question in the political forums or, if he is a proper party, even in the courts of justice. In fact, 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 even if it might be directly applicable only to one individual, or some of the people only, and t to the public as a whole.
We hold therefore that all statutes, including those of local application and private laws, shall be published as a condition for their effectivity, which shall begin fifteen days after publication unless a different effectivity date is fixed by the legislature.

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