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CASE DIGEST ON TAÑADA v. TUVERA [136 SCRA 27 (1985)]

November 10, 2010


Nature: Petition to review the decision of the Executive Assistant to the President.

Facts: Invoking the people’s right to be informed on matters of public concern, a right recognized in Section 6, Article IV of the 1973 constitution, petitioners seek 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, general orders, proclamations, executive orders, letter of implementation and administrative orders. The respondents would have this case dismissed on the ground that petitioners have no legal personality to bring this petition. Petitioners maintain that since the subject of the petition concerns a public right and its object is to compel public duty, they need not show any specific interest. Respondents further contend 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.

Issue: WON publication in the Official Gazatte is an indispensable requirement for the effectivity of the PDs, LOIs, general orders, EOs, etc. where laws themselves provide for their own effectivity dates.

Held: Yes. It is the people’s right to be informed on matters of public concern & corollarily access to official records, & to documents & papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, shall be afforded the citizens subject to such limitation as may be provided by law (§6 AIV, 1973 Constitution). Laws, to be valid & enforceable, must be published in the OG or otherwise effectively promulgated. The fact that a PD or LOI states its date of effectivity does not preclude their publication in the OG as they constitute important legislative acts. The publication of presidential issuances “of public nature” or “of general applicability” is a requirement of due process. Before a person may be bound by law, he must first be officially informed of its contents.

Judgment: Respondents ordered to publish in Official Gazette all unpublished presidential issuances of general application, and unless so published shall have no binding force and effect.

Impt Point: It illustrates how decrees & issuances issued by one man—Marcos—are in fact laws of gen’l application & provide for penalties. The constitution afforded Marcos both executive & legislative powers.

The generality of law (CC A14) will never work w/o constructive notice. The ruling of this case provides the publication constitutes the necessary constructive notice & is thus the cure for ignorance as an excuse.

Ignorance will not even mitigate the crime.

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