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Constitutional Law: Taada vs.

Tuvera 136 SCRA 27

(April 24, 1985) 146 SCRA 446 (December 29, 1986)
136 SCRA 27 (April 24, 1985)
Publication in the Official Gazette (Enforceability of a Statute)
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
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

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.


G.R. No. 170338 December 23, 2008
G.R. No. 179275 December 23, 2008
MANUEL VILLAR, respondents.
MAJ. LINDSAY REX SAGGE, petitioner-in-intervention
M.A. JAMBY A.S. MADRIGAL, and ANTONIO F. TRILLANES, respondentsintervenors
Facts: During the hype of Arroyo administration, a new controversy arises.
During the 2007 election the conversation of President Arroyo and the
herein petitioner Virgilio Garciliano, COMELEC regional director, regarding
the desire of the president to have a favourable outcome in terms of his
senatoriables. Such conversation was recorded and was played during the
house of representative investigation. Because of such turn of events, a
petition was filed before the court praying that such playing of the illegally
seized communication was in violation of RA 4200 or the anti-wire tapping
law. Also such petition for injunction prays that the Senate committee be

prevented from further conducting such investigation for the basic reason
that there was no proper publication of the senate rules, empowering them
to make such investigation of the unlawfully seized documents.
Issue: Whether or not there was proper publication of the rules as to
empower the senate to further proceed with their investigation?
Held: No, the Supreme Court mentioned the following:
The Senate cannot be allowed to continue with the conduct of the
questioned legislative inquiry without duly published rules of procedure, in
clear derogation of the constitutional requirement.
Section 21, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution explicitly provides that "the
Senate or the House of Representatives, or any of its respective
committees may conduct inquiries in aid of legislation in accordance with its
duly published rules of procedure." The requisite of publication of the rules
is intended to satisfy the basic requirements of due process.Publication is
indeed imperative, for it will be the height of injustice to punish or otherwise
burden a citizen for the transgression of a law or rule of which he had no
notice whatsoever, not even a constructive one.What constitutes
publication is set forth in Article 2 of the Civil Code, which provides that
"laws shall take effect after 15 days following the completion of their
publication either in the Official Gazette, or in a newspaper of general
circulation in the Philippines."
Respondents justify their non-observance of the constitutionally mandated
publication by arguing that the rules have never been amended since 1995
and, despite that, they are published in booklet form available to anyone for
free, and accessible to the public at the Senates internet web page.
The Court does not agree. The absence of any amendment to the rules
cannot justify the Senates defiance of the clear and unambiguous
language of Section 21, Article VI of the Constitution. The organic law
instructs, without more, that the Senate or its committees may conduct
inquiries in aid of legislation only in accordance with duly published rules of
procedure, and does not make any distinction whether or not these rules
have undergone amendments or revision. The constitutional mandate to
publish the said rules prevails over any custom, practice or tradition
followed by the Senate.

The invocation by the respondents of the provisions of R.A. No.

8792,otherwise known as the Electronic Commerce Act of 2000, to support
their claim of valid publication through the internet is all the more incorrect.
R.A. 8792 considers an electronic data message or an electronic document
as the functional equivalent of a written document only for evidentiary
purposes.In other words, the law merely recognizes the admissibility in
evidence (for their being the original) of electronic data messages and/or
electronic documents.It does not make the internet a medium for publishing
laws, rules and regulations.
Given this discussion, the respondent Senate Committees, therefore, could
not, in violation of the Constitution, use its unpublished rules in the
legislative inquiry subject of these consolidated cases. The conduct of
inquiries in aid of legislation by the Senate has to be deferred until it shall
have caused the publication of the rules, because it can do so only "in
accordance with its duly published rules of procedure."
Indeed the inquiry to be conducted by the senate in aid of legislation cannot
proceed for the reason that the rules that they will observe was not properly
published as provided by the Fundamental Law of the land. Such inquiry if
allowed without observance of the required publication will put a persons
life, liberty and property at stake without due process of law. Also, the
further assertion of the senate that they already published such rules
through their web page, in observance of the RA 8792 or the Electronic
Commerce Act was only viewed by the court as matter of evidence and still
does not conforme with what the constitution propounded.
In this regard the high court granted the petition for injunction preventing
the senate to conduct such inquiry in aid of legislation.

Gregorio Honasan II petitioner vs.

The Panel of Investigating Prosecutors
Of the Department of Justice
G.R.No. 159747 April 13,2004
Lessons Applicable: Rule on Interpretative Regulations (persons),
Powers of the Ombudsman (consti), concurrent jurisdiction of the
Ombudsman and the DOJ to conduct preliminary investigation (consti)
Law Applicable: Section 13, Article XI of the Constitution, Art. 2 Civil
August 4, 2003: CIDG-PNP/P Director Edguardo Matillano filed an
affidavit-complaint with the Department of Justice (DOJ) which contains
the following in part:
o July 27, 2003: crime of coup d etat was committed by military
personnel who occupied Oakwood and Senator Gregorio Gringo
Honasan, II
o On or about 11 p.m. June 4,2003: A meeting was held and presided by
Senator Honasan in a house located in San Juan, Metro Manila
o Early morning of July 27, 2003: Capt. Gerardo Gambala, in behalf of the
military rebels occupying Oakwood, made a public statement aired on
national television, stating their withdrawal of support to the chain of
command of the AFP and the Government of President Gloria
Macapagal Arroyo. Willing to risk their lives to achieve the
National Recovery Agenda (NRA) of Senator Honasan which they
believe is the only program that would solve the ills of society.

Sworn statement of AFP Major Perfecto Ragil stated that:

o June 4, 2003 about 11 pm: Senator Gregorio Gringo Honasan arrived
with Capt. Turinga to hold the NRP meeting where they concluded the
use of force, violence and armed struggle to achievethe vision of NRP
where a junta will be constituted which will run the new government.

They had a blood compact and that he only participated due to the
threat made by Senator Honasan when he said Kung kaya nating
pumatay sa ating mga kalaban, kaya din nating pumatay sa mga
kasamahang magtataksil.
o July 27, 2003: He saw on TV that Lieutenant Antonio Trillanes, Captain
Gerardo Gambala, Captain Alejano and some others who were present
during the NRP meeting he attended, having a press conference about
their occupation of the Oakwood Hotel. He saw that the letter "I" on
the arm bands and the banner is the same letter "I" in the banner is
the same as their blood compact wound.
August 27, 2003: Senator Honasan appeared with counsel at the DOJ
to file a a Motion for Clarification questioning DOJ's jurisdiction over the
case since the imputed acts were committed in relation to his public
office by a group of public officials with Salary Grade 31 which should
be handled by the Office of the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan
Senator Honasan then filed a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of
the Rules of Court against the DOJ Panel and its members, CIDG-PNPP/Director Eduardo Matillano and Ombudsman Simeon V. Marcelo,
attributing grave abuse of discretion on the part of the DOJ Panel in
issuing the aforequoted Order of September 10, 2003 directing him to
file his respective counter-affidavits and controverting evidence on the
ground that the DOJ has no jurisdiction to conduct the preliminary
1. Whether in regards to Ombudsman-DOJ Circular no. 95-001, the
office of the Ombudsman should deputize the prosecutors of the
DOJ to conduct the preliminary investigation.
2. Whether the Ombudsman-DOJ Joint Circular no. 95-001 is
ineffective on the ground that it was not published
3. Whether the Ombudsman has jurisdiction to conduct the
preliminary investigation because the petitioner is a public officer
with salary grade 31 (Grade 27 or Higher) thereby falling within
the jurisdiction of the Sandigan Bayan.

Held: Wherefore, the petition for certiorari is DISMISSED for lack

of merit


Ombudsman cases involving criminal offenses may be subdivided

into two classes, to wit: (1) those cognizable by the Sandiganbayan,

and (2) those falling under the jurisdiction of the regular courts. The
difference between the two, aside from the category of the courts
wherein they are filed, is on the authority to investigate as
distinguished from the authority to prosecute

The power to investigate or conduct a preliminary investigation

on any Ombudsman case may be exercised by an investigator or
prosecutor of the Office of the Ombudsman, or by any Provincial or
City Prosecutor or their assistance, either in their regular capacities
or as deputized Ombudsman prosecutors.

circular supports the view of the respondent Ombudsman that it

is just an internal agreement between the Ombudsman and the DOJ

The Constitution, The Ombudsman Act of 1989, Administrative

order no. 8 of the office of the Ombudsman. The prevailing
jurisprudence and under the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure,
All recognize and uphold the concurrent jurisdiction of the
Ombudsman and the DOJ to conduct preliminary investigation on
charges filed against public officers and employees.

The DOJ Panel need not be authorized nor deputized by the

Ombudsman to conduct the preliminary investigation for complaints
filed with it because the DOJ's authority to act as the principal law
agency of the government and investigate the commission of
crimes under the Revised Penal Code is derived from the Revised
Administrative Code which had been held in the Natividad case13
as not being contrary to the Constitution. Thus, there is not even a
need to delegate the conduct of the preliminary investigation to an
agency which has the jurisdiction to do so in the first place.

However, the Ombudsman may assert its primary jurisdiction at any

stage of the investigation.

In the case of People vs. Que Po Lay, 94 Phil. 640 (1954). The only

circulars and regulations which prescribe a penalty for its violation

should be published before becoming effective.
In the case of Taada V. Tuvera, 146 Scra 453 (1986), The Honorable
Court rules that:
o Interpretative regulations and those merely internal in nature, that is
regulating only the personnel of the administrative agency and not the
public, need not be published. Neither is publication required of the so
called letters of instructions issued by the administrative superiors
concerning the rules on guidelines to be followed by their subordinates
in performance of their duties.

OMB-DOJ Joint Circulars no. 95-001 is merely an internal circular

between the DOJ and the office of the Ombudsman, Outlining
authority and responsibilities among prosecutors of the DOJ and of
the office of the Ombudsman in the conduct of preliminary
investigation. It does not regulate the conduct of persons or the
public, in general.

No. Whether or not the offense is within exclusive jurisdiction or not

will not resolve the present petition so as not to pre-empt the result of
the investigation conducted by the DOJ Panel.

Republic vs Claude A. Miller and Jumrus

E. Miller
G.R. No. 125932. April 21, 1999


On July 29, 1988, Spouses Miller, both American citizens, filed

with the RTC, Angeles City a verified petition to adopt Michael Magno Madayag, a
Filipino child, under the provision of the Child and Youth Welfare Code which allows
aliens to adopt. The natural parents executed affidavits giving their irrevocable
consent to the adoption and the DSWD recommended approval of the petition on
the basis of its evaluation. On May 12, 1989, the trial court rendered decision
granting the petition for adoption.

On August 3, 1998, the Family Code became effective, prohibiting the adoption of a
Filipino child by aliens.

The Solicitor General appealed to the granting of the petition for adoption by the

Whether or not aliens may be allowed to adopt a Filipino child when the petition for
adoption was filed prior to the effectivity of the Family Code prohibiting the same.

Yes. An alien qualified to adopt under the Child and Youth Welfare Code, which was
in force at the time of the filing of the petition, acquired a vested right which could
not be affected by the subsequent enactment of a new law disqualifying him.

The enactment of the Family Code, effective August 3, 1988, will not impair the
right of respondents who are aliens to adopt a Filipino child because the right has
become vested at the time of filing of the petition for adoption and shall be
governed by the law then in force. A vested right is one whose existence, effectivity
and extent does not depend upon events foreign to the will of the holder. Vested
rights include not only legal or equitable title to the enforcement of a demand, but
also an exemption from new obligations created after the right has vested.

As long as the petition for adoption was sufficient in form and substance in
accordance with the law in governance at the time it was filed, the court acquires
jurisdiction and retains it until it fully disposes of the case.

To repeat, the

jurisdiction of the court is determined by the statute in force at the time of the
commencement of the action. Such jurisdiction of a court, whether in criminal or
civil cases, once it attaches cannot be ousted by a subsequent happenings or

events, although of a character which would have prevented jurisdiction from






Therefore, an alien who filed a petition for adoption before the effectivity of the
Family code, although denied the right to adopt under Art. 184 of said Code, may
continue with his petition under the law prevailing before the Family Code.

Adoption statutes, being humane and salutary, hold the interests and welfare of the
child to be of paramount consideration.

They are designed to provide homes,

parental care and education for unfortunate, needy or orphaned children and give
them the protection of society and family in the person of the adopter, as well as
childless couples or persons to experience the joy of parenthood and give them
legally a child in the person of the adopted for the manifestation of their natural
parent instincts. Every reasonable intendment should be sustained to promote and
fulfill these noble and compassionate objectives of the law.

Manuel vs People of the Philippines

EDUARDO P. MANUEL, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent
G.R. No. 165842
November 29, 2005
This case is a petition for review on certiorari of the decision of Court of Appeals
affirming the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Baguio City, convicting the
petitioner for the crime of bigamy.
Eduardo P. Manuel, herein petitioner, was first married to Rubylus Gaa on July 18,
1975, who, according to the former, was charged with estafa in 1975 and thereafter
imprisoned and was never seen again by him after his last visit. Manuel met Tina B.
Gandalera in January 1996 when the latter was only 21 years old. Three months after
their meeting, the two got married through a civil wedding in Baguio City without
Gandaleras knowledge of Manuels first marriage. In the course of their marriage,
things got rocky and Gandalera learned that Eduardo was in fact already married
when he married him. She then filed a criminal case of bigamy against Eduardo
Manuel. The latters defense being that his declaration of single in his marriage

contract with Gandalera was done because he believed in good faith that his first
marriage was invalid and that he did not know that he had to go to court to seek for
the nullification of his first marriage before marrying Tina. The Regional Trial Court
ruled against him sentencing him of imprisonment of from 6 years and 10 months to
ten years, and an amount 0f P200,000.00 for moral damages.
Eduardo appealed the decision to the CA where he alleged that he was not criminally
liable for bigamy because when he married the private complainant, he did so in good
faith and without any malicious intent. The CA ruled against the petitioner but with
modification on the RTCs decision. Imprisonment was from 2 years, months and 1 day
to ten years. Pecuniary reward for moral damages was affirmed.
Hence, this petition.

1. Whether or not the Court of Appeals committed reversible error of law when it
ruled that petitioners wife cannot be legally presumed dead under Article 390 of the
Civil Code as there was no judicial declaration of presumptive death as provided for
under Article 41 of the Family Code.
2. Whether or not the Court of Appeals committed reversible error of law when it
affirmed the award of Php200,000.00 as moral damages as it has no basis in fact and
in law.
1. The petition is denied for lack of merit. The petitioner is presumed to have acted
with malice or evil intent when he married the private complainant. As a general rule,
mistake of fact or good faith of the accused is a valid defense in a prosecution for a
felony by dolo; such defense negates malice or criminal intent. However, ignorance of
the law is not an excuse because everyone is presumed to know the law. Ignorantia
legis neminem excusat. Where a spouse is absent for the requisite period, the present
spouse may contract a subsequent marriage only after securing a judgment declaring
the presumptive death of the absent spouse to avoid being charged and convicted of
bigamy; the present spouse will have to adduce evidence that he had a well-founded
belief that the absent spouse was already dead. Such judgment is proof of the good
faith of the present spouse who contracted a subsequent marriage; thus, even if the
present spouse is later charged with bigamy if the absentee spouse reappears, he
cannot be convicted of the crime. The court rules against the petitioner.
2. The Court rules that the petitioners collective acts of fraud and deceit before,
during and after his marriage with the private complainant were willful, deliberate
and with malice and caused injury to the latter. The Court thus declares that the
petitioners acts are against public policy as they undermine and subvert the family as
a social institution, good morals and the interest and general welfare of society.
Because the private complainant was an innocent victim of the petitioners perfidy,

she is not barred from claiming moral damages. Considering the attendant
circumstances of the case, the Court finds the award of P200,000.00 for moral
damages to be just and reasonable.