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Ch02 - Sources of Law

Ch02 - Sources of Law

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Published by Rosemarie Beltran

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Published by: Rosemarie Beltran on May 09, 2010
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 1
CHAPTER 2SOURCES OF LAW
The main sources of Philippine law are the Constitution, statutes, treaties andconventions, and judicial decisions. The Constitution is the fundamental law ofthe land and as such, it is authority of the highest order against which no otherauthority can prevail. Every official action, to be valid, must conform to it. On theother hand, statutes are intended to supply the details which the Constitution,because of its nature, must leave unprovided for. The statutes of the Philippinesare numerous and varied in their contents. They are intended to provide rulesand regulations which will govern the conduct of people in the face of ever-changing conditions.Having the same force of authority as legislative enactments are thetreaties which the Philippines enters into with other states. A treaty has beendefined as a compact made between two or more independent nations with aview to the public welfare.
1
As a member of the family of nations, the Philippinesis a signatory to and has concluded numerous treaties and conventions.Philippine law is also derived from cases because the Civil Code providesthat ‘judicial decisions applying to or interpreting the laws or the Constitution shallform a part of the legal system of the Philippines’.
2
Only decisions of its SupremeCourt establish jurisprudence and are binding on all other courts.
3
Thus, thesedecisions assume the same authority as the statutes to which they apply orinterpret and until authoritatively abandoned, necessarily become, to the extentthat they are applicable, the criteria which must control the actuations not only ofthose called upon to abide thereby but also of those duty-bound to enforceobedience thereto.
4
 To a certain extent, customary law forms part of the Filipino legal heritagebecause the 1987 Constitution provides that ‘the State shall recognise, respect,and protect the rights of indigenous cultural communities to preserve anddevelop their cultures, traditions and institutions’.
5
This was true even as early as1899 because the old Civil Code provided that ‘where no statute is exactlyapplicable to the point in controversy, the custom of the place shall be applied,and in the absence thereof, the general principles of law’.
6
Although this
1
See
 Adolfo v Court of First Instance,
GR No 30650, July 1970, 34 SCRA 169 (1970).
2
Article 8.
3
 
 Miranda v Imperial,
77 Phil 1066 (1947).
4
 
Caltex (Phil) Inc v Palomar,
GR No 19650, 29 September 1966, 18 SCRA 247, 257 (1966).
5
Article XIV, S 17.
6
Article 6, para 2.
 
 2
provision was discarded in the new Civil Code
7
which took effect in 1950. It isbelieved that the judge may still apply the custom of the place or, in its default,the general principles of law in the absence of any statute governing the point incontroversy; otherwise the provision of the same Code which requires him todecide every case even where there is no applicable statute would prove to be averitable enigma.
8
The Civil Code also provides that ‘customs which are contraryto law, public order or public policy shall not be countenanced’, and ‘a custommust be proved as a fact according to the rules of evidence’.
9
Thus, Philippinelaw takes cognizance of customs which may be considered as supplementarysources of the law.Philippine StatutesThe statutes of the Philippines are found in the various enactments of thePhilippine legislature since its creation in 1900. from the establishment of theAmerican civil government in 1900 to 1935, there were 4,275 laws passed by thePhilippine Commission and its bicameral successor, the Philippine Legislature.The Commonwealth period witnessed the enactment of 733 statutes while 6,635Republic Acts were legislated from 04 July 1946 to 21 September 1972. duringthe martial law period, a total of 2,035 Presidential Decrees were promulgated asof 20 February 1986. A total of 302 Executive Orders have been issued byPresident Corazon C Aquino. Congress convened on 27 July 1987 and hasenacted 9,338 Republic Acts to date. Thus, there has been a total of 17,574statutes since 1900.There are 29 codes in force today; (1) Civil Code;
10
(2) Revised PenalCode;
11
(3) Code of Commerce (1888);
12
(4) Administrative Code;
13
(5) NationalInternal Revenue Code;
14
(6) Election Code;
15
(7) Tariff and Customs Code;
16
(8)Code of Agrarian Reforms;
17
(9) Land Transportation and Traffic Code;
18
(10)National Building Code;
19
(11) Revised Forestry Code;
20
(12) Cooperative
7
Rep Act No 386 (1950).
8
MJ Gamboa
 An Introduction to Philippine Law
(7
th
edn, 1969) pp 14-15; C
IVIL
C
ODE
, art 9which provides ‘no judge or court shall decline to render judgment by reason of the silence, obscurity orinsufficiency of the laws’.
9
Articles 11 & 12.
10
Rep Act No 386 (1950), as amended.
11
Act No 3815 (1932), as amended.
12
A considerable part of this Code has been expressly repealed and superseded by later legislation.
13
Executive Order No 292 dated 25 July 1987, as amended. Despite its repealing clause, there areprovisions in the Rev Adm Code of 1917 which were not reproduced in this Code.
14
Presidential Decree No 1158 (1977), as amended.
15
 
 Batas Pambansa
 
 Blg
881 (1984).
16
Presidential Decree No 1464 (1978), as amended.
17
Rep Act No 3844 (1963), as amended.
18
Rep Act No 4136 (1964), 61 OG 2168 (14 April 1965).
19
Rep Act No 6541 (1972), as amended.
20
Presidential Decree No 705 (1978), as amended.
 
 3
Code;
21
(13) Labour Code;
22
(14) National Code of Marketing BreastmilkSubstitutes;
23
(15) Insurance Code;
24
(16) Child and Youth Welfare Code;
25
(17)Sanitation Code;
26
(18) Water Code;
27
(19) Philippine Environment Code;
28
(20)Muslim Code of Personal Laws;
29
(21) Fire Code;
30
(22) Coconut IndustryCode;
31
(23) Corporation Code;
32
(24) Omnibus Investments Code of 1987;
33
 (25) State Auditing Code;
34
(26) Local Government Code;
35
(27) the FamilyCode;
36
(28) Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998;
37
(29) Intellectual PropertyCode;
38
and (30) the Securities Regulation Code.
39
 The following is a summary of some of the basic codes.The Code of CommerceThe Code of Commerce became effective on 01 December 1888. largely takenfrom the Spanish Code of Commerce of 1885, with some modifications to suitlocal conditions, it has been so modified by several extensive amendments byspecial commercial laws such as the Corporation Code,
40
Insolvency Law,
41
 Chattel Mortgage Law,
42
Negotiable Instruments Act,
43
Warehouse ReceiptsAct,
44
Revised Securities Act,
45
Trademark Law,
46
Central Bank Act,
47
GeneralBanking Law,
48
and the Omnibus Investments Code,
49
that only a bare outline of
21
Rep Act No 6938 (1990).
22
Presidential Decree No 442 (1974), as amended.
23
Executive Order No 51 (1986).
24
Presidential Decree No 612 (1974). All insurance laws have been consolidated by PresidentialDecree No 1460 (1978), as amended.
25
Presidential Decree No 603 (1975), as amended by Presidential Decree No 1179 (1979) andExecutive Order No 91 (1986), 83 OG 92 (January 1987).
26
Presidential Decree No 856 (1975), 79 OG 2732 (May 1983).
27
Presidential Decree No 1067 (1976), 73 OG 3554 (11 May 1977).
28
Presidential Decree No 1152 (1977), 73 OG 7363 (August 1977).
29
Presidential Decree No 1083 (1979), 73 OG 4038 (May 1977).
30
Presidential Decree No 1185 (1977), 73 OG 10292 (October 1977).
31
 
 Batas Pambansa Blg
61 (1980), 76 OG 2342 No 15 (April 1980).
32
 
 Batas Pambansa Blg
68 (1980), 76 OG 4955 (July 1980).
33
Executive Order No 226 (1987).
34
Presidential Decree No 1445 (1978), 74 OG 6111 (August 1978).
35
Rep Act No 7160 (1991).
36
Executive Order No 209 (1987), as amended.
37
Rep Act No 8550 (1998).
38
Rep Act No. 8293 (1997).
39
Rep Act No 8799 (19__)
40
 
 Batas Pambansa Blg
68 (1980).
41
Act No 1596 (1909).
42
Act No 1508 (1906).
43
Act No 2031 (1911).
44
Act No 2137 (1912).
45
 
 Batas Pambansa Blg
178 (1982), 78 OG 6437 (November 1982).
 
46
Com Act No 83 (1937), as amended.
47
Rep Act No 265 (1948), as amended.
48
Rep Act No 337 (1948), as amended.
49
Executive Order No 226 (1987), 83 OG 3422-07 (July 1987).

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