TITLE: People of the Phils v Que Po Lay CITATION: 94 Phil 640 | GR No.

6791, March 29, 1954 FACTS: The appellant was in possession of foreign exchange consisting of US dollars, US checks and US money orders amounting to about $7000 but failed to sell the same to the Central Bank as required under Circular No. 20. Circular No. 20 was issued in the year 1949 but was published in the Official Gazette only on Nov. 1951 after the act or omission imputed to Que Po Lay. Que Po Lay appealed from the decision of the lower court finding him guilty of violating Central Bank Circular No. 20 in connection with Sec 34 of RA 265 sentencing him to suffer 6 months imprisonment, pay fine of P1,000 with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay the costs.

ISSUE: 1. Whether or not publication of Circular 20 in the Official Gazette is needed for it to become effective and subject violators to corresponding penalties.

HELD: It was held by the Supreme Court, in an en banc decision, that as a rule, circular and regulations of the Central Bank in question prescribing a penalty for its violation should be published before becoming effective. This is based on the theory that before the public is bound by its contents especially its penal provisions, a law, regulation or circular must first be published for the people to be officially and specifically informed of such contents including its penalties. Thus, the Supreme Court reversed the decision appealed from and acquit the appellant, with costs de oficio.