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Philippine legal codes

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Codification of laws is a common practice in the Philippines. Many general areas of substantive
law, such as criminal law, civil lawand labor law are governed by legal codes.

1 Tradition of codification
2 Codes in relation to Republic Acts

3 Philippine legal codes

4 Notes and references

5 External links

Tradition of codification[edit]
Codification is predominant in countries that adhere to the legal system of civil law. Spain, a civil law
country, introduced the practice of codification in the Philippines, which it had colonized. Among the
codes that Spain enforced in the Philippines were the Spanish Civil Code and the Penal Code.
The practice of codification was retained during the period of American Rule of the Philippine
Islands, even though the United States was a common law jurisdiction. However, during that same
period, many common law principles found their way into the legal system by way of legislation and
by judicial pronouncements. Judicial precedents of the Philippine Supreme Court were accepted
asbinding, a practice more attuned to common law jurisdictions. Eventually, the Philippine legal
system emerged in such a way that while the practice of codification remained popular, the courts
were not barred from invoking principles developed under the common law,[1] or from employing
methods of statutory construction in order to arrive at an interpretation of the codal provisions that
would be binding in itself in Philippine law.
Beginning in the American era, there was an effort to revise the Spanish codes that had remained in
force even after the end of Spanish occupation. A new Revised Penal Code was enacted in 1930,
while a new Civil Code took effect in 1950.

Codes in relation to Republic Acts

See also: Republic Acts of the Philippines
Since the formation of local legislative bodies in the Philippines, Philippine legal codes have been
enacted by the legislature, in the exercise of its powers of legislation. Since 1946, the laws passed
by the Congress, including legal codes, have been titled Republic Acts.[3]
While Philippine legal codes are, strictly speaking, also Republic Acts, they may be differentiated in
that the former represents a more comprehensive effort in embodying all aspects of a general area
of law into just one legislative act. In contrast, Republic Acts are generally less expansive and more
specific in scope. Thus, while the Civil Code seeks to govern all aspects of private law in the

Philippines, a Republic Act such as Republic Act No. 9048 would concern itself with a more limited
field, as in that case, the correction of entries in the civil registry.
Still, the amendment of Philippine legal codes is accomplished through the passage of Republic
Acts. Republic Acts have also been utilized to enact legislation on areas where the legal codes have
proven insufficient. For example, while the possession of narcotics had been penalized under the
1930s Revised Penal Code, the wider attention drawn to illegal drugs in the 1960s and the 1970s led
to new legislation increasing the penalties for possession and trafficking of narcotics. Instead of
enacting amendments to the Revised Penal Code, Congress chose instead to enact a special law,
the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972.