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Tañada vs.

G.R. No. L-63915, 29 December 1986, 146 SCRA 446

Petitioners sought a writ of mandamus to compel the respondent public officers
to publish and/or cause the publication in the Official Gazette, of various presidential
decrees, letters of instructions, executive orders, general orders, proclamations, letters
of implementation and administrative orders. Due process was invoked by the
petitioners in demanding the disclosure of the abovementioned presidential decrees,
which they claimed had not been published as required by law. The government argued
that while publication was necessary as a rule, it was not so when it was "otherwise
provided," as when the decrees themselves declared that they were to become
effective immediately upon their approval.
The Court decided and affirmed the necessity for the publication of some of
these decrees. The court ordered the respondents to publish in the official gazette all
unpublished Presidential Decrees, which are in force and effect. The petitioners
manifest that there should be no distinction between laws of general applicability and
those which are not, in this case, presidential decrees. The publication means complete
publication which must be made in the official gazette pursuant to Article 2 of the Civil

Whether or not publication in the Official Gazette is required before any law or
statute becomes effective.

The Court held that it is not correct to say that publication may be dispensed
with altogether. The reason, is that such omission would offend due process insofar as it
would deny the public knowledge of the laws that are supposed to govern the
legislature could validly provide that a law e effective immediately upon its approval
notwithstanding the lack of publication, it is not unlikely that persons not aware of it
would be prejudiced as a result and they would be so not because of a failure to comply
with but simply because they did not know of its existence.
Therefore, the Court held that publication is an indispensable requisite; the
absence of which will render the law ineffective. Publication must be full or it is no
publication at all since its purpose is to inform the public of the contents of the laws.
Article 2 of the Civil Code provides that publication of laws must be made in the Official
Gazette as a requirement for their effectivity. The publication must be made forthwith,
or at least as soon as possible.