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Express and Implied Repeals

The Civil Code of the Philippines provides:


Laws are repealed only by subsequent ones and their violation
and non-observance shall not be excused by disuse or custom or
practice to the contrary.
[Article 7 (1), Civil Code of the Philippines]
Based on the above-mentioned provision of the Code, a law may only be repealed
by a succeeding law. But there are instances where a succeeding law does not necessarily
state that it repeals an existing law. How then would we know that the subsequent law
indeed repealed a former law?
There are two kinds of repeal. A repeal may either be express or implied.
An express repeal is one where it literally states that it repeals a certain provision
or section of a law or the whole statute itself. On the other hand, an implied repeal is one
where a subsequent law is irreconcilable with a first law. Implied repeals do not
specifically state that they repeal a certain provision or section of a law or a statute itself.
In a long line of cases, the Courts have clearly delineated the line on the
difference of express and implied repeals.
In the case of Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. Semirara Mining
Corporation, the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) En Banc reiterated the Decision of the
CTA Division, the pertinent portion of which reads:
If the intent to repeal is not clear, the later act should be
construed as a continuation of, and not a substitute for, the
earlier act. The legislature is presumed to know the existing
laws; if it intended a repeal of the earlier law, it should have so
expressed that intention in the subsequent statute. Thus, a
statute will not be deemed to have been impliedly repealed by
another enacted subsequent thereto unless there is a showing
that a plain, unavoidable and irreconcilable repugnancy exists
between the two. Absent an express repeal, as in this case, a
subsequent law cannot be construed as repealing a prior one
unless an irreconcilable inconsistency or repugnancy exists in
the terms of the new and old laws. An express repeal, is one
wherein a statute declares, usually in its repealing clause, that a
particular and specific law, identified by its number or title, is
repealed. Absent this specific requirement, an express repeal
may not be presumed. Further, well-entrenched is the rule that
an implied repeal is disfavored. The apparently conflicting
provisions of a law or two laws should be harmonized as much
as possible, so that each shall be effective. For a law to operate to
repeal another law, the two laws must actually be inconsistent.
The former must be so repugnant as to be irreconcilable with the
latter act.
[Commissioner of Internal Revenue v.
Semirara Mining Corporation, CTA EB No. 793
(CTA Case Nos. 7822 & 7849), April 23, 2012]
In the case of Antonio A. Mecano v. Commission On Audit, the Honorable
Supreme Court differentiated express repeal from implied repeal, thus:

The question of whether a particular law has been repealed or


not by a subsequent law is a matter of legislative intent. The
lawmakers may expressly repeal a law by incorporating therein a
repealing provision which expressly and specifically cites the
particular law or laws, and portions thereof, that are intended to
be repealed. A declaration in a statute, usually in its repealing
clause, that a particular and specific law, identified by its
number or title, is repealed is an express repeal; all others are
implied repeals.
[Antonio A. Mecano v. Commission On
Audit, G.R. No. 103982, December 11, 1992]
In the same manner, the Supreme Court, in Philippine International Trading
Corporation v. Commission on Audit, stated:
repeal of laws should be made clear and express. Repeals by
implication are not favored as laws are presumed to be passed
with deliberation and full knowledge of all laws existing on the
subject, the congruent application of which the courts must
generally presume. For this reason, it has been held that the
failure to add a specific repealing clause particularly mentioning
the statute to be repealed indicates that the intent was not to
repeal any existing law on the matter, unless an irreconcilable
inconsistency and repugnancy exists in the terms of the new and
old laws.
[Philippine International Trading Corporation v.
Commission on Audit, G.R. No. 183517, June 22, 2010]
Meanwhile, in the case of Social Justice Society (SJS), Vladimir Alarique T.
Cabigao and Bonifacio S. Tumbokon v. Hon. Jose L. Atienza, Jr., the Supreme Court
further defined implied repeal as:
Repeal by implication proceeds on the premise that where a
statute of later date clearly reveals the intention of the
legislature to abrogate a prior act on the subject, that intention
must be given effect.
There are two kinds of implied repeal. The first is: where
the provisions in the two acts on the same subject matter are
irreconcilably contradictory, the latter act, to the extent of the
conflict, constitutes an implied repeal of the earlier one. The
second is: if the later act covers the whole subject of the earlier
one and is clearly intended as a substitute, it will operate to
repeal the earlier law.
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If the intent to repeal is not clear, the later act should be
construed as a continuation of, and not a substitute for, the
earlier act.
[Social Justice Society (SJS), Vladimir Alarique T. Cabigao
and Bonifacio S. Tumbokon v. Hon. Jose L. Atienza, Jr.,
G.R. No. 156052, February 13, 2008]
These cases have clearly provided us that repeals are not only specifically stated
in a subsequent law. They may also be by implication only. Although repeals by
implication are disfavored, they are still considered when the subsequently enacted
statute is inconsistent and repugnant as to be irreconcilable with an earlier law. So even
if the subsequent law does not mention of any repeal to an already existing law, if it is
inconsistent and repugnant that it may not be reconciled with an earlier law, it is
deemed and can be considered a repeal of that earlier law.