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Legal Maxim “leges posteriores priores contrarias abrogant" — a later

statute which is repugnant to an earlier statute is deemed to have abrogated the


earlier one on the same subject matter or where the provisions of a later document
are contrary to those of an earlier, the earliest must be considered as repealed. The
concept of this maxim is that the newer statute later abrogates a prior statute only
where “the two are manifestly inconsistent with and repugnant to each other. The
rationale for this form of construction is that the newer statute more accurately
depicts the current societal mood and a later expression of legislative will.

Sedgwick described leges posteriores, priores contrarias abrogant as


follows "If two inconsistent acts be passed at different times, the last is to be
obeyed; and if obedience cannot be observed without derogating from the first, it is
the first which must give way."

On the other hand, Caleb Nelson, a professor of University of Virginia


School of Law states that leges posteriores priores contrarias abrogant is “where
words are clearly repugnant in two laws, the later law takes place of the
elder: leges posteriores priores contrarias abrogant is a maxim of universal law,
as well as of our own constitutions."

Illustrative Case 1:
Carabao, Inc. vs. Agricultural Productivity Commission
G.R No. L29304 September 30, 1970

Facts: Carabao Inc., plaintiff, filed a case in the Court of First Instance of Rizal to recover
the sum of P238,500.00 representing the unpaid price of 300 units of fire extinguishers
sold and delivered by it to defendant Agricultural Productivity Commission. It served as a
claim for the payment of the sum which was presented to Auditor General. However, the
latter had failed to decide the claim within two (2) months from date of its presentation
which should have been by August 13, 1967 for it should had acquired the right under
Act No. 3083 to file the original action for collection in the lower court. On the other
hand, Defendants moved for the dismissal of the case principally on the ground of the
lower court's lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter. They rebutted that the
settlement of money claims against the Government of the Philippines has been placed
under the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Auditor General to the exclusion of courts
of first instance, while the Supreme Court is vested with appellate jurisdiction over the
Auditor General's decision involving claims of private persons or entities. The lower
court sustained defendants' dismissal motion and declared itself without jurisdiction to
hear the case. Plaintiff then filed a motion for reconsideration. Defendants contended that
the Auditor General had rendered his decision denying plaintiff's claim on the ground that
the alleged purchase order relied upon by plaintiff was null and void, since there was no
obligating instrument as required by law. The lower court having maintained its dismissal
order, plaintiff instituted the present appeal.

Issue: whether or not Act 3083 is still in force not having been amended, repealed or
declared unconstitutional

Held: The dismissal order must be affirmed. It is patent that the governing law under
which private parties may sue and seek settlement by the Philippine Government of their
money claims pursuant to Article XI, section 3 of the Philippine Constitution is
Commonwealth Act No. 327. Section 1 of said Act, pursuant to the Constitutional
injunction, fixes the period of "sixty days exclusive of Sundays and holidays after their
presentation" within which Auditor General shall act on and decide the same. Said
section further provides that "If said accounts or claims need reference to other persons,
office or offices, or to the party interested, the period shall be counted from the time the
last comment necessary to a proper decision is received by him." Under section 2 of said
Act, furthermore, the aggrieved private party may take an appeal, within thirty (30) days
from receipt of the Auditor General's adverse decision only to the Supreme Court, by
filing with the Court a petition for review thereof, as provided in Rule 44 of the Revised
Rules of Court. The corresponding provisions of Act 3083 which are utterly incompatible
with those of Commonwealth Act must therefore be deemed superseded and abrogated,
under principle of "leges posteriores priores contrarias abrogant" — a later statute
which is repugnant to an earlier statute is deemed to have abrogated the earlier one on the
same subject matter. Inaction by the Auditor General for the sixty-day period now
provided by Commonwealth Act 327 (exclusive of Sundays and holidays) and of time
consumed in referring the matter to other persons or officers no longer entitles the
claimant to file a direct suit in court, as he was formerly authorized under Act 3083 in the
event of the Auditor General's failure to decide within a flat period of two months. Since
the Constitution and Commonwealth Act 327 expressly enjoin the Auditor General to act
on and decide the claim within the fixed 60-day period, a claimant's remedy is to institute
mandamus proceedings to compel the rendition of a decision by the Auditor General in
the event of such inaction.
Section 4 of Act 3083 now discarded, "shall be governed by the same rules of procedure,
both original and appellate, as if the litigants were private parties" — since exclusive
original jurisdiction under Article XI of the Constitution and the implementing Act,
Commonwealth Act 327 is vested in the Auditor General, and appellate jurisdiction is
vested in the President in cases of accountable officers, and in the Supreme Court in cases
of private persons and entities upon proper and timely petitions for review. The Court has
so indicated in a number of cases that claimants have to prosecute their money claims
against the Government under Commonwealth Act 327, stating that Act 3083 stands now
merely as the general law waiving the State's immunity from suit, subject to the general
limitation expressed in Section 7 thereof that "no execution shall issue upon any
judgment rendered by any Court against the Government of the (Philippines),and that the
conditions provided in Commonwealth Act 327 for filing money claims against the
Government must be strictly observed. Therefore, plaintiff-appellant is ordered to remove
immediately the 300 units of fire extinguishers from the warehouse of appellee
Agricultural Productivity Commission.

Case 2

Facts: There is a petition for the execution of the Court of Industrial Relations directing
the reinstatement of Felix Alcantara. The Court has given due course for the petition for a
writ of certiorari. It issued an order requiring petitioner to file a bond in an amount
sufficient to cover the back wages of Felix Alcantara during the pendency of his case. A
motion to set aside this order having been denied, petitioner took the instant appeal by
certiorari.

As stated section 14 of Commonwealth Act No. 103, as amended by Commonwealth Act


No. 559 “Enforcement of awards, orders, and decisions. — At the expiration of ten days
from the date of the award, order, or decision, in cases brought under the provisions of
section four hereof, judgment shall be entered in accordance therewith, unless during said
ten days an aggrieved party shall appeal therefrom to the Supreme Court of the
Philippines by writ of certiorari as hereinafter provided. The institution of such appeal
shall not, however, stay execution of the award, order, or decision sought to be reviewed,
unless for special reasons the Court shall order that execution be stayed, in which event
the Court, in its discretion, may require the appellant to deposit with the clerk of the court
such amount of salaries or wages due the employees, laborers, tenants, or farm-laborers
concerned under the award, order, or decision appealed from or require him to give bond
in such form and of such amount as to insure compliance with the award, order, or
decision in case the same is affirmed.”

It is here contended that as enforcement or execution under section 14 above-quoted,


refers to an "award, order, or decision, in cases brought under the provisions of section
four" of said Act. The petitioners also contend that the Court of Industrial Relations is
without power to decree execution of its order under section 19 of the law. In the first
place, the ultimate effect of petitioner's theory is to concede to the Court of Industrial
Relations the power to decide a case under section 19 but deny it the power to execute its
decision thereon. In the second place, considering that the jurisdiction of the Court of
Industrial Relations under section 19 is merely incidental to the same jurisdiction it has
previously acquired under section 4 of the law, it follows that the power to execute its
orders under section 19 is also the same power that it possesses under section 4.

Issue: whether or not appeal shall not stay the execution of the award, order or decision
appealed from

Held: The order is affirmed. It is true that once an appeal has been perfected, the trial
court loses its jurisdiction over the case, where there is no express statutory provision to
the contrary. But section 14 of Commonwealth Act No. 103, as amended by
Commonwealth Act No. 559, expressly provides that the appeal shall not stay the
execution of the award, order or decision sought to be reviewed, unless, for special
reason, the Court Industrial Relations shall order that the execution be stayed. It is finally
contended that the provisions of section Rule 44, of the new Rule of Court, must prevail
over the provisions of section 14 of Commonwealth Act No. 103, as amended by
Commonwealth Act No. 559. Section, 7 of Rule 44 provides:

Effect of appeal. — The appeal shall stay the award, order or decision appealed from
unless the Supreme Court shall direct otherwise upon such terms as it may deem just.

On the other hand, section 14 of Commonwealth Act No. 103, as amended by


Commonwealth Act No. 559, provides that the appeal shall not stay the execution of the
award, order or decision appealed from, unless the industrial court otherwise provides.
The new Rules of Court were approved in December, 1939, and made effective on July 1,
1940. Commonwealth Act No. 559 was approved and made effective on June 7, 1940, or
six months after the Rules of Court were approved and twenty-three days before said
rules were made effective. When two Acts are inconsistent, that which has been made
effective in an earlier date. Statutes speak from the time they take effect, and from that
time they have posteriority. If passed to take effect at a future day, they are to be
construed, as a general rule, as if passed on that day and ordered to take immediate effect.
But, as between two acts, it has been held that one passed later and going into effect
earlier will prevail over one passed earlier and going into effect later. Thus an act passed
April 16th and in force April 21st was held to prevail over an act passed April 9th and in
effect July 4th of the same year. And an act going into effect immediately has been held
to prevail over an act passed before but going into effect later.". The question is one
purely of legislative intent. The Supreme Court, upon approving the Rules of Court in
December, 1939, could not have possibly intended to amend the procedural provisions
contained in Commonwealth Act No. 559, which was not yet then in existence, for it was
approved six months later, that is, on June 7, 1940. Commonwealth Act No. 559
containing provisions which are repugnant to the Rules of Court, may be presumed to
have intended a repeal to the extent of the repugnance. Leges posteriores priores
contrarias abrogant.