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Tañada vs.

Tuvera 136 SCRA 27 (April 24, 1985) 146 SCRA 446 (December 29,

136 SCRA 27 (April 24, 1985)


Petitioners Lorenzo M. Tanada, et. al. invoked due process in demanding the disclosure of a number of 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 approval. The court decided on April 24, 1985 in
affirming the necessity for publication of some of the decrees. The court ordered the respondents to publish in the
official gazette all unpublished Presidential Issuances which are of general force and effect. The petitioners suggest
that there should be no distinction between laws of general applicability and those which are not. The publication
means complete publication, and that publication must be made in the official gazette. In a comment required by the
solicitor general, he claimed first that the motion was a request for an advisory opinion and therefore be dismissed.
And on the clause “unless otherwise provided” in Article 2 of the new civil code meant that the publication required
therein was not always imperative, that the publication when necessary, did not have to be made in the official

Invoking the right of the people to be informed on matters of public concern as well as the principle that laws to be
valid and enforceable must be published in the Official Gazette, petitioners filed for writ of mandamus to compel
respondent public officials to publish and/or cause to publish various presidential decrees, letters of instructions,
general orders, proclamations, executive orders, letters of implementations and administrative orders.

The Solicitor General, representing the respondents, moved for the dismissal of the case, contending that petitioners
have no legal personality to bring the instant petition.


Whether or not publication in the Official Gazette is required before any law or statute becomes valid and


Art. 2 of the Civil Code does not preclude the requirement of publication in the Official Gazette, even if the law itself
provides for the date of its effectivity. The clear object of this provision is to give the general public adequate notice of
the various laws which are to regulate their actions and conduct as citizens. Without such notice and publication,
there would be no basis for the application of the maxim ignoratia legis nominem excusat. It would be the height of
injustive to punish or otherwise burden a citizen for the transgression of a law which he had no notice whatsoever, not
even a constructive one.

The very first clause of Section 1 of CA 638 reads: there shall be published in the Official Gazette…. The word “shall”
therein imposes upon respondent officials an imperative duty. That duty must be enforced if the constitutional right of
the people to be informed on matter of public concern is to be given substance and validity.

The publication of presidential issuances of public nature or of general applicability is a requirement of due process. It
is a rule of law that before a person may be bound by law, he must first be officially and specifically informed of its
contents. The Court declared that presidential issuances of general application which have not been published have
no force and effect.