G. R. No. 187587, June 05, 2013
NAGKAKAISANG MARALITA NG SITIO MASIGASIG, INC., Petitioner, v. MILITARY SHRINE SERVICES – PHILIPPINE VETERANS AFFAIRS OFFICE, DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENSE, Respondent.
R E S O L U T I O N
[G. R. NO. 187654]
WESTERN BICUTAN LOT OWNERS ASSOCIATION, INC., REPRESENTED BY ITS BOARD OF DIRECTORS, Petitioner, v. MILITARY SHRINE SERVICES – PHILIPPINE VETERANS AFFAIRS OFFICE, DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENSE, Respondent.
D E C I S I O N
IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the instant petition is hereby GRANTED. The Resolutions dated September 1, 2006 and January 24, 2007 issued by the Commission on the Settlement of Land Problems in COSLAP Case No. 99-434 are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. In lieu thereof, the petitions of respondents in COSLAP Case No. 99-434 are DISMISSED, for lack of merit, as discussed herein. Further, pending urgent motions filed by respondents are likewise DENIED.Both NMSMI12 and WBLOAI13 appealed the said Decision by filing their respective Petitions for Review with this Court under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.
SO ORDERED.11 (Emphasis in the original)
On the other hand, petitioner WBLOAI raises this sole issue:cralavvonlinelawlibrary
WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN RULING THAT PROCLAMATION NO. 2476 DID NOT INCLUDE ANY PORTION OF WESTERN BICUTAN AS THE HANDWRITTEN NOTATION BY PRESIDENT MARCOS ON THE SAID PROCLAMATION WAS NOT PUBLISHED IN THE OFFICIAL GAZETTE.
WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN RULING THAT PROCLAMATION NO. 172 LIKEWISE EXCLUDED THE PORTION OF LAND OCCUPIED BY MEMBER OF HEREIN PETITIONER.
WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT CONSIDERING THAT THE HON. COSLAP HAS BROAD POWERS TO RECOMMEND TO THE PRESIDENT INNOVATIVE MEASURES TO RESOLVE EXPEDITIOUSLY VARIOUS LAND CASES.14
WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE SUBJECT PROPERTY WAS NOT DECLARED ALIENABLE AND DISPOSABLE BY VIRTUE OF PROCLAMATION NO. 2476 BECAUSE THE HANDWRITTEN ADDENDUM OF PRESIDENT FERDINAND E. MARCOS INCLUDING WESTERN BICUTAN IN PROCLAMATION NO. 2476 WAS NOT INCLUDED IN THE PUBLICATION.15Both Petitions boil down to the principal issue of whether the Court of Appeals erred in ruling that the subject lots were not alienable and disposable by virtue of Proclamation No. 2476 on the ground that the handwritten addendum of President Marcos was not included in the publication of the said law.
ART. 2. Laws shall take effect after fifteen days following the completion of their publication in the Official Gazette, unless it is otherwise provided. This Code shall take effect one year after such publication.Under the above provision, the requirement of publication is indispensable to give effect to the law, unless the law itself has otherwise provided. The phrase “unless otherwise provided” refers to a different effectivity date other than after fifteen days following the completion of the law’s publication in the Official Gazette, but does not imply that the requirement of publication may be dispensed with. The issue of the requirement of publication was already settled in the landmark case Tañada v. Hon. Tuvera,16 in which we had the occasion to rule thus:cralavvonlinelawlibrary
Publication is indispensable in every case, but the legislature may in its discretion provide that the usual fifteen-day period shall be shortened or extended. An example, as pointed out by the present Chief Justice in his separate concurrence in the original decision, is the Civil Code which did not become effective after fifteen days from its publication in the Official Gazette but “one year after such publication.” The general rule did not apply because it was “otherwise provided.”Applying the foregoing ruling to the instant case, this Court cannot rely on a handwritten note that was not part of Proclamation No. 2476 as published. Without publication, the note never had any legal force and effect.
It is not correct to say that under the disputed clause 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 it. Surely, if the legislature could validly provide that a law shall become effective immediately upon its approval notwithstanding the lack of publication (or after an unreasonably short period after 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 it but simply because they did not know of its existence. Significantly, this is not true only of penal laws as is commonly supposed. One can think of many non-penal measures, like a law on prescription, which must also be communicated to the persons they may affect before they can begin to operate.
x x x x
The term "laws" should refer to all laws and not only to those of general application, for strictly speaking all laws relate to the people in general albeit there are some that do not apply to them directly. An example is a law granting citizenship to a particular individual, like a relative of President Marcos who was decreed instant naturalization. It surely cannot be said that such a law does not affect the public although it unquestionably does not apply directly to all the people. The subject of such law is a matter of public interest which any member of the body politic may question in the political forums or, if he is a proper party, even in the courts of justice. In fact, a law without any bearing on the public would be invalid as an intrusion of privacy or as class legislation or as an ultra vires act of the legislature. To be valid, the law must invariably affect the public interest even if it might be directly applicable only to one individual, or some of the people only, and not to the public as a whole.
We hold therefore that all statutes, including those of local application and private laws, shall be published as a condition for their effectivity, which shall begin fifteen days after publication unless a different effectivity date is fixed by the legislature.
Covered by this rule are presidential decrees and executive orders promulgated by the President in the exercise of legislative powers whenever the same are validly delegated by the legislature or, at present, directly conferred by the Constitution. Administrative rules and regulations must also be published if their purpose is to enforce or implement existing law pursuant also to a valid delegation.
x x x x
Accordingly, even the charter of a city must be published notwithstanding that it applies to only a portion of the national territory and directly affects only the inhabitants of that place. All presidential decrees must be published, including even, say, those naming a public place after a favored individual or exempting him from certain prohibitions or requirements. The circulars issued by the Monetary Board must be published if they are meant not merely to interpret but to "fill in the details" of the Central Bank Act which that body is supposed to enforce.
x x x x
We agree that the publication must be in full or it is no publication at all since its purpose is to inform the public of the contents of the laws. As correctly pointed out by the petitioners, the mere mention of the number of the presidential decree, the title of such decree, its whereabouts (e.g., "with Secretary Tuvera"), the supposed date of effectivity, and in a mere supplement of the Official Gazette cannot satisfy the publication requirement. This is not even substantial compliance. This was the manner, incidentally, in which the General Appropriations Act for FY 1975, a presidential decree undeniably of general applicability and interest, was "published" by the Marcos administration. The evident purpose was to withhold rather than disclose information on this vital law.
x x x x
Laws must come out in the open in the clear light of the sun instead of skulking in the shadows with their dark, deep secrets. Mysterious pronouncements and rumored rules cannot be recognized as binding unless their existence and contents are confirmed by a valid publication intended to make full disclosure and give proper notice to the people. The furtive law is like a scabbarded saber that cannot feint, parry or cut unless the naked blade is drawn. (Emphases supplied)
1 Penned by Presiding Justice Conrado M. Vasquez, Jr., with Associate Justices Jose C. Mendoza (now a member of this Court) and Ramon M. Bato, Jr., concurring, rollo (G.R. No. 187587), pp. 62-82.cralawlibrary
2 CA rollo, p. 664.cralawlibrary
3 Vol. 82, No. 5, pp. 801-805.cralawlibrary
4 Supra note 2, at 68-69.cralawlibrary
5 Id. at 72-76.cralawlibrary
6 Id. at 205-212.cralawlibrary
7 Id. at 213-218.cralawlibrary
8Insular Lumber Co. v. Court of Tax Appeals, 192 Phil. 221, 231 (1981).cralawlibrary
9 CA rollo, pp. 112-113.cralawlibrary
10 Id. at pp. 219-222.cralawlibrary
11 Id. at 1285.cralawlibrary
12Rollo (G.R. No. 187587), pp. 39-61.cralawlibrary
13Rollo (G.R. No. 187654), pp. 3-26.cralawlibrary
14Rollo (G.R. No. 187587), p. 47.cralawlibrary
15Rollo (G.R. No. 187654 ), pp. 15-16.cralawlibrary
16 230 Phil. 528, 533-538 (1986).cralawlibrary
17Aparri v. CA, 212 Phil. 215, 224 (1984).cralawlibrary
18 369 Phil. 617, 626 (1999).