Lower House allows Internet publication for laws to take effect

Published June 3, 2021, 7:57 PM

by Ben Rosario

The House of Representatives has passed on final reading a bill authorizing adjustments in the publication requirements of a newly-signed law in order to respond to prevailing national emergency situation.

House Bill 9269 was approved on a 205 affirmative and zero negative voting on Wednesday, June 2. The bill authorizes the requirement of publication of a new law through online or print versions of the Official Gazette (OG) and in print or online version of a newspaper of general circulation.

Authored by Camiguin Lone District Rep. Xavier Jesus “XJ” D. Romualdo, HB 9269 will amend Article 2 of Republic Act 386 or the Civil Code of the Philippines.

Under the bill Article 2 shall be read as follows: Laws shall take effect fifteen (15) after their publication in full, in the print or online version of the Official Gazette and in the print or online version of a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines unless a different period is otherwise prescribed to respond to a national emergency provided that publication in the online version of the Official Gazette and the newspaper of general circulation shall indicate the official date of publication.” Laws, as defined in the measure, refer to all statutes enacted by Congress; all orders, proclamations, circulars and other issuances promulgated by the president and rules and regulations promulgated to implement or enforce statutes pursuant to a valid delegation of legislative power by Congress.

Sponsored in the plenary by Zambales Rep. Cheryl P. Deloso-Montalla, HB 9269 proposes to simplify and easily publish laws.

In filing the bill, Romualdo underscored the importance of publication of laws that will determine their effectivity.

He cited the Supreme Court ruling in the landmark case of Tanada vs Tuvera, wherein the judiciary underscored that the “omission of publication” of laws would “offend due process” because it would deny the public knowledge of the laws that are supposed to govern it “The internet has obviously changed the way people communicate and interact. With the Internet, information and knowledge is easily accessible and may now be communicated, disseminated and shared rapidly, widely and inexpensively,” Romualdo said.

A Philippine Bar examination topnotcher, Romualdo stressed that “now is the proper and apt timing for Congress to allow, as a prerequisite of effectivity, the publication of laws over the Internet through the OG-online.”