The Official Gazette publishes legislative acts, executive orders, judicial decision, and all other acts required by law to be published. And based on Article 2 of the Civil Code ,"Laws shall take effect after fifteen days following the completion of their publication in the Official Gazette". After such publication notice to the people is deemed made, and hence, "Ignorance of the law, excuses no one."
But how effective is the Official Gazette? How many lawyers have a subscription with the National Printing Office? And better yet, how many Filipinos have actually seen at least one issue? In fact, due to its ineffectivity, President Cory Aquino gave the alternative of 15 days from publication in a newspaper of general circulation.
With the first State of the Nation Address of the 15th President of the Philippines, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, the Online Official Gazette was launched. The online version supposedly seeks to cure the limitations of the printed version: extreme length of time in compiling, limited print, and the fact that it is only by subscription. And to be more interactive, and perhaps so that people can be easily reached, it is also linked to Twitter.
Being a law student, I’ve seen how ineffective the Official Gazette has been. And hopefully, the Online version could achieve at least what its initial purpose really is, and hopefully it can also be an avenue for transparency and accountability to the people.
But one has to ask now, when does the law become effective? 15 days from publication in the online gazette? And even worse, is online publication even considered publication? We have yet to see how the Supreme Court will rule on this matter.