1PRELIMINARY CHAPTER AND HUMAN RELATIONSQ. What is Civil Law?ANS. It is that branch of the law that generally treats of the personal and family relations of an individual, his property and successional rights, and the effects of his obligations and contracts.It is that mass of precepts that determine and regulate the relations of assistance, authority and obedience among members of a family, and those which exist among members of a society for the protection of private interests, (1 Sanchez Roman, Estudios de Derecho Civil, p. 70, citing Arribas), family relations, and property rights. (1 Falcon 9; cited in Paras, Civil Code of the Phils. Annotated, Vol. I, 1989 Ed., pp. 4-5).Q. What is a Civil Code?ANS. It is a compilation of existing civil laws, scientically arranged into books, titles, chapters, and sub-heads and promulgated by legislative authority. (Black’s Law Dictionary, p. 334).Q. When do laws take effect?ANS. Laws shall take effect after fteen days following the completion of their publication in the Ofcial Gazette, or in a newspaper of general circulation, unless the law otherwise provides. (Art. 2, NCC, as amended by E.O. No. 200).Q. A law was passed providing for its immediate effec-tivity. Does this mean that its immediate effectivity provision would dispense with the publication re-quirement? Why?
CIVIL LAW REVIEWER2ANS. No. In the case of Tañada vs. Tuvera, 136 SCRA 27, the Supreme Court said that an immediate effectivity clause does not preclude the requirement of publication since the clear object of the law is to give the general public adequate notice of the various laws which are to regulate their conduct and actions as citizens. Without such notice and publication, there would be no cause for the application of the maxim “ignorantia legis non excusat.”It would be the height of injustice to punish or otherwise burden a citizen for the transgression of a law which he had no notice of.Q. May the 15-day period of publication be reduced or extended?ANS. Yes. Publication is indispensable in every case, but the legislature may, in its discretion, provide that the usual 15-day period be shortened orextended.For example, the Civil Code did not become effective after fteen (15) days from its publication in the Ofcial Gazette but “one year” after its publication. (Tañada vs. Tuvera, supra.).