Jinggoy’s bill to make online publication of laws acceptable

(MANILA BULLETIN) Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada is seeking the publication of laws, as a prerequisite of effectivity, in the online version of the Official Gazette as well as websites of newspapers of general circulation.

Estrada said this could be done through amendment to the Civil Code and Administrative Code of 1987 through his Senate Bill 1645.

He underscored the need to keep up the implementation of new laws, presidential issuances, and implementing rules and regulations (IRRs) with the times as far as information dissemination is concerned.

With the revolutionary impact of information technologies that removed all communication barriers, Estrada said greater efficiency could be achieved if the public is well informed on new policies being enforced by the government.

“Ignorance of the law is no excuse and in this Internet-driven information age, everything is quickly and widely disseminated,’’ he stressed.

To address the limited readership and erratic release of the Official Gazette, Estrada proposed in his Senate bill the inclusion of publication of laws in the online version of the Official Gazette and of newspapers of general circulation among the legal and recognized format and channel of publication of laws of the country.

The same bill also proposed to authorize the adjustments in publication requirements of a newly-signed law, if it’s intended to respond to a national emergency situation.

Laws take effect after 15 days following the completion of their publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation in the country.

Publication is an indispensable requirement to comply with due process and this covers all statutes enacted by Congress, presidential issuances – orders, proclamations, circulars, etc.  – and IRRs of laws.

“With the advancements in information and communication technology, information dissemination through the Internet has become very reliable in terms of speech and reach. Hence, online documents are more accessible to the public in a faster, more convenient, and more affordable manner,” Estrada said.