"Ignorance of the Law"

Article three (3) of the Civil Code of the Philippines is very clear that " Ignorance of the law excuses no one from compliance therewith."
What does this mean? From decisions of the Supreme Court, this provision of law is very heavy. It means that every person is pressumed to know the laws, and that it is an invalid defense in court that one doesn't know the existence of a law punishing the act he/she may have been committed. A person must, in the acts he/she may do, know its consequences and legal its boundaries. Thus, one should be very cautious in all of his/her actions.
But one may ask; Isn't it unfair that a person is deemed to have known the laws that sorround him/her? In the stand of justice, it is not. Article two (2) of the Civil code demands that " Laws shall take effect after fifteen days following the completion of their publication either in the official gazzette, or in a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines, unless it is otherwise provided." This provision seeks to safeguard the right of every citizen to be informed of the law passed by our Congress or of any other declaration which is of punitive or binding effect to the public, so that one may know the laws which govern him/her in his/her day-to-day life. Our constitution guarantees this due process which should not be violated or dispensed with. The statement "unless it is otherwise provided" does not talk about the publication but of the effectivity of laws which may be set on a different date as may be stipulated in the law. The necessity of publication is indespensable as to inform the general public.
Given these points, it is therefore our duty as citizens to know the laws that govern us and to abide with these laws. It is not a valid reason for us to raise that we don't know the existence of the law. We must therefore be vigilant to all our actions and to see to it that we don't violate any of the laws of the land. We have the freedom and liberty, but these freedom and liberty end when the freedom and liberty of others begin. Let us all be guided.

1 comment:

lovely said...

hi mark---you from the addu law school? let's exchange links--http://datelinedavao.blogspot.com/