August 20, 2020
LKI PRESS STATEMENT 2020-054
MURANG KURYENTE ACT IN FORCE SANS IRR-LABAN KONSYUMER
In a Reply letter dated August 20, 2020, addressed to Atty. Agnes VST Devanadera, Chairperson and CEO of the Energy Regulatory Commission ( ERC ) and copied the Solicitor General as Counsel of all Public Respondents, Laban Konsyumer President Vic Dimagiba reiterated its position that the Murang Kuryente Act became effective after its publication. , and its effectivity is not subject to the issuance of the Implementing Rules and Regulations.
Laban Konsyumer arguments simply stated that consumers should immediately benefit from the law, and that the protocols and procedures in the implementation of the law are solely internal amongst the implementing agencies. The issuance of the Implementing Rules and Regulations should not be a condition precedent to the entitlement of all end users to an immediate reprieve granted by the Murang Kuryente Act. Consumer should not wait for the issuance of the IRR. The consumers have nothing to do with the proper disposition of the Malampaya Funds, which are essentially, the responsibility of the implementing agencies.”
These arguments had found, unwittingly, the support of no less than the Solicitor General on the latter recent statements on the effectivity of a law even without an IRR.
The Philippine News Agency, a government agency in its July 23, 2020 news portal published a news item, “Anti –Terror law in force sans IRR: Solgen
(( Solicitor General Jose Calida on Thursday said the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 (ATA) is already in effect even if the government has yet to craft its implementing rules and regulations.
In a statement, Calida, citing precedent cases previously decided on by the Supreme Court, such as SEC v. IRC decided in 2008, said laws are not contingent on the implementing rules.
“To claim that the law is ineffective until implementing rules are promulgated creates an absurd situation where an agency can delay the effectivity of the law by delaying promulgation of its rules. To argue that a law is less than the law because it is made to depend on a future event or act is to rob Congress of its plenary power to act wisely for the public welfare,” Calida said.
Even while the IRR is still underway, the ATA is already in force, Calida said.
“First, the promulgation of the IRR is not a condition precedent for the effectivity of the ATA. The pending issuance of an IRR cannot defer the law coming into force. A law is presumed to be valid when there exists an interpretation favorable to its effectivity. Unless there are clear and unmistakable showing of the law’s constitutional and statutory infirmity, the presumption of validity subsists, and the law is binding and effective,” he added.
Calida also noted the law has already complied with the requirement of publication having been published in both the online and print copy of the Official Gazette as required by law.
The ATA was not only posted on the Official Gazette’s website on July 3 but also subsequently published on the print Official Gazette on July 6.
“All these things considered, the ATA shall take effect after the lapse of fifteen (15) days from (6 July 2020) the complete publication on the Official Gazette, that is 22 July 2020,” he said.
He added that the law is “self-executing”, except for provisions in the law delegating functions to the Anti-Terrorism Council and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology and Bureau of Corrections to craft purely administrative rules for the effective implementation of policies.”))
In addition, the Solicitor General Comment that the Murang Kuryente Act is permissive and not mandatory is an insult to the Members of Congress who crafted the law and had the law signed by the President.
We emphasize that the Declaration of Policy in section 2 was worded in favor of the consumers. And that a general law, the Consumer Act, had laid the basis that favors interpretation that the MURANG KURYENTE ACT should be implemented now, for the benefit of the consumers.
LKI concluded in its Reply letter that “Hopefully, the Commission decides the case in favor of the consumers. In fact deciding in favor of the consumers is supported by no less than the Solicitor General “.