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The main sources of Philippine law are:

  • the Constitution – the fundamental and supreme law of the land
  • Statutes – including Acts of Congress, municipal charters, municipal legislation, court rules, administrative rules and orders, legislative rules and presidential issuances.
  • Treaties and conventions – these have the same force of authority as statutes.
  • Judicial decisions – Article 8 of the Civil Code of the Philippines provides that ‘judicial decisions applying to or interpreting the laws or the Constitution shall form a part of the legal system of the Philippines’. Only decisions of its Supreme Court establish jurisprudence and are binding on all other courts.

To some extent, customary law also forms part of the Filipino legal system. Art XIV, Section 17 of the 1987 Constitution provides that ‘the State shall recognise, respect, and protect the rights of indigenous cultural communities to preserve and develop their cultures, traditions and institutions’.

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