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CHAPTER 1: STATUTES

A. IN GENERAL
LAWS, GENERALLY
Law in its jural and generic sense refers to the whole
body or system of law, in its jural and concrete sense, it means
a rule of conduct formulated and made obligatory by legitimate
ower of the state
!t includes" statutes, residential decrees, e#ecuti$e orders,
other residential issuances, rulings of the Sureme %ourt
construing the law, rules and regulations, and ordinances
S&A&ES, GENERALLY
A statute is an act of the legislature as an organi'ed
body, e#ressed in the form, and assed according to the
rocedure, re(uired to constitute it as art of the law of the
land) !ncludes those assed by the" *hil) %ommission, *hil)
Legislature, +atasang *ambansa, %ongress of the *hil)
*ri$ate Statutes, alies only to a secific
erson,subject
*ublic Statutes, affects the ublic at large"
-) General law. alies to the whole state uon all the
eole or all of a class /*eole $) *alma0
1) Secial law. relates to articular ersons or things of
a class or to a articular community, indi$idual or
thing
2) Local law 3 oeration is confined to a secific lace
or locality e)g) municial ordinance
*ER4ANEN& AN5 &E4*6RARY S&A&7&ES
*ermanent. oeration is not limited in duration but continues
until reealed
&emorary. duration is for a limited eriod of time fi#ed in the
statute itself, ceases uon the haening of an e$ent
6&8ER %LASSES 69 S&A&7&ES
Alication" rosecti$e, retroacti$e
6eration" declaratory, curati$e, mandatory, directory,
substanti$e, remedial, enal
9orms" affirmati$e, negati$e
4ANNER 69 RE9ERR!NG &6 S&A&7&ES
*hil) %ommission,*hil) Legislature /-:;-.-:2<0 3 *ublic
Act
%ommonwealth /-:2=.-:>=0 3 %ommonwealth Acts
%ongress of the *hil) /-:>=.-:?1 and -:@? onwards0 3
Reublic Acts
+atasang *ambansa /-:?2.-:@=0 3 +atas *ambansa
B. ENACTMENT OF STATUTES
LEG!SLA&!AE *6WER, GENERALLY
Leg) *ower is the ower to maBe, alter and reeal laws)
&he sangguniang barangay, sangguniang bayan, sangguniang
anlungsod and sangguniang anlalawigan ha$e also legislati$e
owers within their jurisdiction, to enact ordinances)
6rdinances are inferior in status and subordinate to the
laws of the state /*rimicias $) 4uniciality of 7rdaneta0)
An admin),e#ec) 6fficer, in the e#ercise of a duly
delegated ower, can liBewise issue rules and regulations to
imlement a secific law, and such rules and regulations ha$e
the force and effect of law)
%6NGRESSC LEG!SLA&!AE *6WER
&he essential feature of the legislati$e function is the
determination of the legislati$e olicy and its formulation and
romulgation as a defined and binding rule of conduct) &he
legislati$e ower is lenary)
*R6%E57RAL RED7!RE4EN&S, GENERALLY
Aart from the basic constitutional re(uirements,
congress ro$ides in detail, embodied in the Rules of both
8ouses of %ongress, the rocedure by which a bill may be
enacted into law)
*ASSAGE 69 A +!LL
&he Secretary reorts the bill for first reading, which
consists of reading the number and title of the bill, followed by
its referral to the aroriate %ommittee for study and
recommendation) 6n second reading, the bill shall be read in
full with the amendments roosed by the committee, unless
coies therof are distributed and such reading is disensed
with) &hen, the bill will be subject to debates, ertinent
1
motions, and amendments) After the amendments, the bill will
be $oted on second reading) A bill aro$ed on the second
reading shall be included in the calendar of bills for third
reading) 6n third reading, the bill as aro$ed on second
reading will be submitted for final $ote)
A**R6*R!A&!6NS AN5 REAEN7E +!LLS
Read Article =, sec) 1>, 1< of the constitution)
A7&8EN&!%A&!6N 69 +!LLS
+efore an aro$ed bill is sent to the resident, the bill
is authenticated by the signing of the SeaBer and the Senate
*resident of the rinted coy of the aro$ed bill)
7N!4*EA%8A+!L!&Y 69 LEG!SLA&!AE E67RNALS
&he journal is regarded as conclusi$e with resect to
matters that are re(uired by the constitution to be recorded
therein) With resect to other matters, in the absence of
e$idence to the contrary, the Eournals ha$e also been accorded
conclusi$e effect)
ENR6LLE5 +!LL
7nder the enrolled bill doctrine, the te#t of the act as
assed and aro$ed is deemed imorting absolute $eracity
and is binding on the courts) !t is conclusi$e not only of its
ro$isions but also of its due enactment)
!f there has been any mistaBe in the rinting of the bill
before it was certified by the officer of the assembly and
aro$ed by the chief e#ecuti$e, the remedy is by amendment
by enacting a curati$e legislation, not by judicial decree /%asco
*hil) %hemical %o), !nc) $) Gimene'0
Where there is discreancy between the journal and the
enrolled bill, the latter as a rule re$ails o$er the former,
articularly with resect to matters not e#ressly re(uired to be
entered in the journal)
W!&85RAWAL 69 A7&8EN&!%A&!6N, E99E%& 69
&he SeaBer and the Senate *resident may withdraw
their signatures from the signed bill where there is serious and
substantial discreancy between the te#t of the bill as
deliberated and shown by the journal and that of the enrolled
bill) !t thus, renders the bill without attestation and nullifies its
status as an enrolled bill)
&he court can declare that the bill has not been duly enacted
and did not accordingly become a law /Astorga $) Aillegas0)
C. PARTS OF STATUTES
&!&LE 69 S&A&7&E
6ne subject, one bill ro$ision is mandatory, $iolation
thereof is unconstitutional)
*7R*6SES 69 RED7!RE4EN&
!t is to rohibit dulicity in legislation, the title of which
comletely fails to arise the legislators or the ublic of the
nature, scoe and conse(uences of the law or its ro$isions
/!nchong $) 8ernande'0
-) to re$ent hodgeodge or log.rolling legislation
1) to re$ent surrise of fraud uon the legislature
2) to fairly arise the eole
>) title of the statute may be used as a guide in
ascertaining legislati$e intent when the language of the
act does not clearly e#ress its urose
86W RED7!RE4EN& %6NS&R7E5
&he constitutional re(uirement as to title of a bill should
be liberally construed /*eole $) +uen$iaje0) !t should not
be gi$en a technical interretation) Nor should it be so
narrowly construed as to crile or imede the ower of
legislation /&obias $) Abalos0) Where there is doubt, the
(uestion should be resol$ed against the doubt an in fa$or of
the constitutionality of the statute)
W8EN &8ERE !S %64*L!AN%E W!&8 RED7!RE4EN&
-) if the title is comrehensi$e enough to reasonably
include the general object which a statute seeBs to
effect, without e#ressing each and e$ery end and
means necessary of con$enient for accomlishing the
object
1) if all arts are related and germane to the subject
matter
2) if it indicates in broad but clear terms the nature, scoe
and conse(uences of the law and its oerations)
2
&he title need not be a catalogue or inde# of the bill /*eole $)
9errer0) &hese rinciles aly to titles of amendatory acts) A
title which states that it is an act to amend a secific statutes is
a sufficient comliance with the constitutional re(uirementF it
need not states the recise nature of the amendatory act
/4anila &rading G Suly %o, $) Reyes0)
Note" Hand for other urosesI amounts to nothing
W8EN RED7!RE4EN& N6& A**L!%A+LE
!t does not aly to laws in force e#isting at the time the
-:2< %onstitution tooB effect /*eole $) Aalensoy0, nor to
municial or city ordinances)
E99E%& 69 !NS799!%!EN%Y 69 &!&LE
!f the subject is not related in any manner to the title it
is null and $oid, but if the subject matter is not sufficiently
e#ressed in its title, only so much of the subject matter as is
not e#ressed therein is $oid, lea$ing the rest in force, unless
the in$alid ro$isions are insearable from the others)
ENA%&!NG %LA7SE
&he enacting clause is that art of a statute written
immediately after the title thereof which states the authority by
which the act is enacted)
*REA4+LE
A reamble is a refatory statement or e#lanation or a
finding of facts, reciting the urose, reason or occasion for
maBing the law to which it is refi#ed) !t is usually found in
residential decrees and e#ecuti$e orders)
*7RA!EW 69 S&A&7&E
&he ur$iew of body of a statute is that art which tells
what the law is all about) A comle# and comrehensi$e iece
of legislation usually contains, in this se(uence, a short title, a
olicy section, definition section, administrati$e section,
sections rescribing standards of conduct, section imosing
sanctions for $iolations or its ro$isions, transitory ro$ision,
searability clause, reealing clause and effecti$ity clause)
&he constitutional re(uirement that a bill should ha$e
only one subject matter which should be e#ressed in its title is
comlied with where the ro$isions thereof, no matter how
di$erse they may be, are allied and germane to the subject, or
negati$ely stated, where the ro$isions are not inconsistent
with, but in furtherance of, the single subject matter /*eole $)
%arlos0)
SE*ARA+!L!&Y %LA7SE
A Searability clause is that art of a statute which
states that if any ro$ision of the act is declared in$alid, the
remainder shall not be affected thereby) Such a clause is not
controlling and the courts, in site of it, may in$alidate the
whole statute where what is left, after the $oid art, is not
comlete and worBable)
D. PRESIDENTIAL ISSUANCE, RULES AND ORDINANCES
*RES!5EN&!AL !SS7AN%ES
&hese are those which the resident issues in the
e#ercise of his ordinance ower) &hey ha$e the force and effect
of law)
-) E#ecuti$e order 3 acts of resident ro$iding for rules of
a general or ermanent character in the imlementation
or e#ecution of constitutional or statutory owers
1) Administrati$e order 3 acts of resident which relate to
articular asects of go$ernmental oerations in
ursuance of his duties as administrati$e head)
2) *roclamations 3 acts resident fi#ing a date or declaring
a statute or condition of ublic moment or interest, uon
the e#istence of which the oeration of a secific law or
regulation is made to deend
>) 4emorandum orders 3 acts of resident on matters of
administrati$e detail or of subordinate or temorary
interest which only concern a articular officer or office
of the go$ernment
<) 4emorandum circulars 3 acts of resident on matters
relating to internal administration which the resident
desires to bring to the attention of all or some of the
deartments, agencies, bureaus or offices of the
go$ernment for information or comliance
=) General,Secific orders 3 acts and commands of
resident in his caacity as commander.in.chief of the
A9*
3
S7*RE4E %67R %!R%7LARSF R7LES AN5 REG7LA&!6NS
Read Sec) < /<0, Article A!!! of the constitution
!n case of discreancy or conflict between the basic law
and the regulations issued to imlement it, the former re$ails
o$er the latter /Wise G %o) $) 4eer0) 9or it is elementary
rincile in statutory construction that a statute is suerior to
an administrati$e regulation and the former cannot be reealed
or amended by the latter /%hina +anBing %or) $) %)A)0)
A54!N!S&RA&!AE R7LE AN5 !N&ER*RE&A&!6N
5!S&!NG7!S8E5
When an administrati$e agency romulgates rules and
regulation, it maBes a new law with the force and effect of a
$alid law and is binding to the courts, while when it renders an
oinion or gi$es a statement of olicy, it merely interrets a
ree#isting law, it is merely ad$isory and not binding to the
courts)
+ARANGAY 6R5!NAN%E
&he sangguniang barangay may ass a barangay
ordinance by majority $ote of all its members, it is subject to
re$iew by the sangguniang bayan or sangguniang anlungsod,
as the case may be, which shall taBe action on it within 2; days
from submission) !naction is e(ui$alent to aro$al)
47N!%!*AL 6R5!NAN%E
&he sangguniang bayan may bass a bill by a $ote of a
majority of the members resent, there being a (uorum,
subject to re$iew by the municial mayor acting on it within -;
days) !naction is aro$al, if $etoed may be assed by two.
thirds $ote of all members)
%!&Y 6R5!NAN%E
&he sangguniang anglungsod assed a bill in the same
manner as the sangguniang bayan) +ut if itCs a comonent
city, the bill is subject to re$iew by the sangguniang
anglungsod, acting on it within 2; days where inaction is
e(ui$alent to aro$al)
*R6A!N%!AL 6R5!NAN%E
&he sangguniang anlalawaigan may ass a bill by a
majority $ote of the members resent, subject to re$iew by the
go$ernor, who shall act within -< days from receit) !naction is
aro$al, if $etoed, may be reassed by two.thirds $ote of all
members
E. VALIDITY
*RES74*&!6N 69 %6NS&!&7&!6NAL!&Y
E$ery statute is resumed $alid) All reasonable doubts
should be resol$ed in fa$or of the constitutionality of law) &o
doubt is to sustain) &he final authority to declare a law
unconstitutional is the S% en banc by the Hconcurrence of a
majority of the 4embers who actually tooB art in the
deliberations)I &rial courts ha$e jurisdiction to initially decide
the issue of constitutionality of a law in aroriate cases)
RED7!S!&ES 96R EJER%!SE 69 E75!%!AL *6WER
-) the e#istence of an aroriate case
1) an interest ersonal and substantial by the arty raising
the constitutional (uestion
2) the lea that the function be e#ercised at the earliest
oortunity
>) the necessity that the constitutional (uestion be assed
uon in order to decide a case)
A**R6*R!A&E %ASE
6ne in which it raises a justiciable contro$ersy, the
resolution of which the court will ha$e to choose between the
constitution and the challenged statute
S&AN5!NG &6 S7E
Legal Standing is a ersonal and substantial interest in
the case such that the arty has sustained or will sustain direct
injury as a result of the go$ernmental act that is being
challenged)
%iti'ens legal standing"
o 8e has suffered some actual or threatened injury
as a result of the allegedly illegal conduct of
go$ernment
o !njury is fairly traceable to the challenged action)
4
o !njury is liBely to be redressed by a fa$orable
action
&a# ayers legal standing"
-) When it is established that ublic funds ha$e
been disbursed in alleged contra$ention of the
law or the constitution, or in re$enting the
illegal e#enditure of money raised by ta#ation
1) 8e will sustain a direct injury as a result of the
enforcement of the (uestioned statute)
&he S% may taBe cogni'ance of a suit which does not
satisfy the re(uirements of legal standingF the %ourt has
adoted a liberal attitude on the locus standi of a etitioner
where the etitioner is able to craft an issue of transcendental
significance to the eoleF aramount imortance to the ublic)
W8EN &6 RA!SE %6NS&!&7&!6NAL!&Y
%onstitutionality must be raised at the earliest ossible
time) !f the (uestion is not raised in the leadings, ordinarily it
may not be raised at the trial, and if not raised in the trial, it
will not be considered in aeal)
E#cetions"
a) the (uestion may raised in a motion for
reconsideration or new trial in the lower
court, where the statute sought to be
in$alidated was not in e#istence when the
comlaint was filed or during the trial
b) the (uestion of $alidity may also be raised
in criminal cases at any stage of the
roceedings)
c) !n ci$il cases where it aears clearly that
a determination of the (uestion is
necessary to a decision and incases where
it in$ol$ed the jurisdiction of the court
below)
&ES& 69 %6NS&!&7&!6NAL!&Y
A statute may be declared unconstitutional because it is
$ague) !t is $ague when it lacBs comrehensi$e standards that
men of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its
meaning and differ in its alication) &he change of
circumstances or conditions may affect the $alidity of some
statues, secially those so.called emergency laws designed
secifically to meet certain contingencies)
With resect to ordinances, the test of $alidity are"
4ust not contra$ene the constitution or any
statute
4ust not be unfair or oressi$e
4ust not be artial or discriminatory
4ust not rohibit but may regulate trade
4ust be general and consistent with ublic
olicy
4ust not be unreasonable
E99E%&S 69 7N%6NS&!&7&!6NAL!&Y
&he general rule is that an unconstitutional act is not a
law, confers no rights) Regard should be had to what has been
done while the statute was in oeration and resumed to be
$alid) 8ence, its oerati$e fact before a declaration of nullity
must be recogni'ed)
&here are two $iew on the effects of a declaration of the
unconstitutionality of a statute"
Orthodox View) An unconstitutional law confers no right,
is not a law, imoses no duties, affords no rotectionF in
legal contemlation, it is inoerati$e, as if it had not been
assed)
Modern View. &he court in assing uon the (uestion of
constitutionality does not annul or reeal the statute if it is
unconstitutional, it simly refuses to recogni'e it and
determines the rights of the arties just as if the statute
had no e#istence) !t does not reeal, suersede, re$oBe or
annul the statute) &he arties to the suit are concluded by
the judgment, but no one else is bound)
!NAAL!5!&Y 57E &6 %8ANGE 69 %6N5!&!6NS
&he general rule as to the effects of unconstitutionality
of a statute is not alicable to a statute that is declared in$alid
because of the change of circumstances affecting its $alidity) !t
becomes in$alid only because the change of conditions maBes
its continued oeration $iolati$e of the %onstitution, and
accordingly, the declaration of its nullity should affect only the
arties in$ol$ed in the case, and its effects alied
5
rosecti$ely) A statute of this tye belongs to the class of
emergency laws
*AR&!AL !NAAL!5!&Y
&he general rule is that where art of a statute is $oid as
reugnant to the %onstitution, while another art is $alid, the
$alid ortion, if searable from the in$alid, may stand and be
enforcedF e#cet when the arts are so mutually deendent
and connected) &he resence of searability clause creates the
resumtion that the legislature intended searability, rather
than comlete nullity of the statute)
F. EFFECT AND OPERATION
W8EN LAWS &AKE E99E%&
Art 1 of the %i$il %ode ro$ides that HLaws shall take
effect after fifteen days following the completion of their
publication in the Official Gazette, unless it is otherwise
proided.!
All laws or statutes, including those of local alication
and ri$ate law shall be ublished as a condition for their
effecti$ity /&aLada $) &u$era0, otherwise it would $iolate the
due rocess clause of the constitution)
&he general rule is that where the law is silent as to its
effecti$ity, or where it ro$ides that it shall taBe effect
immediately or uon its aro$al, such law shall taBe effect
after -< days from its ublication in the 6fficial Ga'ette) &he
comletion of ublication, from which date the eriod of
ublication will be counted, refers to the date of release of the
6)G) or newsaer for circulation and not to its date, unless the
two dates coincide)
W8EN *RES!5EN&!AL !SS7AN%ES, R7LES AN5 REG7LA&!6NS
&AKE E99E%&
&he re(uirement of ublication as a condition for the
effecti$ity of statues alies to *residential !ssuances, e#cet
those which are merely interretati$e or internal in nature not
concerning the ublic)
Rules and regulations of administrati$e and e#ecuti$e
officers are of two tyes"
-) Whose urose is to imlement or enforce
e#isting law ursuant to a $alid delegation or to
fill in the details of a statuteF whether they are
enal or non.enalF this re(uires ublication)
1) Which are merely interretati$e in nature or
merely internal in character not concerning the
ublic, does not need ublication)
!n addition, the -:@? Administrati$e %ode ro$ides that"
-) E$ery agency shall file with the 7)*) Law center three
coies of e$ery rule adoted by it) Rules in force on
the date of effecti$ity of this %ode which are not filed
within 2 months from that date shall not be the basis
of any sanction against any arty or ersons)
1) Each rule shall become effecti$e -< days from the
date of filing as abo$e ro$ided unless a different
date is fi#ed by law, or secified in the rule in cases
of imminent danger to ublic health, safety and
welfare)
*ublication and filing re(uirements are indisensable to
the effecti$ity of rules and regulations, e#cet when the law
authori'ing its issuance disenses the filing re(uirements)
W8EN L6%AL 6R5!NAN%E &AKE E99E%&
1. 7nless otherwise stated, Local ordinance shall taBe
effect after -; days from the date a coy thereof is
osted in a bulletin board at the entrance of the
ro$incial caitol or city, municial, or barangay hall, as
the case may be, and in at least two other consicuous
laces in the local go$ernment unit)
1) the secretary to the sanggunian shall cause the osting
of the ordinance within < days after its aro$al at the
entrance of the ro$incial caitol and the city, municial
or barangay hall in at least 1 consicuous laces
2) &he gist of all ordinances with enal sanctions shall be
ublished in a newsaer of general circulation, within
the ro$ince where the local legislati$e body concerned
belongs, in the absence of such newsaers, ostings
shall be made in all municialities and cities of the
ro$ince where the saggunian of origin is situated)
>) 9or highly urbani'ed city and indeendent comonent
cities, in addition to being osted, be ublished once in a
local newsaer of gen) circulation within the city, in the
6
absence of which, it shall be ublished in any newsaer
of general circulation)
S&A&7&ES %6N&!N7E !N 96R%E 7N&!L RE*EALE5
7nless a statute is by its ro$isions for a limited eriod
only, it continues in force until changed or reealed by the
legislature) Law once established continues until changed by
some cometent legislati$e ower) !t is not changed by change
of so$ereignty nor of a change in constitution, until the new
so$ereign by legislati$e act creates a change)
4ANNER 69 %64*7&!NG &!4E
Where the word HweeBI is used as a measure of time
and without reference to the calendar, it means a eriod of
se$en consecuti$e days without regard to the day of the weeB
from which it begins /*N+ $) %)A0)
Where a statute re(uires the doing of an act within a
secified number of days, such as ten days, from notice, it
means -; calendar days and not worBing days)
&he e#clude. the 3first and include the last day rule
go$erns the comutation of a eriod) !f the last day falls on a
Sunday or legal holiday, the act can still be done the following
day) &he rincile does not aly to the comutation of the
eriod of rescrition of a crime, in which the rule is that if the
last days in the eriod of rescrition of a felony falls on a
Sunday or legal holiday, the information concerning said felony
cannot be filed on the ne#t worBing day, as the offense has
been by then already rescribed)
CHAPTER 2: CONSTRUCTION AND
INTERPRETATION
A. NATURE AND PURPOSE
%6NS&R7%&!6N 5E9!NE5
!t is the art or rocess of disco$ering and e#ounding
the meaning and intention of the authors of the law, where that
intention is rendered doubtful by reason of the ambiguity in its
language or of the fact that the gi$en case is not e#licitly
ro$ided in the law
%6NS&R7%&!6N AN5 !N&ER*RE&A&!6N 5!S&!NG7!S8E5
!nterretation is the art of finding the true meaning and
sense of any form of word, while construction is the rocess of
drawing warranted conclusions not always included in direct
e#ression or determining the alication of words to faces in
litigation) +ut they are used interchangeably in ractice)
R7LES 69 %6NS&R7%&!6N, GENERALLY
&he legislature is resumed to Bnow the rules of
statutory construction, it enacts a law with the end in $iew that
it will, in case of doubt, be construed in accordance with the
settled rinciles of interretation) Where there is ambiguity in
the language of a statute, courts emloy canons of statutory
construction to ascertain and gi$e effect to its true intent and
meaning)
&he legislature sometimes adots rules of statutory
construction as art of the ro$isions of a statute) &he
legislature also defines, in certain comlicated statutes, the
word and hrases used therein) E#cet as they may ha$e been
embodied as art of a statute, rules of construction ha$e no
binding effect on the courts) Nor are they controlling in the
interretation of laws, they may only be used to clarify, not to
defeat, legislati$e intent) E$en those rules of construction
which are in the form of statutory ro$isions may be ignored if
their emloyment may defeat, rather than effectuate,
legislati$e intent)
*7R*6SE 6R 6+EE%& 69 %6NS&R7%&!6N
All rules of construction of interretation ha$e for their
sole object the ascertainment of the true intent of the
legislature) &he object of all judicial interretation of a statute
is to determine legislati$e intent, what intention is con$eyed,
either e#ressly or imliedly, by the language used, so far as it
is necessary for ascertaining whether the articular case or
state of facts resented to the court comes within it)
LEG!SLA&!AE !N&EN&, GENERALLY
%ourts will not follow the letter of the statute when it
leads away from the true intent of the legislature and to
conclusions inconsistent with the general urose of the act
/&orres $) Limja0) 8ence, where the statute is suscetible of
more than one construction, that construction should be
7
adoted which will most tend to gi$e effect to the manifest
intent of the legislature /7)S) $) &oribio0)
LEG!SLA&!AE *7R*6SE
!t is the reason why a articular statute was enacted by
the legislature) A legislation is an acti$e instrument of the
go$ernment which, for uroses of interretation, means that
law ha$e ends to be achie$ed and statutes should be so
construed so as not defeat but to carry out such ends and
uroses /Lite# Emloyees Assn $) Edu$ala0)
LEG!SLA&!AE 4EAN!NG
!t is what the law, by its language, means) !t may be
synonymous to legislati$e intent) !f there is ambiguity in the
language, its urose may indicate the meaning of the
language and lead to what the legislati$e intent is)
4A&&ERS !ND7!RE5 !N&6 !N %6NS&R7!NG A S&A&7&E
!t is not enough to ascertain the intention of meaning of
the statuteF it is also necessary to see whether the intention or
meaning of the statute has been e#ressed in such a way as to
gi$e it legal effect and $alidity) &he legal act is made u of two
elements 3 an internal and an e#ternal oneF it originates in
intention and is erfected by e#ression) 9ailure of the latter
may defeat the former)
W8ERE LEG!SLA&!AE !N&EN& !S AS%ER&A!NE5
&he rimary source of the intent is the statute itself and
has to be disco$ered from the four corners of the law /4anila
Lodge No) ?=- $) %) A0) !t has to be e#tracted from the statute
as a whole and not from an isolated art of articular ro$ision
thereof) Where the words and hrases of a statute are not
obscure or ambiguous, its meaning and the intention of the
legislature must be determined from the language emloyed
/Aeroy $) Layague0) &he court may also looB to the urose of
the statute to be subser$ed, the reason or cause which induced
the enactment of the law, the mischief to be suressed, and
the olicy which dictated its assage /Yu %ong Eng $) &rinidad0)
B. POWER TO CONSTRUE
%6NS&R7%&!6N !S A E75!%!AL 97N%&!6N
!t is emhatically the ro$ince and duty of the judicial
deartment to say what the law is and it has the final word as
to what the law means) &he court does not interret the law in
a $acuum) !t does not gi$e legal oinion on hyothetical cases
or in cases which ha$e become moot or academic
LEG!SLA&7RE %ANN6& 6AERR7LE E75!%!AL 5E%!S!6NS
&he legislature has no ower to o$errule the
interretation or construction of a statute of the %onstitution by
the Sureme court and while it may indicate its construction of
a statute in a resolution or declaratory act, it cannot reclude
the courts from gi$ing the statute a different interretation)
W8EN E75!%!AL !N&ER*RE&A&!6N 4AY +E SE& AS!5E
&he Sureme %ourt may change or o$errule its re$ious
construction) %onstitutional amendments may modify or nullify
a judicial interretation of a ro$ision thereof) &he rule that the
Sureme %ourt has the final word in the interretation of a
statute merely means that the legislature cannot, by law or
resolution, modify or annul the judicial construction without
modifying or reealing the $ery statute which has been the
subject of construction, but when it enacts a reeal, the
re$ious judicial construction of the statute is modified or set
aside)
W8EN %67R& 4AY %6NS&R7E S&A&7&E
A condition sine (ua non, before the court may construe
or interret, is that there be doubt or ambiguity in its language)
6nly statutes with an ambiguous or doubtful meaning may be
the subject of statutory construction /5aong $) 4unicial
Eudge0) A statute is ambiguous if it is suscetible of more than
one interretation)
%67R&S 4AY N6& %6NS&R7E W8ERE S&A&7&E !S %LEAR
%onstruction comes only after it has been demonstrated
that the alication is imossible or inade(uate without it) !t is
the $ery last function which the court should e#ercise, for it
there is more alication and less construction, there would be
more stability in the law /Li'arraga 8ermanos $) Ya &ico0) !t
has been reeatedly declared that where the law seaBs in
clear and categorical language, there is no room for
8
interretation and there is only room for alication /%ebu
*ortland %ement %o) $) 4uniciality of Naga0)
9or nothing is better settled than that the first and
fundamental duty of courts is to aly the law as they find it,
not as they liBe it to be) 9idelity to such a tasB recludes
construction unless alication is imossible or inade(uate
without it /Resins, !nc) $) Auditor General0)
Where the law is clear and unambiguous, it must be
taBen to mean e#actly what it says and the court has no choice
but to see to it that its mandate is obeyed /Lu'on Surety %o) $)
5e Garcia0)
Where the law is free from ambiguity, the court may not
introduce e#cetions where none is ro$ided from
considerations of con$enience, ublic welfare, or for any
laudable urose, nor may it engraft into the law (ualifications
not contemlated /Ramos $) %)A0, nor construe ro$isions by
taBing into account (uestions of e#ediency, good faith,
ractical utility and other similar reasons so as to rela# non
comliance therewith)
Administrati$e agencies tasBed to imlement a stature
may not construe it by e#anding its meaning where ro$isions
are clear and unambiguous)
R7L!NGS 69 S7*RE4E %67R& *AR& 69 LEGAL SYS&E4
Legis interpretato legis im obtinet, the authoritati$e
interretation of the Sureme %ourt of a statute ac(uires the
force of law by becoming a art thereof as of the date of its
enactment, since the courtCs interretation merely establishes
the contemoratneous legislati$e intent that the statute thus
construed intends to effectuate /Seno$ila $) 8ermosisimo0)
"tare decisis et non #uieta moere, when the Sureme
%ourt has once laid down a rincile of law as alicable to a
certain state of facts, it will adhere to that rincile and aly it
to all future cases where the facts are substantially the same)
&his assures certainty and stability in the legal system)
As art of the legal system and until re$ersed by the
Sureme %ourt itself, rulings of the highest tribunal are binding
uon inferior courts)
E75!%!AL R7L!NGS 8AAE N6 RE&R6A%&!AE E99E%&
Lex prospicit, non respicit, the law looBs forward not
bacBward) &he interretation of a statute by the Sureme
%ourt remains to be art of the legal system until the latter
o$errules it and the new doctrine o$erruling the old is alied
rosecti$ely in fa$or of ersons who ha$e relied thereon in
good faith)
%67R&S 4AY !SS7E G7!5EL!NE !N %6NS&R7!NG S&A&7&E
!n construing a statute, the enforcement of which may
tread on sensiti$e areas of constitutional rights, the court may
issue guidelines in alying the statute, not to enlarge or
restrict it but to clearly delineate what the law re(uires) &his is
not judicial legislation but an act to define what the law is)
C. LIMITATIONS ON POWER TO CONSTRUE
%67R&S 4AY N6& ENLARGE 6R RES&R!%& S&A&7&ES
-) While statutory constructions in$ol$es choice, the court
should resist the temtation to roam at will and rely on
its redilection as to what olicy should re$ail)
1) &hey may not, in the guise of interretation, enlarge the
scoe of a statute and include therein situations not
ro$ided nor intended by lawmaBers)
2) &hey are not authori'e to insert into the law what they
thinB should be in it or to suly what they thinB the
legislature would ha$e sulied if its attention had been
called to the omission)
>) &hey should not re$ise e$en the most arbitrary and
unfair action of the legislature, nor rewrite the law to
conform with what they thinB should be the law
<) Nor may they interret into the law a re(uirement which
the law does not rescribe
=) Neither should courts construe statutes which are
erfectly $ague, or cannot be clarified either by a sa$ing
clause or by construction)
%67R&S N6& &6 +E !N9L7EN%E5 +Y D7ES&!6NS 69 W!S564
Since the legislature is rimarily the judge of the
necessity, ade(uacy, wisdom, reasonableness and e#ediency
of any law, courts may not taBe any of these matters into
account in construing or interreting the law) As long as laws
do not $iolate the %onstitution, the courts merely interret and
9
aly them regardless of whether or not they are wise or
salutary)
CHAPTER 3: AIDS TO CONSTRUCTION
A. IN GENERAL
GENERALLY
Aid to construction are those found in the rinted age
of the statute itself, Bnown as intrinsic aids, and those
e#traneous facts and circumstances outside the rinted age,
called e#trinsic aids)
&!&LE
&he title may indicate the legislati$e intent to e#tend or
restrict the scoe of the law, and a statute couched in a
language of doubtful imort will be construed to conform to the
legislati$e intent as disclosed in its title) &he rule that the title
may ser$e as a guide carries more weight in this jurisdiction
because of the constitutional re(uirement that e$ery bill shall
ha$e one subject as e#ressed in the title thereof)
W8EN RES6R& &6 &!&LE N6& A7&86R!ME5
When the te#t is clear it is imroer to resort to its title
to maBe it obscure) &he title may be resorted in order to
remo$e, but not to create doubt or uncertainty
*REA4+LE
!t is that art of the stature written immediately after its
title which states the urose, reason or justification for the
enactment of the law and usually e#ressed in the form of
HwhereasI clauses) &hough it is not, strictly seaBing, a art of
a statute, it is the Bey to the statute for its sets out the
intention of the legislature) !t may restrict what otherwise
aears to be a broad scoe of a law, or re(uire, in the
commission of a crime, an element not clearly e#ressed in its
te#t) !t may e#ress the legislati$e intent to maBe the law
aly retroacti$ely, in which case the law has to be gi$en
retroacti$e effect, so as to carry out such intent /*N+ $) 6ffice
of the *resident0)
%6N&EJ& 69 W86LE &EJ&
Legislati$e intent should accordingly be ascertained from
a consideration of the whole conte#t of the stature and not
from an isolated art of articular ro$ision /Aboiti' Shiing
%or) $) %ity of %ebu0) &he conte#t may circumscribe the
meaning of a statute, it may gi$e to a word or hrase a
meaning different from its usual or ordinary signification) !n
such a case, the meaning dictated by the conte#t re$ails)
E$ery section, ro$ision or clause of the statute must be
e#ounded by reference to each other in order to arri$e at the
effect contemlated by the legislature) &he intention of the
legislature must be ascertained from the whole te#t of the law
and e$ery art of the act is taBen into $iew /%ommissioner of
!nternal Re$eneu $) &4J Sales0)
*7N%&7A&!6N 4ARKS
A semi.colon is used to indicate a searation in the
relation of the thought, a degree greater than that e#ressed
by a commaF and what follows a semi.colon must ha$e a
relation to the same matter which recedes it) &he comma and
the semi.colon are both used for the same urose 3 to di$ide
sentences and arts of sentences, the only difference is that
semi.colon maBes the di$ision a little more ronounced) &hey
are not used to introduce a new idea)
*unctuation marBs are aids of low degree and can ne$er
control against the intelligible meaning of written word) &he
reason is that unctuation marBs are not art of a statureF nor
are they art of the English language /9eliciano $) A(uino0)
%aitali'ation of Letters
LiBe unctuation marBs, caitali'ation is an aid of low
degree in the construction of statute) E#amle" in a statute
which ro$ides that H a will made within the *hiliine !slands
by a citi'en or subject of another state or country, which is
e#ecuted in accordance with the law of the state or country of
which he is a citi'en or subject, and whichNI , in force at a time
when the *hiliines was still a territory of the 7S, the fact that
the words Hstate and countryI are not caitali'ed does not
mean that the 7nited States is e#cluded form the hrase
Hanother state or country)I

10
8eadnotes or eigrahs
8eadnotes, headings, or eigrahs of sections of a
statute are con$enient inde# to the contents of its ro$isions)
8owe$er they are not entitled too much weight, and inferences
drawn therefrom are of little $alue and they can ne$er control
the lain terms of the enacting clause, for they are not art of
the law) Secondary aids, such as headnotes or eigrahs, may
be consulted to remo$e, but not to create nor to limit or control
the lain language of the law)
Lingual te#t
*hiliine laws are officially romulgated either in
English, Sanish or 9iliino, or either in two such languages)
&he rule is that, unless otherwise ro$ided, where a statute is
officially romulgated in English and Sanish, the English te#t
shall go$ern, but in case of ambiguity, omission or mistaBe, the
Sanish may be consulted to e#lain the English te#t)
!ntent or sirit of the law
&he intent or sirit of the law is the law itself) 9or this
reason, legislati$e intent or sirit is the controlling factor, the
leading star and guiding light in the alication and
interretation of a statute) A thing which is within the intent of
the lawmaBer is as much within the statute as if within the
letterF and a thing which is within the letter of the statute is not
within the statute unless within the intent of the lawmaBers)
*olicy of law
&he olicy of the law once ascertained should be gi$en
effect by the judiciary) 6ne way of accomlishing this mandate
is to gi$e a statute of doubtful meaning, a construction that will
romote ublic olicy) &he construction which would carry into
effect the e$ident olicy of the law should be adoted in fa$or
of that interretation which would defeat it) E#amle"
homestead act
*urose of law or mischief to be suressed
&he court much looB to the object to be accomlished,
the e$ils to be remedied, or the urose to be subser$ed, and
should gi$e the law a reasonable or liberal construction which
will best effectuate its urose)
5ictionaries
While definition s gi$en by le#icograhers are not
binding, courts ha$e adoted, in roer cases, such definitions
to suort their conclusion as to the meaning of the articular
words or terms used in a statute, es where no strong reason
e#ists why their dictionary meaning should not be adoted in
the construction of the statute)

%onse(uences of $arious constructions
!n construing a statute, the objecti$e should always be
to arri$e at a reasonable and sensible interretation that is in
full accord with the legislati$e intent) As a general rule, a
construction of a statute should be rejected that will cause
injustice or hardshi, result in absurdity, defeat legislati$e
intent or sirit, reclude accomlishment of legislati$e urose
or object, render certain words or hrases a surlusage, nullify
the statute or maBe any of its ro$isions nugatory)
*resumtions
!nclude" resumtions in fa$or of the constitutionality of
a statute, of its comleteness, of its rosecti$e oeration, of
right and justice, of its effecti$e, sensible, beneficial and
reasonable oeration as a whole, as well as those against the
inconsistency and imlied reeal, unnecessary changes in law,
imossibility, absurdity, injustice and hardshi, incon$enience,
and ineffecti$eness)
+) Legislati$e 8istory
Generally
!t is a well settled rule of statutory construction that
where a statue is suscetible of se$eral interretations or
where there is ambiguity in its language, there is no better
means of ascertaining the will and intention of the legislature
than that which is afforded by the history of the statute)
What constitutes legislati$e history
11
!f the statute is based on, or is a re$ision of, a rior
statute, the latterCs ractical alication and judicial
construction, the $arious amendments it underwent, and the
contemorary e$ents at the time of its enactment form art of
its legislati$e history) !f the statute is borrowed from, or
modeled uon, Anglo.American recedents or other foreign
sources, its history includes the history of such recedents, and
for a roer construction of the statue sought to be construed,
it is oftentimes essential to re$iew such legislati$e history and
find authoritati$e guide for its interretation from such
recedents, their ractical alication , and the decisions of the
courts construing and alying such recedents in the country
of origin)
*residentCs message to legislature
&he residentCs message indicates his thinBing on the
roosed legislation which , when enacted into law, follows his
line of thinBing on the matter)
E#lanatory Note
Where there is ambiguity in a statue or where a statute
is suscetible of more than one interretation, courts may
resort to the e#lanatory note to clarify the ambiguity and
ascertain the urose or intent of the statute) &he statue may
then be so construed as to gi$e effect to the urose or intent
as disclosed in its e#lanatory note)
Legislati$e 5ebates, $iews and deliberations
%ourts may resort to the legislati$e deliberations in the
legislature on a bill which e$entually was enacted into law to
ascertain the meaning of its ro$isions) &hus, where there is
doubt as to what a ro$ision of a statute means, that meaning
which was ut to the ro$ision during the legislati$e
deliberation or discussion on the bill may be adoted)
8owe$er the $iews e#ressed by the legislators during
the deliberation of a bill as to the billCs urose, meaning, or
effect are not controlling in the interretation of the law)
&he oinions e#ressed by legislators in the course of
debates concerning the alication of e#isting laws are not also
gi$en decisi$e weight, esecially where the legislator was not a
member of the assembly that enacted said laws)
Reorts of commissions
!n the codification of laws, commissions are usually
formed to comile and collate all laws on articular subject and
to reare the draft of the roosed code
*rior law from which statute is based
!n ascertaining the intention of the lawmaBer, courts are
ermitted to looB to rior laws on the same subject and to
in$estigate the antecedents of the statute in$ol$ed)

%hange in hraseology by amendments
&he change in hraseology by amendment of a ro$ision
of law indicates a legislati$e intent to change the meaning of
the ro$ision from that it originally had) !n construing the
amended ro$ision, courts may in$estigate the history of the
ro$ision to ascertain legislati$e intent as to the meaning or
scoe of the amended law)
Amendment by deletion
As a rule, the amendment by deletion of certain words
or hrases in a statute indicate that the legislature intended to
change the meaning of the statute, for the resumtion is that
the legislature would not ha$e made the deletion had the
intention been not to effect a change in its meaning) &he
amended statute should accordingly be gi$en a construction
different from that re$ious to its amendment)
E#cetions to the rule
&he rule that an amendment of a statute indicates a
change in meaning from that which the statute originally had
alies only when the deleted words or hrases are not
surlusage or when the intention is clear to change the
re$ious meaning of the old law) &he rule does not aly where
the intent, as shown by history of the enactment, is clear that
the amendment is recisely to lainly e#ress that construction
of the act rior to its amendment because its language is not
sufficiently e#ressi$e of such construction)
Adoted statute
12
&he general rule is that where local statutes are
atterned after or coied from those of another country, the
decisions of the courts in such country construing those laws
are entitled to great weight in the interretation of such local
statutes) &he reason is that the legislature, in adoting from
another country a statute which has re$iously recei$ed judicial
construction in that country, is deemed to ha$e adoted the
statute with such construction and ractical alication in the
country of origin)
&he adoted statutes are thus generally construed in
accordance with the construction gi$en similar statutes in the
7S, unless secial reasons, local customs, and ractice re(uire
otherwise)
Limitations to the rule
&he general rule that a statute which has been adoted
from that of a foreign country should be construed in
accordance with the construction gi$en it in the country of
origin is not without limitations)
*rinciles of common law
While common law as Bnown in Anglo.American
jurisrudence is not in force in this country, sa$e only insofar
as it is founded on sound rinciles alicable to local
conditions and is not in conflict with e#isting laws, ne$ertheless
many of the rinciles of the common law ha$e been imorted
into this jurisdiction as a result of the enactment of laws and
establishment of institutions similar those of the 7nited States)
%ourts may thus roerly resort to common law rinciles in
construing doubtful ro$isions of a statute, articularly where
such statute is modeled uon Anglo.American recedents)
8owe$er there is a conflict between a common law rincile
and a statutory ro$ision, the latter re$ails)
%onditions at time of enactment
!n enacting a statute, the legislature is resumed to
ha$e taBen into account the e#isting conditions of things at the
time of its enactment) 9or this reason, it is roer, in the
interretation of a statute to consider the hysical conditions of
the country and the circumstances then obtaining which must
of necessity affect its oeration in order to reach an
understanding as to the intent of the legislature, or as to the
meaning of the statute)
8istory of times
&he court may looB to the history of the times, e#amine
the state of things e#isting when the statue was enacted, and
interret it in the light of the conditions obtaining) Generally, it
may be said that in determining the meaning, intent and
urose of a law or constitutional ro$ision, the history of the
times out of which it grew and to which it may be rationally
suosed to bear some direct relationshi, the e$ils intended to
be remedied, and the good to be accomlished are roer
subjects of in(uiry)
%) %ontemoraneous %onstruction
Generally
%ontemorary or ractical constructions are the
constructions laced uon statutes at the time of, or after, their
enactment by the e#ecuti$e, legislature, or judicial authorities,
as well as those who, because of their in$ol$ement in the
rocess of legislation, are Bnowledgeable of the intent and
urose of the law, such as draftsmen and bill sonsors)
$ontemporanea exposition est optima et fortissima in lege...
the contemorary construction is strongest in law)
E#ecuti$e construction, generallyF Binds of
What is commonly Bnown as contemoraneous
construction is the construction laced uon the statute by an
e#ecuti$e or administrati$e officer called uon to e#ecute or
administer such statute) Accordingly, e#ecuti$e and the
administrati$e officers are generally the $ery first officials to
interret the law, rearatory to its enforcement) &hree tye of
e#ecuti$e interretations" /-0 construction by an e#ecuti$e or
administrati$e officer directly called to imlement the law,
e#ressed or imlied, e#ressed such as circular, directi$e, or
regulationF /10 by the Secretary of Eustice in his caacity as the
chief legal ad$iser of the go$ernment, in the form of oinions
issued uon the re(uest of the e#ecuti$e /20 interretation
13
handed down in an ad$ersary roceeding in the form of a ruling
by an e#ecuti$e officer e#ercising (uasi.judicial ower)
Weight accorded to contemoraneous construction
Generally seaBing, where there is doubt as to the
roer interretation of a statute, the uniform construction
laced uon it by the e#ecuti$e or administrati$e officer
charged with its enforcement will be adoted, if necessary to
resol$e the doubt) !n the absence of error or abuse of ower or
lacB of jurisdiction or gra$e abuse of discretion clearly
conflicting with either the letter or the sirit of the legislati$e
enactment creating or charging a go$ernmental agency, the
action of the agency would not be disturbed by the courts) As
atly said in a case" Hthe rincile that the contemoraneous
construction of a statute by the e#ecuti$e officers of the
go$ernment, whose duty it is to e#ecute it, is entitled to great
resect, and should ordinarily control the construction of the
statute by the courts, is so firmly embedded in our jurisdiction
that no authorities need be cited to suort it)I
Weight accorded to usage and ractice
. ac(uiesced in by all the arties concerned and has
e#tended o$er a long eriod of time
%Optimus interpres rerum usus. the best interreter of
the law is usage
%onstruction of rules and regulations
An administrati$e agency has the ower to interret its
own rules and such interretation becomes art of the rules)
Reasons why contemoraneous construction is gi$en much
weight
%ontemoraneous construction is entitled to great
weight" because /-0it comes from the articular branch of
go$ernment called uon to imlement the law thus construed)
/10 e#ecuti$e officials are resumed to ha$e familiari'ed
themsel$es with all the considerations ertinent to the meaning
and urose of the law, and to ha$e formed an indeendent,
conscientious and cometent e#ert oinion thereon) /20 there
are fre(uently the drafters of the law they interret) !n short,
due to their cometence, e#ertness, e#erience, and informed
judgment) And there is a need for certainty and redictability in
the law)
When contemoraneous construction disregarded
!t is neither controlling nor binding uon the court) &he
court may disregard the law %%, where there is no ambiguity,
where the construction is clearly erroneous, where strong
reason to the contrary e#ists, and where the court has
re$iously gi$en the statue a different interretation) !f it is
erroneous then should be declared null and $oid)
Erroneous contemoraneous construction does not reclude
correction nor create rightsF e#cetions
&he error may be corrected when the true construction
is ascertained) As a rule, an erroneous %% creates no $ested
right on the art of those who relied uon, and followed such
construction) A $ested right may not arise from a wrong
interretation of a law by an administrati$e or e#ecuti$e officer
whose rimary duty is to enforce, and not to construe, the law)
And the go$ernment is ne$er estoed by the mistaBe or error
on the art of its agents)
&he rule is not absolute, but admits e#cetions in the
interest of justice and fair lay) /true in ta# cases0
Legislati$e interretation
&he fact that the interretation of a statue is rimarily a
judicial function does not reclude the legislature form
indicating its construction of a statute it enacts into law) !t may
thus ro$ide in the statute itself an interretati$e or declaratory
clause rescribing rules of construction or indicating how its
ro$isions should be construed) !t may also define the terms
used in a statute, enact a declaratory act construing a re$ious
law or ass a resolution indicating its sense or intention as to
gi$en statute) 8owe$er the legislature cannot limit or restrict
the ower granted to the courts to interret the law) While their
interretation is not controlling, the courts may resort to it to
clarify ambiguity in the language thereof) !t is entitled of
resectful consideration)
Legislati$e aro$al
14
&he legislature may by action or inaction, aro$e or
ratify such contemoraneous construction) !t may be
manifested in many ways" as when it reenacts a statute
re$iously gi$en a %%, uses words similar in their imort to the
language of an earlier law which has recei$ed a ractical
alication or amend a rior statute without, in the amending
act, ro$iding anything which would restrict, change or nullify
the recious %% laced uon the rior law) !t may be also
shown by the legislature aroriating money for the officer
designated to erform a tasB ursuant to an interretation of a
statute) Where the legislature has notice or Bnowledge of a
construction laced uon a statue by an e#ecuti$e officer
charged with its imlementation, without reudiating it, its
silence is ac(uiescence e(ui$alent to consent to continue
ractice) &here is an imlied aro$al by its failure to change a
longstanding administrati$e construction)
&atihabitio mandato ae#uiparatur. legislati$e ratification
is e(ui$alent to a mandate
Reenactment
&he most common act of legislati$e aro$al of %% of a
state is by reenactment) &he rincile is the reenactment of a
statute, re$iously gi$en %%, is a ersuasi$e indication of the
adotion by the legislature of the rior construction) !t must be
reenacted and not merely amended and the %% thereof must be
in the form of regulation to imlement the law and duly
ublished and not merely administrati$e ruling embodied in a
letter to a secified indi$idual and not ublished) !t is accorded
with greater weight and resect than the %% of the statute
before its ratification) &he reason for such is" there is an
agreement between two deartments 3 the legislati$e and
e#ecuti$eO to the meaning of the law, and it de$ol$es uon the
judiciary to gi$e it deferential treatment)
Stare decisis
&he decision of the S% alying or interreting a statute
is controlling with resect to the interretation of that statute
and is of greater weight than that of an e#ecuti$e or
administrati$e officer in the construction of other statutes of
similar imort) &he reason" the S%Cs interretation forms art of
the statue itself and of the legal system and comes form that
branch of go$ernment entrusted with the duty to construe or
interret the law)
"tare decisis et non #uieta moere. one should follow
ast recedents and should not be disturbed what has been
settled) &he rule rests on the desirability of ha$ing stability in
the law) 'nterest republicae ut sit finis litiumOthe interest of
the state demands that there be an end to litigation)
9or a ruling of S% be under the doctrine of stare decisis,
it must be a direct ruling and not through sub silencio and
obiter dictum)
&he facts of the recedent and the case to which it is
alied should be the same for stare decisis to be alied)
&he rule of stare decisis is not absolute) &he rincile
does not blind adherence to recedents) !f it is found contrary
to law, must be abandoned) &he rincile should not aly
when there is conflict between the recedent and the law)
8owe$er only the S% itself can change or abandon a recedent
enunciated by it, neither by inferior court, nor by legislature
unless they reeal or amend the law itself) !f the inferior courts
feel that the recedent is against their way of reasoning, they
may state their ersonal oinion but still they are bound to
follow it)
CHAPTER IV : ADHERENCE TO, OR
DEPARTURE FROM, LANGUAGE OF
STATUTE
A. LITERAL INTERPRETATION
Lite!" Me!#i#$ % &"!i#'(e!#i#$ )"e
- As a general rule, the intent of legislature to be
ascertained and thereafter gi$en effect is the intent
e#ressed in the language of the statute)
- *lain meaning rule" erba legis
- 'ndex animi sermo( seech is the inde# of intention)
- Verba Legis non est recedendum( from the words of a
statute there should be no dearture)
- What is not clearly ro$ided in the law cannot be
e#tended to those matters outside its scoe)
15
- Where what is not clearly ro$ided in the law is read
into law by construction because it is more logical and
wise, it would be to encroach uon legislati$e
rerogati$e to define the wisdom of the law, which is
judicial legislation)
- &o deart from the meaning e#ressed by words is to
alter the statute, to legislate and not to interret)
- Maledicta est expositio#uae corrumpit textum" or it is
dangerous construction which is against the te#t)
Dura Lex Sed Lex
- )bsoluta sentential expositore non indigent( When the
language of the law is clear, no e#lanation of it is
re(uired)
- When the law is clear, it is not suscetible of
interretation) !t must be alied regardless who may
be affected, e$en if it may be harsh or onerous)
- *ura lex sed lex( &he law may be harsh, but it is still
the law)
- +oc #uidem per#uam durum est, sed ita lex scripta est,
or it is e#ceedingly hard but so the law is written)
- &he court should aly the law e$en if it would be harsh
or unwise)
- &he duty of court in interreting a statute which is
ambiguous is not to disute its wisdomF the duty of the
court is limited to in(uiring into the legislati$e intent
and, once this is determined, to maBing said intent
effecti$e)
- When the law is clear, aeal to justice and e(uity as
justification to construe it differently are una$ailing)
E(uity ! described as justice outside legality, which
simly means that it cannot sulant although it may
sulement the law)
- )e#uitas nun#uam contraenit legis( E(uity ne$er acts
in contra$ention of the law)
B. DEPARTURE FROM LITERAL MEANING
St!t)te ()*t +e ,!&!+"e %- i#te&et!ti%#, %t.e/i*e
i#%&e!ti0e.
- %ourt must use e$ery authori'ed means to ascertain the
intent of the statute and gi$e it an intelligible meaning)
!f effort is imossible to sol$e the doubt and disel the
obscurity of a statute, if no judicial certainty can be had
as to its meaning, the court is not at liberty to suly
nor to maBe one)
- !f statute fails to e#ress a meaning, judicial modesty
forbids court from assuming and from sulying a
meaning thereto)
- 'nterpretatio fienda est ut res magis aleat#uam pereat"
that interretation as will gi$e the thing efficacy is to be
adoted) A law should be interreted with a $iew to
uholding rather than destroying it)
W.!t i* /it.i# t.e *&iit i* /it.i# t.e "!/.
- &he intent or sirit of the law is the law itself)
- As a general rule of statutory construction, the sirit or
intention of a statute re$ails o$er the letter thereof,
and what is within the sirit of a statute is within the
statute although it is not within the letter thereof, while
that which is within the letter but not within the sirit of
the statute is not within the statute)
- &he intent is the $ital art, the essence of the law, and
the rimary rule of construction is to ascertain and gi$e
effect to that intent)
- A law should accordingly be so construed as to be in
accordance with, and not reugnant to, the sirit of the
law)
- &he court may consider the sirit and reason of statute
where a literal meaning would lead to absurdity,
contradiction, injustice, or would defeat the clear
urose of the lawmaBers)
Lite!" i(&%t ()*t 1ie"2 t% i#te#t.
- &he intention controls the literal interretation of a
articular language of statute)
- Verba intentioni, non e contra, debent inserire( words
ought to be more subser$ient to the intent and not the
intent to the words)
- !f thereCs two conflicting theories, courts choose which
best accords with the sirit or intent of the law)
16
- %onscience and e(uity should always be considered in
the construction of a statute)
- &he sirit and intendment of the law must re$ail o$er
its letter)
- A statute may therefore be e#tended to cases not within
the literal meaning of its terms, so long as they come
within its sirit or intent)
Li(it!ti%# %- )"e
- What is within the sirit of a statute e$en if not within
the letter is alicable only if there is ambiguity in the
language of the law)
C%#*t),ti%# t% !,,%(&"i*. &)&%*e
- Statutes should be construed in the light of the object to
be achie$ed and the e$il or mischief to be suressed,
and they should be gi$en such construction as will
ad$ance the object, suress the mischief, and secure
the benefits intended)
- %ourts should not follow the letter of a statute when to
do so would deart from the true intent of the
legislature or would otherwise yield conclusions
inconsistent with the urose of the act)
- As between two statutory interretations, that which
better ser$es the urose of the law should re$ail)
whyP &he general urose is a more imortant aid to the
meaning than any rule which grammar or formal logic
may lay down) /8olmes0)
- A literal interretation is to be rejected if it would be
unjust or lead to absurd results)
W.e# e!*%# %- "!/ ,e!*e*, t.e "!/ it*e"- ,e!*e*.
- cessante ratione legis, cessat et ipsa lex
- raton legis est anima" the reason of the law is its soul)
- &he reason behind the law is the heart of the law)
Reason of the law lays a decisi$e role in its
construction)
- A statute may render a rior law de$oid of reason)
- Where a later law has a urose in conflict with that of a
rior statute on the same subject, the latter has lost all
meaning and function and has ceased to e#ist)
- &his may haen when the urose of the statute
sought to be achie$ed by it is accomlished, or the
mischief sought to be reressed is re$ented, by an act
or e$ent indeendent of the statute itself)
S)&&"1i#$ "e$i*"!ti0e %(i**i%#
- Where a literal imort of the language of a statute
shows that words ha$e been omitted that should ha$e
been in the statute in order to carry out its intent and
sirit, clearly ascertainable from the conte#t, the court
may suly the omission to maBe the statute conform to
the ob$ious intent of the legislature or to re$ent the act
from being absurd)
- Rule is corollary with the rule that what is within the
sirit of the law is within the law)
C%e,ti#$ C"ei,!" e%*
- &he court, in order to carry out the ob$ious intent of the
legislature, may correct clerical errors, mistaBes or
misrints which, if uncorrected would render the statute
meaningless, emty or nonsensical or would defeat or
imair its intended oeration, so long as the meaning
intended is aarent on the face of the whole enactment
and no secific ro$ision is abrogated)
- !t is the duty of the court to arri$e at the legislati$e
intent)
- &he court is not indulging judicial legislation, it is merely
endea$oring to rectify and correct a clearly clerical error)
3)!"i-i,!ti%# %- )"e
- What the courts may correct to reflect intention of
legislature are those which are clearly clerical errors or
ob$ious mistaBes, omissions, misrints)
- &o correct a clear statute would be rewriting the law and
do judicial legislation in the disguise of interretation)
C%#*t),ti%# t% !0%i2 !+*)2it1
- General terms of a statute should be so limited in their
alication as not to lead to absurdities) !t is resumed
that the legislature intended e#cetions to its language
which would a$oid absurd conse(uences)
17
- 'nterpretatio talis in ambiguis semper fienda est ut
eitetur inconeniens et absurdum( Where there is
ambiguity, such interretation as will a$oid
incon$enience and absurdity is to be adoted)
- Where literal adherence to the language would result to
absurdity, the court has the ower to suly or omit the
words from a statute in order to re$ent an absurd
result)
- %ourts test the law by its result) &here are laws which
are generally $alid but may seem arbitrary when alied
in a articular case because of its eculiar circumstance)
%ourts are not bound to aly them in sla$ish obedience
to their language)
- A law should not be interreted so as not to cause
injustice)
- Where a term is defined in a statute, the court may not
construe it to e#clude what is included therein as to
restrict its scoe)
C%#*t),ti%# t% !0%i2 i#4)*ti,e
- &he resumtion is that the legislature in enacting a
law, did not intent to worB a hardshi or an oressi$e
result, a ossible abuse of authority or act of
oression, arming one erson with a weaon to imose
hardshi on another)
- ,a est accipienda interpretatio #uae itio caret" that
interretation is to be adoted which is free from e$il or
injustice)
C%#*t),ti%# t% !0%i2 2!#$e t% &)+"i, i#tee*t
- !t is a well established rule of statutory construction that
where great incon$enience will result, or great ublic
interest will be endangered or sacrificed, or great
mischief done, from a articular construction of a
statute, such construction is to be a$oided)
- %ourts should resume that such construction was not
intended by the legislature)
C%#*t),ti%# i# -!0% %- i$.t !#2 4)*ti,e
- Any doubt in the construction of a statute should be
resol$ed in fa$or of right and justice)
- &he fact that a statute is silent, obscure or insufficient
with resect to a (uestion before the court will not
justify the latter from declining to render judgment
thereon)
- -ure naturae ae#uum est neminem cum alterius
detrimento et in.uria fieri locupletiorem, which was
restated with ninguno non deue enri#uecerse
tortizeramente con da/o de otro. %ourts in$oBe these
rinciles when the statutes are silent or obscure in
order to arri$e at a solution that would resond to the
$ehement /assionate0 urge of conscience)
- !n balancing conflicting solutions, that one is ercei$ed
to ti the scales which the court belie$es will best
romote the ublic welfare in its robable oeration as a
general rule or rincile)
S)&")*!$e !#2 *)&e-")it1 2i*e$!2e2
- surplusagium non noceat( surlusage does not $itiate a
statute)
- 0tile per inutile non itiatur( the useful is not itiated
by the non%useful.
- Where a word, hrase or clause in a statute is de$oid of
meaning in relation to the conte#t or intent of the
statute or where it suggests a meaning that nullifies the
statute or renders it without sense, the word, hrase, or
clause may be rejected as a surlusage and entirely
ignored)
Re2)#2!#t /%2* (!1 +e e4e,te2
- General rule is that e$ery effort should be made to gi$e
some meaning to e$ery art of a statute) &his rule does
not imose uon the courts an imerati$e obligation to
gi$e e$ery redundant word or hrase a secial
significance, contrary to the manifest intention of the
legislature)
- A ossible interretation which would defeat the whole
urose of the law is to be rejected)
- When the use of word is merely to reiterate or reeat, it
carries out the intention of the legislature)
18
O+*,)e % (i**i#$ /%2 % -!"*e 2e*,i&ti%# (!1 #%t
&e,")2e ,%#*t),ti%#
- %ourt should not and cannot always be bound by the
hraseology or literal meaning of a statute)
- &hat some words may be missing due to clerical errors
or false descrition does not reclude construction nor
$itiate the meaning of the statute which is otherwise
clear)
- 1alsa demonstration non nocet, cum de corpore constat(
9alse descrition does not reclude construction nor
$itiate the meaning of the statute)
E5e(&ti%# -%( i$i2 !&&"i,!ti%# %- "!/
- E$ery rule is not without e#cetion
- 'bi #uid generaliter conceditur2 inest haec exception, si
non ali#uid sit contras .us bas#ue, which means that
where anything is granted generally, this e#cetion is
imliedF that nothing shall be contrary to law and right)
- E(uity and other comelling reasons may justify an
e#cetion to a rule e$en when the rule does not ro$ide
any)
- !f the alication of law will re$ent a fair and imartial
in(uiry into the actual facts of a case, justice demands
that the general rule should yield to occasional
e#cetions)
- "ummum .us, summa in.uria" the rigor of the law would
become the highest injustice)
- Where rigid and strict alication of law would worB
injustice, an e#emtion therefrom to re$ent such result
on humanitarian and e(uitable grounds is warranted,
although the literal imort of the law suggests no such
e#emtion)
L!/ 2%e* #%t e6)ie t.e i(&%**i+"e
- The law obliges no one to erform an imossibility,
e#ressed in the ma#im, nemo tenetur ad impossibile.
!n other words, there is no obligation to do an
imossible thing) 'mpossibilium nulla obligation est.
- Statutes should not be construed as to re(uire
comliance with what it rescribes, which is imossibleF
but in such a way that substantial comliance with what
the law re(uires is sufficient)
N)(+e !#2 $e#2e %- /%2*
- it is a ma#im of statutory construction that when the
conte#t if a statute so indicates in lural include the
singular, and $ice $ersa)
- A lural word in a statute may thus aly to a singular
erson or thing, just as a singular word may embrace
two or more ersons or things)
- !t is also a rule of statutory construction that in
construing a statute, the masculine, but not the
feminine, includes all genders, unless the conte#t in
which the word is used in the statute indicates
otherwise)
C. IMPLICATIONS
D%,ti#e %- #e,e**!1 i(&"i,!ti%#
- What is thought, at the time of enactment, to be an all.
embracing legislation may be inade(uate to ro$ide for
future e$ents, thereby creating gas in the law) 6ne of
the rules of statutory construction used to fill in the ga
is the doctrine of necessary imlication)
- 5octrine states that what is imlied in a statute is as
much a art thereof as that which is e#ressed)
- E$ery statute is understood by imlication to contain all
such ro$isions that are needed to effectuate its
urose)
- ,x necessitate legis or from the necessity of the law)
- E$ery statutory grant of ower, right or ri$ilege is
deemed to include all incidental ower, right or
ri$ilege) &his is because in eo #uod plus sit, semper
inest et minus.
- Hnecessary imlicationI" it is one which under the
circumstances, is comelled by a reasonable $iew of the
statute, and the contrary of which would be imrobable
and absurd)
- HNecessityI" defines what may roerly and logically be
inferred from and read into the statute)
- &his doctrine may not be used to justify the inclusion in
a statute of what to the court aears to be wise and
19
just, unless it is at the same time necessarily and
logically within its terms)
- What may be necessarily imlied from a statute should,
in any e$ent, be consistent with, and not contrary to,
the constitution or to e#isting laws) An imlication which
is $iolati$e of the law is unjustified or unwarranted)
Re(e21 !&&"ie2 -%( ! i$.t
- Where there is a right, there is a remedy) 0bi .us, ibi
remedium
- &he fact that the statute is silent as to the remedy does
not reclude him from $indicating his right, for such
remedy is imlied from such right)
- Such right enforces itself by its own inherent otency
and uissance, and from which all legislation must taBe
their bearings)
- HwrongI means deri$ation or $iolation of a right, and is
not e(ui$alent to Herror)I
G!#t %- 4)i*2i,ti%#
- Settled is the rule that jurisdiction to hear and decide
cases is conferred only by the %onstitution or by the
Statute)
- Eurisdiction cannot be imlied from the language of a
statute, in the absence of a clear legislati$e intent to
that effect)
W.!t (!1 +e i(&"ie2 -%( $!#t %- 4)i*2i,ti%#
- to emloy all writs, rocesses and other means essential
to maBe its jurisdiction effecti$e)
- *ower to do all things which are reasonably necessary
for the administration of justice within the scoe of its
jurisdiction and for the enforcement of its judgments
and mandates, e$en though the court may be called to
decide matters which would not be within its cogni'ance
as original caused of action)
- !t can grant reliefs incidental to the main cause of
action)
G!#t %- &%/e i#,")2e* i#,i2e#t!" &%/e
- As a rule, where a general ower is conferred or duty
enjoined, e$ery articular ower necessary for the
e#ercise of one or the erformance of the other is also
conferred) &he incidental owers are those which are
necessarily included in, and are therefore of lesser
degree than the ower granted) !t cannot e#tend to
other matters not embraced therein, nor are not
incidental thereto)
- *ower conferred by law uon an administrati$e officer to
issue rules and regulations to carry out the uroses of
a statute he is called uon to e#ecute includes the
authority to delegate to a subordinate officer the
erformance of a articular function, absent any e#ress
or imlied ro$ision to the contrary)
G!#t %- &%/e e5,")2e* $e!te &%/e
- the rincile that the grant of ower includes all
incidental owers necessary to maBe the e#ercise
thereof effecti$e imlies the e#clusion of those which are
greater than that conferred)
W.!t i* i(&"ie2 *.%)"2 #%t +e !$!i#*t t.e "!/.
- The statutory grant of ower does not include such
incidental ower which cannot be e#ercised without
$iolating the %onstitution, the statute conferring the
ower, or other laws on the same subject)
A)t.%it1 t% ,.!$e !$!i#*t &)+"i, -)#2* (!1 #%t +e
i(&"ie2
- 7nless a statute e#ressly so authori'es, no claim
against ublic funds may be allowed) Accordingly, a
statute may not be so construed as to authori'e, by
imlication, a charge against ublic funds)
I""e$!"it1 %- !,t i(&"ie2 -%( &%.i+iti%#
- Where a statute rohibits the doing of an act, the act
done in $iolation thereof is by imlication null and $oid)
- &he rohibited act cannot ser$e as a foundation of a
cause of action for relief)
- ,x dolo malo non oritur( no man can be allowed to
found a claim uon his own wrongdoing or ine(uity
20
- 3ullus commodum capere potest de in.uria sua propria(
no man should be allowed to taBe ad$antage of his own
wrong)
- !t is oularly Bnown by the ma#im" 'n pari delicto
potior est condition defendentis
E5,e&ti%#* t% t.e )"e
- the rincile of pari delicto recogni'es certain
e#cetions)
- !t will not aly when its enforcement or alication will
$iolate an a$owed fundamental olicy or ublic interest)
- Another e#emtion is that when the transaction is not
illegal er se but merely rohibited and the rohibition
by law is designed for the rotection of one arty, the
court may grant relief in fa$or of the latter)
W.!t ,!##%t +e 2%#e 2ie,t"1 ,!##%t +e 2%#e i#2ie,t"1
- 4uando ali#uid prohibetur ex directo, prohibeturet per
obli#uum
- What the law rohibits cannot, in some other way, be
legally accomlished)
T.ee *.%)"2 +e #% &e#!"t1 -% ,%(&"i!#,e %- "!/.
9or simle logic, fairness and reason cannot countenance an
e#action or a enalty for an act faithfully done in comliance
with the law
CHAPTER 7: INTERPRETATION OF
WORDS AND PHRASES
Ge#e!""1
- A word or hrase used in a statute may ha$e an
ordinary, generic, restricted, technical, legal, commercial
or trade meaning)
- Which meaning should be gi$en deends uon what the
legislature intended) As a general rule in interreting the
meaning and scoe of a term used in the law, a careful
re$iew of the whole law in$ol$ed, as well as the
intendment of law, ascertained from a consideration of
the statute as a whole and not of an isolated art or a
articular ro$ision alone, must be made to determine
the real intent of the law)
St!t)t%1 De-i#iti%#
- &he legislati$e definition controls the meaning of a
statutory word, irresecti$e of any other meaning the
word or hrase may ha$e in its ordinary or usual sense)
- 9or the legislature, in adoting a secific definition is
deemed to ha$e restricted the meaning of the word
within the terms of the definition)
- When the legislature defines a word, it does not usur
the courtCs function to interret the laws but it merely
legislates what should form art of the law itself)
- While the definition of terms in a statute must be gi$en
all the weight due to them in the construction of the
ro$ision in which they are used, the terms or hrases
being art and arcel of the whole statute must be gi$en
effect in their entirety as a harmonious, coordinated and
integrated unit, not as a mass of heterogeneous and
unrelated if not incongruous terms, clauses and
sentences)
3)!"i-i,!ti%# %- )"e
- &he statutory definition of a word or term Has used in
this ActI is controlling only in so far as said act is
concerned)
- &he general rule that the statutory definitions control
the meaning of statutory words does not aly where its
alication creates ob$ious incongruities in the language
of the statute, destroys one of its major uroses, or
becomes illogical as a result of a change in its factual
basis)
- 8owe$er, in a subse(uent case, it was held that of a
statute remains unchanged, it must be interreted
according to its clear, original mandate until the
legislature amends it)
W%2* ,%#*t)e2 i# t.ei %2i#!1 *e#*e
- !n construing words and hrases, the general rule is that
in the absence of legislati$e intent to the contrary, they
21
should be gi$en their lain, ordinary, and common
usage meaning)
- 9or words are resumed to ha$e been emloyed by the
lawmaBer in their ordinary and common use and
accetation)
- &he grammatical and ordinary reading of a statute must
be resumed to yield its correct sense)
- 0bi lex non distinguit nec nos distinguere debemus
Ge#e!" W%2* ,%#*t)e2 $e#e!""1
- Generalia erba sunt generaliter intelligenda or what is
generally soBen shall be generally understood or
general words shall be understood in a general sense)
- Generale dictum generaliter est interpretandum. A
general statement is understood in a general sense)
- Where a word used in a statute has both a restricted
and general meaning, the general must re$ail o$er the
restricted unless the nature of the subject matter or the
conte#t in which it is emloyed clearly indicates that the
limited sense is intended)
- A general word should not be gi$en a restricted meaning
where no restriction is indicated)
Ge#ei, te( i#,")2e* t.i#$* t.!t !i*e t.ee!-te
- rogressi$e interretation" e#tends by construction the
alication of a statute to all subjects or conditions
within its general urose or scoe that come into
e#istence subse(uent to its assage and thus Bees
legislation from becoming ehemeral and transitory
unless there is a legislati$e intent to the contrary)
- !t is a rule of statutory construction that legislati$e
enactments in general and comrehensi$e terms,
rosecti$e in oeration, aly aliBe to all ersons,
subjects and business within their general ur$iew and
scoe coming into e#istence subse(uent to their
assage)
W%2* /it. ,%((e,i!" % t!2e (e!#i#$
- Words and *hrases, which are in common use among
merchants and traders, ac(uire trade or commercial
meanings which are generally acceted in the
community in which they ha$e been in common use)
- Settled is the rule that in the absence of legislati$e
intent to the contrary, trade or commercial terms, when
used in a statute are resumed to ha$e been used in
their trade or commercial sense)
W%2* /it. te,.#i,!" % "e$!" (e!#i#$
- As a general rule, words that ha$e or ha$e been used in,
a technical sense or those that ha$e been judicially
construed to ha$e a certain meaning should be
interreted according to the sense in which they ha$e
been re$iously used, although the sense may $ary from
the strict or literal meaning of the words)
- &he technical or legal, not the ordinary or general
meaning of a word used in a statute should be adoted
in the construction of the statute, in the absence of nay
(ualification or intention to the contrary)
H%/ i2e#ti,!" te(* i# *!(e *t!t)te ,%#*t)e2
- &he general rule is that a word or hrase reeatedly
used in a statute will bear the same meaning throughout
the statute)
- &he same word or substantially the same hrase
aearing in different arts of a statute will be accorded
a generally acceted and consistent meaning, unless a
different intention aears or is clearly e#ressed)
- &he reason for the rule is that a word used in a statute
in a gi$en sense is resumed to be used in the same
sense throughout the law)
- !t is articularly alicable where in the statute the
words aear so near each other hysically and
articularly where the word has a technical meaning and
that meaning has been defined in the statute)
Me!#i#$ %- /%2 6)!"i-ie2 +1 &)&%*e %- *t!t)te
- &he meaning of a words or hrase used in a statute may
be (ualified by the urose which induced the legislature
to enact the statute)
22
- !n construing a word or hrase, the court should adot
that interretation that accords best with the manifest
urose of the statute or romotes or reali'es its object)
- !t is generally recogni'ed that if a statute is ambiguous
and caable of more than one construction, the literal
meaning of the word or hrase used therein may be
rejected if the result of adoting such meaning will be to
defeat the urose which the legislature had in mind)
W%2 % &.!*e ,%#*t)e2 i# e"!ti%# t% %t.e &%0i*i%#*
- &he general rule is that a word, hrase or ro$ision
should not be construed in isolation but must be
interreted in relation to other ro$isions of the law)
&his rule is a $ariation of the rule that a statute should
be construed as a whole, and each of its ro$isions must
be gi$en effect)
- A word or ro$ision should not be construed in isolation
from, but should be interreted in relation to, the other
ro$isions of a statute or other statutes dealing on the
same subject)
- &he word or ro$ision should not be gi$en a meaning
that will restrict or defeat, but should instead be
construed to effectuate, what has been intended in an
enacting law)
Me!#i#$ %- te( 2i,t!te2 +1 ,%#te5t
- While ordinarily a word or term used in a statute will be
gi$en its usual and commonly understood meaning, the
conte#t in which the word or term is emloyed may
dictate a different sense)
- &he conte#t in which the word is used oftentimes
determines its meaning)
- A word is understood in the conte#t in which it is used)
Verba accipienda sunt secundum materiam
- &he conte#t may liBewise gi$e a broad sense to a word
of otherwise ordinarily limited meaning)
- &he conte#t may also limit the meaning of what
otherwise is a word of broad signification)
W.ee t.e "!/ 2%e* #%t 2i*ti#$)i*.
- Where the law does not distinguish, courts should not
distinguish) 0bi lex non distinguit, nec nos distinguere
debemus.
- &he rule founded on logic, is a corollary of the rincile
that general words and hrases in a statute should
ordinarily be accorded their natural and general
significance
- &he rule re(uires that a general term or hrase should
not be reduced into arts and one art distinguished
from the other so as to justify its e#clusion from the
oeration of the law)
- A corollary of the rincile is the rule that where the law
does not maBe any e#cetion, court may not e#cet
something therefrom, unless there is comelling reason
aarent in the law to justify it)
- 0bi lex non distinguit, nec non distinguere debemus,
alies not only in the construction of general words and
e#ressions used in a statute but also in the
interretation of a rule laid down therein)
- &his rincile assumes that the legislature made no
(ualification in the use of a general word or e#ression)
- &he courts may distinguish when there are facts or
circumstances showing that the legislature intended a
distinction or (ualification, for in such a case, the courts
merely gi$e effect to the legislati$e intent)
Di*4)#,ti0e !#2 ,%#4)#,ti0e /%2*
- &he word HorI is a disjuncti$e term signifying
disassociation and indeendence of one thing from each
of the other things enumerated) !t should be construed
in the sense in which it ordinarily imlies, as a
disjuncti$e word)
- &he use of the disjuncti$e word HorI between two
hrases connotes that either hrase ser$es as (ualifying
hrase)
- &he term HorI has sometimes been held to mean HandI,
when the sirit or conte#t of the law so warrants)
- &he word HorI may also be used as the e(ui$alent of
Hthat is to sayI gi$ing that which it receded it the same
significance as that which follows it) !t is not always
23
disjuncti$e and is sometimes interretati$e or e#ository
of the receding word)
- &he word HorI may also mean successi$ely)
- &he word HandI is a conjunction ertinently defined as
meaning Htogether withI, Hjoined withI, Halong or
together withI, Hadded to or linBed toI, used to conjoin
word with word, hrase with hrase, clause with clause)
- &he word HandI does not mean HorIF it is a conjunction
used to denote a joinder or union, Hbinding togetherI,
Hrelating the one to the otherI)
- 8owe$er, HandI may mean HorI as an e#cetion to the
rule) &he e#cetion is resorted to only when a literal
interretation would er$ert the lain intention of the
legislature as gleaned from the conte#t of the statute or
from e#ternal factors)
Noscitur a sociis
- Where a articular word or hrase is ambiguous in itself
or is e(ually suscetible of $arious meanings, its correct
construction may be made clear and secific by
considering the comany of words in which it is found or
with which it is associated)
- Where the law does not define a word used therein, it
will be construed as ha$ing a meaning similar to that of
words associated with or accomanied by it)
- A word, hrase should be interreted in relation to, or
gi$en the same meaning of, words with which it is
associated)
- Where most of the words in an enumeration of words in
a statute are used in their generic and ordinary sense,
the rest of the words should similarly be construed)
- Where a word with more than one meaning is associated
with words ha$ing secific or articular signification, the
former should be gi$en a secific or articular
signification)
Ejusdem generic
- While general words or e#ressions in a statute are, as a
rule, accorded their full, natural, and generic sense, they
will not be gi$en such meaning if they are used in
association with secific words or hrases)
- General rule is that where a general word or hrase
follows an enumeration of articular and secific words
of the same class or where the latter follow the former,
the general word or hrase is to be construed to include,
or to be restricted to, ersons, things, or cases aBin to,
resembling, or of the same Bind or class as those
secifically mentioned)
- Where a statute describes things of articular class or
Bind accomanied by words of a generic character, the
generic words will usually be limited to things of a
Bindred nature with those articularly enumerated,
unless there be something in the conte#t of the statute
to reel such inference)
- *urose" gi$e effect to both the articular and general
words, by treating the articular words as indicating the
class and the general words as indicating all that is
embraced in said class, although not secifically named
by articular words)
- &his rincile is based on the roosition that had the
legislature intended the general words to be used in
their generic and unrestricted sense, it would not ha$e
enumerated the secific words)
- Alication" where secific and generic terms of the
same nature are emloyed in the same act, the latter
following the former)
Li(it!ti%#* %- Ejusdem generic
- &o be alicable, the following must concur"
o Statute contains an enumeration of articular and
secific words, followed by a general word or
hrase)
o &he articular and secific words constitute a
class or are of the same Bind
o Enumeration of the articular and secific words
is not e#hausti$e or is not merely by e#amles
o No indication of legislati$e intent to gi$e the
general words or hrases a broader meaning
- &he rule of e.usdem generic does not re(uire the
rejection of general terms entirely)
24
- &he rule is not of uni$ersal alication, it should be used
to carry out, not to defeat, the intent or urose of the
law)
- !f that intent clearly aears from other arts of the law,
and such intent thus clearly manifested is contrary to
the result which will be reached by alying the rule of
e.usdem generic, the rule must gi$e way in fa$or of the
legislati$e intent)
Expressio unius est exclusio alterius
- E#ress mention of one erson, thing or conse(uence
imlies the e#clusion of all others)
- !t is formulated in a number of ways"
o 6ne $ariation of the rules is the rincile that
what is e#ressed uts an end to that which is
imlied ,xpressum facit cessare tacitum
o General e#ression followed by e#cetions
therefrom imlies that those which do not fall
under the e#cetions come within the scoe of
the general e#ression) ,xceptio firmat regulam
in casibus non exceptis
o E#ression of one or more things of a class
imlies the e#clusion of all not e#ressed, e$en
though all would ha$e been imlies had none
been e#ressed)
- &he rule expressio unius est exclusio alterius and its
$ariations are canons of restricti$e interretation)
- +asis" legislature would not ha$e made secified
enumerations in a statute had the intention been not to
restrict its meaning and confine its terms to those
e#ressly mentioned) &hey are oosite the doctrine of
necessary imlication)
Ne$!ti0e'%&&%*ite 2%,ti#e
- &he rincile that what is e#ressed uts an end to that
which is imlied is also Bnown as negati$e.ositi$e
doctrine or argumentum a contrario.
A&&"i,!ti%# %- expressio unius )"e
- &he rule of expressio unius est exclusio alterius and its
corollary canons are generally used in the construction
of statutes granting owers, creating rights and
remedies, restricting common rights, and imosing
enalties and forfeitures, as well as those statutes which
are strictly construed)
- Where a statute directs the erformance of certain acts
by a articular erson or class or ersons, it imlies that
it shall not be done otherwise or be a different erson or
class of ersons)
- !f a statute enumerates the things uon which it is to
oerate, e$erything else must necessarily, and by
imlication, be e#cluded)
Li(it!ti%#* %- )"e
- &he rule expressio unius est exclusio alterius is not a
rule of law) !t is a mere tool of statutory construction or
a means of ascertaining the legislati$e intent)
- &he rule, not being infle#ible nor a mechanical or
technical tool, must yield to what is clearly a legislati$e
intent)
- !t is no more than an au#iliary rule of interretation to
be ignored where other circumstances indicate that the
enumeration was not intended to be e#clusi$e)
- !t should alied only as a means of disco$ering
legislati$e intent and should not be ermitted to defeat
the lainly indicated urose of the legislature)
- !t will not aly where the enumeration is by way of
e#amle or to remo$e doubts only)
- !t will not aly in case a statute aears uon its face
to limit the oeration of its ro$isions to articular
ersons or things by enumerating them, but no reason
e#ists why other ersons or things not so enumerated
should not ha$e been included and manifest injustice
will follow by not including them)
- &he rule may be disregarded of it will result to
incongruities or a $iolation of the e(ual rotection clause
of the constitution, incon$enience, hardshi and injury
to the ublic interest)
- Where the legislati$e intent shows that the enumeration
is not e#clusi$e, the ma#im does not aly)
25
D%,ti#e %- casus omissus
- &he rule of casus omissus pro omisso habendus est
states that a erson, object or thing omitted from an
enumeration must be held to ha$e been omitted
intentionally)
- *rincile roceeds from a reasonable certainty that a
articular erson, object or thing has been omitted from
a legislati$e enumeration
- &he rule does not aly where it is shown that the
legislature did not intend to e#clude the erson, thing,
object from the enumeration) !f such legislati$e intent is
clearly indicated, the court may suly the omission if to
do so will carry out the clear intent of the legislature and
will not do $iolence to its language)
D%,ti#e %- "!*t !#te,e2e#t
- 3ualifying words restrict or modify only the words or
hrases to which they are immediately associated) &hey
do not (ualify words or hrases which are distantly or
remotely located)
- !n the absence of legislati$e intent to the contrary,
referential and (ualifying words and hrases must be
alied only to their immediate or last antecedent, and
not to the other remote or receding words or
association of words)
- &he ma#im e#ressi$e of this rule is proximum
antecedens fiat relatio nisi impediatur sententia, or
relati$e words refer to the nearest antecedents, unless
the conte#t otherwise re(uires)
- &he use of comma to searate an antecedent from the
rest e#erts a dominant influence in the alication of the
doctrine of last antecedent)
3)!"i-i,!ti%# %- t.e 2%,ti#e
- 5octrine of last antecedent is subject to the e#cetion
that where the intention of the law is to aly the
hrase to all antecedents embraced in the ro$ision, the
same should be made e#tensi$e to the whole)
- Slight indication of legislati$e intent so to e#tend the
relati$e term is sufficient) Nor does the doctrine aly
where the intention is not to (ualify the antecedent at
all)
Reddendo singular singulis
- &he $ariation of the doctrine of last antecedent is the
rule of reddendo singular singulis) &he ma#im means
referring each to eachF referring each hrase or
e#ression to its aroriate object, or let each be ut in
its roer lace, that is, the words should be taBen
distributi$ely)
- &eddendo singular singulis re(uires that the antecedents
and conse(uences should be read distributi$ely to the
effect that each word is to be alied to the subject to
which it aears by conte#t most aroriately related
and to which it is most alicable)
P%0i*%*, $e#e!""1
- &he office of a ro$iso is either to limit the alication of
the enacting clause, section, or ro$ision of a statute, or
to e#cet something therefrom, or to (ualify or restrain
its generality , or to e#clude some ossible ground of
misinterretation of it, as e#tending to cases not
intended by the legislature to be brought within its
ur$iew)
- !ts rimary urose is to limit or restrict the general
language or oeration of the statute, not to enlarge it)
- A ro$iso is commonly found at the end of a section, or
ro$ision of a statute and is introduced, as a rule by the
word H*ro$idedI
- What determines whether a clause is a ro$iso is its
substance rather than its form) !f it erforms any of the
functions of a ro$iso, then it will be regarded as such,
irresecti$e of what word or hase is used to introduce
it) !t is a (uestion of legislati$e intent)
P%0i*% (!1 e#"!$e *,%&e %- "!/
- It has been held that He$en though the rimary urose
of the ro$iso is to limit or restrain the general language
of a statute, the legislature, unfortunately, does not
always use it with technical correctnessF conse(uently,
where its use creates an ambiguity, it is the duty of the
26
court to ascertain the legislati$e intention, through
resort to the usual rules of construction alicable to
statutes generally and gi$e it effect e$en though the
statute is thereby enlarged, or the ro$ision made to
assume the force of indeendent enactment and
although a ro$iso as such has no e#istence aart from
which it is designed to limit or (ualify)
- A ro$iso may thus enlarge, instead of restrict or limit,
what otherwise is a hrase of limited imort has there
been no ro$iso (ualifying it)
P%0i*% !* !22iti%#!" "e$i*"!ti%#
- A ro$iso may also assume the role of an additional
legislation)
- A clear and un(ualified urose e#ressed in the
oening statement of a section of a statute comrising
se$eral subdi$isions has been construed as controlling
and limiting a ro$iso attached to one of the
subdi$isions, where the ro$iso, if segregated
therefrom, would mean e#actly the re$erse of what it
necessarily imlied when read in connection with the
limitation)
W.!t &%0i*% 6)!"i-ie*
- The general rule is that the office of the ro$iso (ualifies
or modifies only the hrase immediately receding it or
restrains or limits the generality of the clause that it
immediately follows)
- It should be confined to that which directly recedes it,
or to the section to which it has been aended, unless
it clearly aears that the legislature intended it to ha$e
a wider scoe)
E5,e&ti%# t% t.e )"e
- Where the legislati$e intent is to restrain or (ualify not
only the hrase immediately receding it but also earlier
ro$isions of the statute or e$en the statute itself as a
whole, then the ro$iso will be construed in that
manner, in order that the intent of the law may be
carried out)
Re&)$#!#,e +et/ee# &%0i*% !#2 (!i# &%0i*i%#
- A ro$iso should be so construed as to harmoni'e and
not to reeal or destroy, the main ro$ision of the
statute)
- When there is an irreconcilable conflict or reugnancy
between a ro$iso and the main ro$ision of a statute,
that which is a located in a later ortion of the statute
re$ails, unless there is a legislati$e intent to the
contrary or such construction will destroy the whole
statute itself)
- &he latter ro$ision, whether a ro$iso or not, is gi$en
reference because it is the latest e#ression of the
intent of the legislation)
E5,e&ti%#* $e#e!""1
- An e#cetion consists of that which would otherwise be
included in the ro$ision from which it is e#ceted)
- An e#cetion will be construed as such if it remo$es
something from the oeration of a ro$ision of law)
- !t is often said that an e#cetion confirms the general
rule) !t should not be construed to (ualify the words or
hrases constituting the general rule)
- !t is well settled that the e#ress mention of e#cetions
oerates to e#clude other e#cetions and con$ersely,
those which are not within the enumerated e#cetions
are deemed included in the general rule)
- E#cetions, as a general rule, should be strictly but
reasonably construed)
E5,e&ti%# !#2 &%0i*% 2i*ti#$)i*.e2
- an e#cetion differs from a ro$iso) An e#cetion
e#emts something absolute from the oeration of a
statute, by e#ress words in the enacting clause)
- A ro$iso defeats its oeration conditionally)
- A ro$iso a$oids them by way of defeasance or e#cuse)
An e#cetion is generally a art of the enactment itself,
absolutely e#cluding from its oeration some subject or
thing that otherwise would fall within its scoe)
- +ut when the enactment is modified by engrafting uon
it a new ro$ision by way of amendment, ro$iding
27
conditionally for a new case, it is in the nature of a
ro$iso)
- 6ne of the functions of a ro$iso is to e#cet something
from an enacting clause) !n this sense, an e#cetion and
a ro$iso are similar)
S!0i#$ ,"!)*e
- !t is a clause in a ro$ision of law which oerates to
e#cet from the effect of the law what the clause
ro$ides or to sa$e something which would otherwise be
lost)
- !t is used to e#cet or sa$e something from the effect of
a reeal of a statute)
- !t should be construed in the light of the intent or
urose of the legislature /the rincial consideration
being to effectuate such intent or carry out such
urose0)
- !t should be gi$en a strict or liberal construction
deending uon the Bind of interretation that should,
considering its nature, be gi$en to the statute as a
whole)
CHAPTER 8: STATUTE CONSTREUD AS
WHOLE AND IN RELATION TO OTHER
STATUTES
=);- Generally
A statute is assed as a while and not in arts or sections and
is animated by one general urose and intent) %onse(uently,
each art or section should be construed in connection with
e$ery other art and section so as to roduce a harmonious
whole) Whole and e$ery art of statute should be construed
together)
=);1 !ntent ascertained from statue as whole
&he intent or meaning of a statue should be ascertained from
the statute taBen as a whole and not from an isolated art or
ro$ision thereof) &he legislati$e meaning is to be e#tracted
form the statue as a whole) !ts clauses are not to be segrated,
but e$ery art of a statute is to be construed with reference to
e$ery other art and e$ery word and hrase in connection with
its conte#t) Optima statute interpretatrix est ipsum statutum.
&he best interreter of a statute is the statue itself)
=);2 *urose or conte#t as controlling guide
A statute must always be construed as a whole, and the
articular meaning to be attached to any word or hrase is
usually to be ascertained from the conte#t, the nature of the
subject treated and the urose or intention of the body which
enacted or framed the statute) Statute must recei$e a
reasonable construction, reference being had to their
controlling urose, to all their ro$isions, force and effect
being gi$en not narrowly to isolated and disjoined clauses, but
to their sirit, broadly taBing all their ro$isions together in one
rational $iew)
=);> Gi$ing effect to statute as a whole
+ecause a statute is enacted in whole and not in arts or
sections, which imlies that one art is as imortant as the
other, the statue should be construed and gi$en effect as a
whole) A ro$ision or section which is unclear by itself may be
made clear by reading and construing it in relation to the whole
statute) E$ery art of a statute should be gi$en effect because
a statute is enacted as an integrated measure and not as a
hodgeodge of conflicting ro$isions)
%ourt should adot a construction that will gi$e effect to e$ery
art of a statue, if at all ossible) &his rule is e#ressed in the
ma#im ut res magis aleat #uam pereat or the construction is
to be sought which gi$es effect to the whole of the statuteOits
e$ery word)
=);< Aarently conflicting ro$isions reconciled
&he rule that a statute must be construed and gi$en effect as a
whole re(uires that aarently conflicting ro$isions should be
reconciled and harmoni'ed, if at all ossible) All the ro$isions,
e$en if aarently contradictory, should be allowed to stand
and gi$en effect by reconciling time) &he statute must be so
construed as to re$ent a conflict between arts of it) 9or it is
only by so construing a statute that the statute will be gi$en
effect as a whole)
=);= Secial and general ro$isions in same statute
28
When there is a articular or secial ro$ision and a general
ro$ision in the same statue and the latter in its most
comrehensi$e sense would o$errule the former, the articular
or secial ro$ision must be oerati$e and the general ro$ision
must be taBen to affect only the other arts of the statute to
which it may roerly aly) &he articular or secial ro$ision
is construed as an e#cetion to the general ro$ision)
=);? %onstruction as not to render ro$ision nugatory
&he whole state should, if ossible, be gi$en effect is
that a ro$ision of a statute should be so construed as not to
nullify or render nugatory another ro$ision of the same
statute)
'nterpretatio fienda est ut res magis aleat #uam
pereat, which means that a law should be interreted with a
$iew to uholding rather than destroying it) A construction that
would render a ro$ision inoerati$e or ineffecti$e should be
a$oided)
=);@ Reason for the rule
&he construction that re(uires that aarently conflicting
ro$isions of a statute be reconciled and harmoni'ed, if at all
ossible and that a ro$ision should be so construed as not to
nullify another, is based on the resumtion that the legislature
has enacted a statute whose ro$isions are in harmony and
consistent with each other and that conflicting intentions in the
same statue are ne$er suosed or regarded)
=);: Dualification of rule
6ne art of a statute cannot be reconciled or
harmoni'ed with another art without nullifying one in fa$or of
the other, the court should, in construing the statue, choose
one which will best effectuate the legislati$e intent) Rule" where
absolute harmony between arts of a statue is demonstrably
not ossible, the court must reject that one which is least in
accord with the general lan of the whole statue) 8owe$er, if
there be no such ground for choice between inharmonious
ro$isions or sections, the latter ro$ision or section, beign the
last e#ression of the legislati$e will, must, in construction,
$acate the former to the e#tent of the reugnancy)

=)-; %onstruction as to gi$e life to law
Law must recei$e sensible interretation to romote the
ends for which they are enacted) &hey should be gi$en
reasonable and ractical construction as will gi$e life to them, if
it can be done without doing $iolence to reason) %on$ersely, a
law should not be construed as to allow the doing of an act
which is rohibited by law, nor so interreted as to afford an
oortunity to defeat comliance in terms, create an
inconsistency, or contra$ene the lain words of the law)
'nterpretatio fienda est ut res magis aleat #uam pereat or that
interretation that will gi$e the thing efficacy is to be adoted)
&he court should start with the assumtion that the
legislature did not do a $ain thin gin the enactment of the
statute) !t is to be resumed that the law is comlete by itself)
0t res magis aleat #uam pereat, that the courts should, if
reasonably ossible to do so without $iolence to the sirit and
language of an act, so interret a statute as to gi$e it efficient
oeration and effect as a whole)
=)-- %onstruction to a$oid surlusage
&he rule that a statue should be gi$en effect as a whole
re(uires that the state be so construed as to maBe no art of
ro$ision thereof surlusage) A legal ro$ision must not be so
construed as to be a useless surlusage, and accordingly,
meaningless in the sens of adding nothing to the law or ha$ing
no effect whatsoe$er therein) Nor should a word be so
construed as to render other words or hrases associated with
it ser$es no urose) 9or the legislature, in enacting a law, is
resumed to ha$e used the word or hrase for a urose) !n
short, the legislature, in enacting a statute, is suosed not to
insert a ro$ision which is unnecessary and a surlusage)
=)-2 Statute and its amendments construed together
All arts of a statute are to be harmoni'ed and
reconciled so that effect may be gi$en to each and e$ery art
thereof alies to the construction of a statute and its
amendments) Amendments should be gi$en effect) !t is to be
resumed that the changes ha$e some urose, which should
be ascertained and gi$en effect)
29
B. STATUTE CONSTRUED IN RELATION TO
CONSTITUTION AND OTHER STATUTES
=)-> Statute construed in harmony with the %onstitution
As the %onstitution is the fundamental law to which all
laws are subser$ient, a statute should not be interreted
indeendently of the %onstitution) &he statute should be
construed in harmony with and not in $iolation of the
fundamental law) !t is resumed that the legislature in enacting
a law, ha$e adhered to the constitutional limitations)
A statute should be construed whene$er ossible in a
manner that will a$oid conflict with the %onstitution) !t should
not be construed in such a way as will gi$e rise to a
constitutional doubt) Nor should it be interreted in such a
manner as will render its alication $iolati$e of a constitutional
inhibition) !t should be interreted in consonance, rather than
reugnant to, any constitutional command or rescrition)
Where a statute is reasonable suscetible of two
constructions, one constitutional and the other unconstitutional,
that construction in fa$or of its constitutionality shall be
adoted and the construction that will render it in$alid rejected)
E$ery intendment of law should lean towards its $alidity and
the court should fa$or that construction which gi$es it the
greater chance of sur$i$ing the test of constitutionality)
!f there is doubt or uncertainty as to the meaning of the
legislature, if the words or ro$isions are obscure, or if the
enactment is fairly suscetible of two or more constructions,
that interretation will be adoted which will a$oid the effect of
unconstitutionality, e$en though it may be necessary, for this
urose, to disregard the more usual or aarent imort of the
language emloyed) 8owe$er, the court cannot, in order to
bring a statute within the fundamental law, amend it by
construction)
=)-< Statutes in ari materia
Statutes are in ari material when they relate to the
same erson or thing, or ha$e the same urose or object, or
co$er the same secific or articular subject matter) &he later
statute may secifically refer to the rior statutes) &he fact that
no reference is made to the rior law does not mean that the
two laws are not in ari materia) !t is sufficient, in order that
they may be considered in ari materia, that the two or more
statute relate to the same secific subject matter) &wo laws are
not in ari materia if they refer to different secific matters,
although they both fall under the same broad subject)
=)-= 8ow statutes in ari materia construed
A statute should be construed as to harmoni'e with
other laws on the same subject matter as to form a comlete,
coherent and intelligible system) 'nterpretare et concordare
leges legibus est optimus interpretandi modus or e$ery statute
must be so construed and harmoni'ed with other statutes as to
form a uniform system of jurisrudence)
Statutes in ari materia should be construed together to
attain the urose of an e#ress national olicy) 9or the
assumtion is that whene$er the legislature enacts a law, it has
in mind the re$ious statutes relating to the same subject
matter, and in the absence of any e#ress reeal or
amendment, the new statute is deemed enacted in accord with
the legislati$e olicy embodied in the rior statutes and they
should be construed together) *ro$isons in an act which are
omitted in another act relating to the same subject matter will
be alied in a roceeding under the other act when not
inconsistent with its urose) *rior statutes relating to the same
subject matter are to be comared with the new ro$isions,
and if ossible by reasonable construction, both are to be
construed that effect is gi$en to e$ery ro$ision of such)
Statutes in ari materia, although in aarent conflict, are so
far as reasonably ossible construed to be in harmony with
each other) 'nterpretare et concordare leges legibus, est
optimus interpretandi modus, which means that the best
method of interretation is that which maBes laws consistent
with other laws)
When two or more statutes on the same subject were
enacted at different times and under dissimilar circumstances
or conditions, their interretation should be in accordance with
the circumstances or conditions eculiar to each, in order that
the statutes may be harmoni'ed or better understood) Rule
based on" distingue tempora et concordabis .ura, or distinguish
times and you will harmoni'e laws)
A statute will not, howe$er, be construed as reealing
rior act on the same subject in the absence of words to that
30
effect, unless there is an irreconcilable reugnancy between
them or unless the new law is e$idently intended to suersede
all rior acts on the matter and to comrise itself the sole and
comlete system of legislation on the subject)
=)-? Reasons why laws on same subject are reconciled
!n enacting a statute, the legislature is resumed to
ha$e been aware of, and ha$e taBen into account, rior laws on
the subject of legislation) !t cannot be said that they intended
the establishment of conflicting and hostile systems on the
same subject, or to lea$e in force ro$isions of a rior law
which may thwart and o$erthrow the will of the legislature)
=)-@ Where harmoni'ation is imossible
!f two or more laws on the same subject cannot ossibly
be reconciled or harmoni'ed, one has to gi$e way in fa$or of
the other) &here cannot be two conflicting laws on the same
subject) &he earlier one must yield to the later one, it being the
later e#ression of the legislati$e will)
=)-: !llustration of the rule
=)1; General and secial statutes
A general statute is a statute which alies to all of the
eole of the state or to all of a articular class of ersons in
the state with e(ual force) !t is one which embraces of a class
of subject or laces and does not omit any subject or lace
naturally belonging to such class) A secial statute is one which
relates to articular ersons or things of a class or to a
articular ortion or section of the state only)
A general law and secial law on the same subject are
statutes in ari material and should, accordingly be read
together and harmoni'ed, if ossible, with a $iew to gi$ing
effect to both) Rule" where there are two acts, one of which is
secial and articular and the other general which, if standing
alone, would include the same matter and thus conflict with the
secial act, the secial must re$ail since it e$inces the
legislati$e intent more clearly than that of a general statute and
must be taBen as intended to constitute an e#cetion to the
general act)
&he circumstance that the secial law is assed before
or after the general act does not change the rincile) Where
the secial law is later, it will be regarded as an e#cetion to or
(ualification of, the rior general actF and where the general
act is later, the secial statute will be construed as remaining
an e#cetion to its terms, unless reealed e#ressly or by
necessary imlication)
Where two statutes are of e(ual theoretical alication
to a articular case, the one designed therefore secially should
re$ail)
=)1- Reason for the rule
Reason" /secial as e#cetion to the general0 the
legislature in assing a law of secial character has its attention
directed to the secial facts and circumstance which the secial
facts and circumstances which the secial act is intended to
meet)
=)11 Dualifications of the rule
&he rule is not absolute) 6ne e#cetion is that where the
legislature clearly intended the later general enactment to
co$er the whole subject and to reeal all rior laws inconsistent
therewith, the general law re$ails o$er a secial law on the
subject) !n such case, there is a reeal of the secial law)
Another e#cetion" where the secial law merely
establishes a general rule while the general law creates a
secific and secial rule, in which case the general law re$ails
o$er the secial law)
&he rule does not aly where the situation is re$ersed,
that is, the general law treats the subject in articular and the
secial law refers to it in general) !n this situation, the general
law re$ails o$er the secial law in the e$ent of reugnancy or
conflict between the two laws)
=)12 Reference statutes
A reference statute is a statute which refers to other
statutes and maBes them alicable to the subject of
legislation) !t is incororation in a statute of another statute by
reference) !t is used to a$oid encumbering the statute booBs of
unnecessary reetition, and they ha$e been recogni'ed as an
aro$ed method of legislation, in the absence of constitutional
restrictions)
31
&he adotion by reference of a statute that was
re$iously reealed re$i$es the statute) &he adotion taBes the
adoted statute as it e#ists at the tie of adotion and does not
include the subse(uent changes or modification of the statute
so taBen, unless it does so e#ressly)
A reference statute should be so construed as to
harmoni'e with, and to gi$e effect to, the adoted statute)
=)1> Sulemental statutes
A sulemental act is one intended to suly
deficiencies in an e#isting statute and to add, to comlete, or
e#tend the statute without changing or modifying its original
te#t) &he original statute and the sulemental act should be
read and construed together to maBe an intelligible whole)
=)1< Reenacted statutes
A statute which reenacts a re$ious statute or the
ro$isions thereof is Bnown as reenacted statute) A
reenactment is one in which the ro$isions of an earlier statute
are reroduced in the same or substantially the same words)
&he reenactment may also be made by reference) &hus, where
a statute ro$ides that all laws not inconsistent with the
ro$isions thereof are deemed incororated and made integral
arts thereof by reference, such re$ious laws on the same
subject matter are deemed enacted)
&he reenactment is a legislati$e e#ression of intention
to adot the construction as well as the language of the rior
act) Rule" when a statute or a ro$ision thereof has been
construed by the court of last resort and the same is
substantially reenacted, the legislature may be regarded as
adoting such construction, and the construction which the
adoted statute re$iously recei$ed)
&he rule is that two statute with a arallel scoe,
urose and terminology should, each in its own field, ha$e a
liBe interretation, unless in articular instances there is
something eculiar in the (uestion under the consideration, or
dissimilar in the terms of the act relating thereto, re(uiring a
different conclusion)
=)1= Adotion of contemoraneous construction
&he reenactment of a statute which has recei$ed a
ractical or contemoraneous construction by those charged
with the duty of e#ecuting it is a ersuasi$e indication of the
adotion by the legislature of the rior ractical or e#ecuti$e
construction, the legislature being resumed to Bnow the
e#istence of such construction when it made the reenactment)
=)1? Dualification of the rule
the rule that when a judicial or contemoraneous
construction has been gi$en to a statute, the reenactment of
the statute is generally held to be in effect a legislati$e
adotion of the construction, alies only when the statute is
caable of the construction gi$en to it and when the
construction has become a settled rule of conduct)
=)1@ Adoted statutes
An adoted statute is statute atterned after, or
coied from a statute of a foreign country) !n construing it, the
court should taBe into consideration the construction of the law
by the courts of the country from which it is taBen, as well as
the law itself and the ractices under it, for the legislature is
resumed to ha$e adoted such construction and ractices with
the adotion of the law) &he resumtion does not, howe$er,
aly to construction gi$en the statute subse(uent to its
adotion, although it had ersuasi$e effect on the interretation
of the adoted statute)
C.!&te 9: STRICT OR LIBERAL
CONSTRUCTION
A) !N GENERAL
?)-) Generally"
Whether a statute is to be gi$en a strict or liberal
construction will be deend uon the nature of the
statute, the urose to be subser$ed and the mischief to
be remedied, and a strict or liberal interretation will be
gi$en a statute that will best accomlish the end desired
and effectuate legislati$e intent)
32
?)1) Strict construction, generally
Strict construction is that construction according
to the letter of a statute, which recogni'es nothing that
is not e#ressed, taBes the language used in its e#act
meaning, and admits no e(uitable consideration) !t
does not mean gi$ing a statute its narrowest meaning of
which it is suscetible) Nor does it mean that words
shall be so restricted as not to ha$e their full meaning)
Scoe of statute shall not be e#tended or enlarged by
imlication, intendment, or e(uitable consideration
beyond the literal meaning of its terms)
?)2) Liberal construction, defined)
Liberal constructions means such e(uitable
construction as will enlarge of a statute to accomlish its
intended urose, carry out its intent, or romote
justice) !t does not mean enlargement of a ro$ision
which is clear, unambiguous and free from doubt, for a
statute which is lain and clear is not subject to
construction) Liberal construction is that construction
which e#ands the meaning of a statute to meet cases
which are clearly within the sirit or reason thereof or
within the e$il which the statute was designed to
remedy, or which gi$e the statute its generally acceted
meaning to the end that the most comrehensi$e
alication thereof maybe accorded, without being
inconsistent with its language or doing $iolence to any of
its terms) Liberal construction means that the words
should recei$e a fair and reasonable interretation, so as
to attain the intent, sirit and urose of the law)
?)>) Liberal construction alied, generally)
&he literal meaning of the words used may be
rejected if the result of adoting said meaning would be
to defeat urose of the law) Liberal interretation so
as to sa$e the statute from obliteration, ut res magis
aleat #uam pereat) %onstruction by this nature and the
act of the court in engrafting uon a law something
which its belie$es ought to ha$e been embraced therein)
&he former is liberal construction and is a legitimate
e#ercise of judicial ower) &he latter is judicial
legislation forbidden by the triartite di$ision of owers
among the three deartments of go$ernment, the
e#ecuti$e, the legislati$e and the judicial) A statute may
not be liberally construed to read into it something
which its clear and lain language rejects)
?)<) %onstruction to romote social justice)
H!t /social justice mandate0 is meant for the three
deartments" the legislati$e, e#ecuti$e, and judicial, because
the latter two are no less than the agencies of the state than
the first) Enhance social justice)
?)=) %onstruction taBing into consideration general welfare or
growth of ci$ili'ation)
Some authorities ad$ocate a construction which
seeBs an e#ansi$e alication of statutes to attain the general
welfare) salus populi est suprema lex) Statute enacted for the
ublic good are to be construed liberally) "tatuta pro publico
commodo late interpretantur) An authority on the subject
e#ounds on this tye of construction" H&here is for me in all
cases a rincile of statutory construction not to be found on
the booBs, but which for the *hiliine !slands is all.imortant)
!n the resolution of all (uestions, ! begin with these (ueries"
what is for the best interest of the 9iliino eoleP
H&he statute in general has two, articulate organs for
lawmaBing uroses 3 the legislature and the tribunal) 9irst
organ maBes new law, the second attests and confirms old law)
Statutes must be interreted in the light of the growth of
ci$ili'ation and $arying conditions)
?)?) *enal statutes, generally)
*enal statutes refer to those laws by which
unishments are imosed for $iolation or transgression of their
ro$isions) Acts of the legislature which rohibit certain acts
and establish enalties for their $iolationF or those that define
crimes, treat of their nature and ro$ide for their unishment)
*enal or criminal laws are those which imose unishment for
an offense committed against the state, and which the chief
e#ecuti$e has the ower to ardon) A statute which decrees
the forfeiture in fa$or of the state of une#lained wealth
ac(uired by a ublic official while in office is criminal in nature)
33
?)@) *enal statutes strictly construed)
*enal or criminal laws are strictly construed
against the State and liberally in fa$or of the accused cannot
be enlarged or e#tended by intendment, imlication, or any
e(uitable consideration) &he language of a enal statutes
cannot be enlarged beyond the ordinary meaning of its terms in
order to carry into effect the general urose for which the
statute was enacted) Resol$ed in fa$or of the erson accused
of $iolating the statute)
No erson should be brought within the terms of a statute who
is not clearly within them, nor should any act be ronounced
criminal which is not clearly made so by the statute)
&he rule that enal statutes are strictly construed does
not mean that e$ery enal law must be so narrowly construed
as to defeat the law itselfF it merely means that they are not to
be construed so strictly as to nullify or destroy the ob$ious
urose of the legislature) +e construed with such strictness as
to carefully safeguard the rights of the defendant and at the
same time reser$e the ob$ious intention of the legislature) !t
will endea$or to effect substantial justice)
%areful scrutiny safeguard the rights of the accused)
&wo reasonable but contradictory constructions, that which
oerates in fa$or of a arty accused under its ro$ision is to be
referred) &he rincile is that acts in and of themsel$es
innocent and lawful cannot be held to be criminal unless there
is a clear and une(ui$ocal e#ression of the legislati$e intent to
maBe them such)
?):) Reason why enal statutes are strictly construed)
Law is tender in fa$or of the rights of an
indi$idualF the object is to establish a certain rule by conformity
to which manBind would be safe, and the discretion of the court
limited) &he urose of strict construction is not to enable a
guilty erson to escae unishment through a technicality but
to ro$ide a recise definition of forbidden acts)
7.10. Acts mala in se and mala prohibita)
General rule is that a enal statute will not be
construed to maBe the commission of certain rohibited acts
criminal without regard to the intent of the doer, unless there is
a clear legislati$e intent to the contraryF e$il intent must
combine with an act) )ctus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea,
the act itself does not maBe a man guilty unless his intention
were so) )ctus me inito factus non est meus actus, an act
done by me against my will is not my act) Mala in se, criminal
intent, aart from the act itself, is re(uired but in those which
are mala prohibita the only in(uiry is, has the law been
$iolated)
?)-1 Limitation of the rule)
&he rule that enal statutes are gi$en a strict
construction is not the only factor in the interretation of the
criminal lawsF merely ser$es as an additional factor to be
considered as an aid in ascertaining the meaning of enal laws)
A strict construction should not be ermitted to defeat the
intent, olicy, and urose of the statute) &he court should
consider the sirit and reason of a statute where a literal
meaning would lead to absurdity, contradiction, injustice, or
would defeat the clear urose of the law, for strict
construction of a criminal statute does not mean such
construction as to deri$e it of the meaning intended)
%aable of two interretations, one which will oerate to
e#emt an accused from liability for $iolation thereof and
another which will gi$e effect to the manifest intent of the
statute and romote its object, the latter the interretation
should be adotedF they are not to be so strictly construed as
to defeat the ob$ious urose of the legislature)
?)-2 Statutes in derogation of rights)
*eole in reublican state enjoy certain rights,
which are either inherent or guaranteed by the constitution or
rotected by lawF rights are not absolute, and the state, in the
e#ercise of its olice ower, may enact legislations curtailing or
restricting their enjoyment) As these statutes are in derogation
of common or general rights, they are generally strictly
construed and rigidly confined to cases clearly within their
scoe or urose)F two reasonably ossible constructions, one
which would diminish or restrict fundamental right of the eole
and the other of which would not do so, the latter construction
34
must be adoted so as to allow full enjoyment of such
fundamental right)
?)-> Statutes authori'ing e#roriations)
&he ower of eminent domain is essentially
legislati$e in nature) &he legislature may not, howe$er, by
itself, e#ercise such ower by enacting a law directly
e#roriating a articular land and fi#ing the amount of just
comensation thereof) !t may delegate the ower, by law,
subject to hearing as to just comensation to the resident,
local go$ernment units, or a ublic utility comany)F strictly
construed against the e#roriating authority and liberally in
fa$or of roerty ownersF He#ercise of the right of eminent
domain, whether by the state or by its authori'ed agents, is
necessarily in derogation of ri$ate rights, and the rule in that
case is that the authority must be strictly construedF right to
freehold inhabitants)
?)-< Statutes granting ri$ileges)
Statutes granting ad$antages to ri$ate ersons
or entities ha$e in many instance created secial ri$ileges or
monoolies for the rantees and ha$e thus been $iewed with
susicion and strictly construedF ublic ad$antage is gained by
the grant, it narrowly aears to be secondary significance
comared with the ad$antage gained by the grantee)
Strict construction re(uires that those who in$oBe
a secial ri$ilege granted by the statute must comly strictly
with its ro$isions) 5riilegia recipient largam interpretationem
oluntati consonam concedentis, or ri$ileges are to be
interreted in accordance with the will of him who grants them)
?)-= Legislati$e grants to local go$ernment units)
Legislati$e grants in fa$or of local go$ernment
units are grants of a ublic nature, and hence, should be
strictly construed against the grantee)F there is in such a grant
a gratuitous donation of ublic money or roerty which results
in an unfair ad$antage to the grantee and for that reason, the
grant should be narrowly restricted in fa$or of the ublic)
?)-? Statutory grounds for remo$al of officials)
Statutes relating to susension or remo$al of
ublic officials are strictly construed) F remo$al is to be confined
within the limits rescribed for itF the causes, manner and
conditions fi#ed must be ursued with strictnessF where the
cause of remo$al is secified, the secification amounts to a
rohibition to remo$e for a different cause, which is a
arahrase of the ma#im expressio unius est exclusion alterius)
F remedy of remo$al is drastic one and enal in nature)F where
a statute ro$ides that a ublic official may be remo$ed for
Hneglect of duty, oression, corrution or other forms of
maladministration in office,I the hrase Qin officeI should be
construed to (ualify the enumerated grounds, in that the
grounds must be such as affect the officerCs erformance of his
duties as an officer and not such as affect only his character as
a ri$ate erson)
?)-@ Naturali'ation laws)
Laws on naturali'ation are strictly construed
against an alicant for citi'enshi and rigidly followed and
enforced) F right of an alien to become a citi'en by
naturali'ation is a statutory rather that a natural one, and it
does not become $ested until he files a etition and establishes
by cometent and satisfactory e$idence that he has all the
(ualifications and none of the dis(ualifications secified by law)
?)-: Statutes imosing ta#es and custom duties)
&he ower to ta# is an incident of so$ereignty
and is unlimited in its range, acBnowledging in its $ery nature
no limits, so that security against its abuse the is to be found
only in the resonsibility of the legislature which imoses the
ta# of the constituency who are to ay it) F Hower to ta#
in$ol$es the ower to destroy)I F ta# statutes must
be construed strictly against the go$ernment and liberally in
fa$or of the ta#ayer) F the statute is to be construed strictly
against the subjection to ta# liability, and it will not be
construed as imosing a ta# unless it does so clearly, e#ressly
and unambiguously ) a ta# cannot be imosed without clear and
e#ress words for that urose) &a# or customs laws may not
be e#tended by imlication beyond the clear imort of their
language, nor their oeration enlarged so as to embrace
matters not secifically ro$ided) F
35
Reason 3 ta#ation is a destructi$e ower which
interferes with the ersonal and roerty rights of the eole
and taBes from them a ortion of their roerty for the suort
of the go$ernment)F burdens are not to be imosed, nor
resumed to be imosed, beyond what the statutes e#ressly
and clearly imort)
?)1; Statutes granting ta# e#emtions)
&a#es are what the eole ay for ci$ili'ed
society) F lifeblood of the nation) &he law frowns against
e#emtions from ta#ation) Laws granting ta# e#emtions are
thus construed strictissmi .uris against the ta#ayer and
liberally in fa$or of the ta#ing authority) &a#ation is the rule
and e#emtion is thee#cetion) &he burden of roof rests uon
the arty claiming e#emtion to ro$e that it is in fact co$ered
by the e#emtion so claimed) Statutes granting ta#
e#emtions are construed strictissimi .uris against the
ta#ayer and liberally in fa$or of the ta#ing authority) +asis 3
to minimi'e the different treatment and foster imartiality,
fairness and e(uality of treatment among ta#ayers) 9or
e#emtions from ta#ation are not fa$ored in law, nor are they
resumed) &hey must be e#ressed in the clearest and most
unambiguous language and not left to mere imlications)
He#emtions are ne$er resumed, the burden is on the claimant
to establish clearly his right to e#emtion and an alleged grant
of e#emtion will be strictly construed and cannot be made out
by inference or imlications but must be beyond reasonable
doubt) !n other words, since ta#ation is the rule and e#emtion
the intention to maBe an e#emtion ought to be e#ressed in
clear and unambiguous terms)
?)1- Dualification of rule)
Not absolute) Where the ro$ision of the law is
clear and unambiguous , so that there is no occasion for the
court seeBing the legislati$e intent, the law must be taBen as it
is, de$oid of judicial addition or subtraction) Law ro$ides no
(ualification for the granting of ta# e#emtion, the court is not
at liberty to suly one))F does not aly in the case of ta#
e#emtions in fa$or of the go$ernment itself or its agencies)
?)11 Statutes concerning the so$ereign)
Restricti$e statutes which imose burdens on the
ublic treasury or which diminish rights and interest are strictly
construed) 9or this reason, such statutes , no matter how
broad their terms are, do not embrace the so$ereign, unless
the so$ereign is secifically mentioned)
?)12 Statutes authori'ing suits against the go$ernment)
HState may not be sued without its consent)I 3
reaffirms uni$ersal rule that the so$ereign is e#emt from suit,
in the absence of its consent to be sued usually in the form of a
statute to that effect, not because of any formal concetion or
absolute theory but on the logical and ractical ground that
there can be no legal right deends) 3ullum tempus occurrit
regi) A statute whereby the state gi$es its consent to be sued
is strictly construed, and the wai$er of immunity from suit,
being in derogation of so$ereignty, will not be lightly inferred)
?)1> Statutes rescribing formalities of will)
Statutes rescribing the formalities to be
obser$ed in the e#ecution of wills are strictly construed, F a will
must be e#ecuted in accordance with the statutory
re(uirements, otherwise it is entirely $oid) F aly the intent of
the legislators and not that of the testator, and the latterCs
intention is fre(uently defeated by the non.obser$ance of what
the statute re(uires)
?)1< E#cetions and ro$isos)
As a rule, e#cetions should be strictly but
reasonably construedF they e#tend only so far as their
language fairly warrants, and all doubts should be resol$ed in
fa$or of the general ro$ision rather than the e#cetion) &he
court will not curtail the former nor add to the latter by
imlication, and it is a rule that an e#ress e#cetion e#cludes
all others, although it is always roer in determining the
alicability of this rule to in(uire whether, in the articular
case, it accords with reason and justice)
Similarly, a statute, rule or situation which allows
e#cetions to the re(uirement of warrant of arrest or search
warrant must be strictly construed) A reference is an
e#cetion to the general rule and it is what its name imlies)
36
A ro$iso should be interreted consistently with
the legislati$e intent) &he reason is that the legislati$e urose
set forth in the general enactment e#resses the legislati$e
olicy and only those e#ressly e#emted by the ro$iso should
be freed from the oeration of the statute)
%) S&A&7&ES L!+ERALLY %6NS&R7E5
?)1= General social legislation
!mlement the social justice and rotection.to.
labor ro$isions of the %onstitution are Bnown as general
welfare legislations) &hese statutes are construed liberally)
General welfare legislations, the courts will be guided by more
than just an in(uiry into the letter of the law as against its
sirit and will ultimately resol$e any doubt in fa$or of the
ersons whom the law intended to benefit)
Labor laws, tenancy laws, land reform laws and
social security laws) 8owe$er, while general welfare
legislations are construed liberally in fa$or of those intended to
be benefited, this rincile holds true only when there is doubt
or ambiguity in the law and not when the law itself is clear and
free doubt)
WorBingmanCs welfare should be the rimordial
and aramount consideration) Article > of the New Labor %ode
which states that Qall doubts in the imlementation and
interretation of the ro$isions of the Labor %ode including its
imlementing rules and regulations shall be resol$ed in fa$or of
labor) +ased on the remise that the statute is ambiguous)
?)1? General welfare clause)
&he general welfare clause on the ower of local
go$ernment has two branches) 6ne branch attaches itself to
the main trunB of municial authority and relates to such
ordinances and regulations as may be necessary to carry into
effect and discharge the owers and duties conferred uon local
legislati$e bodies by law) &he second branch is much more
indeendent of the secific functions enumerated by law) !t
authori'es such ordinances as shall seem necessary and roer
to ro$ide for the health and safety, romote the roserity,
imro$e the morals, eace, good order, comfort, and
con$enience of the local go$ernment unit and the inhabitants
thereof, and for the rotection of the roerty therein)
&he general welfare clause should be construed
liberally in fa$or of the local go$ernment units)
?)1@ Grant of ower to local go$ernments)
Limited self.go$ernment to full autonomy) &he
old rule is that municial cororations, being mere creatures of
the law, ha$e only such owers as are e#ressly granted to
them and those which are necessarily imlied or incidental to
the e#ercise thereof and that grants of ower to them are to be
construed strictly and any doubt should be resol$ed in fa$or of
the national go$ernment and against the olitical subdi$ision
concerned)
&he rule of construction change with the
enactment of Reublic Act No)11=>, otherwise Bnown as the
Local Autonomy Act) Section -1 of said Act ro$ides in art
that the Qimlied ower of a ro$ince, a city or a municiality
shall be liberally construed in its fa$or) Any fair and reasonable
doubt as to the e#istence of the ower should be interreted in
fa$or of the local go$ernment and it shall be resumed to e#ist)
&his liberal construction is fortified by the %onstitution) -:?2
%onstitution is towards the fullest autonomy of local
go$ernment units)
Local Go$ernment %ode 3 Qany ower of a
barangay, municiality, city or ro$ince shall be liberally
construed in its fa$or)
Shall be resol$ed in fa$or of de$olution of owers
and of the lower local go$ernment unit) &a# ordinance or
re$enue measure shall be construed strictly against the local
go$ernment unit enacting it, and liberally in fa$or of the
ta#ayer) Any ta# e#emtion construed strictly against the
erson claiming itF Liberally interreted to gi$e more owers to
local go$ernment units in accelerating economic de$elomet
and ugrading the (uality of life for the eole in the
communityF go$erned by the original terms and conditions of
said contracts or the law in force at the time such rights were
$estedF resolution of contro$ersies may be had to the customs
and traditions in the lace where the contro$ersies taBe lace)
?)1: Statutes granting ta#ing ower)
37
+efore the -:?2 %onstitution, the rule is that a
local go$ernment unit, unliBe the so$ereign state is clothed with
no inherent ower of ta#ation) And the ta#ing ower when
granted is to be construed strictissimi .uris) Any doubt or
ambiguity arising out of the terms used in granting that ower
must be resol$ed against the local go$ernment unit)
!nferences, imlications, and deductions ha$e no lace in the
interretation of the ta#ing ower of a municial cororation)
+ased on the concet that local go$ernment,
unliBe the so$ereign state, are allocated with no inherent ower
to ta#) &he New %onstitution has changed such concet) &he
%onstitution ro$ides that HEach local go$ernment unit shall
ha$e the ower to create its own sources of re$enue and to
le$y ta#es, fees and charges subject to such guidelines and
limitations as the congress may ro$ide, consistent with the
basic olicy of local autonomy) Statutes rescribing limitations
of the ta#ing ower of local go$ernment units must be strictly
construed against the national go$ernment and liberally in fa$or
of the local go$ernment units)
?)2; Statutes rescribing rescriti$e eriod to collect
ta#es)
Statutes rescribing the eriod of limitation of
action for the collection of ta#es is beneficial both to the
go$ernment because ta# officers would be obliged to act
romtly in the maBing of assessment, and to citi'ens because
after the lase of the eiod of rescrition, citi'ens would ha$e
a feeling of security against unscruulous ta# agents who will
always find an e#cuse to insect the booBs of ta#ayers, not to
determine the latterCs real liability, but to taBe ad$antage of
e$ery oortunity to molest eaceful, law.abiding citi'ens)
?)2- Statues imosing enalties for non.ayment of ta#)
Statues imosing enalties for non.ayment of
ta#es within the re(uired eriod are liberally construed in fa$or
of the go$ernment and strictly obser$ed and interreted
against the ta#ayer) Strong reasons of ublic olicy suort
this rule) Such laws are intended to hasten ta# ayments or to
unish e$asions or neglect of duty in resect thereto)
&hey will not lace uon ta# laws so loose a
construction as to ermit e$asions on merely fanciful and
insubstantial distinctions) When roer, a ta# statute should be
construed to a$oid the ossibilities of ta# e$asions)
?)21 Election Laws)
Election laws should be reasonably and liberally
construed to achie$e their urose 3 to effectuate and
safeguard the will of the electorate in the choice of their
reresentati$es 3 for the alication of election laws in$ol$es
ublic interest and imoses uon the %ommission on Elections
and the courts the imerati$e duty to ascertain by all means
within their command who is the real candidate elected by the
eole)
Elections laws may be di$ided into three arts for
uroses of alying the rules of statutory construction) &he
first art refers to the ro$isions for the conduct of elections
which elections officials are re(uired to follow) &he second art
co$ers those ro$isions which candidates for office are re(uired
to erform) &he third art embraces those rocedural rules
which are designed to ascertain, in case of disute, the actual
winner in the elections)
Hrules and regulations for the conduct of elections
are mandatory before the election, but when it is sought to
enforce them after the elections they are held to be directory
only, if that is ossible, esecially where, if they are held to be
mandatory, innocent $oters will be deri$ed of their $otes,
without any fault on their art) Generally, Hthe ro$isions of a
statute as to the manner of conducting the details of an
elections are not mandatory, but directory merely, and
irregularities in conducting an elections and counting the $otes,
not roceeding from any wrongful intent and which deri$es no
legal $oter of his $otes, will not $itiate an election or justify the
rejection of the entire $otes of a recinct)
&he ro$isions of the election law which
candidates for the office are re(uired to comly are generally
regarded as mandatory) Dualifications of candidates, re(uiring
the filing of certificates of candidacy, defining election offenses,
and limiting the eriod within which to file election contests, are
mandatory and failure to comly with such ro$isions are fatal)
&he ro$isions of the election law designed to
determine the will of the electorate are liberally construed)
&echnical and rocedural barriers should not be allowed to
38
stand if they constitute an obstacle in the choice of their
electi$e officials)
Election law intended to safeguard the will of the
eole in their choice of their reresentati$es should be
construed liberally to achie$e such urose)
Election rotest, which should be liberally
construed to the end that the oular will e#ressed in the
election of ublic officers will not, by reason of urely technical
objections, be defeated)
Rigid alication of the law that will reclude the
court from ascertaining the oular will should be rejected in
fa$or of a liberal construction thereof that will subser$e such
end, where a rigid and strict alication and enforcement of
ro$isions of the election law will safeguard oular will and
re$ent transgression of suffrage and the mandate of the
majority, the ro$isions will be gi$en strict construction)
Election contest, esecially areciation of ballots, must be
liberally construed to the end that the will of the electorate in
the choice of ublic officials may not be defeated by technical
infirmities)
?)22 Amnesty roclamations)
Amnesty roclamations should be liberally
construes so as to carry out their urose, which is to
encourage the return to the field of the law of those who ha$e
$eered from the law) Amnesty and ardon are synonymous,
and for this reason, the grant of ardon should liBewise be
construed liberally in fa$or of those ardoned and strictly
against the state, for where two words are synonymous, the
rules for interreting one will aly to the other)
?)2> Statues rescribing rescritions of crimes)
A stature of limitation or rescrition of offenses
is in the nature of amnesty granted by the state, declaring that
after a certain time, obli$ion shall be cast o$er the offense)
8ence, statutes of limitations are liberally of construction
belongs to all acts of amnesty and grace, but because the $ery
e#istence of the statute is a recognition and notification by the
legislature of the fact that time, while it gradually wears out
roofs and innocence, has assigned to it fi#ed and ositi$e
eriods in which it destroys roofs of guilt)
?)2< Adotion statues)
Adotion statutes are construed liberally in fa$or
of the child to be adoted with the liberal concet that adotion
statutes, being humane, and salutary, hold the interest and
welfare of the child to be a aramount consideration and are
designed to ro$ide homes, arental care and education for the
unfortunate, needy or orhaned children and gi$e them the
rotection of a society and family in the erson of the adoter)
?)2= Aeteran and ension laws
Aeteran and ension laws are enacted to
comensate a class of men who suffered in the ser$ice for the
hardshis they endured and the dangers they encountered in
line of duty) &hey are e#ression of gratitude to and
recognition of those who rendered ser$ice tot eh country by
e#tending to them regular monetary benefit) 9or these
reasons, such statutes are construed liberally to the end that
their noble urose is best accomlished) 8owe$er, while
$eteran and ension laws are to be construed liberally, they
should be so construed as to re$ent a erson from recei$ing
double ension or comensation, unless the law ro$ides
otherwise) Retirement or ension laws are also liberally
construed) +eing remedial in character, a statute creating
ension or establishing retirement lan should be liberally
construed and administered in fa$or of the ersons intended to
benefited thereby)
?)2? Rules of %ourt)
&he Rules of %ourt, being rocedural, are to be
construed liberally with the end in $iew of reali'ing their
urose 3 the roer and just determination of a litigation) A
liberal construction of the Rules of %ourt re(uires the courts, in
the e#ercise of their functions, to act reasonably and not
cariciously, and enjoins them to aly the rules in order to
romote their object and to assist the arties in obtaining a
just, seedy and ine#ensi$e determination of their cases,
means conduci$e to the reali'ation of the administration of law
and justice)
Lases in the literal obser$ance of a rule of
rocedure will be o$erlooBed when they do not in$ol$e ublic
39
olicy, when they arose from an honest mistaBe or unforeseen
accident, when they ha$e not rejudiced the ad$erse arty and
ha$e not deri$ed the court of its authority) %oncei$ed in the
best traditions of ractical and moral justice and common
sense, the Rules of %ourt uon.slitting technicalities that do
not s(uare with their liberal tendency and with the ends of
justice)
&he literal stricture of the rule ha$e been rela#ed
in fa$or of liberal construction in the following cases" -) where
a rigid alication will result in a manifest failure or miscarriage
of justice 1) where the interest of substantial justice will be
ser$ed 2) where the resolution of the emotion is addressed
solely to the sound and judicious discretion of the court and >)
where the injustice to the ad$erse arty is not commensurate
with the degree of his thoughtlessness in not comlying with
the rescribed rocedure)
?)2@ 6ther statues)
%urati$e statutes are enacted to cure defects in a
rior law or to $alidate legal roceedings which would otherwise
be $oid for want of conformity with certain legal re(uirements)
&hey are intended to suly defects, abridge suerfluities and
curb certain e$ils) &heir urose is to gi$e $alidity to acts done
that would ha$e been in$alid under e#isting laws ha$e been
comlied with) %urati$e statutes, by their $ery nature, are
retroacti$e)
Redemtion laws, being remedial in nature are to
be construed liberally to carry our their urose, which is to
enable the debtor to ha$e his roerty alied to ay as many
debtorCs liabilities as ossible) E#ecution are interreted
liberally in order to gi$e effect to their beneficent and humane
uroseF and to this end, any reasonable doubt be construed in
fa$or of the e#emtion from e#ecution) Laws on Attachment
are also liberally construed in order to romote their rojects
and assist the arties in obtaning seedy justice)
An instrument of credit, warehouse receits lay
a $ery imortant role in modern commerce, and accordingly,
warehouse receit laws are gi$en liberal construction in fa$or of
bona fide holders of such receits)
&he urose of the robation being to gi$e first.
hand offenders a second chance to maintain his lace in society
through the rocess of reformation, it should be liberally
construed to achie$e its objecti$e) &hus, the robation law
may liberally construed by e#tending the benefits thereof to
any one not secifically dis(ualified)
CHAPTER :: MANDATORY AND
DIRECTORY STATUTES
A. IN GENERAL
- Statutes may be classified either as mandatory or
directory)

M!#2!t%1 !#2 2ie,t%1 *t!t)te*, $e#e!""1
- 4andatory statute is a statute which commands either
ositi$ely that something be done, or erformed in a
articular way, or negati$ely that something be not
done, lea$ing the erson concerned no choice on the
matter e#cet to obey)
- Act e#ecuted against the ro$isions of mandatory or
rohibitory laws shall be $oid, e#cet when the law itself
authori'es their $alidity)
- Where a statute is mandatory, the court has no ower to
distinguish between material and immaterial breach
thereof or omission to comly with what it re(uires)
- A directory statute is a statute which is ermissi$e or
discretionary in nature and merely outlines the act to be
done in such a way that no injury can result from
ignoring it or that its urose can be accomlished in a
manner other than that rescribed and substantially the
same result obtained)
- &he nonerformance of what it /directory statute0
rescribes, though constituting in some instances an
irregularity or subjecting the official concerned to
discilinary or administrati$e sanction, will not $itiate
the roceedings therein taBen)
W.e# *t!t)te i* (!#2!t%1 % 2ie,t%1
- &he rimary object is to ascertain legislati$e intent)
- Legislati$e intent does not deend uon the form of the
statute)
40
- %onsideration must be gi$en to the entire statute, its
object, urose, legislati$e history and the
conse(uences which would result from construing it one
way or the other, and the statute must be construed in
connection with other related statutes)
- &he language of the statute, howe$er mandatory in
form, may be deemed directory whene$er the legislati$e
urose can best be carried out by such construction,
but the construction of mandatory words as directory
should not be lightly adoted and ne$er where it would
in fact maBe a new law instead of that assed by the
legislature)
- Whether a statute is mandatory or directory deends on
whether the thing directed to be done is of the essence
of the thing re(uired, or is a mere matter of form, and
what is a matter of essence can often be determined
only by judicial construction)

Te*t t% 2ete(i#e #!t)e %- *t!t)te
- &he test generally emloyed to determine whether a
statute is mandatory or directory is to ascertain the
conse(uences that will follow in case what the statute
re(uires is not done or what it forbids is erformed)
- Whether a statutory re(uirement is mandatory or
directory deends on its effects)
- !f no substantial rights deend on it and no injury can
result from ignoring itF and the urose of the
legislature can be accomlished in a manner other than
that rescribed and substantially the same results
obtained, then the statute will generally be regarded as
directoryF but if not, it will be mandatory)
- A statute will not be construed as mandatory and
re(uiring a ublic officer to act within a certain time limit
e$en if it is couched in words of ositi$e command if it
will cause hardshi or injustice on the art of the ublic
who is not at fault) Nor will a statute be interreted as
mandatory if it will lead to absurd, imossible or
mischie$ous conse(uences)

L!#$)!$e )*e2
- Statutes using words of command, such as HshallI,
HmustI, HoughtI, or HshouldI, or rohibition, such as
HcannotI, Hshall notI or Hought notI, are generally
regarded as mandatory)
- &he use of words of command or of rohibition indicates
the legislati$e intent to maBe the law mandatory)
- !t has been held that the intention of the legislature as
to the mandatory or directory nature of articular
statutory ro$ision is determined rimarily from the
language thereof)
U*e %- ;*.!""< % ;()*t<
- As a general rule, the use of the word HshallI in a statute
imlies that the statute is mandatory)
- !t means Hought toI, HmustI, and when used in a statute
or regulation, e#resses what is mandatory)
- &he term HshallI is a word of command, and one which
has or which must be gi$en a comulsory meaning and
it is generally imerati$e or mandatory)
- !f a different interretation is sought, it must rest uon
something in the character of the legislation or in the
conte#t which will justify a different meaning)
- !t connotes comulsion or mandatoriness)
- &his rule is not absolute) &he imort of the word
deends uon a consideration of the entire ro$ision, its
nature, object and the conse(uences that would follow
from construing it one way or the other)
- &he word HmustI in a statute, liBe HshallI is not always
imerati$e) !t may be consistent with discretion) !f the
language of a statute considered as a whole and with
due regard to its nature and object re$eals that the
legislature intended to use the word HmustI to be
directory, it should be gi$en that meaning)
- 6ne test used to determine whether the word HshallI in
mandatory or discretionary is whether non.comliance
with what is re(uired will result in the nullity of the act)
!f it results in the nullity of the act, the word is used as a
command)
U*e %- ;(!1<
- &he word HmayI is an au#iliary $erb showing, among
others oortunity or ossibility) 7nder ordinary
41
circumstances, the hrase Hmay beI imlies the ossible
e#istence of something)
- Generally seaBing, the use of the word HmayI in a
statute denotes that it is directory in nature) &he word
HmayI is generally ermissi$e only and oerates to
confer discretion)
- &he word HmayI as used in adjecti$e laws, such as
remedial statutes which are construed liberally, is only
ermissi$e and not mandatory)
W.e# ;*.!""< i* ,%#*t)e2 !* ;(!1< !#2 0i,e 0e*!
- 5eending uon a consideration of the entire ro$ision,
its nature, its object, and the conse(uences that would
follow from construing it one way or the other, the
con$ertibility of said terms either as mandatory or
directory is a standard recourse in statutory
construction)
- !t is well.settled that the word HmayI should be read as
HshallI where such construction is necessary to gi$e
effect to the aarent intention of the legislature)
- &he word HmayI will, as a rule, be construed as HshallI
where a statute ro$ides for the doing of some act which
is re(uired by justice or ublic duty, or where it $ests a
ublic body or officer with ower and authority to taBe
such action which concerns the ublic interest or rights
of indi$iduals)
- &he word HshallI may be construed as HmayI when so
re(uired by the conte#t or intention of the legislature) !t
shall be construed merely as ermissi$e when no ublic
benefit or ri$ate right re(uires that it be gi$en an
imerati$e meaning)

U*e %- #e$!ti0e, &%.i+it%1 % e5,")*i0e te(*
- A negati$e statute is mandatory) A negati$e statute is
one e#ressed in negati$e words or in the form of an
affirmati$e roosition (ualified by the word HonlyI, said
word ha$ing the force of an e#clusionary negation)
- &he use of the legislature of negati$e, rohibitory or
e#clusi$e terms or words in a statute is indicati$e of the
legislati$e intent to maBe the statute mandatory)
- *rohibiti$e or negati$e words can rarely, if e$er, be
directory, for there is but one way to obey the
command, Hthou shall notI, and that is to comletely
refrain from doing the forbidden act)
B. MANDATORY STATUTES
St!t)te* ,%#-ei#$ &%/e
- Statutes which confer uon a ublic body or officer
ower to erform acts which concern the ubic interests
or rights of indi$iduals, are generally regarded as
mandatory although the language used is ermissi$e
only since such statutes are construed as imosing
rather than conferring ri$ileges)

St!t)te* $!#ti#$ +e#e-it*
- Statutes which re(uire certain stes to be taBen or
certain conditions to be met before ersons concerned
can a$ail of the benefits conferred by law are, with
resect to such re(uirements, considered mandatory)
- &he rule is based on the ma#im igilantibus et non
dormientibus .ura subeniunt or the laws aid the
$igilant, not those who slumber on their rights)
- 5otior est in tempoe, potior est in .ure. he who is first in
time is referred in right)
St!t)te* &e*,i+i#$ 4)i*2i,ti%#!" e6)ie(e#t*
- &he general rule is that statutory re(uirements by which
courts or tribunals ac(uire jurisdiction to hear and
decide articular actions must be strictly comlied with
before the courts or tribunals can ha$e authority to
roceed)
- 8ence, statutes rescribing the $arious stes and
methods to be taBen for ac(uisition by the courts or
tribunals o$er certain matters are considered
mandatory)

St!t)te* &e*,i+i#$ ti(e t% t!=e !,ti%# % t% !&&e!"
- Statutes or rules rescribing the time for litigants to
taBe certain actions or to aeal from an ad$erse
decision is generally mandatory)
42
- Such statutes or rules ha$e been held as absolutely
indisensable to the re$ention of needless delays and
to the orderly and seedy discharge of business and are
a necessary incident to the roer, efficient, and orderly
discharge of judicial functions)
- Such statutes or rules re(uire strict, not substantial,
comliance) Accordingly, they are not wai$able, nor can
they be the subject of agreements or stiulations by
litigants)
St!t)te* &e*,i+i#$ &%,e2)!" e6)ie(e#t*
- !n statutes relating to rocedure, e$ery act which is
jurisdictional, or of the essence of the roceedings, or is
rescribed for the rotection or benefit of the arty
affected, is mandatory) A statute which re(uires a court
to e#ercise its jurisdiction in a articular manner, follow
a articular rocedure, or subject to certain limitations,
is mandatory, and an act beyond those limits is $oid as
in e#cess of jurisdiction)
- &he statute rescribing such re(uirements is regarded
as mandatory, e$en though the language used therein is
ermissi$e in nature)
E"e,ti%# "!/* %# ,%#2),t %- e"e,ti%#
- &he ro$isions of election laws go$erning the conduct of
elections and rescribing the stes election officials are
re(uired to do in connection therewith are mandatory
before the electionsF howe$er, when it is sought to
enforce them after the elections, they are held to be
directory only, if that is ossible, esecially where, if
they are held to be mandatory, innocent $oters will be
deri$ed of their $otes without any fault on their art)
- 7nless of a character to affect an obstruction to the free
and intelligent casting of the $otes, or to the
ascertainment of the result, or unless the ro$ision
affects an essential element of the election, or unless it
is e#ressly declared by the statute that the articular
act is essential to the $alidity of an election, or that its
omission shall render it $oid)
E"e,ti%# "!/* %# 6)!"i-i,!ti%# !#2 2i*6)!"i-i,!ti%#
- &he rule that election laws are mandatory before but not
after the elections alies only to those ro$isions which
are rocedural in nature affecting the conduct of the
election as well as to those which direct or re(uire
election officials to do or erform certain acts, the
urose of such construction being to reser$e the
sanctity of the ballot and carry out the will of the
electorate)
- &he rule does not aly to ro$isions of the election laws
rescribing the time limit to file certificates of candidacy
and the (ualifications and dis(ualifications to electi$e
office)
- &hese ro$isions are considered mandatory e$en after
elections)
St!t)te* &e*,i+i#$ 6)!"i-i,!ti%#* -% %--i,e
- Eligibility to a ublic office is of a continuing nature and
must e#ist at the commencement of the term and during
the occuancy of the office) Statutes rescribing the
eligibility or (ualifications of ersons to a ublic office
are, as a rule, regarded as mandatory)
St!t)te* e"!ti#$ t% !**e**(e#t %- t!5e*
' !t is a general rule that the ro$isions of a statute relating to
the assessment of ta#es, which are intended for the security of
the citi'ens, or to insure the e(uality of ta#ation, or for
certainty as to the nature and amount of each otherCs ta#, are
mandatoryF but those designed merely for the information or
direction of officers or to secure methodical and systematic
modes of roceedings are merely directory)
St!t)te* ,%#,e#i#$ &)+"i, !),ti%# *!"e
- Statutes authori'ing ublic auction sale of roerties
and rescribing the rocedure to be followed are in
derogation of roerty rights and due rocess, and are
construed, with resect to the rescribed rocedure, to
be mandatory)
- &he rescribed stes must be followed strictlyF
otherwise, the sale at ublic auction shall be $oid)
C. DIRECTORY STATUTES
43
St!t)te* &e*,i+i#$ $)i2!#,e -% %--i,e*
- &here are statutory re(uisitions intended for guidance of
officers in the conduct of business de$ol$ed uon them
which do not limit their ower or render its e#ercise in
disregard of the re(uisitions ineffectual)
- *ro$isions of this character are not usually regarded as
mandatory, unless accomanied by negati$e words
imorting that the acts re(uired shall not be done in any
other manner or time than that designated)
St!t)te* &e*,i+i#$ (!##e %- 4)2i,i!" !,ti%#
- Statutes rescribing the re(uirements as to the manner
of judicial action that judges should follow in the
discharge of their functions are, as a rule, merely
directory)
- !t should not be assumes in the absence of secific
language to the contrary that the legislature intended
that the right of arties should be seriously affected by
the failure of a court or some officer to comly strictly
with the statutory re(uirements of official action)
- *rocedure is secondary in imortance to substanti$e
right, and the non obser$ance of such rocedure should
ne$er be ermitted to affect substanti$e right, unless
the intention of the legislature is clearly e#ressed)
- !t is uni$ersally held that statutes of this nature are
merely directory and noncomliance therewith is not
necessary to the $alidity of the roceedings)
St!t)te* e6)ii#$ e#2iti%# %- 2e,i*i%# /it.i# &e*,i+e2
&ei%2
- &he constitution ro$ides that the ma#imum eriod
within which a case or matter shall be decided or
resol$ed from the date of its submission, shall be 1>
months for the Sureme %ourt, and unless reduced by
the Sureme %ourt, -1 months for lower collegiate
courts and 2 months for all other lower courts)
- Each %onstitutional %ommission shall decide any case
brought before it within si#ty days from the date of its
submission for resolution)
- A judgment romulgated after the e#iration of the said
eriod is not null and $oid, although the officer who
failed to comly with the lay may be dealt with
administrati$ely in conse(uence of his delay.unless the
intention to the contrary is manifest)
- Where a statute secifies the time at or within which an
act is to be done by a ublic officer or body, it is
generally held to be directory only as to the time, and
not mandatory, unless the time is of the essence of the
thing to be done, or the language of the statute contains
negati$e words, or shows that the designation of the
time was intended as a limitation of ower, authority or
right)
- &he better rule is that where a construction of a time
ro$ision as mandatory will cause great injury to
ersons not at fault or result in a miscarriage of justice,
such conse(uence should be a$oided by construing the
statute as directory, for reasons of fairness, justice and
fair lay re(uire such construction)
- !t has been held that a statute re(uiring rendition of
judgment within a secified time is generally construed
to be merely directory, so that non.comliance with
them does not in$alidate the judgment on the theory
that if the statute had intended such result, it would
ha$e clearly indicated)
- 8owe$er, while the eriod fi#ed by law to resol$e a case
is merely directory, it cannot be disregarded or ignored
comletely with absolute immunity)
- !t cannot be assumed that the law has included a
ro$ision that is deliberately intended to become
meaningless and to be treated as a dead letter)
C%#*tit)ti%#!" ti(e &%0i*i%# 2ie,t%1
- 5oes the %onstitution alter the general rule and render
time ro$ision to decide mandatoryP !s a decision
rendered beyond the eriod rescribed in the
%onstitution. 1> months for the Sureme %ourt, -1
months for the lower collegiate courts and 2 months for
other lower courts. null and $oidP
- &8E Sureme %ourt ga$e negati$e answers /4arcelino $)
%ru'0
44
CHAPTER >:PROSPECTIVE AND
RETROACTIVE STATUTES
A) !N GENERAL
:);-) *R6S*E%&!AE AN5 RE&R6A%&!AE S&A&7&ES, 5E9!NE5
- A rosecti$e statute is one which oerates uon facts or
transactions that occur after the stature taBes effect, one
that looBs and alies to the future
- A retroacti$e law creates a new obligation, imoses a new
duty or attaches a new disability in resect to a
transaction already astF is one which taBes away or
imairs $ested rights ac(uired under e#isting laws
:);-) LAWS 6*ERA&E *R6S*E%&!AELY, !N GENERALS
- Statutes are to be construes as ha$ing only rosecti$e
oeration, unless the intension of the legislature to gi$e
them retroacti$e effect is e#ressly declared or is
necessarily imlied from the language used
- Embodied in art) > of the ci$il code" laws shall ha$e no
retroacti$e effect unless the contrary is ro$ided, the
reason for this is that a rule is established to guide actions
with no binding effect until it is enacted)
- &he rincile of rosecti$ity alies to statutes,
administrati$e rulings and circulars and judicial decisions
:);2) *RES74*&!6N AGA!NS& RE&R6A%&!A!&Y
- &he resumtion is that all laws oerate rosecti$ely,
unless the contrary aears or is clearly, lainly and
une(ui$ocally e#ressed or necessarily imlied) 5oubt
will be resol$ed against the retroacti$e effect
- &he resumtion alies whether the statures is in the
form of an original enactment, an amendment of a
reeal
- *resumtion is stronger with reference to substanti$e
laws affecting ending actions
:);>) W6R5 6R *8RASES !N5!%A&!NG *R6S*E%&!A!&Y
- Where by its terms a statute is to aly QhereafterI or
HthereafterI, or is to taBe effect immediately or at a
fi#ed future date, or where a statute contains, in the
enacting clause, the hrase Hfrom and after the assing
of this actI or emloys such words as Hshall ha$e been
madeI or Hfrom and afterI a designated date, the statute
is rosecti$e in oeration only
:);<) RE&R6A%&!AE S&A&7&ES, GENERALLY
- &he constitution does not rohibit the enactment of
retroacti$e statutes which do not imair the obligations
of contract, deri$e ersons of roerty without due
rocess of law, or di$est rights that ha$e become
$ested, or which are not in the nature of e# ost facto
laws
- Some statutes are by their nature retroacti$e"
remedial,curati$e statutes, as well as statutes that
create new rights
- A retroacti$e statute $iolating the constitution shall not
be alied
+) S&A&7&ES G!AEN *R6S*E%&!AE E99E%&
:);=) *ENAL S&A&7&ES, GENERALLY
- Gen) rule" *enal laws or those which define offenses
and rescribe enalties for their $iolation oerate
rosecti$ely
- Art) 1- R*%" No felony shall be unishable by any
enalty not rescribed by law rior to its commission
:);= EJ *6S& 9A%&6 LAW
- &he constitution ro$ides that no e# ost facto law shall
be enacted
- An e# ost facto law is any of the ff"
-) law which maBes criminal an act done before the
assage of the law and which was innocent when done,
and unishes such act
1) a law which aggra$ates a crime, or maBes greater than
it was, when committed
2) which changes the unishment and inflicts a greater
unishment than that anne#ed to the crime when
committed
>) which alters the legal rules of e$idence and authori'e
con$iction uon less or different testimony than the law
re(uired at the time of the commission of the offense
45
<) which assumes to regulate ci$il rights and remedies only
but in effect imoses a enalty or deri$ation of a right
for something which when done was lawful
=) which deri$es a erson accused of a crime of some
lawful rotection to which he has become entitled, such
as rotection of a former con$iction or ac(uittal, or a
roclamation of amnesty
- !f the law sought to be alied retroacti$ely taBe
from an accused any right regarded at the time as $ital
fro the rotection of life and liberty then it is an e# ost
factolaw
- &he rohibition on e# ost facto law alies only
to criminal, enal matter and does not aly to ci$il
roceedings which regulate ci$il and olitical rights
:);= +!LL 69 A&&A!N5ER
- A bill of attainder is a legislati$e act which inflicts
unishment without judicial trial
- &he singling out of a definite minority, the imosition of
a burden on it, a legislati$e intent and the retroacti$e
alication to ast conduct suffice to stigmati'e a
statute as a bill of attainder
- !f a statute is a bill of attainder, it is also an e# ost
facto law) +ut if it is an e# ost facto law, the reasons
that establish that it is not, are ersuasi$e that it is not
a bill of attainder
:);:) W8EN *ENAL LAWS ARE A**L!E5 RE&R6A%&!AELY
- Art 11 R*%" *enal laws shall ha$e a retroacti$e effect in
so far as they fa$or the erson guilty who is not a
habitual criminal /e#cetion to the gen) rule0
- Where there is already a final judgment, the remedy of
the accused is to file a etition for habeas corus
alleging that his continued imrisonment is illegal
ursuant to said statute
- &he gen) rule that an amendatory statue rendering an
illegal act rior to its enactment no longer illegal is gi$en
retroacti$e effect does not aly if the amendatory
statute e#ressly ro$ides that it shall not aly
retroacti$ely but only rosecti$ely
:)-;) S&A&7&ES S7+S&AN&!AE !N NA&7RE
- a substanti$e law creates rights, defines or regulates
rights concerning life, liberty or roerty or the owers
of agencies or instrumentalities for the administration of
ublic affairs)
- Substanti$e right is one which includes those rights
which one enjoys under the legal system rior to the
disturbance of normal relations
- Alied to criminal law, substanti$e law is that which
declares what acts are crimes and rescribes the
unishment for committing them)
- Substanti$e law oerates rosecti$ely
- Whether a rule is rocedural or substanti$e, the test is
whether the rule really regulates rocedure) !f it taBes
away a $ested right, it is not rocedural) !f it creates
right such as the right to aeal, it is substanti$e, but if
it oerates as a means of imlementing an e#isting right
it is merely rocedural
- *rocedural rules are retroacti$e and are alicable to
actions ending and undermined at the times of the
assage of the rocedural law
:)--) E99E%&S 6N *EN5!NG A%&!6NS
- Statute which affects substanti$e rights may not be
gi$en retroacti$e effect so as to go$ern ending
roceedings in the absence of a clear legislati$e intent to
the contrary
:)-1) D7AL!9!%A&!6N 69 R7LE
- A substanti$e law will be alicable to ending actions if
such is the clear intent of the law or if the statute by the
$ery nature of its urose as a measure to romote
social justice or in the e#ercise of olice ower is
intended to aly to ending actions) &his is howe$er
subject to the limitation concerning constitutional
restrictions against imairment of $ested rights
:)-2) S&A&7&ES A99E%&!NG AES&E5 R!G8&S
- Aested right may be said to mean some right or interest
in roerty that has become fi#ed or established and is
no longer oen to contro$ersy) !t must be absolute,
46
comlete, and unconditional, indeendent of a
contingency and a mere e#ectancy of future benefit)
- A statute may not be construed and alied retroacti$ely
if it imairs substanti$e right that has become $ested, as
disturbing e#isting right embodied in a judgment or
creating new obligations with resect to ast
transactions as by establishing a substanti$e right to
fundamental cause of action where none e#isted before
and maBing such right retroacti$e, or by arbitrarily
recreating a new right or liability already e#tinguished
by oeration of law
:)->) S&A&7&ES A99E%&!NG 6+L!GA&!6NS 69 %6N&RA%&
- Laws e#isting at the time of the e#ecution of contracts
are the ones alicable to such transactions and not
later statutes, unless the latter ro$ide that they shall
ha$e retroacti$e effect if to do so will imair the
obligation of contracts, for the constitution rohibits the
enactment of a law imairing such)
- !f a contract is legal at its incetion, it cannot be
rendered illegal by a subse(uent legislation
:)-<) !LL7S&RA&!6N 69 R7LE
- *eole $) Meta) *ursuant to the then e#isting law a
lawyer is authori'ed to charge not more then <R of the
amount in$ol$ed as attorneyCs fees in the rosecution of
a $eteranCs claim) A lawyer entered into a contract with
a client with such stiulation) +efore the claim was
collected, a statute was enacted rohibiting the
collection of such fees for such ser$ices rendered) &he
court ruled that the statute rohibiting the collection of
attorneyCs fees cannot be alied retroacti$ely so as to
ad$ersely affect the contract for rofessional ser$ices
and the fees themsel$es)
:)-=) RE*EAL!NG AN5 A4EN5A&6RY A%&S
- Statutes which reeal earlier laws oerate rosecti$ely,
unless the legislati$e intent to gi$e them retroacti$e
effect clearly aears) 8owe$er, although a reealing
statute is intended to be retroacti$e, it will not be so
construed if it will imair $ested rights or obligations of
contract, or unsettle matters that had been legally done
under the old law
%) S&A&7&ES G!AEN RE&R6A%&!AE E99E%&
:)-?) *R6%E57RAL LAWS
- Remedial statutes or statutes relating to remedies or
modes of rocedure, which do not create new or taBe
away $ested rights, but only oerated in furtherance of
the remedy or confirmation of rights already e#isting, do
not come within the legal concetion of the general rule
against retroacti$e oeration, furthermore, it alies to
all actions, whether they ha$e already accrued of are
ending)
- &he fact that rocedural statutes may somehow affect
the litigantsF rights may not reclude their retroacti$e
alication to ending actions) &he retroacti$e
alication of rocedural laws is not $iolati$e of any
right of a erson who may feel that he is ad$ersely
affected, nor is it constitutionally objectionable, for as a
general rule, no $ested right may attach to, nor arise
from rocedural laws)
- A statute which transfers the jurisdiction to try certain
cases from a court to a (uasi.judicial tribunal is a
remedial statute that is alicable to claims that accrued
before its enactment but formulated and filed after it
tooB effect, for it does not create a new nor taBe away
$ested rights) No litigant can ac(uire a $ested tight to
be heard by one articular court)
- An administrati$e rule which is interretati$e of a re.
e#isting statute and not declarati$e of certain rights
with obligation thereunder is gi$en retroacti$e effect as
of the date of the effecti$ity of the statute)
:)-@) EJ%E*&!6NS &6 &8E R7LE
- &he rule does not aly where the statute itself
e#ressly or by necessary imlication ro$ides that
ending actions are e#ceted from its oeration or
where to aly it to ending actions would imair $ested
rights
- 7nder aroriate circumstances, courts may deny the
retroacti$e alication or rocedural laws in the e$ent
47
that to do so would not be feasible or would worB
injustice) Nor may they be alied it to do so would
in$ol$e intricate roblems of due rocess or imair the
indeendence of courts)
:)-:) %7RA&!AE S&A&7&ES
- %urati$e statutes are intended to suly defects, abridge
suerfluities in e#isting laws and curb certain e$ils)
&hey are intended to enable ersons to carry into effect
that which they ha$e designed and intended, but has
faied of e#ected legal conse(uence by reason of some
statutory disability or irregularity in their own action)
&hey maBe $alid that which, before the enactment of the
statute was in$alid, as such they are gi$en retroacti$e
alication)
:)1;) L!4!&A&!6NS 69 R7LE
- A remedial or curati$e statute enacted as a olice ower
measure may be gi$en retroacti$e effect e$en though
they imair $ested right or obligations of contract, if the
legislati$e intent is to gi$e them retroacti$e oeration
:)1-) *6L!%E *6WER LEG!SLA&!6NS
- Any right ac(uired under a statute of under a contract is
subject to the condition that it may be imaired by the
state in the legitimate e#ercise of its olice ower, since
the reser$ation of the essential attributes of so$ereign
ower, one of which is olice ower is deemed read into
e$ery statute or contract as a ostulate of legal order
:)11) S&A&7&E RELA&!NG &6 *RES%R!*&!6N
- Such statutes are both rosecti$e in the sense that it
alies to causes that accrued and will accrue after it
tooB effect and retroacti$e in the sense that it alies to
cause that accrued before its assage) 8owe$er, it will
not be gi$en a retroacti$e oeration to causes of action
that accrued rior to its enactment if to do will remo$e a
bar of limitation which has become comlete or to
disturb e#isting claims without allowing a reasonable
time to bring actions thereon)
- A statute of limitation rescribing a longer eriod to file
an action than that secified under the ole law may not
be so construed as ha$ing a retroacti$e effect, e$en if it
so ro$ides, as to re$i$e a cause that already rescribed
under the old law, for that will imair the $ested right of
the erson against whom the cause is asserted)
- A statue which shortens the eriod of rescrition and
re(uires that cuses which accrued rior to its effecti$ity
be rosecuted or filed not later than a secific date may
not be construed to aly to e#isting causes which,
ursuant to the old law under which they accrued, will
not rescribe until a much longer eriod than that
secified in the later enactment because the right to
bring an action is foundef on the law which has become
$ested before the assage of the new statute of
limitation)
:)12) A**AREN&LY %6N9L!%&!NG 5E%!S!6NS 6N
*RES%R!*&!6NS
- +illones $) %ourt of !ndustrial Relations and %orales $)
EmloyeeCs %omensation %ommission) &he roblem in
both cases is how to safeguard the right to bring the
action whose rescriti$e eriod to institute it has been
shortened by law) &o sol$e the roblem the court in the
%orales case construed the statute of limitation as
inalicable to the action that accrued before the new
law tooB effectF the court in +illones case ga$e the
claimants whose rights ha$e been affected, one year
from the date the law tooB effect within which to sue on
their claims) &he %orales case aears to be redicated
on firmer grounds)
:)1>) *RES%R!*&!6N !N %R!4!NAL AN5 %!A!L %ASES
- !n a ci$il suit, the statute is enacted by the legislature as
an imartial arbiter between two contending arties) !n
the construction of such stature, there is no intendment
to be made in fa$or of either arty) Neither grants the
right to the other, there is therefore no grantor against
whom no ordinary resumtions construction are to be
made
48
- &he rule is otherwise in statutes of limitation concerning
criminal cases) 8ere the state is the grantor,
surrendering by an act of grace its right to rosecute or
declare that the offense is no longer the subject of
rosecution after the rescriti$e eriod) Such statutes
are not only liberally construed but are alied
retroacti$ely in fa$or of the accused
:)1<) S&A&7&ES RELA&!NG &6 A**EALS
- A statute relating to aeals is remedial or rocedural
and alies to ending action in which no judgment has
yet been romulgated at the time the statute tooB
effect) !t may not be gi$en retroacti$e effect if it
imairs $ested rights)
- A stature shortening the eriod for taBing aeals is to
be gi$en rosecti$e effect and may not be alied to
ending roceeding in which judgment has already been
rendered at the time of its enactment)
C.!&te 1?: A(e#2(e#t, Re0i*i%#,
C%2i-i,!ti%# !#2 Re&e!"
I. A(e#2(e#t
A) *ower to amend
Legislature has the ower to amend, subject to
constitutional re(uirement, any e#isting law
Sureme court, in the e#ercise of its rule.maBing ower or
of its ower to interret the law, has no authority to amend
or change the law
+) 8ow amendment effected
+y addition, deletion, or alteration of a statute which
sur$i$es in its amended form)
+y enacting amendatory act modifying or altering some
ro$isions of the statue either e#ressly or imliedly
E#ress amendment" done by ro$iding amendatory act that
secific sections or ro$isions of a statute are amendedF
indicated as " H to read as follows)
%) Amendment by imlication
&here is imlied amendment where a art of a rior statute
embracing the same subject as the later act may not be
enforced without nullifying the ertinent ro$ision of the
latter in which e$ent, rior act is deemed amended to the
e#tent of the reugnancy)
5) When amendment taBes effect
After -< days following the ublication in the 6fficial
Ga'ette or newsaer of general circulation
E) 8ow construed
A statute and its amendment should be read together as a
whole meaning, it should be read as if the statue has been
originally enacted in its amended form)
*ortions not amended will continue to be in force with the
same meaning they ha$e before amendment)
9) 4eaning of law changed by amendment
General rule" an amended act would be gi$en a construction
different from that of the law rior to its amendment for it is
resumed that legislatures would not ha$e amended the
statue if it did not intend to change its meaning)
G) Amendment oerates rosecti$ely
General rule" amendatory act oerates rosecti$ely unless
the contrary is ro$ided or the legislati$e intent to gi$e it a
retroacti$e effect is necessarily imlied from the language
used and no $ested rights is imaired)
8owe$er, amendments relating to rocedures should be
gi$en retroacti$e effect)
8) Effect of amendment in $ested rights
Rule" after the statute is amended, the original act
continues to be in force with regard to all rights that had
accrued rior to the amendment or to obligations that were
contracted under the rior act)
!) Effect of amendment on jurisdiction
Rule" a subse(uent statute amending a rior act with the
effect of di$esting the court of jurisdiction may not be
construed to oerate to oust jurisdiction that has already
attached under the rior law)
E) Effect of nullity of rior or amendatory act
An in$alid or unconstitutional law does not in legal
contemlation e#ist)
Where a statute amended in in$alid, nothing in effect has
been amended) &he amended act shall be considered the
original or indeendent act)
49
When the amended act is declared unconstitutional, the
original statute remains unaffected and in force)
II. Re0i*i%# !#2 C%2i-i,!ti%#
K) Generally" restating the e#isting laws into one statute in
order to simlify comlicated ro$isions)
L) %onstruction to harmoni'e different ro$isions
&he different ro$isions of a re$ised statute or code should
be read and construed together)
Where there is irreconcilable conflict" that which is best in
accord with the general lan or, in the absence of
circumstances uon which to base a choice, that which is
later in hysical osition, being the latest e#ression of
legislati$e will, will re$ail)
4) What is omitted is deemed reealed
When both intent and scoe clearly e$ince the idea of a
reeal, then all arts and ro$isions of the rior act that are
omitted from the re$ised act are deemed reealed)
N) %hange in hraseology
Rule" Neither an alteration in hraseology nor omission or
addition of words in the later statute shall be held
necessarily to alter the construction of the former acts)
6) %ontinuation of e#isting law
Rule" the rearrangement of section or arts of a statute, or
the lacing of ortions of what formerly was a single section
in searate section, does not oerate to change the
oeration, effect and meaning of the statute, unless
changes are of such nature as to manifest the cleat intent to
change the former laws)
III. Re&e!"*
*) *ower to reeal
Legislature has lenary ower to reeal, Sureme court,
while it has the ower to romulgate rule of rocedure, it
cannot in the e#ercise of such ower alter, change or reeal
substanti$e laws)
D) Reeal" total or artial, e#ress or imlied
-) &otal" rendered re$oBed comletely
1) *artial" Lea$es the unaffected ortion of the statue
in force
2) E#ress" there is a declaration in a statute
/reealing clause0
>) !mlied" all other reeals
R) Reeal by imlication
&wo well.settled categories"
-) Where the ro$isions in the two acts on the same
subject matter are irreconcilable, the later act
reeals the earlier one
1) Later act co$ers the whole subject of the earlier one
and is clearly intended as substitute)
S) !rreconcilable inconsistency
Rule" reugnancy must be clear and con$incing or the later
law nullifies the reason or urose of the earlier to call for a
reeal) 4ere difference in terms will not create reugnance)
Leges posteriors priores contraries abrogant" A later law
reeals an earlier law on the same subject which is
reugnant thereto)
&) !mlied reeal by re$ision or codification
Rule" Where a statute is re$ised or a series of legislati$e
acts on the same subject are re$ised and consolidated into
one, co$ering the entire field of subject matter, all arts and
ro$isions of the former act or acts that are omitted from
the re$ised act are deemed reealed)
7) Reeal by reenactment
Where a statute is a reenactment of the whole subject in
substitution of the re$ious laws on the matter, the latter
disaears entirely and what is omitted in the reenacted law
is deemed reealed)
A) 6ther forms of imlied reeal
-) When two laws is e#ressed in the form of a
uni$ersal negati$e" a negati$e statute reeals all
conflicting ro$isions unless the contrary intention is
disclosed)
1) Where the legislature enacts something in general
terms and afterwards asses another on the same
subject, although in affirmati$e language, introduces
secial condition or restrictions)
W) Reealing clause
All laws or art thereof, which are inconsistent with this act,
are hereby reealed or modified accordingly)
50
Nature of this clause" not an e#ress reeal rather, it is a
clause which redicates the intended reeal uon the
condition that a substantial conflict must be found on
e#isting and rior acts of the same subject matter
E# rorio $igore
Rule" the failure to add a secific reealing clause
articularly mentioning the statute to be reealed indicated
the intent was not to reeal any e#isting law on the matter
unless an irreconcilable inconsistency and reugnancy e#ist
in the terms of the new and old laws)
J) Reeal by imlication not fa$ored
Rule" Reeals by imlication not fa$ored
*resumtion is against inconsistency and against imlied
reeals for it is resumed that legislatures Bnow e#isting
laws on the subject and not to ha$e enacted inconsistent or
conflicting statutes)
Y. Leges posteriores priores contraries abrogant 3
later statue reeals rior ones which are reugnant
thereto) As between two laws, on the same subject
matter, which are irreconcilable inconsistent, that which
is assed later re$ails)
M) General law
Rule" General law on a subject does not oerate to reeal a
rior secial law on the same subject unless clearly aears
that the legislature has intended the later general act to
modify the earlier secial law)
Generalia specialibus non derogant " a general law does not
nullify a secific or secial law)
Reason" the legislature should maBe ro$isions for all
circumstance of the articular case)
AA) When secial or general law reeals the other
Rule" Where a later secial law on a articular subject is
reugnant to or inconsistent with a rior general law on the
same subject, a artial reeal of the latter is imlied to the
e#tent of the reugnancy or e#cetion granted uon the
general law)
Legislati$e intent to reeal must be shown in the act itself,
the e#lanatory not to the bill before its assage into a law,
the discussion on the floor of the legislature and the history
of the two legislations)
Rule" General law cannot be construed to ha$e reealed a
secial law by mere imlication)
Rule" !f intention to reeal the secial law is clear, the
secial law will be considered as an e#cetion to the general
law will not aly) Secial law is reealed by imlication)
++) Effects of reeals
-) Statute is rendered inoerati$e
1) 5oes not undo the conse(uences of the oeration of
the statute while in force
2) 5oes not render illegal what under the reealed act
is legal
>) 5oes not laBe legal what under the former law is
illegal
%%) 6n jurisdiction
Eurisdiction to try and decide actions is determined by the
law in force at the time the action is filed)
General rule" where the court or tribunal has already
ac(uired and is e#ercising jurisdiction o$er a contro$ersy,
its jurisdiction to roceed to final determination of the cause
is not affected by the new legislation reealing the statue
which originally conferred jurisdiction unless the reealing
statute ro$ides otherwise e#ressly or by necessary
imlication)
55) 6n jurisdiction to try criminal cases
Eurisdiction of a court to try a criminal case is determined
by the law in force at the time the action is instituted)
EE) 6n actions ending or otherwise
&he general rule is that the reeal of a statue defeats all
actions and roceedings including those which are still
ending)
99) 6n $ested rights
Reeal of a statute does not destroy or imair rights that
accrued and became $ested under the statute before its
reeal)
GG) 6n contracts
When a contract is entered into by the arties on the basis
of the law when obtaining, the reeal or amendment of said
law does not affect the terms of the contract not imair the
right of the arties thereunder)
88) Effect of reeal of ta# law
51
Reeals does not reclude the collection of ta#es assessed
under the old law before its reeals unless the reealing
statute ro$ides otherwise
!!) Reeal and enactment
Simultaneous reeal and reenactment of a statue does not
affect the rights and liabilities which ha$e accrued under the
original statute since the reenactment neutrali'es the reeal
and continues the law in force without interrution)
EE) Effect of reeal of enal laws
Reeal without (ualification of enal law deri$ed the court
of the jurisdiction to unish ersons charged with a $iolation
of the old law rior to its reeal)
Where reeal is absolute, crime no longer e#ists)
E#cetion"
-) &he reealing act reenacts the statute and enali'es
the same act re$iously enali'ed under the
reealed law, the act committed before the
reenactment continues to be a crime)
1) Where the reealing act contains a sa$ing clause
ro$iding that ending actions shall not be affected,
the latter will continue to be rosecuted in
accordance with the old law)
!A) 5istinction as to effect of reeal and e#iration of law
!n absolute reeal, the crime is obliterated
!n e#iration of enal law by its own force does not ha$e
that effect
KK) Effect of reeal of municial charter
Suerceding of the old charter by a new one has the effect
of abolishing the offices under the old charter)
LL) Reeal or nullity of reealing law
Law first reealed shall not be re$i$ed unless e#ressly
ro$ided
Where a reealing statute is declared unconstitutional, it will
ha$e no effect of reealing the former statute)

CHAPTER 11 :CONSTITUTIONAL
CONSTRUCTION
%6NS&!&7&!6N 5E9!NE5
!t is an instrument of a ermanent nature, intended not
merely to meet e#isting conditions, but to go$ern the future) !t
does not deal in details but enumerates general rinciles and
general directions which are intended to aly to all new facts
which may come into being and which may be brought within
those general rinciles or direction /Loe' A) 5e los Reyes0)
A sureme law to which all other laws must conform and
in accordance with which all ri$ate rights must be determined
and all ublic authority administered /4anila *rince 8otel $)
GS!S0)
*R!4ARY *7R*6SE 69 %6NS&!&7&!6NAL %6NS&R7%&!6N
&he rimary tasB of constitutional construction is to
ascertain the intent or urose of the framers of the
constitution as e#ressed in the language of the fundamental
law, Sembodied in the ro$isions themsel$esT, and thereafter to
assure its reali'ation /E)4) &uason G %o), !nc) $) Land &enure
Administration0)
&he urose of the *hil) %onstitution is to rotect and
enhance the eoleCs interest, as a nation collecti$ely and as
erson indi$idually) &he interretation of the %onstitution
should be done with a $iew to reali'ing this fundamental
objecti$e)
%6NS&!&7&!6N %6NS&R7E5 AS EN57R!NG 96R AGES
!t is something solid, ermanent and substantial) !ts
stability rotects the rights, liberty and roerty of the rich and
oor aliBe /7)S) $) Ang &eng 8o0)
-) A constitution should be construed in the light of what
actually is, a continuing instrument to go$ern not only
the resent but also the unfolding e$ents of the
indefinite future)
1) A constitution must be construed as a dynamic rocess
intended to stand for a great length of time, to be
rogressi$e and not static)
2) !ts construction ought not to change with emergencies
or conditions
>) Nor should it be construed to infle#ibly identify its te#t
with the circumstances that insired for its adotion, for
that would maBe it incaable of resonding to the need
of the future)
52
<) Word emloyed therein are not to be construed to yield
fi#ed and rigid answers but as imressed with the
necessary attributes of fle#ibility and accommodation to
enable them to meet ade(uately whate$er roblems the
future has in store)
=) %ourts should always endea$or to gi$e such
interretation that would maBe the constitutional
ro$ision consistent with reason, justice and the ublic
interest)
86W LANG7AGE 69 %6NS&!&7&!6N %6NS&R7E5
&he rimary source from which to ascertain
constitutional intent or urose is the language of the
constitution itself) !t is an intrinsic aid)
!t is a well.established rule that the language of the
constitution should be understood in the sense it has in
common use and that the worlds in the constitutional ro$isions
are to be gi$en their ordinary meaning e#cet where technical
terms are emloyed, because the fundamental law is not
rimarily a lawyerCs document but essentially that of the
eole, in whose consciousness it should e$er be resent as an
imortant condition for the rule of law to re$ail) Where the
constitution does not secifically define the terms used therein,
they should be construed in their general and ordinary sense)
Where words used in a constitution ha$e both restricti$e
and general meanings, the rule is that the general re$ails o$er
the restricted unless the conte#t in which they are emloyed
clearly indicates that the limited sense is intended)
A word or hrase in one art of the constitution is to
recei$e the same interretation when used in e$ery other art,
unless it clearly aears from the conte#t or otherwise that a
different meaning should be alied)
Words which ha$e ac(uired a technical meaning before
they are used in the constitution must be taBen in that sense
when such words as thus used are construed)
A!5S &6 %6NS&R7%&!6N, GENERALLY
E#traneous Aids"
-) history or realities e#isting at the time of the adotion of
the constitution
1) roceedings of the con$ention
2) changes in hraseology
>) rior laws and judicial decisions
<) contemoraneous constructions
=) conse(uences of alternati$e interretations
REAL!&!ES EJ!S&!NG A& &!4E 69 A56*&!6NF 6+EE%& &6 +E
A%%64*L!S8E5
8istory many a time holds the Bey that unlocBs the door
to understanding) 9or this reason, courts looB to the history of
times, e#amine the state of things e#isting when the
constitution was framed and adoted, and interret it in the
light of these factors /%ommissioner of !nternal Aenue $)
Guerrero0)
&he e#isting realities that confronted the framers of the
constitution can hel unra$el the intent behind a constitutional
ro$ision)
&he court in construing the constitution should bear in
mind the object sought to be accomlished by its adotion, and
the e$ils, if any, sought to be re$ented or remedied)
A doubtful ro$ision will be e#amined in the light of the
history of the times, and the conditions and circumstances
under which the constitution was framed) &he object is to
ascertain the reason which induced the framers of the
constitution to enact the articular ro$ision and the urose
sought to be accomlished thereof, in order to construe the
whole as to maBe the words consonant to that reason and
calculated to effect that urose)
*R6%EE5!NGS 69 &8E %6NS&!&7&!6N
!f the language of the constitutional ro$ision is lain, it
is neither necessary nor ermissible to resort to e#trinsic aids)
8owe$er, where the intent of the framers does not decisi$ely
aear in the te#t of the ro$ision as it admits of more than
one construction, reliance may be made on e#trinsic aids, such
as the records of the deliberations or discussions in the
con$ention /*eole $) 4uLo'0)
+ut while a memberCs oinion e#ressed on the floor of
the constitutional con$ention is $aluable, it is not necessarily
e#ressi$e of the eoleCs intent) &he constitutional wisdom is
that the constitution does not deri$e its force from the
con$ention which framed it, but from the eole who ratified it,
53
the intent to be arri$ed at is that of the eole, it deends
more on how it was understood by the eole adoting it than
the framersC understanding thereof)
!t is, howe$er, not decisi$e for the roceedings of the
con$ention are less conclusi$e of the roer construction of the
fundamental law than are legislati$e roceedings of the roer
construction of a statute, since in the latter case, it is the intent
of the legislature that courts seeB, while in the former, the
courts seeB to arri$e at the intent of the eole through the
reresentati$es)
&he ascertainment of the intent is but in Beeing with
the fundamental rincile of constitutional construction that the
intent of the framers of the organic law and of the eole
adoting should be gi$en effect) &he rimary tasB in
constitutional construction is to ascertain and thereafter assure
the reali'ation of the urose of the framers and of the eole
in the adoting of the constitution /Nitafan $) %ommissioner of
!nternal Re$enue0)
%6N&E4*6RANE67S %6NS&R7%&!6N AN5 WR!&!NGS
%ontemoraneous or ractical constructions of secific
constitutional ro$isions by the legislati$e and e#ecuti$e
deartments, esecially if long continued, may be resorted to
resol$e, but not to create ambiguities)
&hough not conclusi$e, contemoraneous or ractical
constructions are generally conceded as being entitled to great
weight)
&he ractical construction of a constitution is of little
weight unless it has been uniform) As a general rule, it is only
in cases of substantial doubt and ambiguity that the doctrine of
contemoraneous construction has any alication)
%ontemoraneous construction is not necessarily binding
uon courts, if in its judgment, such construction is erroneous
and its further alication is not made imerati$e by any
aramount consideration of ublic olicy, it may be rejected
/&aLada $) %uenco0
Writing of delegates to the con$ention on or e#laining
the ro$isions of the constitution, ublished shortly thereafter
ha$e some ersuasi$e force)
*REA!67S LAWS AN5 E75!%!AL R7L!NGS
A constitution shall be held to be reared and adoted
in reference to e#isting statutory laws, the ro$ision of which in
detail it must deend to be set in a ractical oeration) !ts
framers are resumed to be aware of re$ailing judicial
doctrines or rulings concerning which are the subjects of
constitutional ro$isions) %ourts may roerly taBe such
rulings into account in construing the constitutional ro$ision
in$ol$ed) &hus, if the framers of the constitution adoted a
rincile different from what the courts had re$iously
enunciated, they did so to o$errule said rincile)
%8ANGES !N *8RASE6L6GY
%hanges in hraseology in the new constitution may
indicate an intent to modify or change the meaning of the old
ro$ision from which it was based, and it should thus be
construed to reflect such intent /Aratuc $) %omelec0)
4ere deletion of a hrase from a roosed ro$ision
before its final adotion is not determinati$e of any conclusion)
!t could ha$e been done because the framers considered it
suerfluous) 5eletions in the reliminary drafts of the
con$ention are, at best, negati$e guides which cannot re$ail
o$er the ositi$e ro$isions of the finally adoted constitution)
%6NSED7EN%ES 69 AL&ERNA&!AE %6NS&R7%&!6NS
Where a constitutional ro$ision is suscetible of more
than one interretation, that construction which would lead to
absurd, imossible or mischie$ous conse(uences must be
rejected)
%6NS&!&7&!6N %6NS&R7E5 AS A W86LE
!t is a well.established rule that no one ro$ision of the
constitution is to be searated from all the others, to be
considered alone, but that all the ro$isions bearing uon a
articular subject are to be brought into $iew and to be so
interreted as to effectuate the great uroses of the
instrument)
6ne section is not to be allowed to defeat another, if by
any reasonable constructionF the two can be made to stand
together) &he courts must harmoni'e them, if racticable, and
must lean in fa$or of a construction which will render e$ery
54
word oerati$e, rather then one which may maBe the words
idle and nugatory)
4AN5A&6RY 6R 5!RE%&6RY
&he established rule is that constitutional ro$isions are
to be construed as mandatory, unless by e#ress ro$ision or
by necessary imlication, a different intention is manifested)
&he difference between a mandatory and directory ro$ision is
often determined on grounds of e#ediency, the reason being
that less injury results to the general ublic by disregarding
than by enforcing the letter of the fundamental law)
9ailure to discharge a mandatory duty, whate$er it may
be, would not automatically result in the forfeiture of an office,
in the absence of a statute to that effect)
*R6S*E%&!AE 6R RE&R6A%&!AE
A constitution should oerate rosecti$ely only, unless
the words emloyed show a clear intention that it should ha$e
a retroacti$e effect)
A**L!%A+!L!&Y 69 R7LES 69 S&A&7&6RY %6NS&R7%&!6N
GENERALLY, %6NS&!R7&!6NAL *R6A!S!6NS ARE SEL9.
EJE%7&!NG
&he general rule is that constitutional ro$isions are
self.e#ecuting e#cet when the ro$isions themsel$es e#ressly
re(uire legislations to imlement them or when from their
language or tenure, they are merely declarations of olicies and
rinciles)
A self.e#ecuting ro$ision is one which is comlete by
itself and becomes oerati$e without the aid of sulementary
or enabling legislation, or which sulies sufficient rule by
means of which the right it grants may be enjoyed or
rotected)
6mission from a constitution of any e#ress ro$ision
for a remedy for enforcing a right or liability is not necessarily
an indication that it was not intended to be self.e#ecuting)
55