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Principles Applicable in Enumeration

Law does not distinguish, Courts should not distinguish No

Expressio unius est exclusion alterius - When something is stated,
those not stated are excluded
Casus omissus pro omisso habendus est Things excluded are
excluded for a reason
Ejusdem generis the general will follow the characteristics of the
specific before it
Noscitur a sociis if unclear, its meaning with be determined by the
other words its associated to.
Construction Penal Statutes = Strictly against the state, liberally in
favour of accused (ex. below 9 no criminal liability, over 9 has
liability with discernment, exactly 9 is construed as no liability)
Construction Tax Statutes = Strictly against the state, liberally in
favour of the tax payer
Construction Tax Exemptions = Strictly against the one who claims
the exemptions
Construction Naturalization = Strictly against the once trying to
become a citizen
Construction Labor Laws = Liberally in favour of labourers, strictly
against companies/employers
Construction Agrarian Reform = Liberally in favour of agrarian
reform beneficiaries
*When referring to multiple individuals, do not use people use
persons (Tantoco v. Alimurung).
*On general laws and special laws, which are on the same matter (in
pari materia), the special will prevail
*Between earlier and later laws, the later will prevail.
*Between earlier and later laws on the same matter, the court will
either try to harmonize the interpretation of both, or see if a repeal
took place. Preference to not seeing repeal, especially since implied
repeals are not favoured and are to be avoided

All other laws, decrees, orders, issuances, rules and regulations which are
inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed, amended or
modified accordingly. Implied Repeal Cannot use this implied
repeal unless there is no other express repeal, and no way to
reconcile the two laws.
Construction, defined
Construction is the art or process of discovering and expounding 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 given case is not explicitly provided for in the law. (Caltex v.
Plain Meaning Rule/Verba Legis
Where the statute is clear, plain and free from ambiguity, it must be given
its literal meaning and applied without interpretation. This plain meaning
rule or verbal egis derived from the maxim index animi sermo est (speech is
the index of intention) rests on the valid presumption that the words
employed by the legislature in a statute correctly express its intention or
will and preclude the court from construing it differently.
Comment: The literal the Law is Clear
In terms of interpretation: Plain Meaning Rule > Stat Con > Implementing
Agency Interpretation and Legislative Intent > Statement of Individual
Legislative intent/Ratio Legis
A statute must be read according to its spirit and intent, and where
legislative intent apparently conflicts with the letter of the law, the former
prevails over the latter. (Tanada v. Cuenco)
The principle that what is within the spirit of a statute is within the statute
itself although it is not within its letter applies only when there is ambiguity
in the language employed in the law. Where the law is clear and free from
ambiguity, the letter of the law is not to be disregarded on the pretext of
pursuing its spirit. (Tanada v. Cuenco)
Comment: This doctrine can be combined with Executive and
Administrative interpretation, as well as review of law in its entirety.
However, it is generally used as a last resort and will often lose versus plain
meaning rule, the law does not distinguish, and cassus ommissus.
Dura Lex Sed Lex
The principle requires that the statute should be applied regardless of
whether it is unwise, hard or harsh. If the law is clear and free from doubt,

it is the sworn duty of the court to apply it without fear or favor, to follow its
mandate, and not to tamper with it. (Go v. Anti-Chinese League of the Phils.)
Comments: This can be cited when Wisdom or Practicality of the Law is
being questioned.
Ut Res Magis Valeat Quam Pereat
The rule is that a construction that would render a provision inoperative
should be avoided; instead, apparently inconsistent provisions should be
reconciled whenever possible as parts of a coordinated and harmonious
whole. (JMM Promotions & Management, Inc. v. NLRC)
Comment: This can be cited along with the rule on repeals, namely that
unless the repeal is express, the two statutes should attempt to be given a
construction that will allow both to preserve their effects. Also, it can be
cited when the issue is provisions in a contract, because it is to be
considered that the reason the parties put a provision in a contract is
because they would like it implemented.

Review of law in its entirety and its intendment must be given effect
The legislative meaning is to be extracted from the statute as a whole. Its
clauses are not to be segregated, but every part of a statute is to be
construed with reference to every other part and every word and phrase in
connection with its context. (Tamayo v. Gsell)
Comment: This is the counter against partial unconstitutionality. Under
partial unconstitutionality, only the unconstitutional part can be removed.
But, if this standard is applied and the unconstitutional part clearly is
intended to be construed together, the whole law may be voided.
Wisdom/Practicality of Law
Courts do not pass upon questions of wisdom, justice, or expediency of
legislation, for it is not within their province to supervise legislation and
keep it within the bounds of propriety and common sense. That is primarily
and exclusively a legislative concern. Hence, as long as laws do not violate
the Constitution, the courts merely interpret and apply them regardless of
whether or not they are wise or salutary. (Quintos v. Lacson)
Comment: This is a ground to dismiss an action, by saying that the action
is really looking into the wisdom and practicality of the law, and not a
question of law.

Executive/Administrative Interpretation
The principle that the contemporaneous construction of a statute by the
executive officers of the government, whose duty it is to execute it, is
entitled to great respect, 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 support it. (In re Allen)
Comment: The interpretation of the implementing agency is given great
weight by the court, but it may not add or detract from the express terms in
the statute itself. Hence, this provision will lose versus plain meaning rule,
the law does not distinguish, and cassus ommissus. (Ex. Midterms question)
Valid in part, void in part
The general rule is that where part of a statute is void as repugnant to the
Constitution, while another part is valid, the valid portion, if separable from
the invalid, may stand and be enforced. (Barrameda v. Moir)

The exception to the general rule is that when the parts of a statute are so
mutually dependent and connected, as conditions, considerations,
inducements, or compensations for each other, as to warrant a belief that
the legislature intended them as a whole, the nullity of one part will vitiate
the rest. (Lindasan v. Commission on Elections)

Law does not distinguish, Courts should not distinguish

The principle that where the law does not distinguish, neither should the
courts do so, assumes that the legislature made no qualification in the use
of a general word or expression. The courts may distinguish when there are
facts or circumstances showing that the legislature intended a distinction or
qualification, for in such case, the courts merely give effect to the legislative
intent. (Social Security System v. City of Bacolod)
Comments: This is one of the stronger maxims, and is often combined with
Expressio unius est exclusion alterius .
Whether a statutory requirement is mandatory or directory depends on its
effect. If no substantial rights depend on it and no injury can result from
ignoring it; and the purpose of the legislature can be accomplished in a
manner other than that prescribed and substantially the same results
obtained, then the statute will generally be regarded as directory; but if not,
it will be mandatory. (Miller v. Lakewood Housing Co.)
Comments: One of the guiding principles here to determine whether
Mandatory or Directory is whether the terms Shall or Must are used as
opposed to may.
Expressio unius est exclusion alterius
One variation of the rule is the principle that what is expressed puts an end
to that which is implied. (Espiritu v. Cipriano)
Another variation of the rules is the canon that a general expression
followed by exceptions therefrom implies that those which do not fall under
the exceptions come within the scope of the general expression. (Villanueva
v. City of Iloilo)
Still another variation of the rule is the axiom that the expression of one or
more things of a class implies the exclusion of all not expressed, even
though all would have been implied had none been expressed. (Empire
Insurance Co. v. Rufino)
Comments: This is one of the principles usable in cases of enumeration.
Ejusdem generis
The general rule is that where a general word or phrase follows an
enumeration of particular and specific words of the same class or where the
latter follow the former, the general word or phrase is to be construed to
include, or to be restricted to, persons, things or cases akin to, resembling,
or of the same king or class as those specifically mentioned. (Go Tiaco y
Hermanos v. Union Insurance Society of Canton)

Exceptions: Enumeration has no distinguishable common characteristics

and enumeration of the particular and specific words is exhaustive.
Where a statute uses a general word, followed by an enumeration of specific
words embraced within the general word merely as examples, the
enumeration does not thereby restrict the meaning of the general word, but
should include all others of the same class although not enumerated
therein. (Asturias Sugar Central, Inc. v. Commissioner of Customs)
Comments: This maxim is only used in enumerations, especially when terms
like ...and other similar etc. Come after it. Can be used together with
Expressio unius.
Statement of Individual Legislator
Thus, where there is doubt as to what a provision of a statute means, that
meaning which was put to the provision during the legislative deliberation
or discussion on the bill may be adopted. (Arenas v. City of San Carlos)
Where the statute is clear and free from ambiguity, courts will not inquire
into the motives which influence the legislature, or individual members, in
voting for its passage; nor indeed as to the intention of the draftsman, or
the legislators, so far as it has not been expressed in the act. To read into
the law the supposed intention of the legislators, where there is no
ambiguity in it, would be to supply something that does not appear in the
act. (Manila Jockey Club, Inc. v. Games and Amusements Board)
Comments: In terms of interpretation aids, this is the weakest, below
legislative intent.
Noscitur a sociis
A word or phrase should be interpreted in relation to, or given the same
meaning of, words with which it is associated. (Magtajas v. Pryce Properties
Corp., Inc.)
Comments: This can be used in enumerations, and can often be used
together with Ejusdem Generis.

The word or is a disjunctive term signifying disassociation and

independence of one thing from each of the other things enumerated.
(People v. Martin) The term or has sometimes been held to mean and,
when the spirit or context of the law so warrants. (Gonzales v. Commission
on Elections)
The word or may also be used as the equivalent of that is to say, giving
that which precedes it the same significance as that which follows it. (San
Miguel Corp. v. Municipal City of Mandaue)
The word or may also mean successively. (US v. De la Sabta)
On the other hand, the word and is a conjunction pertinently defined as
meaning together with, joined with, along or together with, added to
or linked to, used to conjoin word with word, phrase with phrase, clause
with clause. (Phil. Constitutional Assn., Inc. v. Mathay)
The term and/or means that effect shall be given to both the conjunctive
and and the disjunctive or or that one word or the other may be taken
accordingly as one or the other will best effectuate the purpose intended by
the legislature as gathered from the whole statute (AE Davidson v. FW
Wollworth Co.)
Ambiguity, against Party who caused it
Comments: The rule is that, when the ambiguity is not from the law but
from the action of the person who caused it, the courts must not allow the
one who created the ambiguity to profit from it. Hence, strict construction
against party who caused it.
The general rule is that laws have no retroactive effect. However, there are
exceptions to the general rule such as procedural laws and curative laws
which are given retroactive operation. (Zulueta v. Asia Brewery, Inc.)
Comments: The exceptions are Curative and Remedial, Expressly provides
for retroactivity, procedural, and favourable to the accused who is not a
habitual offender.
Casus omissus pro omisso habendus est
The rule of casus omissus pro omisso habendus est states that a person,
object or thing omitted from an enumeration must be held to have been
omitted intentionally. The rule does not apply where it is shown that the
legislature did not intend to exclude the person, thing or object from
enumeration (People v. Manantan)
Comments: Another maxim used for enumeration, this can often be
partnered with when the law does not distinguish

Computation of Time
See Article 13 of the Civil Code and CIR v. Primetown Property Group, Inc..
Where a statute requires the doing of an act within a specified number of
days, such as ten days, from notice, it means ten calendar days and not ten
working days.
Comments: Computation of time: Exclude the first day but include the last.
E.g. 15 days due, started January 1, it will be due Jan 16. Also, when it
comes to prescription, if the day of prescription is a weekend or a holiday,
then the true last day it may be filed will be the very next working day
immediately after. BUT if the case is criminal in nature, this rule will not
apply, so if the last filing day is on a weekend or a holiday, then the last day
for filing is the last working day prior to that weekend.
From Fr. Ferrers Statcon


[f ]

[c ]




Latin Maxim
Legis interpretatio / legis vim btinet.
Contemporanea expositio /est ptima et
fortssima in lege.
ptima est legum interpres / consuetudo.
Rgula pro lege,/ si dfcit lex.
ptimus interpres rerum / usus.
Communis error / facit jus.
Quod ab intio non valet / in tractu tmporis / non
Ratihabtio / mandato aequiparatur.
Stare decisis / et non quieta movere.
Interest reipblicae / ut sit finis ltium.
Index nimi / sermo est.
nimus hminis / est nima scripti.
Verba legis / non est recedendum.
Maledicta est / expostio quae corrumpit textum.
Littera scripta / manet.
Clusula rebus / sic stntibus.
Absoluta sentntia / expositore / non ndiget.
Dura lex / sed lex.
Hoc quidem / perquam durum est, / sed ita lex
scripta est.
Aquitas / nunquam contravenit legis.
Aquum et bonum / est lex legum.
Jus / ars boni et aqui.
Ratio legis / est nima legis.
Lttera necat / spritus vivfcat.
Verba intentioni, / non e contra, / debent
Benignus / leges interpretandae sunt, / quod voluntas
earum /conservetur.
Qui haret in lttera / haret in crtice.
Quando verba statuti sunt speciali, / ratio autem
generlia, / statutum / generliter est intelligendum.


Cessante rationi legis, / cessat et ipsa lex.

Judicial construction and interpretation of a statute acquires
the force of law.
Contemporary construction is strongest in law.
Custom is the best interpreter of a statute.
In default of law, the maxim rules.
The best interpreter of the law is usage.
Common error sometimes passes as current law.
That which was originally void does not, by lapse of time,
become valid.
Legislative ratification is equivalent to a mandate.
Follow past precedents and do not disturb what has been
The interest of the state demands that there be an end to
Speech is the index of intention.
The intention of the man is the soul of what is written.
Do not depart from the words of the statute.
It is bad construction which corrupts the text.
The written word endures.
Things thus standing.
When the language of the law is clear, no explanation is
The law may be harsh but it is the law.
It is exceedingly hard, but so the law is written.
Equity never acts in contravention of the law.
What is good and equal is the law of laws.
Law is the art of good and equitable.
The reason of the law is the soul of the law.
The letter kills but the spirit gives life.
Words ought to be more subservient to the intent and not to
the words.
Law is to be construed liberally so that its spirit and reason
be preserved.
He who considers merely the letter of an instrument goes
but skin deep into its meaning.
When the words used in a statute are special, but the
purpose of the law is general, it should be read as the
general expression.
When the reason of the law ceases, the law itself ceases.


Interpetatio talis / in ambguis / semper fienda

est / ut evitetur inconveniens / et absurdum.
Legis constructio / non facit injuriam.
Argumentum ab inconvenienti / plrimum valet in
Verba / nihil operari melis est / quam absurde.


Lex / semper intendit / quod convenit rationi.

Ubi edem ratio / ibi idem jus.
Argumentum a smili / valet in lege.
De simlibus / idem est judicium.
Ubi edem est ratio, / ibi est edem legis dispostio.

[i ]

Ea est accipienda interpretatio quae vitio caret.

Lex injusta non / est lex.




Fiat justtia, / ruat coelum.

Nemo est / supra legis.
Nulla potentia / supra legis esse debet.
Jurae naturae aequum est / nminem / cum
altrius detrimento et injuria / feri
Surplusgium / non nocet.
tile / per inutile / non vitiatur.
Falsa demonstratio / non nocet, / cum de crpore
Nil facit / error nminis / cum de crpore vel persona /
Certum est / quod certum reddi potest.
Ibi / quid generliter concditur, / inest haec
exceptio, / si non liquid sit contras / jus basque.
Summum jus, / summa injria.
Jus summum saepe, / summa est malitia.
Nemo / tenetur ad impossiblia.
Impossiblium nulla / obligtio est.
Lex / non cogit ad impossiblia.
Lex / non intendit liquid impossbile.
Ex necessitate legis.
In eo / quod plus sit, / semper inest et minus.
Ci / jurisdctio data est, / ea quoque / concessa esse
videntur / sine quibus jurisdictio / explicari non ptuit.
Ubi jus, / ibi remdium.
Ubi jus incertum, / ibi jus nullum.
Ex dolo malo / non ritur actio.
Nullus / cmmodum cpere potest / de injuria
sua propria.
In pari delicto / ptior est condtio defendentis.
Quando liquid / prohibetur ex directo, /
prohibetur et per oblquum.
Generlia verba / sunt generliter intelligenda.
Generale dictum / generliter est
Verba / accipienda sunt / secundum subjectam
Verba mere aequivoca, / si per communem usum
loquendi / in intellectu certo sumuntur, / talis
intellectus / preferendus est.
Verba artis / ex arte.

When there is ambiguity, the interpretation of such that will

avoid inconvenience and absurdity is adopted.
The construction of the law will not be as such as to work
injury or injustice.
An argument drawn from inconvenience is forcible in law.
It is better that words should have no operation at all than
that they should operate absurdly.
The law always intends that which is in accordance with
Where there is the same reason, there is the same law.
An argument drawn from a similar case, or analogy prevails
in law.
Concerning similars, the judgement is the same.
Where the reason is the same, there is the same verdict of
the law
That interpretation is to be adopted which is free from
An unjust law is not a law.
Let right be done, though the heavens fall.
Nobody is above the law.
No power must be above the law.
It is certainly not agreeable to natural justice that a stranger
should reap the pecuniary produce of another mans work.
Surplusage does not vitiate a statute.
The useful is not vitiated by the non-useful.
False description does not preclude construction nor vitiate
the meaning of the statute.
Error in name does not make an instrument inoperative
when the description is sufficiently clear.
That is sufficiently certain which can be made certain.
Where anything is granted generally, exemption from rigid
application of law is implied: that nothing shall be contrary
to law.
The rigor of the law would be the highest injustice.
Extreme law is often extreme wrong.
The law obliges no one to perform an impossibility.
There is no obligation to do an impossible thing.
The law does not require an impossibility.
The law does not intend the impossible.
By the necessary implication of law.
The greater includes the lesser.
When jurisdiction is given, all powers and means essential
to its exercise are also given.
Where there is a right, there is a remedy for the violation
Where the law is uncertain, there is no right.
An action does not arise from fraud.
No one may derive advantage from his own unlawful act.
Where the parties are equally at fault, the position of the
defending party is the better one.
What cannot by law be done directly cannot be done
General words should not be understood in their general
A general statement is understood in its general sense.
A word is to be understood in the context in which it is used.
Equivocal words or those with double meaning are to be
understood according to their common and ordinary sense.
Words of art should be explained from their usage in the art
to which they belong.
General words should be confined according to the subject
matter or persons to which they relate.

Verba generlia / restringuntur / ad habilitatem rei vel

Ubi lex non distnguit / necnon / distnguere
Dissmilum / dissmilis est ratio.
Nonscitur / a sociis.
Ejusdem generis.
Expressio unus / est exlusio altrius.


Expressum / facit cessare / tcitum.

Argumentum a contrrio.


Casus omissus / pro omisso / habendus est.


Ad prximum antecedens / fiat relatio / nisi

impediatur sentntia.
Reddendo / sngular sngulis.


Exceptio / firmat rgulam / in csibus non

ptima statuti interpretatrix est / ipsum
Ex tota matria / emergat resoltio.
Injustum est, / nisi tota lege inspecta, / de una liqua
ejus partcula propsita / indicare vel respndere
Nemo enim aliquam partem / recte intellgere possit /
ntequam totum / terum atque terum perlegit.
Ex antecedntibus et consequntibus ft / ptima


Verba postrima / propter certitdinem ddita ad

prioria / quae certitdine indiget / sunt referenda.
Interpretatio fienda est / ut res magis vleat
quam preat.
Pari matria
Interpretare et concordare / leges lgibus / est
ptimus interpretandi modus.
Distngue tmpora / et concordabis jura.
Tmpora mutantur / et leges mutantur in illis
Mutatis / mutandis.


Salus ppuli / est suprema lex.

Statuta / pro pblico cmmodo / late
Privatum incmmodum / pblico bono / pensatur.


Actus / non facit reum / nisi mens sit ren.

Actus / me invito factus / non est meus actus.


Privilgia / recipiunt largam intepretationem /

voluntate consonam concendentis.
Renunciatio / non praesmitur.


Strictssimi juris.
Nullum tempus occurit / regi.
Vigilntibus et non dormintibus / jura
Ptior est in tmpore,/ ptior est in jure.
Lex prspicit, / non rspicit.
Lex de futuro, / judex de praetrito.
Nova constitution / futuris formam impnere
debet non praeteritis.
Leges quae, retrospiciunt,/ et magna cum cautione
sunt adhibendae / neque enim Janus locatur in legibus.

Where the law does not distinguish, the courts should not
Of things dissimilar, the rule is dissimilar.
A thing is known by its associates.
Of the same kind or specie.
The express mention of one person, thing or consequence
implies the exclusion of all others.
What is expressed puts an end to that which is implied.
Negative-Opposite: What is expressed puts an end to which
is implied.
A person, object or thing being omitted from an
enumeration must be held to have been omitted
A qualifying word or phrase should be understood as
referring to the nearest antecedent.
Referring to each or referring each phrase or expression to
its appropriate object, or let each be put in its proper place.
A thing not being expected must be regarded as coming
within the purview of the general rule.
The best interpreter of the statue is the statute itself.
The exposition of a statute should be made from all its parts
It is unjust to decide or to respond as to any particular apart
of a law without examining the whole of the law.
The sense and meaning of the law is collected by viewing all
the parts together as one whole and not of one part only by
A passage will be best interpreted by reference to that
which precedes and follows it.
Reference should be made to a subsequent section in order
to explain a previous clause of which the meaning is
A law should be interpreted with a view of upholding rather
than destroying it.
Of the same matter.
Every statute must be so construed and harmonized with
other statutes as to have a uniform system of law.
Distinguish times and you will harmonize law.
Times have changed and laws have changed with them.
With the necessary changes.
The welfare of the people is the supreme law.
Statutes enacted for the public good are to be construed
The private interests of the individual must give way to the
accommodation of the public.
The act does not make a person guilty unless the mind is
also guilty.
An act done by me against my will is not my act.
Privileges are to be interpreted in accordance with the will of
him who grants them.
Renunciation cannot be presumed.
Follow the law strictly.
There can be no legal right as against the authority that
makes the law on which the right depends.
The law aids the vigilant, not those who slumber on their
He who is first in time is preferred in right.
The law looks forward, not backward.
The law provides for the future, the judge for the past.
A new statute should affect the future, not the past.
Laws which are retrospective are rarely and cautiously
received for Janus has really no place in the laws.


Leges et constitutiones / futuris / certum est dare

formam / negtiis, non ad facta praeterita revocari, /
nisi nominatim / et de praeterito tmpore et adhuc
pendntibus negtiis / cautum sit.
Nullum crimen sine poena, / nulla poena sine
Favorabilia sunt amplianda, / odiosa
Leges posteriores / priores contrrias brogant.


Generalia / specilibus /non drogant.

There is no crime without a penalty. There is no penalty

without a law.
Penal laws which are favorable to the accused are given
retroactive effect.
Later statutes repeal prior ones which are repugnant
A general law does not nullify a specific or a special law.


Ignorntia legis / nminem excusat

Ignorance of the law excuses no one.

*B 1

In obscuris / nspici slere quod verisimlius est,/ aut

quod plerumque feri solet.
Ambigitas verborum patens / nulla verifcatione
Ad ea / quae frequntibus accident / jura adaptatur
Jus consttui oportet in his / quae ut plrimum
accident / non quae ex inrdinato.
Quod / semel aut bis / existit / praetreunt legislatores.
De mnimis / non curat lex.

When matters are obscure, it is customary to take what appears to

be more likely or what usually often happens.
A patent ambiguity can be cleared up by extrinsic evidence (unless
perfectly vague)
Laws are understood to be adapted to those cases which most
frequently occur.
Laws ought to be made with a view to those cases which happen
most frequently and not those which are of rare or accidental
Legislators pass over what happens only once or twice.
The law does not concern itself with trifling matters.
The black (body of the act printed in black) should never go
beyond the red (title or rubric of the statute printed in red).


*C 1

Nigrum / numquam excedre debet /rubrum.

Laws should be construed as prospective, not retrospective,

unless they are expressly made applicable to past
transactions and to such as are still pending.