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Statutory Construction-Finals conditions it sought to remedy,

must be enforced.
2. Preamble used as a guide in
determining the intent of the
Intrinsic Aids in Construction and

Intrinsic - means internal or within

Intrinsic Aids - are those aids within

the statute.

- It must be emphasized
that intrinsic aids are
resorted to ONLY if there
is ambiguity in the statute.
If the language of the
statute it clear and
unequivocal, there is no
need to resort to intrinsic

Resorting to Intrinsic Aids

- One must go back to the

parts of the statute, the
title, preamble, context or
body of the statute,
chapter and section
headings, punctuation and
interpretation clause.

Rules on resorting to intrinsic Aid:

Title and Subtitle, Text

1. The title of a law is a valuable

intrinsic aid in determining
legislative intent
2. The subtitle of the statue can
also be used as an intrinsic
aid in determining legislative
3. Text of the Statute as intrinsic


1. The intent of the law as culled

from its preamble and from the
situation, circumstances and
Extrinsic Aids in Construction and - Are resorted to after
Interpretation exhausting all the
available intrinsic aids
Extrinsic Aids and still there remain some
ambiguity in the statute.
- Are existing aids from
outside sources, MEANING Extrinsic Aids resorted to by
outside of the four the courts are:
corners of the statute.
- If there is any doubt as to 1. History of the enactment
the meaning of the statute, of the statute
the interpreter must first 2. Opinions and rulings of
find that out WITHIN the officials of the government
statute. That is, the called upon to execute or
interpreter must avail all the implement administrative
necessary intrinsic aids to laws;
determine the intention of 3. Contemporaneous
the legislature. If after construction by executive
availing all the intrinsic aids officers
and still there remain some 4. Actual proceedings of the
ambiguity in the statute, legislative body
then extrinsic aids may be 5. Individual statements by
consulted. members of Congress
6. The author of the law
7. Explanatory note of the bill

Fontanilla, S.J. G., Statutory Construction, 1C, Judge Noli

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*other sources can be reports 5. In case of doubt as to what a
and recommendations of provision of a statute means,
legislative committees; public the meaning put to the
policy; judicial construction; provision during the
and construction by the bar. legislative deliberations may
be adopted

1. It is a well-accepted 6. Individual statements by

members of Congress on the
principle that where a
floor do not necessarily
statute is ambiguous, courts
reflect legislative intent.
may examine both the
printed pages of the
published Act as well as
those extrinsic matters that 7. Courts may resort to the
may aid in construing the explanatory note to clarify
meaning of the statute, the ambiguous and
such as the history of its ascertain the purpose and
enactment, the reasons for intent of the statute.
the passage of the bill and
purposes to be
accomplished by the

2. Opinions and rulings of

officials of the government
called upon to execute or
implement administrative
laws command much respect
and weight.

3. Contemporaneous
construction placed upon a
statute by executive officers
charged with implementing
and enforcing the provisions
of the statutes should be
given controlling weight,
unless such interpretation is
clearly erroneous.

4. Courts may avail themselves

of the actual proceedings of
the legislative body to assist
in determining the
construction of a statute of
doubtful meaning.
Fontanilla, S.J. G., Statutory Construction, 1C, Judge Noli
C. Diaz, 2014
- Any matter reasonably within
the statutes meaning may be
Strict and Liberal Construction included within the statutes
and scope unless
Interpretation of Statutes

- If a statute should be strictly

construed, nothing should
be included within the
scope that does not come
clearly within the
meaning of the language
used. Its language must be
given its exact and technical
meaning, with no extension
on account of implications or
equitable considerations; or,
as has been aptly asserted,
its operation must be
confined to cases coming
clearly within the letter of the
statutes as well as within its
spirit or reason.

- but the rule of strict

construction is NOT
applicable where the
meaning of the statute is
certain and unambiguous,
for under these
circumstances, there is no
need for construction.

On the other hand, there are

many statutes which will be
liberally construed.

- The meaning of the statute

may be extended to matters
which come within the spirit
or reason of the law or
within the evils which the
law seeks to suppress or
correct, although, of course,
the statute can under no
circumstances be given a
meaning inconsistent with,
or contrary to the language
used by the legislators.
the language necessarily - It is a well-entrenched
excludes it. rule that penal laws are
Sutherland lists some to be construed
guidelines on strictly against the
whether a statute or state and in favor of
some of its provisions the accused.
should be liberally or - They are NOT to be
strictly construed such extended or enlarged by
as: implications, intendments,
analogies or equitable
1. The former law on the considerations.
matter - They are NOT to be
2. Persons or rights with strained by construction to
which it deals spell out a new offense,
3. Letter or language of the enlarge the field of crime
law or multiply felonies.
4. Purpose and objects - In the interpretation of a
of the statute penal statute, the tendency
is to subject it to careful
*in our jurisdiction, some of our laws scrutiny and to construe it
expressly provide whether the
with such strictness as to
construction should be liberally or
safeguard the rights of the
strictly interpreted.
- That which operates in favor
of a party accused under its
Penal Statutes provisions is to be preferred.

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- The principle is that acts in Rules:
and of themselves innocent
and lawful cannot be held to 1. In case of doubt, tax statutes
be criminal unless there is a are to be construed strictly
clear and unequivocal against the government and
expression of the legislative liberally in favor of the
intent to make them such. taxpayer, for taxes, being
burdens, are not to be
Rules: presumed beyond what the
applicable statute expressly
1. Penal Statutes should be and clearly declares.
construed and strictly against 2. As a rule, any claim for
the State and in favor of the
exemption from a tax statute is
strictly construed against the
2. Penal laws are construed taxpayer. However, where the
liberally in favor of the
law is clear and unambiguous,
the law must be taken as it is
Tax Laws devoid of judicial addition or
- the power to tax is an 3. Tax exemption must be
incident of sovereignty and strictly construed against
is unlimited in its range, the taxpayer and liberally in
acknowledging in its very favor of the State.
nature no limits, so that 4. Statutes granting tax
security against its abuse is exemptions must be construed
to be found only in the in strictissimi juris against the
responsibility of the taxpayer and liberally in favor
legislature which imposes of the taxing authority. In
the tax on the constituency construing a statute, it is the
who are to pay it. duty of the courts to seek the
- Our Constitution for real intent of the legislature,
instance, provides that the even if, by doing so, they may
rule of taxation shall be limit the literal meaning of the
uniform and equitable and broad language.
Congress shall evolve a 5. Naturalization laws should be
progressive system of rigidly enforced and strictly
taxation. construed in favor of the
- power to tax involves the government and against the
power to destroy applicant
- The power to tax is primarily
vested in Congress but may Insurance Law
be exercised by local
- Contracts of Insurance are
legislative bodies, no longer
to be construed liberally in
merely by virtue of a valid
favor of the insured and
delegation as before, but
strictly against the insurer
pursuant to direct authority
conferred by Sec. 5, Article Labor and Social Legislations
10 of the Constitution.
- The liberal construction and may not be applied where
interpretation of labor laws the pertinent

Fontanilla, S.J. G., Statutory Construction, 1C, Judge Noli

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provisions of the Labor Code An election
and PD 626 are clear and contest, unlike an
leave no room for ordinary action, is
interpretation imbued with
public interest
Rules: since it involves
not only the
1. The official agents charged by adjudication of the
law to implement social justice private interest of
guaranteed by the Constitution rival candidates
should adopt a liberal attitude in but also
favor of the employees in
deciding claims for
2. Doubts in interpretation of
Compensation and Labor Code
should be resolved in favor of
the worker.
3. Basically, social legislation is
liberally construed.
4. The sympathy of the law on
social security is towards its
beneficiaries and the law by its
own terms, requires a
construction of utmost liberality
in their favor.

Retirement laws

- Liberally interpreted in
favor of the retiree because
the intention is to
provide for the retirees
sustenance and comfort,
when he is no longer
capable of earning his

Election Rules

- Statutes providing for

election contests are to be
liberally construed to the
end that the will of the
people in the choice of
public officer may not be
defeated by mere technical
the paramount need of dispelling the disabilities in respect of
uncertainty which beclouds the real transaction already past.
choice of the electorate with respect -when we speak of
to who shall discharge the prospective and retrospective
prerogatives of the office within their statutes, we look
gift. forward more in its
application or operation
rather than its
construction and
Prospective and Retrospective
Statutes -Law shall have no
retroactive effect, unless the
contrary is proven (Art. 4
-A statute which operates upon acts NCC)
and transaction which have not
-Retroactive legislation is
occurred when the statute takes
looked upon with disfavor,
effect, that is which regulates the
as a general rule and
future, is a prospective statute.
properly so because of its
-A retrospective/retroactive law is tendency to be unjust and
one which takes away or impairs oppressive.
vested rights acquired under existing
Laws impairing vested rights
laws, or creates new obligations and are not given retrospective
imposes new duties, or attaches new application.

Fontanilla, S.J. G., Statutory Construction, 1C, Judge Noli

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Penal Statutes failure to comply with some
technical requirement.
- Are applied prospectively
- They are therefore,
- Felonies and misdemeanors necessarily
are punished under the laws RETROACTIVE in their
in force at the time of their character.
- HOWEVER, it can be
given a retroactive effect
if it is favorable to the
accused who is not a
habitual criminal (Art 22,

Procedural Laws Are


- It is a well-settled rule that

statutes regulating the
procedure of the Court will
be construed as applicable
to actions pending and
undetermined at the time of
their passage.
- Procedural laws are
retrospective in that sense
and to that extent.
- HOWEVER, Rules of
procedure should not be
given retroactive effect if
it would result in great
injustice and impair
substantive right

Curative statutes

- Are those which undertake

to cure errors and
irregularities and
administrative proceedings,
and which are designed to
give effect to contracts and
other transactions between
private parties which
otherwise would fail of
producing their intended
consequences by reason of
some statutory disability or
retroactive effect is expressly
declared or is necessarily
Rules: implied from the language
1. The question of whether a
5. Penal laws shall have a
statute operates retrospectively
retroactive effect insofar as
or only prospectively depends
they favor the person guilty of
on the legislative intent.
a felony who is not a habitual
2. As a rule, laws cannot be given criminal.
retroactive effect in the
6. Insofar as RA No 8294 is not
absence of a statutory provision
beneficial to the accused
for retroactivity or a clear
because it unduly aggravates
implication of the law to that
the crime, such new law will
not be given retroactive
3. All statutes are to be construed application, lest it acquire the
as having only a prospective character of an ex post facto
operation unless the purpose law.
and the intention of the 7. Procedural laws are
legislature to give them a retrospective.
retrospective effect is expressly
8. Statutes regulating the
declared or is necessarily
procedure of the Courts will
implied from the language
be construed as applicable to
actions pending and
4. Laws should only be applied undetermined at the time of
prospectively unless the their passage.
legislative intent to give them

Fontanilla, S.J. G., Statutory Construction, 1C, Judge Noli

C. Diaz, 2014
9. Sec 1, Rule 39 of the 1997 whenever possible as parts
Revised Rules of Procedures of coordinated and
should not be given retroactive harmonious whole.
effect in this case as it would
result to great injustice to Statutes in Pari Materia
10. Procedural provisions of the
Local Government Code are
11.Curative statutes are validly
accepted in this jurisdiction
subject to the usual
qualification against
impairment of vested rights.
12.Curative statutes have
retrospective effect.
13.The beneficent provision of
RA 7659 (Heinous Crimes
Law) shall be given
retrospective effect

Conflicting Statutes

- A provision or section in an
earlier chapter contradicts
a provision or section in a
later chapter of the
- The statute must be
construed as a whole if
this situation arises.
- It is a principle of legal
hermeneutics that in
interpreting a statute or set
of rules, care should be
taken that every part
thereof be given effect on
the theory that it was
enacted as an integrated
measure and not as a
hodge-podge of conflicting
- A construction that would
render a provision
inoperative should be
avoided; apparently
inconsistent provisions
should be reconciled
- Pari Materia: Statutes nbetween two statutes
relate to the same subject should be very clear to
matter, or to the same class warrant the Court in holding
of persons or things, or have that the later in time repeals
the same purpose or object. the other.
- These are to be
General and Special Statutes
construed together,
each legislative act is to
- Duty of the Court if possible
be interpreted with to give effect to both.
reference to other acts
- If both statutes are
relating to the same
irreconcilable, the general
matter or subject.
statute MUST give way to
- If statutes of EQUAL the special or particular
theoretical application to provisions as an exception
a particular case cannot be to the general provisions.
reconciled, the statute of This is even if the general
later date must prevail being
statute is a later enactment
a later expression of
of the legislature and broad
legislative will.
enough to include the cases
- If reasonable in special law unless there is
construction is manifest intent to repeal or
possible, the law must alter the special law.
be reconciled in that
matter. - Such as when the later
general law contains a
- Repeal of laws by repealing clause which
implication are not favored, indicates clearly the
and the mere repugnancy legislative

Fontanilla, S.J. G., Statutory Construction, 1C, Judge Noli

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intent to repeal all prior 4. A special law must be
inconsistent laws on the intended to constitute an
subject matter, then the exception to the general
aforesaid rule no longer law in the absence of
applies. special

Statute and Ordinance

- If both statue and

ordinance can stand
together, effect should
be given to both.
- If there is conflict,
ordinance must give


1. In case of conflict between the

previous article and later
article, the latter will prevail.
2. Whenever two statutes of
different dates and of
contrary tenor are equal
theoretical application to a
particular case, the statute of
later date must prevail being
a later expression of
legislative will.
3. A special law prevails over a
general law regardless of their
dates of passage, and the
special law is to be considered
as remaining an exception to
the general law.
- Every effort must be exerted
to avoid a conflict between
statutes. If reasonable
construction is possible,
laws must be reconciled in
that manner.
- Repeal of laws by
implication are not favored,
and the mere repugnancy
between 2 statues should
be very clear to warrant the
court in holding that the
later in time repeals the
circumstance forcing a
contrary conclusion
- It is a basic tenet in statutory
6. It is a well-settled rule that a
construction that between a
substantive law cannot be
general law and a special law, amended by procedural law.
the special law prevails.
7. A general law cannot repeal a
(Generalia Specialibus Non
special law.
Derogat). The reasons for this
- A general law cannot
is that the legislature, in
repeal a special law by
passing a law of special
mere implication. The
character, considers and
repeal must be express
makes special provisions for
and specific.
the particular circumstances
dealt with by the special law. 8. In case of conflict between a
general provision of a special
5. The rule is that a special and local law and a particular provision
statute applicable to a particular of a general law, the latter
case is not repealed by a later should prevail.
statue which is general in its terms,
9. When there is irreconcilable
provisions and application even if
repugnancy between a proviso
the terms of the general act are
and the body of the statute, the
broad enough to include the cases
former prevails as latest
in the special law unless there is
expression of legislative intent.
manifest intent to repeal or alter
the special law.

Fontanilla, S.J. G., Statutory Construction, 1C, Judge Noli

C. Diaz, 2014
10.Whenever there is a conflict administrative circular, thus
between an ordinance and a the latter cannot repeal or
statute, the ordinance must amend it.
give way. 15. Where the instrument is
11.Where a special statute susceptible of two
refers to a subject in general, interpretations, one which will
which the general statute
treats in particular, the
provision of the latter, in case
of conflict, will prevail.
12.Ordinance should not
contravene a statute. In case
of conflict between an
ordinance and a statute, the
latter will prevail.
13.It is a basic rule in statutory
construction that the
enactment of a later legislation
which is a general law cannot
be construed to have repealed
a special law.
- The special statute should
prevail since it evinces the
legislative intent more
clearly than the general
statute. The special law is to
be taken as an exception to
the general law in the
absence of special
circumstance forcing a
contrary conclusion.
- Implied repeals are not
favored, and as much as
possible, effect must be
given to all enactments of
the legislature.
- A special law cannot be
repealed, amended or
altered by a subsequent
general law by mere
14. It is elementary in
statutory construction that
an administrative circular
cannot supersede,
abrogate, modify or nullify a
statute. A statute is
superior to an
make it invalid and existing laws on the same
illegal, the latter subject or relating thereto.
interpretation should - When confronted with
be adopted.
apparently conflicting
statutes should endeavor
In case of conflict between an
to reconcile the same
administrative order and the
provisions of the instead of declaring the
Constitution, the latter outright invalidity of one
prevails. against the other.

Construction and Interpretation of

- the fundamental rule
in administrative law
is that, to be valid,
administrative rules Rules:
and regulations must
be issued by authority 1. All provisions of the
of a law MUS NOY Constitution are self-
contravene the executing (Manila Prince
provisions of the Hotel vs GSIS)
Constitution. - A provision which lays
down a general principle,
Restatement of the Rule
such as those found in
Article II of the 1987
- it is always presumed
Constitution, is usually
that the legislature, in
not self-executing.
drafting and enacting
any particular statute, - In case of doubt, the
Constitution should be
had full knowledge and considered self-executing
took full cognizance of all

Fontanilla, S.J. G., Statutory Construction, 1C, Judge Noli

C. Diaz, 2014
rather than non-self to ascertain the
-executing. Unless the reason which induced
contrary is clearly intended, the framers of the
the provisions of the Constitution to enact
Constitution should be the particular
considered as self-executing, provision and the
as a contrary rule, would purpose sought to be
give the legislative accomplished.
discretion to determine
when or whether, they shall
be effective.
- In the grant of rights,
privileges and concessions
covering national economy
and patrimony, the State
shall give preference to
qualified Filipinos

2. Prohibitory provisions given

literal and strict
- A foolproof yardstick in
constitutional construction
is the intention underlying
the provision under
consideration. It has been
held that the Court, in
construing a Constitution
should bear in mind the
object sought to be
accomplished by its
adoption, and the evils, if
any, sought to be
prevented or remedied.
o A doubtful provision
will be examined in
the light of the
history of the
times, and the
condition and
under which the
Constitution was
framed. The object is
- It is a well-established rule section is not to be
in constitutional allowed to defeat
construction that not one another, if by any
provision of the reasonable
Constitution is to be construction, the two
separated from all others can be made to stand
o To be considered together.
alone, but that all the - While it is permissible to
provisions bearing consult the debates and
upon a particular proceedings of the
subject are to be constitutional convention in
brought into view and order to arrive at the reason
to be interpreted as and purpose of the resulting
to effectuate the Constitution, resort thereto
GREATER purposes of may be had only WHEN
the instrument. other guides fail as said
o Sections bearing on a proceedings are POWERLESS
particular subject to vary the terms of the
should be considered Constitution when the
and interpreted meaning is clear.
together as to 3. The Constitutional Provision on
effectuate the whole Natural-Born Citizens of the
purpose of the Philippines are given retroactive
Constitution, and one effect (page 361 read case)

Fontanilla, S.J. G., Statutory Construction, 1C, Judge Noli

C. Diaz, 2014
4. The Constitution must be indicated in their place of
construed in its entirety as residence in their COC.
one, single document (case on 8. Special provision prevails over a
page 364) general one. (VFA)
5. Liberal Construction of one title
one subject rule (case is on
page 368 Tobias et al. vs
6. Resignation of the President
under the 1987 Constitution is
not governed by any formal
requirement as to form. It can
be Oral. It can be Written. It
can be Express. It can be
Implied. (Estrada vs Arroyo)
- Justice Jose Vitug in
concurring opinion:
abandonment of office is a
specie of resignation, and it
connotes the giving up of the
office although not attended
by the formalities normally
observed in resignation.
Abandonment may be
effected by a positive act or
can be the result of an
omission, whether deliberate
or not.

7. The One-year residency

requirement for Congressional
Candidate under Sec 6 Article
6 liberally and equitably
construed to give fullest effect
to manifest the will of the
people (Fernandez vs House of
- The Court stressed that the
law does not require persons
to be in their home 24-hours
a day, seven days a week to
fulfill the residency
requirement and exercising
their rights of ownership
thereto in other places aside
from the address they had
9. The power to promulgate rules shall govern. It further adds
of pleading, practice, and that administrative or
procedure is now the Courts executive acts, orders and
exclusive domain and is no regulations shall be valid
longer shared by this Court with only when they are not
Congress, much less Executive ( contrary to the laws or the
In Re: Petition for Recognition of Constitution (Art 7, NCC)
the Exemption of the GSIS from - A basic precept in
Payment of Legal Fees) Statutory Construction is
10.Suprema Lex that a statute should be
- The Constitution is the interpreted in harmony
Supreme Law of the with the Constitution
Land. Law of all laws.
- If there is conflict between a
statute and the Constitution, 11.Stare Decisis
the statute shall YIELD to
the Constitution. - The principle of stare
decisis is a sound doctrine
- Our civil code is explicit
on this matter. for purposes of stability,
this, however should not be
- When the Courts declare a
followed when there is
law to be inconsistent with
patent error in judgment.
the Constitution, the former
Such precedent should be
shall be void and the latter
abandoned and discarded.

Fontanilla, S.J. G., Statutory Construction, 1C, Judge Noli

C. Diaz, 2014