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E.

Extrinsic aids to construction


1. In general
(a) People vs. Muoz, 170 SCRA 107 (1989)
Where the intent does not decisively appear in the text of the provision as it admits
of more than one construction, reliance may be made on extrinsic aids such as the
records of the deliberations of the body that framed the law in order to clearly
ascertain that intent
If the language under consideration is plain, it is neither necessary nor permissible
to resort to extrinsic aids, like the records of the constitutional convention, for its
interpretation.
(b) League of Cities vs. COMELEC, G.R. No. 176951, Dec. 21, 2009
The deliberations of the 11th or 12th Congress on unapproved bills or resolutions
are extrinsic aids in interpreting a law passed in the 13th Congress. It is really
immaterial if Congress is not a continuing body. The hearings and deliberations
during the 11th and 12th Congress may still be used as extrinsic reference inasmuch
as the same cityhood bills which were filed before the passage of RA 9009 were
being considered during the 13 th Congress. Courts may fall back on the history of a
law, as here, as extrinsic aid of statutory construction if the literal application of the
law results in absurdity or injustice.
2. Existing general or public policy of the state
3. Contemporaneous circumstances
(a) Philippine Sugar Centrals Agency vs. Collector, 51 Phil 131 (1927)
In all cases where those persons whose duty it is to executed a law have uniformly
given it a particularly construction, and that construction has been acquiesced in and
acted upon for a long time, it is a contemporary exposition of the statute, which
always commands the attention of the courts, and will be followed unless it clearly
and manifestly appears to be wrong.
The legislature is presumed to be cognizant of such construction, and after long
continuance, without any legislation evincing its dissent, court will consider
themselves warranted in adopting that construction.
(b) Manila Jockey Club vs. GAB, 107 Phil 151 (1960)
On the principle of contemporaneous exposition, common usage and practice under
the statute, or a course of conduct indicating a particular undertaking of it, will
frequently be of great value in determining its real meaning, especially where the
usage has been acquired in by all parties concerned and has extended over a long
period of time.
4. Motives and Opinions of Legislature or its members or of third persons
(a)Song Kiat Chocolate Factory vs. Central Bank 102 Phil 477 (1957)
In reply to this, appellees point out that said chairman could not have spoken of the
Congressional intention in approving Republic Act 601 because he was not a
member of the Congress that passed said Act. Naturally, all he could state was his
own interpretation of such piece of legislation. Courts do not usually give decisive
weight to one legislator's opinion, expressed in Congressional debates concerning
the application of existing laws. 4 Yet even among the legislators taking part in the
consideration of the amendatory statute (Republic Act 1197) the impression
prevailed that, as the law then stood. chocolate candy or chocolate bar was
exempted, but cocoa beans were not.
(b) Mayon Motors vs. Acting Commissioner 1 SCRA 918 (1961)

Courts are not bound by a legislator's opinion expressed in congressional debates


regarding the interpretation of a particular legislation. It is deemed to be a mere
personal opinion of the legislator
5. History and passage of Act
By looking at and investigating the legislative history of the statute, the court will be
able to arrive at its correct interpretation. For this purpose, the court may take judicial
notice of the origin and history of the statute which it is called upon to construe and
apply, and of the facts which affect its derivation, validity and operation.
(a) Oliva vs. Lamadrid, 21 SCRA 737 (1967)
(b) Commissioner vs. Esso Standard 66 SCRA 113 (1975)
Courts may take judicial notice of the origin and history of the statutes which they are
called upon to construe and administer, and of facts which affect their derivation,
validity and operation.
6. Legislative debates and reports of committees or commissions
Courts may avail themselves of the actual proceedings of the legislative body to
assist in determining the construction of a statute of doubtful meaning.
(a) Manila Jockey Club vs. GAB 107 Phil 151 (1960)
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.
(b) China Banking Corporation vs. Ortega, 49 SCRA 355 (1973)
1. Astorga vs. Villegas, 56 SCRA 714 (1974)
This provision in the Rules of Evidence in the old Code of Civil Procedure appears
indeed to be the only statutory basis on which the "enrolled bill" theory rests. It
reads:
The proceedings of the Philippine Commission, or of any legislative body that may
be provided for in the Philippine Islands, or of Congress (may be proved) by the
journals of those bodies or of either house thereof, or by published statutes or
resolutions, or by copies certified by the clerk or secretary, printed by their order;
provided, that in the case of acts of the Philippine Commission or the Philippine
Legislature, when there is in existence a copy signed by the presiding officers and
secretaries of said bodies, it shall be conclusive proof of the provisions of such acts
and of the due enactment thereof.
7. Contemporaneous Construction
Where there is doubt as to the proper interpretation of a statute, the uniform
construction placed upon it by the executive or administrative officer charged with its
enforcement will be adopted, if necessary to resolve the doubt.
(a) Bengzon vs. Secretary of Justice 62 Phil 912 (1936)
While contemporaneous construction is not decisive for the courts, yet where a
construction of statutes has been adopted by the legislative department and
accepted by the various agencies of the executive department, it is entitled to great
respect. It is our understanding that it has been the practice of the Chief Executive in
the interpretation of his constitutional powers to veto separate items in bills
analogous to that before us, and that this practice has been acquiesced in previously
without objection, so that it would require a clear showing or unconstitutionality for
the courts to declare against it. Since, therefore, legislative intent and executive

purpose is evident, it devolves upon the judiciary to give differential attention to the
attitude assumed by the other two branches of the Government.
(b) Araneta vs. Dinglasan 84 Phil 368 (1949)
Invoking the rule of contemporary construction, the majority opinion makes reference
to a passage in President Quezon's book. "The Good Fight," to the effect that,
according to the author, Act No. 671, was only "for a certain period" and "would
become valid unless re-enacted." But I see nothing in the quoted phrases any
suggestion that the emergency powers of the President were to end the moment
Congress was convened in regular session regardless of the continuance of the
emergency which gave birth to those powers. A more valid application of the rule of
contemporary construction may, I think, be made by citing the executive orders
promulgated by President Roxas by Commonwealth Act No. 671. Many of those
executive orders were issued after May 25, 1946 when Congress convened in
regular session, an event which, according to the majority opinion, automatically put
an end to the emergency powers.
(c) UP vs. CA, 37 SCRA 64 (1971)
Administrative interpretations of a law exerts weighty influence in the judicial
construction of statutes.
Administrative matters involving the discipline of UP employees properly fall under
the Jurisdiction of the state university and the UP Board of Regents.
8. Practical construction or usage generally
Contemporary or practical constructions are the constructions placed upon statutes
at the time of, or after, their enactment by the executive, legislature or judicial
authorities, as well as by those who, because, of their involvement in the process of
legislation, are knowledgeable of the intent and purpose of the law, such as drafts
men and bill sponsors.
9. Executive Construction
(a) In general
(b) Qualification of Rules
(c) Application of Rules
i. Philippine Sugar Centrals Agency vs. Collector, 51 Phil 131 (1927)
What is commonly understood, and usually referred to, as contemporaneous
construction is the construction placed upon the statute by an executive or
administrative officer called upon to execute or administer such statute. The duty of
enforcing the law, which devolves upon the executive branch, necessarily calls for
the interpretation of its ambiguous provisions. Accordingly, executive and
administrative officers are generally the very first officials to interpret the law,
preparatory to its enforcement. These interpretations are in the form of rules and
regulations, circulars, directives, opinions and rulings.
ii. Phil. Assn. of Free Labor Unions vs. BLR, 27 SCRA 396 (1976)
iii. IBAA Employees Union vs. Inciong, 132 SCRA 663 (1984)
Contemporaneous construction placed upon a statute by executive officers whose
duty is to enforce it should be given great weight by the courts, still if such
construction is so erroneous, as in the instant case, the same must be declared as
null and void. It is the role of the Judiciary to refine and, when necessary, correct
constitutional (and/or statutory) interpretation, in the context of the interactions of the
three branches of the government, almost always in situations where some agency
of the State has engaged in action that stems ultimately from some legitimate area of
governmental power.
iv. Melendres, Jr. vs. COMELEC, G.R. No. 129958. November 25, 1999
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As a general rule, contemporaneous construction is resorted to for certainty and


predictability in the laws, especially those involving specific terms having technical
meanings.
However, courts will not hesitate to set aside such executive interpretation when it is
clearly erroneous, or when there is no ambiguity in the rule, or when the language or
words used are clear and plain or readily understandable to any ordinary reader.
Stated differently, when an administrative agency renders an opinion or issues a
statement of policy, it merely interprets a pre-existing law and the administrative
interpretation is at best advisory for it is the courts that finally determine what the law
means. Thus an action by an administrative agency may be set aside by the judicial
department if there is an error of law, abuse of power, lack of jurisdiction or grave
abuse of discretion clearly conflicting with the letter and spirit of the law.
10. Legislative Construction
The fact that the interpretation of a statute is primarily a judicial function does not
preclude the legislature from indicating its construction of a statute it enacts into law.
It may provide itself an interpretative or declaratory clause prescribing rules of
construction or indicating how its provisions should be construed. It may also define
the terms used in a statute, enact a declaratory act construing a previous law, or
pass a resolution indicating its sense or intention as to a given statute. It may
likewise take form of an implied acquiescence to, or approval of, an executive or
judicial construction of a statute.
11. Evidence to aid construction
F. Construction with reference to other laws.
1. Construction with reference to civil law
(a) People vs. Del Rosario, 97 Phil 67 (1955)
(b) People vs. Reyes, 175 SCRA 597 (1989)
2. Construction with reference to other statutes
(a) Escosura vs. San Miguel Brewery, Inc. 4 SCRA 727 (1962)
3. Statutes relating to same subject matter in general (in pari materia)
(a) Generals
(b) Limitations of rule of pari materia
(c) Cases
City of Naga vs. Agna, 71 SCRA 176 (1976)
Statutes are in pari in material when they relate to the same person or thing, or
have the same purpose or object, or cover the same specific or particular subject
matter.
When statutes are in pari materia, the rule of statutory construction dictates that
they should be construed together. This is because enactments of the same
legislature on the same subject matter are supposed to form part of one uniform
system; that later statutes are supplementary or complimentary to the earlier
enactments and in the passage of its acts the legislature is supposed to have in
mind the existing legislation on the same subject and to have enacted its new act
with reference thereto.
Tan vs. Commissioner on Elections, 142 SCRA 727 (1986)
The distinction between "territory" and "land area" which respondents make is an
artificial or strained construction of the disputed provision whereby the words of the
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statute are arrested from their plain and obvious meaning and made to bear an
entirely different meaning to justify an absurd or unjust result. The plain meaning in
the language in a statute is the safest guide to follow in construing the statute. A
construction based on a forced or artificial meaning of its words and out of harmony
of the statutory scheme is not to be favored.
(d) Particular statutes
4. Conflicting statutes
(a) Gordon vs. Veridiano, 167 SCRA 51 (1988)
Courts of justice, when confronted with apparently conflicting statutes, should
endeavor to reconcile the same instead of declaring outright the invalidity of one as
against the other. Such alacrity should be avoided. The wise policy is for the judge
to harmonize them if this is possible, bearing in mind that they are equally the
handiwork of the same legislature, and so give effect to both while at the same time
also according due respect to a coordinate department of the government. It is this
policy the Court will apply in arriving at the interpretation of the laws above-cited
and the conclusions that should follow therefrom.
(b) David vs. COMELEC, 271 SCRA 90 (1997)
RA 7160, the Local Government Code, was enacted later than RA 6679. It is basic
that in case of an irreconciliable conflict between two laws of different vintages, the
later enactment prevails. The rationale is simple: a later law repeals an earlier one
because it is the later legislative will. It is to be presumed that the lawmakers knew
the older law and intended to change it. In enacting the older law, the legislators
could not have known the newer one and hence could not have intended to change
what they did not know. Under the Civil Code, laws are repealed only by
subsequent ones and not the other way around.
(c) Roque vs. COMELEC, G.R. No. 188456, Sep. 10, 2009
(d) DREAMWORK CONSTRUCTION, INC., vs JANIOLA, G.R. No. 184861, Jun.
30, 2009
It is a principle in statutory construction that a statute should be construed not only
to be consistent with itself but also to harmonize with other laws on the same
subject matter, as to form a complete, coherent and intelligible system. Every
statute must be so construed and harmonized with other statutes as to form a
uniform system of jurisprudence.
Every effort must be made to harmonize seemingly conflicting laws. It is only when
harmonization is impossible that resort must be made to choosing which law to
apply.
(e) Gonzales vs. Office of the President, G.R. No. 196231, Sept. 4, 2012
The fundament is that the legislature should be presumed to have known the
existing laws on the subject and not to have enacted conflicting statutes. Hence, all
doubts must be resolved against any implied repeal, and all efforts should be
exerted in order to harmonize and give effect to all laws on the subject.
In interpreting a statute, 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 provisions. 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.33 Otherwise stated, the law must not be read in truncated parts. Every part
thereof must be considered together with the other parts, and kept subservient to
the general intent of the whole enactment.

5. General and Special Statutes


When there are two acts, one of which is special and particular and the other
general which, if standing alone, would include the same matter and thus conflict
with the special act, the special must prevail since it evinces the legislative intent
more clearly than the of a general statute and must be taken as intended to
constitute an exception to the general act.
(a) Sitchon vs. Aquino, 98 Phil 458 (1956)
(b) Butuan Sawmill vs. City of Butuan, 16 SCRA 755 (1966)
The fact the one law is special and the other general creates a presumption that the
special act is to be considered as remaining an exception of the general act, one is
a general law of the land and the other as the law of the particular case.
(c)Lagman vs. City of Manila, 17 SCRA 580 (1966)
Because repeals by implication are not favored, a special law must be taken as
intended to constitute an exception to the general law, in the absence of special
circumstances forcing a contrary conclusion.
Where a special act is repugnant to or inconsistent with a prior general act, a partial
repeal of the latter act will be implied or exception grafted upon the general act.
2.City of Manila vs. Teotico, 22 SCRA 267 (1968)
Manila maintains that the former provision should prevail over the latter, because
Republic Act 409, is a special law, intended exclusively for the City of Manila,
whereas the Civil Code is a general law, applicable to the entire Philippines.
3.COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, vs Philippine Airlines, inc., G.R. No.
180066, Jul. 7, 2009
Where there are two statutes, the earlier special and the later general the terms of
the general broad enough to include the matter provided for in the special the fact
that one is special and the other is general creates a presumption that the special is
to be considered as remaining an exception to the general, one as a general law of
the land, the other as the law of a particular case.
6. Municipal Ordinance inferior to statute
(a)Primicias vs. Municipality of Urdaneta, 93 SCRA 462 (1979)
Whenever there is a conflict between an ordinance and a statute, the ordinance
"must give way. it is a "fundamental principle that municipal ordinances are inferior
in status and subordinate to the laws of the state.
7. Statute Prevails over administrative regulations
(a) Hijo Plantations vs. Central Bank, 164 SCRA 192 (1988)
In case of discrepancy between the basic law and a rule or regulation issued to
implement said law, the basic law prevails because said rule or regulation cannot
go beyond the terms and provisions of the basic law. Rules that subvert the statute
cannot be sanctioned. Except for constitutional officials who can trace their
competence to act to the fundamental law itself, a public official must locate to the
statute relied upon a grant of power before he can exercise it. Department zeal may
not be permitted to outrun the authority conferred by statute
(b) China Banking Corp. vs. CA 265 SCRA 327 (1996)
It is an elementary principle in statutory construction that a statute is superior to an
administrative directive and the former cannot be repealed or amended by the
latter.
(c) Lokin vs. CIBAC, G.R. Nos. 179431-32, 22 June 2010

It is axiomatic that the clear letter of the law is controlling and cannot be amended
by a mere administrative rule issued for its implementation. Administrative or
executive acts shall be valid only when they are not contrary to the laws or the
Constitution.
To be valid, the administrative IRRs must comply with the following requisites to be
valid:
1. Its promulgation must be authorized by the Legislature;
2. It must be within the scope of the authority given by the Legislature;
3. It must be promulgated in accordance with the prescribed procedure; and
4. It must be reasonable.
8. Reenactment of, or reference to former statutes
(a) Adoption of Provisions previously construed
(1) Previous construction by courts
(2) Previous executive or legislative construction
9. Construction of Statutes adopted from other jurisdictions
(a) US vs. de Guzman, 30 Phil 416 (1915)
We have frequently held that, for the proper construction and application of the
terms and provisions of legislative enactment's which have been borrowed from or
of times essential to review the legislative history of such enactments and to find an
authoritative guide for their interpretation and application in the decision of
American and English courts of last resort construing and applying similar
legislation in those countries. Indeed it is a general rule of statutory construction
that courts may take judicial notice of the original and history of the statutes which
they are called upon to construe and administer, and of the facts which affect their
derivation, validity and operation.
(b) Zamora vs. Collector, 8 SCRA 163 (1963)
(c) People vs. Pagpaguitan, 315 SCRA 226 (1999)
The general rule is that where a local rule is patterned or copied from that of
another country, then the decisions of the courts in such country construing the rule
are entitled to great weight in interpreting the local rule.
10. Statutes Construed by other courts
(a) Phil. Education Co. vs. Soriano, 39 SCRA 587 (1971)
It is not disputed that our postal statutes were patterned after statutes in force in the
United States. For this reason, ours are generally construed in accordance with the
construction given in the United States to their own postal statutes, in the absence
of any special reason justifying a departure from this policy or practice.
(b) Carolina Industries vs. CMS stock Brokerage, 97 SCRA 734 (1980)
In case of laws patterned after or adopted from those of the United States,
decisions of United States courts construing similar laws are entitled to great
weight. Generally speaking, when a statute has been adopted from another State
and such statute has previously been construed by the courts of such State or
country, this statute is deemed to have been adopted with the construction so given
it.
(c) PDIC vs. CITIBANK, G.R. No. 170290, 11 April 2012
11. Limitations or Qualifications of Rule
(a) In general
(1) Ortigas & Co. vs. FEATI bank, 94 SCRA 533 (1979)

(b) Construction by courts of original state after adoption


G. Construction as mandatory or directory
1. Determination of characters of provisions
(a) General rules
(1) Chartered Bank vs. National Government Auditing Office, 149 SCRA 58
(1987)
There is no absolute formal test for determining whether a statutory direction is to
be considered mandatory or directory. As with any question of statutory
construction the decisive factor is the meaning and intention of the legislature, to be
ascertained from a consideration of the entire act, its nature, its object and the
consequences that would follow from construing it one way or the other.
(b) Negative, Prohibitory, or Exclusive words
(1) McGee vs. Republic, 94 Phil 820 (1954)
Under the rule of statutory construction, negative words and phrases are to be
regarded as mandatory while those in the affirmative are merely directory. Negative
(prohibitory and exclusive words or terms are indicative of the legislative intent that
the statute is to be mandatory.
Ordinarily ... the word "may" is directory, . . .
Prohibitive or negative words can rarely, if ever, be directory, or, as it has been aptly
stated, there is but one way to obey the command "thou shalt not", and that is to
completely refrain from doing the forbidden act. And this is so, even though the
statute provides no penalty for disobedience.
(2) Fule vs. CA, 162, 162 SCRA 446 (1988)
Negative words and phrases are to be regarded as mandatory while those in the
affirmative are merely directory (McGee vs. Republic, 94 Phil. 820 [1954]). The use
of the term "shall" further emphasizes its mandatory character and means that it is
imperative, operating to impose a duty which may be enforced (Bersabal vs.
Salvador, No. L-35910, July 21, 1978, 84 SCRA 176). And more importantly, penal
statutes whether substantive and remedial or procedural are, by consecrated rule, to
be strictly applied against the government and liberally in favor of the accused
(3) COCOFED vs. Comelec, G.R. No. 207026, 06 August 2013
The language of Section 8 of RA No. 7941 does not only use the word "shall" in
connection with the requirement of submitting a list of nominees; it uses this
mandatory term in conjunction with the number of names to be submitted that is
couched negatively, i.e., "not less than five." The use of these terms together is a
plain indication of legislative intent to make the statutory requirement mandatory for
the party to undertake.
(c) Time of performance of duties
(1) Tansceo vs. Arteche, 57 Phil 227 (1932)
The provision of law that the proceeding shall be decided within thirty days after the
filing of the complaint is in its nature directory only, and a failure to comply with such
requirement does not affect the jurisdiction of the court.
(2) Romualdez-Marcos vs. COMELEC, 248 SCRA 300 (1995)
It is a settled doctrine that a statute requiring rendition of judgment within a specified
time is generally construed to be merely directory, "so that non-compliance with them
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does not invalidate the judgment on the theory that if the statute had intended such
result it would have clearly indicated it." The difference between a mandatory and a
directory provision is often made on grounds of necessity. Adopting the same view
held by several American authorities, this court in Marcelino vs. Cruz held that:
The difference between a mandatory and directory provision is often determined on
grounds of expediency, the reason being that less injury results to the general public
by disregarding than enforcing the letter of the law.
In Trapp v. Mc Cormick, a case calling for the interpretation of a statute containing a
limitation of thirty (30) days within which a decree may be entered without the
consent of counsel, it was held that "the statutory provisions which may be thus
departed from with impunity, without affecting the validity of statutory proceedings,
are usually those which relate to the mode or time of doing that which is essential
to effect the aim and purpose of the Legislature or some incident of the essential
act." Thus, in said case, the statute under examination was construed merely to be
directory.
(d) Construction of Particular word
(1) May, must, and shall
Bersabal vs. Salvador, 84 SCRA 176 (1978)
As a general rule, the word "may" when used in a statute is permissive only and
operates to confer discretion; while the word "shall" is imperative, operating to
impose a duty which may be enforced.
Republic Planters Bank vs. Agana, Sr., 269 SCRA 1 (1997)
It is a settled doctrine in statutory construction that the word "may" denotes
discretion, and cannot be construed as having a mandatory effect.
Bayan Muna vs. Romulo, G.R. No. 159618, 01 February 2011
It is settled doctrine in statutory construction that the word may denotes discretion,
and cannot be construed as having mandatory effect.
H. Provisos, exceptions, and saving clauses
1. Proviso
(a) To what provision proviso applicable
(1) ALU-TUCP vs. NLRC, 234 SCRA 678 (1994)
The familiar grammatical rule is that a proviso is to be construed with reference to
the immediately preceding part of the provision to which it is attached, and not to
other sections thereof, unless the clear legislative intent is to restrict or qualify not
only the phrase immediately preceding the proviso but also earlier provisions of the
statute or even the statute itself as a whole.
(b) Restriction or enlargement of enactment
(c) Conflict between proviso and enacting clause
(1) Arenas vs. City of San Carlos, 82 SCRA 318 (1978)
The primary purpose of a proviso is to limit the general language of a statute. When
there is irreconcilable repugnancy between the proviso and the body of the statute
the former is given precedence over the latter on the ground that it is the latest
expression of the intent of the legislature.
2. Exceptions
(a) Arabay, Inc. vs. CFI, 66 SCRA 617 (1975)
A reasonable and practical interpretation of the terms of the proviso in question
results in the conclusion that Congress, in excluding gasoline from the general
disability imposed on municipalities and municipal districts to exact any kind of
taxes on articles subject to specified tax under the Tax Code, deliberately and
9

intentionally meant to put it within the power of such local governments to impose
whatever type or form of taxes the latter may deem proper to levy on gasoline
including a sales tax or one in that form.
(b) Implied exceptions
(c) Construction and effect
(1) Samson vs. CA, 145 SCRA 654 (1986)
Under the rules of statutory construction, exceptions, as a general rule, should be
strictly, but reasonably construed; they extend only so far as their language fairly
warrants, and all doubts should be resolved in favor of the general provisions rather
than the exception. Where a general rule is established by statute with exceptions,
the court will not curtail the former nor add to the latter by implication.
Where a statute enumerates the subjects or things on which it is to operate, it is to
be construed as excluding from its effects all those not expressly mentioned.
3. Saving Clauses
It is a clause in a provision of law which operates to except from the effect of the
law what the clause provides, or to save something which would otherwise be lost.
It is usually used to except or save something from the effect of a repeal of a
statue.
A saving clause should be construed in the light of the intent or purpose which the
legislature had in mind in providing it in a statute, the principal consideration being
to effectuate such intent or carry out such purpose. It should be given a liberal or
strict construction depending upon the kind of interpretation that should,
considering its nature, be given to the statute as a whole. (Agpalo, Statcon)
Ocampo vs. Buenaventura, 55 SCRA 267 (1974)
Section 26. Saving Clause - where a statute enumerates the subjects or things on
which it is to operate, it is to be construed as excluding from its effects all those not
expressly mentioned
Section 26 of the Police Act is, as expressly stated therein, a mere saving clause,
and refers solely to the administrative cases involving police service and personnel
which were pending at the time of the effectivity of the Act.
I. Amendments, revisions, codes and repealing acts
1. Amendatory and amended acts
(a) Operation and effect of amendment
(1) Presumption of intent to change law
Amandy vs. People, 161 SCRA 436 (1988)
There can be no harmonization where one law specifically amends another. Where
the provision of law is clear and unambiguous, so that there is no occasion for the
court's seeking legislative intent, the law must be taken as it is, devoid of judicial
addition or subtraction.
2. Revisions and Codes
(a) Conflicting provisions
(b) Legislative and judicial construction
(c) Notes, comments, or reports
3. Repealing Acts
(a) Legislative intent to change the law
(1) People vs. Almuete, 69 SCRA 410 (1976)
It is a rule of legal hermeneutics that "an act which purports to set out in full all that
it intends to contain operates as a repeal of anything omitted which was contain in
10

the old act and not included in the amendatory act".


A subsequent statute, revising the whole subject matter of a former statute, and
evidently intended as a substitute for it, operates to repeal the former statute". The
revising statute is in effect a legislative declaration that whatever is embraced in the
new statute shall prevail, and whatever is excluded therefrom shall be discarded"
(2) David vs. Comelec, 271 SCRA 90 (1997)
It is basic that in case of an irreconciliable conflict between two laws of different
vintages, the later enactment prevails. Legis posteriores priores contrarias
abrogant. The rationale is simple: a later law repeals an earlier one because it is
the later legislative will. It is to be presumed that the lawmakers knew the older law
and intended to change it. In enacting the older law, the legislators could not have
known the newer one and hence could not have intended to change what they did
not know. Under the Civil Code, laws are repealed only by subsequent ones --[32]
and not the other way around.
(3) ROMA DRUG vs RTC-GUAGUA, PAMPANGA, G.R. No. 149907, Apr. 16,
2009
Where a statute of later date, such as Rep. Act No. 9502, clearly reveals an
intention on the part of the legislature to abrogate a prior act on the subject that
intention must be given effect. When a subsequent enactment covering a field of
operation coterminus with a prior statute cannot by any reasonable construction be
given effect while the prior law remains in operative existence because of
irreconcilable conflict between the two acts, the latest legislative expression
prevails and the prior law yields to the extent of the conflict. Irreconcilable
inconsistency between two laws embracing the same subject may exist when the
later law nullifies the reason or purpose of the earlier act, so that the latter loses all
meaning and function. Legis posteriores priores contrarias abrogant.
(4) Teng vs. Pahagac, G.R. No. 169704, 17 November 2010
Notably, Article 262-A deleted the word unappealable from Article 263. The
deliberate selection of the language in the amendatory act differing from that of the
original act indicates that the legislature intended a change in the law, and the court
should endeavor to give effect to such intent.
(5) SAMELCO II vs. SELUDO, G.R. No. 173840, 25 April 2012
A comparison of the original provisions of Sections 10 and 24 of P.D. No. 269 and
the amendatory provisions under Sections 5 and 7 of P.D. No. 1645 would readily
show that the intention of the framers of the amendatory law is to broaden the
powers of the NEA.
(b) Special law not repealed by general law by implication
(1) Phil. Railway Co. vs. Collector, 91 Phil 35 (1952)
Repeals of laws by implication are not favored; and the mere repugnance between
two statutes should be very clear in order to warrant the court inholding that the
later in time repeals the other, when it does not in terms purport to do so.
It is well settled that a special and local statute, providing for a particular case or
class of case, is not repealed by a subsequent statute, general in its terms,
provisions and applications, unless the intent to repeal or alter is manifest, although
the terms of the general act are broad enough to include the cases embraced in a
special law."
That the rule is but the application of the larger rule that the statute is not to be
deemed repealed, by implication, by subsequent act upon the same subject unless

11

the two are manifestly inconsistent with, and repugnant to, each other, or unless a
clear intention is disclosed on the face of the later statute to repeal the former one.
It is a canon of statutory construction that a later statute, general in its terms and
not expressly repealing a prior special statute, will ordinarily not affect the special
provision of such earlier statute.
Where there are two statutes, the earlier special and the later general the terms
of the general broad enough to include the matter provided for in the special the
fact that one is special and the other is general creates a presumption that a
special is to be considered as remaining an exception to the general, one as the
general law of a land, and the other as the law of a particular case.
(2) LLDA vs. CA, 251 SCRA 42 (1995)
Where there is a conflict between a general law and a special statute, 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 circumstances forcing a contrary conclusion. This is
because 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 implication.
(c) Implied repeals
(1) When implied repeals operate
Ramirez vs. CA, 71 SCRA 231(1976)
Under paragraph 8 of Circular 133 (supra) it is so provided that circulars consistent
with the provisions of Circular 133 are deemed incorporated thereto. However since
Circular 20 is inconsistent and runs counter to it then by necessary implication the
same is abrogated and repealed.
When a subsequent enactment covering a field of operation coterminous with a
prior statute cannot by any reasonable construction be given effect while the prior
law remains in operative existence because of irreconcilable conflict between the
two acts, the latest legislative expression prevails and the prior law yields to the
extent of the conflict.
(2) Implied Repeals not favored
Almeda vs. Florentino 15 SCRA 514 (1965)
Because repeals by implication are not favored, unless it is manifest that the
legislature so intended and since courts are duty bound to adopt a construction that
will give effect to every part of a statute, if at all possible, following the maxim " ut
magis valeat quam pereat" ("that construction [is to be] sought which gives effect to
the whole of the statute-its every word", there is no alternative but to interpret the
charter as the lower court has done
Villegas vs. Enrile, 50 SCRA 10 (1973)
Repeals by implication are not favored and will not be so declared unless it be
manifest that the legislature so intended.
It is necessary then before such a repeal is deemed to exist, that it be shown that
the statutes or statutory provisions deal with the same subject matter and that the
latter be inconsistent with the former. There must be a showing of repugnancy clear
and convincing in character. The language used in the latter statute must be such
as to render it irreconcilable with what had been formerly enacted. An inconsistency
that falls short of that standard does not suffice. What is needed is a manifest
indication of the legislative purpose to repeal.

12

Maddumba vs. GSIS, 182 SCRA 281 (1990)


Implied repeals are frowned upon in this jurisdiction. They are not favored in law
and will not be so declared unless the intent of the legislature is manifest.
Mecano vs. COA, 21 SCRA 500 (1992)
It is a well-settled rule of statutory construction that repeals of statutes by
implication are not favored. The presumption is against inconsistency and
repugnancy for the legislature is presumed to know the existing laws on the subject
and not to have enacted inconsistent or conflicting statutes.
Tiangco vs. Uniwide, G.R. No. 168697, Dec. 14, 2009
Implied repeals are not favored. Indeed, it is axiomatic that each and every statute
must be construed in a way that would avoid conflict with existing laws.
Gonzalez vs. Comelec, G.R. No. 192856, 08 March 2011
Cardinal is the rule in statutory construction that repeals by implication are
disfavored and will not be so declared by the Court unless the intent of the
legislators is manifest.
Advocates for Truth in Lending vs. Bangko Sentral, G.R. No. 192986, Jan. 15,
2013
Repeals by implication are not favored, because laws are presumed to be passed
with deliberation and full knowledge of all laws existing pertaining to the subject. An
implied repeal is predicated upon the condition that a substantial conflict or
repugnancy is found between the new and prior laws. Thus, in the absence of an
express repeal, a subsequent law cannot be construed as repealing a prior law
unless an irreconcilable inconsistency and repugnancy exists in the terms of the
new and old laws.
(d) When implied repeal cannot be given retroactive effect
(1) Tac-an vs. CA, 179 SCRA 319 (1984)
Suffice it to say that at times material to the case, i.e. when the Deed of Quitclaim
was executed, when the approval by the Provincial Governor was given and when
the approval was revoked, Sections 145 and 146 of the Administrative Code of
Mindanao and Sulu were in full force and effect and since they were substantive in
nature the repealing statute cannot be given retroactive effect.
(e) When reason of the law ceases, the law itself ceases.
(1) Comendador vs. de Villa, 200 SCRA 80 (1991)
It is a basic canon of statutory construction that when the reason of the law ceases,
the law itself ceases. Cessante ratione legis, cessat ipsa lex. This principle is also
expressed in the maxim ratio legis est anima: the reason of law is its soul.
J. Construction of Particular Statutes
1. Liberal or Strict construction as affected by nature of Act in general
2. Remedial Statutes
(a) Del Rosario vs. Hamoy, 151 SCRA 719 (1987)
In a recent case where the trial court, as in this instance, declared the petitioner
non-suited for failure to appear at the pre-trial conference, and consequently
dismissed the complaint, this Court reiterated the doctrine of liberality in the
construction of the rules of procedure to be followed by all courts.
While it is true under Section 1, Rule 20 of the Rules of Court, it is mandatory for
the parties and their counsel to appear at the pretrial to consider inter-alia "the
possibility of an amicable settlement, the simplification of the issues, the possibility
of obtaining stipulations or admission of facts, totally or partially, and such other
13

matters as may aid in the prompt disposition of the action," and that a party who
fails to appear at the pre-trial may be non-suited or considered as in default, this
rule was by no means intended as an implacable bludgeon but as a tool to assist
the trial courts in the orderly and expeditious conduct of trials. Time and again WE
have emphasized that the rule should be liberally construed in order to promote
their object and assist the parties in obtaining not only speedy, but more
importantly, just and inexpensive determination of every action and proceeding.
(b) International Corporate Bank vs. IAC, 163 SCRA 296 (1988)
It has been held that "as enjoined by the Rules of Court and the controlling
jurisprudence, a liberal construction of the rules and the pleadings is the controlling
principle to effect substantial justice."
(c) Perla Compania vs. Concepcion, 104 SCRA 786 (1981)
As in the filing of records on appeal, the Court has invariably taken a liberal attitude
in favor of the appellant when it comes to the filing of appeal bonds in relation to
perfection of appeals.
Thus, it has been held that an appeal bond is sufficient when it is in substantial
conformity with the provisions of the law as long as the legal effect is to insure to
the appellee the payment of all costs required by law.
1. Penal Statutes
(a) Construction
(1) In general
(2) Application of general rules of construction
People vs. Manantan, 5 SCRA 684 (1962)
The rule that penal statutes are given a strict construction is not the only factor
controlling the interpretation of such laws; instead, the rule merely serves as an
additional, single factor to be considered as an aid in determining the meaning of
penal laws. This has been recognized time and again by decisions of various
courts. Thus, cases will frequently be found enunciating the principle that the intent
of the legislature will govern. It is to be noted that a strict construction should not be
permitted to defeat the policy and purposes of the statute. The court may consider
the spirit and reason of a statute, as in this particular instance, where a literal
meaning would lead to absurdity, contradiction, injustice, or would defeat the clear
purpose of the law makers. A Federal District court in the U.S. has well said:
The strict construction of a criminal statute does not mean such construction of it as
to deprive it of the meaning intended. Penal statutes must be construed in the
sense which best harmonizes with their intent and purpose.
People vs. Terrado, 125 SCRA 648 (1963)
Penal statutes, substantive and remedial or procedural are, by consecrated rule, to
be strictly applied against the government and liberally in favor of the accused.
Malinias vs. Commission on Election, 390 SCRA 480 (2002)
Under the rule of statutory construction of expressio unius est exclusio alterius,
there is no ground to order the COMELEC to prosecute private respondents for
alleged violation of Section 232 of B.P. Blg. 881 precisely because this is a noncriminal act.
Angeles vs. Gaite, G.R. No. 165276, Nov. 25, 2009
It is a basic rule of statutory construction that penal statutes are to be liberally
construed in favor of the accused. Courts must not bring cases within the provision
of a law which are not clearly embraced by it. No act can be pronounced criminal
which is not clearly made so by statute; so, too, no person who is not clearly within
14

the terms of a statute can be brought within them. Any reasonable doubt must be
resolved in favor of the accused. Indeed, if the law is not explicit that it is applicable
only to another person and not the offender himself, this Court must resolve the
same in favor of the accused.
RIMANDO vs COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, G.R. No. 176364, Sep. 18, 2009
It is a basic rule of statutory construction that penal statutes are to be liberally
construed in favor of the accused. Courts must not bring cases within the provision
of a law which are not clearly embraced by it. No act can be pronounced criminal
which is not clearly made so by statute; so, too, no person who is not clearly within
the terms of a statute can be brought within them. Any reasonable doubt must be
resolved in favor of the accused.
4. Statutes both penal and remedial
5. Statutes in derogation of sovereignty
6. Statutes in derogation of fundamental rights
(a) Provincial Chapter of Laguna, NP vs. COMELEC, 122 SCRA 423 (1983)
Of two reasonably possible constructions, one of which wouId diminish or restrict
fundamental right of people and the other of which would not do so, latter
construction must be adopted.
(b) Genaro B. Reyes Construction vs. CA, 234 SCRA 116 (1994)
7. Legislative Grants
(a) Manila Lodge No. 761 vs. CA, 73 SCRA 162 (1976)
The grant made by Act No. 1360 of the reclaimed land to the City of Manila is a
grant of "public" nature, the same having been made to a local political subdivision.
Such grants have always been strictly construed against the grantee. 33 One
compelling reason given for the strict interpretation of a public grant is that there is
in such grant a gratuitous donation of, public money or resources which results in
an unfair advantage to the grantee and for that reason, the grant should be
narrowly restricted in favor of the public.
8. Statute imposing liabilities
9. Revenue Laws
(a) Application of general rules
(b) Construction in favor of taxpayer in general
(c) Strict of liberal construction in general
(d) Particular tax statutes or provisions
(e) Cases
Republic Flour Mills vs. Commissioner, 31 SCRA 520 (1970)
In the construction of tax statutes tax exemptions (and deductions are of this
nature) are not favored in the law, and are construed strictissimi juris against the
taxpayer. However, it is equally a recognized principle that where the provision of
the law is clear and unambiguous, so that there is no occasion for the court's
seeking the legislative intent, the law must be taken as it is, devoid of judicial
addition or subtraction.
Serfino vs. CA, 154 SCRA 19 (1987)
Strict adherence to the statutes governing tax sales is imperative not only for the
protection of the tax payers, but also to allay any possible suspicion of collusion
between the buyer and the public officials called upon to enforce such laws.
People vs. Castaeda, Jr. 165 SCRA 327 (1988)
Erroneous application and enforcement of the law by public officers do not block,
subsequent correct application of the statute and that the government is never
estopped by mistake or error on the part of its agent." A tax amnesty, much like to a
15

tax exemption, is never favored nor presumed in law and if granted by statute, the
terms of the amnesty like that of a tax exemption must be construed strictly against
the taxpayer and liberally in favor of the taxing authority.
Commisioner vs. CA, 301 SCRA 152. [1999]
A "tax amnesty, much like a tax exemption, is never favored nor presumed in law
and if granted by a statute, the term of the amnesty like that of a tax exemption
must be construed strictly against the taxpayer and liberally in favor of the taxing
authority. The rule on strictissimi juris equally applies. So that, any doubt in the
application of an amnesty law/decree should be resolved in favor of the taxing
authority.
10. Private Acts
11. Labor Laws
(a) Villavert vs. ECC, 110 SCRA 233 (1981)
It should be noted that Article 4 of the Labor Code of the Philippines, as amended,
provides that "All doubts in the implementation and interpretation of this Code,
including its implementing rules and regulations shall be resolved in favor of labor.
(b) Abella vs. NLRC, 152 SCRA 140 (1987)
It is well-settled that in the implementation and interpretation of the provisions of the
Labor Code and its implementing regulations, the workingman's welfare should be
the primordial and paramount consideration. It is the kind of interpretation which
gives meaning and substance to the liberal and compassionate spirit of the law as
provided for in Article 4 of the New Labor Code which states that "all doubts in the
implementation and interpretation of the provisions of this Code including its
implementing rules and regulations shall be resolved in favor of labor." The policy is
to extend the applicability of the decree to a greater number of employees who can
avail of the benefits under the law, which is in consonance with the avowed policy
of the State to give maximum aid and protection to labor.
12. Social Security Laws
(a) Vicente vs. ECC, 193 SCRA 190 (1991)
The court takes this occasion to stress once more its abiding concern for the
welfare of government workers, especially the humble rank and file, whose
patience, industry, and dedication to duty have often gone unheralded, but who, in
spite of very little recognition, plod on dutifully to perform their appointed tasks. It is
for this reason that the sympathy of the law on social security is toward its
beneficiaries, and the law, by its own terms, 18 requires a construction of utmost
liberality in their favor. It is likewise for this reason that the Court disposes of this
case and ends a workingman's struggle for his just dues.
13. Corporation Laws
(a) Home Insurance Co. vs. Eastern Shipping Lines, 123 SCRA 424 (1983)
According to many authorities, a constitutional or statutory prohibition against a
foreign corporation doing business in the state, unless such corporation has
complied with conditions prescribed, is effective to make the contracts of such
corporation void, or at least unenforceable, and prevents the maintenance by the
corporation of any action on such contracts. Although the usual construction is to
the contrary, and to the effect that only the remedy for enforcement is affected
thereby, a statute prohibiting a non-complying corporation from suing in the state
courts on any contract has been held by some courts to render the contract void
and unenforceable by the corporation, even after its has complied with the statute."
14. Insurance Laws
(a) Del Rosario vs. Equitable Insurance, 8 SCRA 343 (1963)
It has been generally held that the "terms in an insurance policy, which are
16

ambiguous, equivocal or uncertain . . . are to be construed strictly against, the


insurer, and liberally in favor of the insured so as to effect the dominant purpose of
indemnity or payment to the insured, especially where a forfeiture is involved," and
the reason for this rule is that the "insured usually has no voice in the selection or
arrangement of the words employed and that the language of the contract is
selected with great care and deliberation by expert and legal advisers employed by,
and acting exclusively in the interest of, the insurance company"
Where two interpretations, equally fair, of languages used in an insurance policy
may be made, that which allows the greater indemnity will prevail.
(b) Fieldmens Insurance vs. Vda de Songco, 25 SCRA 70 (1968)
15. Administrative Laws
(a) Solid Homes Inc. vs. Payawal, 177 SCRA 72 (1989)
Statutes conferring powers on their administrative agencies must be liberally
construed to enable them to discharge their assigned duties in accordance with the
legislative purpose.
16. Retirement and pension Laws
(a) Re: application for retirement Britanico, 173 SCRA 421 (1989)
Retirement laws should be liberally construed and applied in favor of the persons
intended to be benefitted thereby
(b) Board of Administrators, PVA vs. Bautista, 12 SCRA 59 (1982)
A veteran pension law is, therefore, a governmental expression of gratitude to and
recognition of those who rendered service for the country, especially during times of
war or revolution, by extending to them regular monetary aid. For this reason, it is
the general rule that a liberal construction is given to pension statutes in favor of
those entitled to pension. Courts tend to favor the pensioner, but such
constructional preference is to be considered with other guides to interpretation,
and a construction of pension laws must depend on its own particular language.
It would be more in consonance with the spirit and intentment of the law that the
benefits therein granted be received and enjoyed at the earliest possible time by
according retroactive effect to the grant of the pension award.
(c) Tantuico Jr. vs. Domingo, 230 SCRA 391 (1994)
Well-settled is the rule that retirement laws are liberally interpreted in favor of the
retiree because the intention is to provide for the retiree's sustenance and comfort,
when he is no longer capable of earning his livelihood.
Pension in this case is a bounty flowing from the graciousness of the Government
intended to reward past services and, at the same time, to provide the pensioner
with the means with which to support himself and his family. Unless otherwise
clearly provided, the pension should inure wholly to the benefit of the pensioner.
(d) Re: Request of Chief Justice Panganiban, A.M. No. 10-9-15-SC, Feb. 12,
2013
The rule is that retirement laws are construed liberally in favor of the retiring
employee. However, when in the interest of liberal construction, the Court allows
seeming exceptions to fixed rules for certain retired Judges or Justices, there are
ample reasons behind each grant of an exception. The crediting of accumulated
leaves to make up for lack of required age or length of service is not done
indiscriminately. It is always on a case to case basis.
In some instances, the lacking element-such as the time to reach an age limit or
17

comply with length of service is de minimis. It could be that the amount of


accumulated leave credits is tremendous in comparison to the lacking period of
time.
More important, there must be present an essential factor before an application
under the Plana or Britanico rulings may be granted. The Court allows a making up
or compensating for lack of required age or service only if satisfied that the career
of the retiree was marked by competence, integrity, and dedication to the public
service; it was only a bowing to policy considerations and an acceptance of the
realities of political will which brought him or her to premature retirement.
17. Naturalization Laws
(a) Velasco vs. Republic, 108 Phil 234 (1960)
Naturalization laws should be rigidly enforced and strictly construed in favor of the
government and against the applicant.
(b) Co vs. Republic, 108 Phil 265 (1960)
Naturalization laws should be rigidly enforced and strictly construed in favor of the
government and against the applicant.
18. Special or Local Laws
(a) Llanto vs. Dimaporo, 16 SCRA 601 (1966)
We do not discern in the law a purpose to require such approval. For the language
is restrictive.
Sec. 12. Rules for the interpretation of the Local Autonomy Act.
1. Implied power of a province, a city or municipality shall be liberally construed in
its favor. Any fair and reasonable doubt as to the existence of the power should be
interpreted in favor of the local government and it shall be presumed to exist.
Autonomy is the underlying rationale of the Local Autonomy Act. By the statute
itself no interpretation thereof should be indulged in which would cripple the board's
powers.
19. Statutes Offering Rewards
(a) Penid vs. Virata, 121 SCRA 166 (1983)
Statutes offering rewards must be liberally construed in favor of informers and with
regard to the purpose for which they are intended, with mere technicality yielding to
the substantive purpose of the law.
20. Habeas Corpus rules
(a) Enrile vs. Salazar, 186 SCRA 217 (1990)
The rules on habeas corpus are to be liberally construed, the writ of habeas corpus
being the fundamental instrument for safeguarding individual freedom against
arbitrary and lawless state action.
21. Statutes prescribing formalities in wills
(a) In re: Testate Estate of Tampoy 107 SCRA 100 (1960)
Statutes prescribing the formalities to be observed in the execution of wills are very
strictly construed. A will must be executed in accordance with the statutory
requirements; otherwise it is entirely void.' All these requirements stand as of equal
importance and must be observed, and courts cannot supply the defective
execution of a will. No power or discretion is vested in them, either to add other
conditions or dispense with those enumerated in the statutes"
22. Probation Laws
18

(a) Santos To vs. Pao, 120 SCRA 8 (1983)


The liberality with which the Probation Law should be applied in favor of the
applicant for its benefits affords the better means of achieving the purpose of the
law.
23. Election Laws
(a) Pahilan vs. Tabalba, 230 SCRA 205 (1994)
As a general rule recognized by all courts, that statutes providing for election
contests are to be liberally construed to the end that the will of the people in the
choice of public officers may not be defeated by mere technical objections.
(b) Loong vs. COMELEC, 305 SCRA 832 (1999)
The choice of means taken by the Commission on Elections, unless they are
clearly illegal or constitute grave abuse of discretion, should not be interfered with.
In the performance of its duties, the Commission must be given a considerable
latitude in adopting means and methods that will insure the accomplishment of the
great objective for which it was created -- to promote free, orderly, and honest
elections.
(c) Liberal Party vs. C.A., G.R. No. 191771, 06 May 2010
Election laws may be divided into three parts for purposes of applying the rules of
statutory construction. The first part refers to the provisions for the conduct of
elections that election officials are required to follow; these provisions are merely
directory. The second part covers those provisions that candidates for office are
required to comply with and are necessarily mandatory. The last part embraces
those procedural rules designed to ascertain, in case of dispute, the actual winner
in the elections; this requires liberal construction. The NP-NPCs petition falls under
the second part, so the applicable requirements of law are mandatory. The dissent
argued that the relaxation of the rules is not applicable to the present case,
because it does not involve the determination of the will of the electorate; thus, the
rules governing the registration of coalitions should be construed strictly and not
liberally.
(d) Jaloslos vs. COMELEC, G.R. No. 193237, Oct. 9, 2012
While provisions relating to certificates of candidacy are mandatory in terms, it is an
established rule of interpretation as regards election laws, that mandatory
provisions requiring certain steps before elections will be construed as directory
after the elections, to give effect to the will of the people.
D. Effectivity and Prospectivity or Retroactively of Statutes
a.Effectivity of statutes
b.General Prospective construction
i. Espiritu vs. Cipriano, 55 SCRA 533 (1974)
ii. Nilo vs. CA, 128 SCRA 519 (1984)
It is a rule of statutory construction that all statutes are to be construed as having
only a prospective operation unless the purpose and intention of the Legislature to
give them a retrospective effect is expressly declared or is necessarily implied from
the language used. In every case of doubt, the doubt must be solved against the
retrospective effect.
iii. Balatbat vs. CA, 205 SCRA 419 (1992)
A law is a rule established to guide our actions with no binding effect until it is
enacted, wherefore, it has no application to past times but only to future time, and
that is why it is said that the law looks to the future only and has no retroactive

19

effect unless the legislator may have formally given that effect to some legal
provisions.
iv. Co vs. CA, 227 SCRA 444 (1993)
The principle of prospectivity of statutes, original or amendatory, has been applied
in many cases. These include: Buyco v. PNB, 961 2 SCRA 682 (June 30, 1961),
holding that Republic Act No. 1576 which divested the Philippine National Bank of
authority to accept back pay certificates in payment of loans, does not apply to an
offer of payment made before effectivity of the act; Largado v. Masaganda, et al., 5
SCRA 522 (June 30, 1962), ruling that RA 2613, s amended by RA 3090 on June,
1961, granting to inferior courts jurisdiction over guardianship cases, could not be
given retroactive effect, in the absence of a saving clause; Larga v. Ranada, Jr., 64
SCRA 18, to the effect that Sections 9 and 10 of Executive Order No. 90, amending
Section 4 of PD 1752, could have no retroactive application; People v. Que Po Lay,
94 Phil. 640, holding that a person cannot be convicted of violating Circular No. 20
of the Central, when the alleged violation occurred before publication of the Circular
in the Official Gazette; Baltazar v. C.A., 104 SCRA 619, denying retroactive
application to P.D. No. 27 decreeing the emancipation of tenants from the bondage
of the soil, and P.D. No. 316 prohibiting ejectment of tenants from rice and corn
farmholdings, pending the promulgation of rules and regulations implementing P.D.
No. 27; Nilo v. Court of Appeals, 128 SCRA 519, adjudging that RA 6389
whichremoved "personal cultivation" as a ground for the ejectment of a tenant
cannot be given retroactive effect in the absence of a statutory statement for
retroactivity; Tac-An v. CA, 129 SCRA 319, ruling that the repeal of the old
Administrative Code by RA 4252 could not be accorded retroactive effect; Ballardo
v. Borromeo, 161 SCRA 500, holding that RA 6389 should have only prospective
application; (see also Bonifacio v. Dizon, 177 SCRA 294 and Balatbat v. CA, 205
SCRA 419).
The prospectivity principle has also been made to apply to administrative rulings
and circulars, to wit: ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation v. CTA, Oct. 12, 1981,
108 SCRA 142, holding that a circular or ruling of the Commissioner of Internal
Revenue may not be given retroactive effect adversely to a taxpayer: Sanchez v.
COMELEC, 193 SCRA 317, ruling that Resolution No. 90-0590 of the Commission
on Elections, which directed the holding of recall proceedings, had no retroactive
application; Romualdez v. CSC, 197 SCRA 168, where it was ruled that CSC
Memorandum Circular No. 29, s. 1989 cannot be given retrospective effect so as to
entitle to permanent appointment an employee whose temporary appointment had
expired before the Circular was issued.
The principle of prospectivity has also been applied to judicial decisions which,
"although in themselves not laws, are nevertheless evidence of what the laws
mean, . . . (this being) the reason whyunder Article 8 of the New Civil Code,
'Judicial decisions applying or interpreting the laws or the Constitution shall form a
part of the legal system.
c.Retroactive Operation
i. Presumption
ii. Remedial Statutes
Palomo Building Tenants Association, Inc. vs. IAC, 133 SCRA 168 (1984)
Statutes regulating the procedure of the courts 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.
3. Statutes relating to offenses and prosecutions
Laceste vs. Santos, 56 Phil 472 (1932)
Article 22 of the Revised Penal Code reads as follows:
20

ART. 22. Retroactive effect of penal laws. Penal laws shall have a retroactive
effect in so far as they favor the person guilty of a felony, who is not a habitual
criminal, as this term is defined in rule 5 of article 62 of this Code, although at the
time of the publication of such laws a final sentence has been pronounced and the
convict is serving the same.
That this article applies to crimes committed before the new Code took effect,
cannot be doubted, for article 366 of said Code unmistakably provides for such
cases in the following words:
ART. 366. Application of laws enacted prior to this Code. Without prejudice to the
provisions contained in article 22 of this Code, felonies and misdemeanors,
committed prior to the date of effectiveness of this Code shall be punished in
accordance with the Code or Acts in force at the time of their commission.
It may be clearly seen that as far back as the year 1884, when the Penal Code took
effect in these Islands until the 31st of December, 1931, the principle underlying our
laws granting to the accused in certain cases an exception to the general rule that
laws shall not be retroactive when the law in question favors the accused, has
evidently been carried over into the Revised Penal Code at present in force in the
Philippines through article 22, quoted above. This is an exception to the general
rule that all laws are prospective, not retrospective,
4. Application to Pending Actions and Proceedings
MRCA, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals (1989)
It is a well-established rule of statutory construction that statutes regulating the
procedure of the courts 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.
5. Curative Statutes
Municipality of San Narciso, Quezon vs. Mendez, Sr. 239 SCRA 11 (1994)
Curative laws, which in essence are retrospective, and aimed at giving "validity to
acts done that would have been invalid under existing laws, as if existing laws have
been complied with," are validly accepted in this jurisdiction, subject to the usual
qualification against impairment of vested rights.

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