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Statutory Construction Reviewer Vena V. Verga and Aris S.




(1) general- which applies to the whole state and

CHAPTER 1 operates throughout the state alike upon all the
people or all of a class;
(2) special- which relates to a particular persons or
things of a class or to a particular community,
A. Law, in its jural and generic sense, refers to the whole body or
individual or thing;
system of law.
(3) local- whose operation is confined to a specific
(a) In its jural and concrete sense, law means a rule of
place or locality
conduct formulated and made obligatory by legitimate
(b) Private Statute: applies only to a specific person or
power of the state.
(b) Includes:
4. Types according to Duration:
(1) statues enacted by the legislature
(a) permanent statute: whose operation is not limited in
(2) presidential decree
duration but continues until repealed;
(3) executive orders
(b) temporary statute: whose duration is for a limited
Note: 2 and 3 are made by the president in the exercise of his
period of time fixed in the statute itself or whose life
legislative power.
ceases upon the happening of an event.
(4) other presidential issuance in the exercise of his
5. In respect to their application:
ordinance power
(a) prospective
(5) rulings of the Supreme Court
(b) retroactive.
(6) rules and regulation promulgated by administrative
6. Operation:
or executive officers pursuant to a delegated power
(a) declaratory,
(7) ordinances passed by LGU
(b) curative,
B. Statute is an act of legislature as an organized body, expressed
(c) mandatory,
in the form, passed according to the procedure, required to
(d) directory,
constitute it as part of the law of the land.
(e) substantive,
(f) remedial, and
1. Laws which has the same category and binding force are:
(g) penal.
presidential decrees issued during Martial law and executive
7. Form:
orders issued under the Freedom Constitution.
(a) affirmative
2. Types of statutes:
(b) negative
(a) passed by the Philippine Legislature
C. Manner of referring to statutes
(1) Philippine Commission
1. Public Acts:
(2) Philippine Legislature
(a) Philippine Commission and Philippine Legislature 1901-
(3) Batasang Pambasna
(4) Congress of the Philippines
(b) Commonwealth Acts: enacted during the
(b) Made by the president
Commonwealth 1936-1946
(1) Presidential decrees (1973 constitution)
(c) Republic Acts: passed by Congress of the Philippines
(2) Executive orders (Freedom Constitution)
1946-1972 and from 1987
3. Other types of Statues
(a) Public Statute: which affects the public at large or the
Note: Statutes may be referred to by its serial number, or its title.
whole community; classifications:

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Statutory Construction Reviewer Vena V. Verga and Aris S. Manguera

II. ENACTMENT OF STATUTES (e) If the other house introduces amendments and the
A. Legislative power is the power to make, alter, and repeals laws. House from which it originated does not agree with said
1. Under the 1973 and freedom constitution, the president amendments, the differences will be settled by the
exercised legislative power which remained valid until Conference Committee of both chambers, whose report
repealed. or recommendation thereon will have to be approved by
2. LGU can enact ordinances within their own jurisdiction, but both Houses in order that it will be considered passed
such laws are inferior and subordinate to the laws of the by Congress and thereafter sent to the President for
state. (Primicias v. Municipality of Urdaneta). action.
3. Administrative or executive officer can make rules and (f) If the President shall veto it, and if after such
regulations to implement specific laws. consideration, two- thirds of all the Members of such
B. Essential feature of the legislative function is the determination House shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent,
of the legislative policy and its formulation and promulgation as together with the objections, to the other House by
a defined and binding rule of conduct which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved
C. A bill is a proposed legislative measure introduced by a member by two-thirds of all the Members of that House, it shall
of Congress for enactment into law. become a law.
D. Passage of a bill: E. A bill passed by Congress becomes a law in either of three
1. A bill shall embrace only one subject which shall be ways:
expressed in the title thereof. It shall be signed by its 1. When the President signs it
author and filed with the Secretary of the House. 2. When the President does not sign nor communicate his veto
2. A bill may originate in the lower or upper house except of the bill within thirty days after his receipt thereof
appropriation, revenue or tariff bills, bills authorizing 3. When the vetoed bill is repassed by Congress by two-thirds
increase of public debt, bills of local application, private vote of all its members, voting separately.
bills, which shall originate exclusively in the House of F. Procedure for enactment of appropriations and revenue bills is
Representatives. same with ordinary bills, but it may only come from the lower
3. A bill is approved by either house after it has gone three house. Appropriations bill are subject to the restrictions or
readings on separate days except when the President qualifications as provided in the Constitution [Art VI, Sec. 25]
certifies to the necessity of its immediate enactment. and [Art. VI Sec. 27 (2)]
4. Steps: G. The lawmaking process in Congress ends when the bill is
(a) The Secretary reports for the first reading, which approved by the body. Approval is indispensable to the validity
consists of reading the number and title of the bill, of the bill.
followed by its referral to the appropriate Committee for H. The system of authentication devised is the signing by the
study and recommendation. Speaker and the Senate President of the printed copy of the
(b) Second Reading: the bill shall be read in full with the approved bill, to signify to the President that the bill being
amendments proposed by the Committee, if any, unless presented to him has been duly approved by the legislature and
copies thereof are distributed and such reading is is ready for his approval or rejection.
dispensed with. After the amendments, the bill will be I. The Constitution requires that each House shall keep a journal
voted on second reading. [Art. VI Sec. 16(4)]. The Journal is regarded as conclusive with
(c) Third reading: the bill approved on second reading will respect to matters that are required by the Constitution to be
be submitted for final vote by yeas and nays. No recorded therein. With respect to other matters, in the absence
amendments may be introduced. of evidence to the contrary, the Journals have also been
(d) The bill approved on the third reading by one house is accorded conclusive effect. Considerations of public policy led to
transmitted to the other house for concurrence, which the adoption of the rule giving verity (truth) and
will follow the same procedures as a bill originally filed unimpeachability to legislative records. Imperative reasons of
with it. public policy require that the authenticity of laws should rest

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Statutory Construction Reviewer Vena V. Verga and Aris S. Manguera

upon public memorials of the most permanent character. That 2. The title of the bill is to be couched in a language sufficient
the rights acquired today upon the faith of what has been to notify the legislators and the public and those concerned
declared to be law shall not be destroyed tomorrow, or at some of the import of the single subject thereof.
remote period of time, by facts resting only in the memory of 3. Purpose of one title-one subject rule:
individuals. (a) To prevent hodge-podge or log-rolling legislation
J. Enrolled Bill: Under the enrolled bill doctrine, the text of the (b) To prevent surprise or fraud upon legislature, by means
act as passed and approved is deemed importing absolute of provisions in bills of which the title gave no
veracity and is binding on the courts. It is conclusive not only information, and which might therefore be overlooked
of its provisions but also of its due enactment. and carelessly and unintentionally adopted
(c) To fairly apprise the people through such publication of
If there has been any mistake in the printing of the bill before it was legislative proceedings as is usually made, of the
certified by the officer of the assembly and approved by the chief subjects of the legislation that are being heard thereon
executive, the remedy is by amendment by enacting a curative 4. These requirements should be liberally construed (People v.
legislation, not by judicial decree (Casco Phil. Chemical Co., Inc. v. Buenviaje). It should not be given a technical
Gimenez) interpretation, nor narrowly construed as to cripple or
impede the power of legislation (Tobias v. Abalos).
Where there is discrepancy between the journal and the enrolled bill, (Cordero vs. Cabatuando)
the latter as a rule prevails over the former, particularly with respect to 5. Title of the statute is used as a guide in ascertaining
matters not expressly required to be entered in the journal. legislative intent when the language of the act does not
clearly express its purpose.
K. The legislative journals and the enrolled bill are both conclusive 6. When there is doubt as to whether the title sufficiently
upon the courts. However, where there is discrepancy, the expresses the subject matter of the statute, the question
enrolled bill as a rule prevails, particularly with respect to should be resolved against the doubt and in favor of the
matters not expressly required to be entered into the legislative constitutionality of the statute (Insular Lumber vs. Court of
journal. Tax Appeals)
Note: There is sufficient compliance with the one-title-subject
The Speaker and the Senate President may withdraw their signatures (a) if the title be comprehensive enough to reasonably
from the signed bill where there is serious and substantial discrepancy include the general object which a statute seeks to
between the text of the bill as deliberated and shown by the journal effect, without each and every end and means
and that of the enrolled bill. It thus, renders the bill without attestation necessary or convenient for accomplishing the subject.
and nullifies its status as an enrolled bill. (b) if all parts of the law are related and germane to the
The court can declare that the bill has not been duly enacted and did subject matter expressed in the title.
not accordingly become a law (Astorga v. Villegas). (c) If the title indicates in broad or clear terms, the nature,
scope, and consequences of the law and its operations.
III. PARTS OF STATUTES (d) The tile should not be catalogue or index of the bill
(People v. Ferrer).
A. Title: every bill passed shall embrace only one subject which 7. Titles ending with and for other purposes expresses
shall be expressed in the title. This provisions contains dual nothing as a compliance with the constitutional
limitations upon the legislature: requirement.
1. The legislature is to refrain from conglomeration, under one 8. WHEN REQUIREMENT NOT APPLICABLE
statute, of heterogeneous subjects. It does not apply to laws in force existing at the time the 1935
Constitution took effect (People v. Valensoy), nor to municipal or city

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ordinances because they do not partake of the nature of laws passed by A. Presidential Issuances: those which the President issues in
the legislature. the exercise of his ordinance power, which have the force and
effect of law. They include:
9. Effect pf insufficiency of title B. Administrative orders- acts of the President which relate to
(a) A statue whose title does not conform to the one title- the particular aspects of governmental operations in pursuance
subject or is not related to its subject is null and void. of his duties as administrative head.
(b) If subject matter of statute is not sufficiently expressed C. Proclamations- acts of the President fixing a date or declaring
in its title, only the unexpressed subject matter is void a statute or condition of public moment or interest, upon the
leaving the rest in force. existence of which the operation of a specific law or regulation
B. Enacting Clause: part of the statute written immediately after is made to depend.
the title thereof which states the authority by which the act is D. Memorandum Orders- acts of the President on matters of
enacted administrative detail or of subordinate or temporary interest
C. Preamble: prefatory statement or explanation or a finding of which only concern a particular officer or office of the
facts, reciting the purpose, reason, or occasion for making the government.
law to which it is prefixed. Laws passed by legislature seldom E. Memorandum Circulars- acts of the President on matters
contain the preamble because the statement embodying the relating to internal administration which the President desires
purpose, reason, etc is contained in the explanatory note. to bring to the attention of all or some of the departments,
Presidential decrees and Executive Orders generally have agencies, bureaus, or offices of the government, for information
preambles. or compliance.
D. Purview or body of a statute: part which tells what the law is F. General or specific orders- acts and commands of the
all about. President in his capacity as Commander-in0Chief of the Armed
Forces of the Philippines.
Note: A complex and comprehensive piece of legislation usually G. Executive Orders: acts of the President providing for rules of
contains: a short title, a policy section, definition section, a general or permanent character in the implementation or
administrative section, sections prescribing standards or conduct, execution of constitutional or statutory powers, which do not
section imposing sanctions for violation of its provisions, transitory have the force of statutes.
provision, separability clause, repealing clause, and effectivity clause.
The constitutional requirement that a bill should have only one subject A. The rule making power of the Supreme Court includes the
matter which should be expressed in its title is complied with where the power to repeal procedural laws/ parts of statues which deal
provisions thereof, no matter how diverse they may be, are allied and with procedural aspects can be modified or repealed by the SC
germane to the subject, or negatively stated, where the provisions are by virtue of its constitutional rule-making power. SC does not
not inconsistent with, but in furtherance of, the single subject matter have the power to promulgate rules which are substantive in
(People v. Carlos). nature; rules promulgated by them must operate only as to
regulate procedure. If it operates as a means of implementing
an existing right then the rules deals merely with procedure.
Separability Clause: part of a statute, which states that if any B. Rules and regulations issued by administrative or executive
provision of the act is declared invalid, the remainder shall not be officers, in accordance with and as authorized by law have the
affected thereby. Such clause is not controlling and the courts may, in same force and effect of law or partake the nature of a statute,
spite of it, invalidate the whole statute where what is left, after the void C. In case of discrepancy or conflict between the basic law and the
part, is not complete and workable. regulations issued to implement it, the former prevails over the
latter (Wise & Co. v. Meer). For it is elementary principle in
II. PRESIDENTIAL ISSUANCES, RULES AND ORDINANCES statutory construction that a statute is superior to an

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administrative regulation and the former cannot be repealed or K. Provincial Ordinance

amended by the latter (China Banking Corp. v. C.A.). Sangguniang panlalawigan- by a vote of a majority of the members
D. The rule-making power of a public administrative agency is a present, there being a quorum, enact ordinance that will affect the
delegated legislative power. province. The ordinance is forwarded to the governor who, within 15
E. The power to fill-in details in the execution, enforcement or days, shall return it with his approval or veto. A vetoed ordinance may
administration of law, it is essential that the said law (a) be be repassed by two-thirds vote.
complete in itself- it must set forth therein the policy to be
executed, carried out or implemented by the delegate; (b) fix a
standard- the limits of which are sufficiently determinable-to IV. VALIDITY
which the delegate must conform in the performance of his A. Every statute is presumed valid. To declare a law
functions, marks its limits and maps out its boundaries. unconstitutional, the repugnancy of the law to the Constitution
F. A statutory grant of powers should not be extended by must be clear and unequivocal. To strike down a law, there
implication beyond what may be necessary for their just and must be a clear showing that what the fundamental law
reasonable execution. It is axiomatic that a rule or regulation condemns or prohibits, the statute allows it to be done.
must bear upon, and be consistent with, the provisions of the B. All reasonable doubts should be resolved in favor of the
enacting statute if such rule or regulation is to be valid. constitutionality of law. To doubt is to sustain.
G. When an administrative agency promulgates rules and C. The final authority to declare a law unconstitutional is the SC en
regulations, it makes a new law with the force and effect of a banc by the concurrence of a majority of the Members who
valid law, which are binding on the courts. When it renders an actually took part in the deliberations.
opinion or gives a statement of policy, it merely interprets a D. Trial courts have jurisdiction to initially decide the issue of
preexisting law; it is only advisory, for it is the courts that constitutionality of a law in appropriate cases.
finally determine what the law means. E. Before the court may resolve the question of constitutionality,
H. Baranggay ordinance: the following requisites should be present:
Sangguniang barangay: smallest legislative body; may pass an 1. Existence of an appropriate case / actual case
ordinance affecting a barangay by a majority vote of all its 2. An interest personal and substantial by the party raising the
members. Its ordinance is subject to review by sangguniang bayan constitutionality
or panlungsod, to determine if it is in accordance with municipal or 3. The plea that the function be exercised at the earliest
city ordinance. Sangguniang Bayan or panlungsod shall take action opportunity
on the ordinance within 30 days from submission. 4. The necessity that the constitutional question be passed
I. Municipal Ordinance upon in order to decide the case.
Sangguniang Bayan: affirmative vote of a majority of the members of F. Legal Standing (locus Standi)- a personal and substantial
the sangguniang bayan, there being a quorum. Ordinance is then interest in the case such that the party has sustained or will
submitted to the municipal mayor, who within 10 days from receipt sustain direct injury as a result of the governmental act that is
shall return it with his approval or veto. The ordinance is then being challenged.
submitted to sangguniang panlalawigan for review, who within 30 days G. How a citizen acquires standing:
may invalidate it in whole or in part. 1. He has suffered some actual or threatened injury as a
J. City Ordinance result of the allegedly illegal conduct of government
Sangguniang panlungsod- affirmative vote of a majority of the 2. Injury is fairly traceable to the challenged action.
members of the sangguniang panlungsod present, and there being a 3. Injury is likely to be redressed by a favorable action
quorum. Approved ordinance shall be submitted to the mayor, who H. Tax payers legal standing:
withn 10 days shall return it with approval or his veto. The 1. When it is established that public funds have been
Sangguniang may repass a vetoed ordinance. If the city is a component disbursed in alleged contravention of the law or the
city, the approved ordinance is submitted to the Sanguniang constitution, or in preventing the illegal expenditure of
panlalawigan, who shall act within 30 days. money raised by taxation.

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2. He will sustain a direct injury as a result of the enforcement 1. The general rule is that an unconstitutional act is not a law.
of the questioned statute. (a) it confers no rights.
I. The SC may take cognizance of a suit which does not satisfy (b) it afford no protection
the requirements of legal standing; the Court has adopted a (c) it imposes no duties
liberal attitude on the locus standi of a petitioner where the (d) it creates no office
petitioner is able to craft an issue of transcendental significance (e) it is inoperative as though it had never been passed.
to the people or paramount importance to the public. 2. Regard should be had to what has been done while the
J. Constitutionality must be raised at the earliest possible time. If statute was in operation and presumed to be valid. Hence,
the question is not raised in the pleadings, ordinarily it may not its operative fact before a declaration of nullity must be
be raised at the trial, and if not raised in the trial, it will not be recognized.
considered in appeal. 3. There are two view on the effects of a declaration of the
K. Exceptions: unconstitutionality of a statute:
1. the question may raised in a motion for reconsideration or (a) Orthodox View -- An unconstitutional law confers no
new trial in the lower court, where the statute sought to be right, is not a law, imposes no duties, affords no
invalidated was not in existence when the complaint was protection; in legal contemplation, it is inoperative, as if
filed or during the trial it had not been passed.
2. the question of validity may also be raised in criminal cases (b) Modern View -- The court in passing upon the
at any stage of the proceedings. question of constitutionality does not annul or repeal
3. In civil cases where it appears clearly that a determination the statute if it is unconstitutional, it simply refuses to
of the question is necessary to a decision and incases recognize it and determines the rights of the parties
where it involved the jurisdiction of the court below. just as if the statute had no existence. It does not
L. Test of constitutionality repeal, supersede, revoke or annul the statute. The
A stature may be declared unconstitutional because: parties to the suit are concluded by the judgment, but
1. it is not within the legislative power to enact no one else is bound.
2. or it creates or establishes methods or forms that infringe O. Invalidity due to change of conditions
constitutional principles
3. its purpose or effect violates the constitution The general rule as to the effects of unconstitutionality of a statute is
4. it is vague. It is vague when it lacks comprehensive not applicable to a statute that is declared invalid because of the
standards that men of common intelligence must change of circumstances affecting its validity. It becomes invalid only
necessarily guess at its meaning and differ in its because the change of conditions makes its continued operation
application. violative of the Constitution, and accordingly, the declaration of its
5. The change of circumstances or conditions may affect the nullity should affect only the parties involved in the case, and its effects
validity of some statues, specially those so-called applied prospectively.
emergency laws designed specifically to meet certain
contingencies. P. Partial Invalidity
M. With respect to ordinances, the test of validity are:
1. Must not contravene the constitution or any statute The general rule is that where part of a statute is void as repugnant to
2. Must not be unfair or oppressive the Constitution, while another part is valid, the valid portion, if
3. Must not be partial or discriminatory separable from the invalid, may stand and be enforced
4. Must not prohibit but may regulate trade
5. Must be general and consistent with public policy Note: Exceptions to this rule: when the parts are so mutually
6. Must not be unreasonable dependent and connected. The presence of separability clause creates
N. Effects of unconstitutionality the presumption that the legislature intended separability, rather than
complete nullity of the statute.

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3 months from that date shall not be the basis of any

V. EFFECT AND OPERATION sanction against any party or persons.
(b) Each rule shall become effective 15 days from the date
A. When laws take effect of filing as above provided unless a different date is
fixed by law, or specified in the rule in cases of
1. Art 2 of the Civil Code provides that Laws shall take effect imminent danger to public health, safety and welfare.
after fifteen days following the completion of their
publication in the Official Gazette, unless it is otherwise 4. Publication and filing requirements are indispensable to the
provided. effectivity of rules and regulations, except when the law
2. All laws or statutes, including those of local application and authorizing its issuance dispenses the filing requirements.
private law shall be published as a condition for their C. When local ordinance take effect.
effectivity (Taada v. Tuvera), otherwise it would violate 1. Local ordinance shall take effect after 10 days from the
the due process clause of the constitution. date a copy thereof is posted in a bulletin board at the
3. The general rule is that where the law is silent as to its entrance of the provincial capitol or city, municipal, or
effectivity, or where it provides that it shall take effect barangay hall, as the case may be, and in atleast two other
immediately or upon its approval, such law shall take effect conspicuous places in the local government unit.
after 15 days from its publication in the Official Gazette. 2. the secretary to the sanggunian shall cause the posting of
4. The completion of publication, from which date the period the ordinance within 5 days after its approval.
of publication will be counted, refers to the date of release 3. The gist of all ordinances with penal sanctions shall be
of the O.G. or newspaper for circulation and not to its date, published in a newspaper of general circulation, within the
unless the two dates coincide. province where the local legislative body concerned
5. The requirement of publication as a condition for the belongs.
effectivity of statues applies to Presidential Issuances, 4. In case of highly urbanized and independent component
except those which are merely interpretative or internal in cities, the main feature of the ordinance or resolution duly
nature not concerning the public. enacted or adopted shall, in addition to being posted, be
published once in a local newspaper of general circulation
B. When presidential issuance, rules, and regulations take effect within the city.
1. The requirement of publication also applies to Presidential 5. Unless a statute is by its provisions for a limited period
issuances. only, it continues in force until changed or repealed by the
Exceptions: those which are merely interpretative or internal in legislature. Law once established continues until changed
nature not concerning the public. by some competent legislative power. It is not changed by
2. Rules and regulations of administrative and executive change of sovereignty.
officers are of two types: D. Manner of computing time:
(a) Whose purpose is to implement or enforce existing law 1. Where a statute requires the doing of an act within a
pursuant to a valid delegation or to fill in the details of specified number of days, such as ten days, from notice, It
a statute; whether they are penal or non-penal; this means 10 calendar days and not working days.
requires publication. 2. Where the word week is used as a measure of time and
(b) those are merely interpretative in nature or merely without reference to the calendar, it means a period of
internal in character not concerning the public, does not seven consecutive days without regard to the day of the
need publication. week from which it begins (PNB v. C.A).
3. In addition, the 1987 Administrative Code provides that (a) Year: 365 days
(a) Every agency shall file with the U.P. Law center three (b) months: 30 days except if the months are designated
copies of every rule adopted by it. Rules in force on the by their name
date of effectivity of this Code which are not filed within (c) days: 24 hours

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(d) nights: from sunrise to sunset

(e) week -- a period of 7 consecutive days without regard A. Rules of construction are tools used to ascertain the legislative
to the day of the week from which it begins. intent because in enacting a statute, the legislature is
3. Civil code adopts the 365 day year and the 30-day month presumed to know the rules of statutory construction.
and not the calendar year not the solar month. B. When there is ambiguity in the language of a statute, the rules
4. The exclude- the first and include the last day rule of statutory construction is employed by the courts in order to
governs the computation of a period. If the last day falls on ascertain the true intent and meaning of the law.
a Sunday or legal holiday, the act can still be done the C. Rules of statutory construction have no binding effect on the
following day. The principle does not apply to the courts. They are only used to clarify, not to defeat, legislative
computation of the period of prescription of a crime, in intent.
which the rule is that if the last days in the period of
prescription of a felony falls on a Sunday or legal holiday, IV. Purpose or object of construction
the information concerning said felony cannot be filed on A. Cardinal rule in interpretation: to ascertain, and give effect to,
the next working day, as the offense has been by then the intent of law.
already prescribed. B. The sole object of all judicial interpretation of a statute is to
determine legislative intent, what intention is conveyed, wither
CHAPTER 2 expressly or impliedly.

Construction and Interpretation V. Legislative intent, generally

I. Definition of Construction A. It is the essence of the law.

B. It is the spirit, which gives life to legislative enactment. Intent
It is the art or process of discovering and expounding the meaning and must be enforced when ascertained, although it may not be
intention of the authors of the law, where that intention is rendered consistent with the strict letter of the statute.
doubtful by reason of the ambiguity in its language or the fact that the C. THUS, WHERE A STATUTE IS SUSCEPTIBLE OF MORE THAN
given case is not explicitly provided for in the law. ONE CONSTRUCTION THAT CONSTRUCTION SHOULD BE
It is the drawing of warranted conclusions respecting subjects that lie MANIFEST INTENT OF THE LEGISLATURE (US vs. Toribio).
beyond the direct expression of the text, conclusions which are in the D. Intent is equated with the words: purpose, meaning and spirit.
spirit, though not within the letter of the text.
VI. Legislative purpose
II. Difference between construction and interpretation
A. The reason why a particular statue was enacted.
A. Interpretation art of finding the true meaning and sense of B. Legislation defined
any form of words It is an active instrument of government, which, for purposes of
B. Construction process of drawing warranted conclusions interpretation, means that laws have ends to be achieved.
respecting subjects that lie beyond the direct expressions or C. Statutes should be so construed so as not to defeat but to carry
determining the application of words to facts in litigation. out such ends and purposes. (Litex Employees Assn v.
Note: Although there is technical distinction between the two, they are
alike in practical results. In practice and common usage, they have the VII. Legislative meaning
same signification.
A. It is what the law, by its language, means. What it
III. Rules of construction, generally comprehends, covers or embraces, limits and confines are.
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B. Legislative intent and meaning are synonymous. Thus: IF B. A Supreme Court construes the applicable law in controversies
THERE IS AMBIGUITY IN THE LANGUAGE USED IN THE which are ripe for judicial resolution..
STATUTE, ITS PURPOSED MAY INDICATE THE MEANING OF THE C. Moot and academic cases cases wherein:
C. The courts, by judicial construction will give effect to such 2. where no practical relief can be granted
intent. 3. which have no practical effect
D. The court may nonetheless resolve a moot case where public
VIII. Matters inquired into in construing a statute interest requires its resolution.
E. Laws are not interpreted in a vacuum, they are always decided
1.ascertain the intention or meaning of the statute (internal based on facts. Thus, LAWS ARE INTERPRETED ALWAYS IN
2. see whether the intention or meaning has been expressed CASE. THE CIRCUMSTANCE OF TIME, PLACE, EVENT, PERSON
in such a way as to give it legal effect and validity (external AND PARTICULARLY ATTENDANT CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD BE
Note: Legal act then originates in intention and is perfected by RATIONALLY AND FAIRLY DISPENSED (Philippines Today, Inc
expression. Failure of the latter may defeat the former. vs. NLRC).

IX. Source of legislative intent XI. Legislature cannot overrule judicial construction

A. Primary source: statute itself. A. Legislature may indicate its construction of a stature in the
1. LEGISLATIVE INTENT MUST BE DISCOVERED FROM THE form of a resolution or declaratory act BUT it has no power to
FOUR CORNERS OF THE LAW (Regalado vs. Yulo) overrule the interpretation or construction of a statute or the
2. Where the words and phrases of a statute are not obscure constitution by the Supreme Court, for interpretation is a
or ambiguous, its meaning and the intention of the judicial function assigned to the latter by the fundamental law.
legislature must be determined from the language B. Reason: Because of the principle of separation of powers. The
employed. (B.E. San Diego, Inc. vs. CA) legislature may enact and make laws but as to interpretation
B. Other sources: and application of said laws belong exclusively to the judicial
1. purpose of the statute department.
2. the reason or cause which induced the enactment of the
law XII. When judicial interpretation may be set aside:
3. the mischief to be suppressed
4. the policy which dictated its passage. 1. The Supreme Court itself may, in appropriate case, change
or overrule its previous construction.
C. If these sources fail, the court may look into the effect of the 2. The rule that Supreme Court has the final word in the
law. interpretation of a statue merely means that the legislature
Note: Judicial legislation happens when the court looks into the cannot, by law or resolution, modify or annul the judicial
effect of the law without ascertaining the other sources of legislative construction without modifying or repealing the very statute
intent. which has been the subject of construction.

X. Construction is a judicial function XIII. When court may construe statute:

A. The power and duty to interpret or construe a statue or the A. There must be doubt or ambiguity in its language. ONLY
Constitution belong to the judiciary. STATUTES WITH AN AMBIGUOUS OR DOUBTFUL MEANING MAY

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BE THE SUBJECT OF STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION. (Daong vs. overruling a previous one be applied retroactively so as to
Municipal Judge) nullify a right which arose under the previous ruling before its
B. Ambiguity a condition of admitting two or more meanings, of B. Lex prospicit, non respicit (the law looks forward not backward)
being understood in more than one way or of referring to two Art. 4 of the civil code.
or more things at the same time. C. The Supreme Court may abandon or overrule its earlier
decision construing a statute whenever it is right and prosper to
XIV. Court may not construe where the statute is clear. do so.
D. No doctrine or principle of law laid down by the Court in a
A. Construction or interpretation comes only after it has been decision rendered en banc or in division may be modified or
demonstrate that application is impossible or inadequate reversed except by the court sitting en banc. Said ruling must
without it. It is the last function the court should exercise, for be applied prospectively.
if there is more application and less construction, there would E. The interpretation of a statute by the Supreme Court remains
be more stability in law. to be part of the legal system until the latter overrule it and the
B. Court may not construe a statute that is clears and free from new doctrine overruling the old is applied prospectively in favor
doubt. WHEN THE LAW IS CLEAR, THERE IS NO ROOM FOR of the persons who have relied thereon in good faith.
(Cebu Portland Cement Co. vs. Municipality of Naga) XVI. COURT MAY ISSUE GUIDELINE IN CONSTRUING STATUTE
C. Fidelity to such task precludes construction and interpretation, NOT TO ENLARGE OR RESTRICT IT BUT TO CLEARLY
unless application is impossible or inadequate without it. DELINEATE WHAT THE LAW REQUIRES (ex. Case of People
D. When the law is free from ambiguity, the court may not engraft vs. Ferrer where the court issued guidelines for prosecution
into the law qualifications not contemplated. under the Anti-Subversion Law).
E. A meaning that does not appear nor is intended or reflected in
the very language of the statute cannot be placed therein by XVII. LIMITATIONS ON THE POWER TO CONSTRUE:
F. It is a principle in statutory construction that where the two 1. Courts may not enlarge nor restrict statutes (doing so
statutes that applies in a particular case, that which was would be considered law making).
specifically designed for the said case must prevail over the (a) Courts may not revise even the most arbitrary and
other. (Lapid vs. CA) unfair action of the legislature
(b) Courts may not rewrite the law to conform with what
XV. Rulings of the Supreme Court as part of the legal system. they think should be the law.
(c) Courts may not interpret into the law a requirement
A. Legis interpretato legis vim obtinet authoritative interpretation which the law does not prescribe.
of the Supreme Court or a statute acquires the force of law by 2. Courts must not be influenced by questions of wisdom.
becoming a part thereof. (a) They must not pass upon questions of wisdom, justice,
B. Rulings of the SC are laws in their own right because they or expedience of legislation, for it is not within their
interpret what the law say or mean. province to supervise legislation.
C. Stare decisis et non quieta novere rulings of the supreme (b) As long as laws do not violate the constitution, the
court, until reversed, are binding upon inferior courts. courts merely interpret and apply them regardless of
whether or not they are wise or salutary.
XVI. Judicial rulings have no retroactive effect (c) Questions regarding wisdom, morality or practicability
of statutes are not addressed to the judiciary by may
A. Judicial ruling cannot be given a retroactive effect because be resolved only the legislative and executive
dong so will impair vested rights. Nor may judicial ruling departments.

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isolated part of particular provision (Aboitiz Shipping Corp. v. City of

CHAPTER 3 Cebu).

The best source from which to ascertain the legislative intent is the
statute itself the words, phrases, sentences, sections, clauses,
I. GENERALLY : Where the meaning of a statute is ambiguous,
provisions taken as a whole and in relation to one another.
the court may avail itself of all legitimate aids to construction in
(Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. TMX Sales).
order that it can ascertain the true intent of the statue.
VI. PUNCTUATION MARKS: aids of low degree and can never
control the intelligible meaning of written words; may be used
1. It serves as aid in case of doubt in its language, to its
to clear ambiguities.
construction and ascertaining legislative will.
2. Used by the court to clear the obscurity.
Punctuation marks are aids of low degree and can never control against
3. An aid when there is doubt as to the meaning of the law.
the intelligible meaning of written word. The reason is that punctuation
marks are not part of a stature; nor are they part of the English
language (Feliciano v. Aquino).
A. Semi-colon indicates a separation in the relation of the
thought, a degree greater than that expressed by a comma.
Makes the difference being that the semi-colon makes the
division a little more pronounced
1. that part of the statute written immediately after its title,
which states the purpose, reason or justification for the B. Comma also separates the parts and sentences, but less
enactment of the law. pronounced than the comma.
2. Expressed in the Whereas Clause C. Period used to indicate the end of a sentence.
3. Usually omitted in statutes made by the congress. In its
place, these legislative bodies used the explanatory note to Note: An argument based upon punctuation alone is not persuasive,
explain the reasons for the enactment of statutes. and the courts will not hesitate to change the punctuation when
4. Not an essential part of a statute. necessary, to give the statute the effect intended by the legislature.
(a) Thus, where the meaning if a statute is clear and
unambiguous, the preamble can neither expand nor VII. CAPITALIZATION OF LETTERS also an aid of low degree in
restrict its operation, much less prevail over its text. the construction of statute.
(b) It cannot be used as basis for giving a statute a
meaning not apparent on its face. VIII. HEADNOTES OR EPIGRAPHS convenient index to the
5. It may clarify ambiguities (thus it is the key of the statute) content of its provisions.
6. It may express the legislative intent to make the law apply
retroactively, in which case the law has to be given (a) In case of doubt or ambiguity in the meaning of the law
retroactive effect, so as to carry out such intent (PNB v. or the intention of the legislature, they may be
Office of the President). consulted in aid or interpretation.
(b) They are not part of the law thus, they can never
V. CONTEXT OF WHOLE TEXT control the plain terms of the enacting clauses.
(c) When the text of the statute is clear and unambiguous,
Legislative intent should accordingly be ascertained from a there is neither necessity nor propriety to resort to
consideration of the whole context of the stature and not from an headings and epigraphs for the interpretations of the

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(d) These secondary aids may be consulted to remove, but A. The policy of the law, once ascertained should be given effect
not to create, doubt nor to limit or control the plain by the judiciary.
language of the law. B. In order to accomplish this, a statue of a doubtful meaning
must be given a construction that will promote public policy.
IX. LINGUAL TEXT C. A construction which would carry into effect the evident policy
A. Philippines laws are official promulgated either in: of the law should be adopted in favor of that interpretation
which would defeat it.
1) English
3) Filipino A. The following factors must be considered in the construction of
4) Or either in two such languages a law:

B. Rules: 1. the purpose or object of the law

(a) if text is in English and Spanish, English text shall 2. mischief intended to be removed or suppressed
govern. 3. causes which induced the enactment of the law.
(b) But in case of ambiguity, omission, or mistake, the B. The purpose of a statute is more important than rules of
Spanish text may be consulted to explain the English grammar and logic in ascertaining its meaning.
(c) If statute is officially promulgated in Spanish, English or XIII. DICTIONARIES
in Filipino with translations into other languages, the A. The courts may consult dictionaries, legal, scientific or general
language in which it is written prevails over its as aid in determining the meaning of words or phrases in a
transaction. statute if said statutes does not define the word and phrases
(d) In the interpretation of a law or administrative issuance used therein.
promulgated in all the official languages (Filipino), the
B. However, these definitions are not binding
English text shall control, unless otherwise specifically
provided. In case of ambiguity, omission or other
mistake, the other texts may be consulted.
In construing a statute, the objective should always be to arrive at a
reasonable and sensible interpretation that is in full accord with the
legislative intent. As a general rule, a construction of a statute should
be rejected that will cause
A. The intent or spirit of the law is the law itself, thus the 1. injustice or hardship;
legislative intent is the controlling factor, the leading star and 2. result in absurdity;
the guiding light in the application and interpretation of a 3. defeat legislative intent or spirit;
statute. 4. preclude accomplishment of legislative purpose or object;
B. The spirit rather than the letter of a stature determines its 5. render certain words or phrases a surplusage;
construction. 6. nullify the statute or make any of its provision nugatory.
C. If legislative intent is not expressed in the law, the courts
cannot by interpretation speculate as to an intent and supply a XV. PRESUMPTIONS
meaning not found in the phraseology of the law. They cannot A. In construing a statue, the court may properly rely on
assume an intent, otherwise, they would be usurping legislative presumptions as to legislative intent in order to resolve doubts
power. as to its correct interpretation.
B. Presumption are based on:
XI. Policy of law. 1. logic

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2. experience 2) their practical application and the decision of the courts

3. common sense construing and applying such precedents in the country of
C. These presumptions include presumptions in favor of: origin.
1. constitutionality of a statute
2. of its completeness D. Presidents message to the legislature
3. of its prospective operation
4. of right and justice, 1. Presidents address (State of the Nation Address) address
5. of its effect, sensible, beneficial and reasonable operation to the Congress at the opening of the regular session.
as a whole, Contains:
6. as well as those against impossibility, absurdity, injustice
and hardship, inconvenience and ineffectiveness. (a) proposed legislative measures
(b) indicates the presidents thinking on the proposed
XVI. LEGISLATIVE HISTORY legislation, which when enacted into law, follows his line
of thinking
OR WHERE THERE IS AMBIGUITY IN ITS LANGUAGE, THERE IS NO E. Explanatory Note a short exposition of explanation
BETTER MEANS IF ASCERTAINING THE WILL AND INTENTION OF THE accompanying a proposed legislation by its author or
THE STATUTE. (a) statement of the reason or purpose of the bill
(b) arguments advanced by its author in urging its passage
A. all antecedents from the statutes inception until its enactment SUSCEPTIBLE OF MORE THAN ONE INTERPRETATION, COUTS MAY
(a) Includes the presidents message if bill was enacted in
response thereto Note:
(b) Explanatory note accompanying the bill
(c) Committee reports of legislative investigations (a) The explanatory not be used as basis for giving a
(d) Public hearings on the subject of the bill statute a meaning that is inconsistent with what is
(e) Sponsorship speech expressed in the text of the statute.
(f) Debates and deliberations concerning the bill (b) Explanatory note is only resorted to only for clarification
(g) Amendments and changes in phraseology it has in case of doubt, and not where there is no ambiguity in
undergone before final approval. the law.
(c) This is a mere expression of authors views and reasons
B. If statute is a revision of prior statute, the latters practical for the proposed legislation and may not accordingly
application and judicial construction amendments it underwent override the clear intent as expressed in the statute
and contemporary events during the time of its enactment shall
form part of its legislative history. F. Legislative debates may be resorted to when there is doubt
C. Foreign statute, history includes: as to what a provision of a statute means. However, the views
expressed by the legislators during deliberations of a bill as to
1) history of Anglo-American precedents or other foreign sources the bills purpose are not controlling in the interpretation of the

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The opinions and views expressed by the legislators during floor 2. The amended statute should accordingly be given a
deliberations of a bill may not be given weight at all in any of the construction different from that previous to its amendment.
following instances:
a) where the circumstances indicating meaning of a statute RULE: An Amendment of a statute indicates a change in meaning
other than that expressed by the legislators from that which the statute originally had.
b) where the views expressed were conflicting
c) where the intent deducible from such views is not clear (a) This applies only when the deleted words or phrases
d) where the statute involved is free from ambiguity. are not surplusage or when the intention is clear to
change the previous meaning of the old law.
WHERE TWO OR MORE STATUTES RELATING TO THE SAME SUBJECT (b) The rule does not apply where the intent is clear that
MATTER WERE ENACTED BY DIFFERRENT ASSEMPBLIES, NEITHER IS the amendment is precisely to plainly express the
QUALIFIED TO SPEAK ABOUT THE INTENT OF THE OTHER. construction of the act prior to its amendment.
(c) In codification of statues or revision, neither alteration
G. Reports of commissions in phraseology not the omission or addition of words in
the latter statute will be held to alter the construction of
1) Commissions are usually formed to compile and collate all the former act or acts.
laws on a particular subject and to prepare the draft of the K. Adopted statues
proposed code. 1. The general rule is that where local statues are pattered
2) Special commissions were created to draft the text of the RPC after or copied from those of another country, the decision
and Civil Code. of the courts in such country construing those laws are
entitled to great weight in the interpretation of such local
H. Prior laws from which statute is based statues and will be generally followed if found reasonable
1) In ascertaining the intention of the lawmaker, courts are and in harmony with justice, public policy and other local
permitted to look to prior laws on the same subject and to statues on the subject.
investigate the antecedents of the statute involved. 2. Example of such statues:
2) This is applicable in the interpretation of: (a) corporation law
(a) Codes (b) tax code
(b) Revised or compiled statutes (c) labor laws
3) Prior laws, which have been codified, compiled or revised, (d) naturalization law
reveal the legislative history that will clarify the intent of the (e) Rules of court
law or shed light on the meaning and scope of the codified or 3. Limitations of the rule:
revised statute. (a) where the local law and id the foreign statute from
which the former was patterned differ in some
I. Change in phraseology by amendments also indicates material aspects
legislative intent to change the meaning of provision from that (b) foreign construction is clearly erroneous or has not
or originally had. become settled
(c) where the adopting state has given the statute its own
J. Amendment by deletion interpretation
L. Principles of Common law
1. Amendment by deletion of certain words or phrases in a If there is a conflict between the common law principle and statutory
statute indicates that the legislature intended to change the principle, the latter prevails.
meaning of the statute, for the presumption is that the XIX. CONTEMPORARY CONSTRUCTION
legislature would not have made the deletion had the
intention been not to effect a change in its meaning.

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A. Definition: these are constructions placed upon statues at the implement the law thus construed these same people are the drafters
time of, or after, their enactment by the executive, legislature of the law they interpret.
or judicial authorities, as well as by those who, because of their
involvement in the process of legislation, are knowledgeable of F. When to disregard Contemporaneous construction
the intent and purpose of the law. This contemporaneous construction is not binding upon the court. The
B. Contemporanea expositio est optima et fortissima in lege the court may disregard it:
contemporary construction is strongest in law. 1. where there is no ambiguity in the law
C. Contemporaneous construction is the construction placed upon 2. where the construction is clearly erroneous
the statute by an executive or administrative officer called upon 3. where strong reason to the contrary exists
to execute or administer such statue. 4. where the court has previously given the statue a different
D. Executive and administrative officers are generally the very first interpretation
official to interpret the law. These interpretations are in the G. If there is an error in implementation of the law, such error
form of: may be corrected. The doctrine of estoppel does not apply.
1. rules H. As a rule, erroneous contemporaneous construction creates no
2. regulations vested right on the part of those who relied and followed such
3. circulars construction. But this rule is not absolute. There may be
4. directives exeptions in the interest of justice and fair play (ex. Tax cases)
5. opinions and I. Legislative interpretation: the legislature may provide an
6. rulings. interpretation or declaration clause in a statue by they cannot
E. Types of executive interpretation: limit or restrict the power granted to courts.
1. construction by an executive or administrative officer 1. While legislative interpretation is not controlling, courts
directly called to implement the law which may be: may resort to it to clarify ambiguity in the language.
(a) expressed (ex. Interpretation embodied in circulars, 2. such legislative interpretation is entitled of respect
directive or regulation) especially of the executive department has similarly
(b) implied. (a practice of enforcement of not applying the construed the statute.
statute to certain situations) J. Legislative approval the legislature, by action or inaction
2. Construction by the Secretary of Justice in his capacity as approve or ratify such contemporaneous construction. Such
the chief legal adviser of the government in the form of approval may manifest in many ways such as:
opinions. In the absence of the ruling of a president, the 1. when it reenacts statute previously given a
opinions of Sec. Of Justice is controlling among contemporaneous construction
administrative and executive officials. 2. when it amends a prior statute without providing anything
3. Interpretation handed down in and adversary proceeding in which would restrict, change, nullify the previous
the form of a ruling by an executive office exercising quasi- contemporaneous construction.
judicial power. 3. appropriation of money for the officer designated to
perform a task pursuant to an interpretation of a stature
Note: In the absence of error or abuse of power or lack of 4. non-repudiation of the construction.
jurisdiction or grave abuse of discretion clearly conflicting with Note: Ratiohabitio Mandati aequiparatur legislative ratification is
either the letter or the spirit of a legislative enactment creating or equivalent to mandate.
changing a governmental agency, the action of the agency would
not be disturbed by the courts. K. Stare decisis
1. Stare decisis et non quieta movere one should follow past
E. Reason why contemporaneous construction is given much weight: precedents and should not disturb what has been settled.
it comes from the particular branch of government called upon to Reason for such doctrine: the supreme court has a duty not only of
interpreting and applying the law but also in protecting the society

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from needless upheavals. Interest reipublicae ut sit finis litium The masculine (not the feminine), includes all genders
interest of then state demands that there be an end to litigation. Words in plural include the singular and vice versa
2. A ruling in order to come within the doctrine of stare
decision must be categorically stated in the issue expressly
raised by the parties; must be a direct ruling.
3. Rulings that are merely sub silencio are merely obiter
dictum (an opinion of the court upon some question of law Grant of the greater power includes the lesser
which is not necessary to the decision of the case before it; Grant of the lesser power does not include the greater
not binding) Where there is right there is a remedy for violation thereof
4. This doctrine is not absolute because Supreme Court may Courts jurisdiction cannot be implied from the language of the
change or abandon a precedent enunciated by it. statute nor can the Rules of Court confer it.
In the grant of jurisdiction to a court, it is implied to carry with it
CHAPTER 4 necessary and incidental powers and means essential to make its
jurisdiction effective
GENERAL RULE: Where a general power is conferred or duty enjoined, every
Statute must be given its literal meaning and applied without particular power necessary for the exercise of one is also conferred.
attempted interpretation regardless of who may be affected, even if it What is implied should not be against the law
may be harsh or onerous.
Authority to charge against public fund may not be implied
WHEN A STATUTE IS AMBIGUOUS, THEN THE COURT MAY What cannot be done directly cannot be done indirectly
RESORT TO DEPARTURE FROM LITERAL INTERPRETATION. IN An act in violation of a statute prohibiting such act shall be implied
Interpretation will give the statute efficacy When the words and phrases of the statute are clear and unequivocal,
their meaning must be determined from the language employed and
Purpose will be achieved
the statute must be taken to mean exactly what it says. What is not
Absurdity and inconvenience will be avoided clearly provided in the law cannot be extended to those matters outside
Impossible will not be required of scope. Where the law is clear, appeals to justice and equity as
Right and justice will be favored justification to construe it differently are unavailing.
Injustice will be avoided Verba legis- plain meaning rule
Danger to public interest will be avoided Index animi sermo- speech is the index of intention
Verba legis non est recedendum- from the words of a statute, there
Maledicta est expositio quae corrumpit textum- it is dangerous
Correct clerical errors construction which is against the text
Supply the omissions Absoluta sentetia expositore non indiget when the language of the
Disregard surplus and superfluity law is clear, no explanation is required
Disregard redundant words
Disregard looser obscure words DURA LEX SED LEX
Dura lex sed lex the law may be harsh, but it is still the law
IT MUST BE NOTED THAT: Hoc quidem perquam durum est, sed ita lex scripta est it is
exceedingly hard but so the law is written.
When the reason for the law ceases, the law itself ceases
Aequitas nunquam contravenit legis- Equity never acts in contravention
Words in the plural include the singular and vice-versa of the law

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Verba intentioni, non e contra, debent inservire words ought to be

STATUTE MUST BE CAPABLE OF INTERPRETATION, OTHERWISE more subservient to the intent and not the intent to the words.
Where the statute totally fails to express a meaning, and no judicial CONSTRUCTION TO ACCOMPLISH PURPOSE
certainty can be had, then it is necessarily inoperative If the statute needs construction, the most dominant in that process is
Interpreatio fienda est ut res magis valeat quam pereat interpretation the purpose of the act. It is imperative that the law be interpreted in a
as will give the thing efficacy is to be adopted. manner that would stave off any attempt at circumventing the
legislative purpose.
The spirit of the law controls the letter. WHEN REASON OF LAW CEASES, LAW ITSELF CEASES
Ratio legis reason of the law Cessante ratione legis, cessat ipsa lex
Ratio legis est anima reason of the law is its soul
Where legislative intent apparently conflicts with the letter of the law,
the former prevails over the latter. Primary rule in construction is to
ascertain and give effect to the intent.

CHAPTER 5 heterogeneous and unrelated if not incongruous terms, clauses and

I. Generally sentences.
A word or phrase used in a statute may have an ordinary, generic,
restricted, technical, legal, commercial or trade meaning. III. Qualification of rule
Which meaning should be given depends upon what the legislature The statutory definition of a word or term as used in this Act is
intended. As a general rule in interpreting the meaning and scope controlling only in so far as said act is concerned.
of a term used in the law, a careful review of the whole law The general rule that the statutory definitions control the meaning
involved, as well as the intendment of law, ascertained from a of statutory words does not apply where its application creates
consideration of the statute as a whole and not of an isolated part obvious incongruities in the language of the statute, destroys one
or a particular provision alone, must be made to determine the real of its major purposes, or becomes illogical as a result of a change
intent of the law. in its factual basis.
However, in a subsequent case, it was held that of a statute
II. Statutory Definition remains unchanged, it must be interpreted according to its clear,
The legislative definition controls the meaning of a statutory word, original mandate until the legislature amends it.
irrespective of any other meaning the word or phrase may have in
its ordinary or usual sense. IV. Words construed in their ordinary sense
For the legislature, in adopting a specific definition is deemed to In construing words and phrases, the general rule is that in the
have restricted the meaning of the word within the terms of the absence of legislative intent to the contrary, they should be given
definition. their plain, ordinary, and common usage meaning.
When the legislature defines a word, it does not usurp the courts For words are presumed to have been employed by the lawmaker
function to interpret the laws but it merely legislates what should in their ordinary and common use and acceptation.
form part of the law itself. The grammatical and ordinary reading of a statute must be
While the definition of terms in a statute must be given all the presumed to yield its correct sense.
weight due to them in the construction of the provision in which Ubi lex non distinguit nec nos distinguere debemus
they are used, the terms or phrases being part and parcel of the V. General Words construed generally
whole statute must be given effect in their entirety as a
harmonious, coordinated and integrated unit, not as a mass of

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Generalia verba sunt generaliter intelligenda or what is generally IX. How identical terms in same statute construed
spoken shall be generally understood or general words shall be The general rule is that a word or phrase repeatedly used in a
understood in a general sense. statute will bear the same meaning throughout the statute.
Generale dictum generaliter est interpretandum. A general The same word or substantially the same phrase appearing in
statement is understood in a general sense. different parts of a statute will be accorded a generally accepted
Where a word used in a statute has both a restricted and general and consistent meaning, unless a different intention appears or is
meaning, the general must prevail over the restricted unless the clearly expressed.
nature of the subject matter or the context in which it is employed The reason for the rule is that a word used in a statute in a given
clearly indicates that the limited sense is intended. sense is presumed to be used in the same sense throughout the
A general word should not be given a restricted meaning where no law.
restriction is indicated. It is particularly applicable where in the statute the words appear
so near each other physically and particularly where the word has a
VI. Generic term includes things that arise thereafter technical meaning and that meaning has been defined in the
progressive interpretation: extends by construction the application statute.
of a statute to all subjects or conditions within its general purpose
or scope that come into existence subsequent to its passage and X. Meaning of word qualified by purpose of statute
thus keeps legislation from becoming ephemeral and transitory The meaning of a words or phrase used in a statute may be
unless there is a legislative intent to the contrary. qualified by the purpose which induced the legislature to enact the
It is a rule of statutory construction that legislative enactments in statute.
general and comprehensive terms, prospective in operation, apply In construing a word or phrase, the court should adopt that
alike to all persons, subjects and business within their general interpretation that accords best with the manifest purpose of the
purview and scope coming into existence subsequent to their statute or promotes or realizes its object.
passage. It is generally recognized that if a statute is ambiguous and capable
of more than one construction, the literal meaning of the word or
VII. Words with commercial or trade meaning phrase used therein may be rejected if the result of adopting such
Words and Phrases, which are in common use among merchants meaning will be to defeat the purpose which the legislature had in
and traders, acquire trade or commercial meanings which are mind.
generally accepted in the community in which they have been in
common use. XI. Word or phrase construed in relation to other
Settled is the rule that in the absence of legislative intent to the provisions
contrary, trade or commercial terms, when used in a statute are The general rule is that a word, phrase or provision should not be
presumed to have been used in their trade or commercial sense. construed in isolation but must be interpreted in relation to other
provisions of the law. This rule is a variation of the rule that a
VIII. Words with technical or legal meaning statute should be construed as a whole, and each of its provisions
As a general rule, words that have or have been used in, a must be given effect.
technical sense or those that have been judicially construed to have A word or provision should not be construed in isolation from, but
a certain meaning should be interpreted according to the sense in should be interpreted in relation to, the other provisions of a
which they have been previously used, although the sense may statute or other statutes dealing on the same subject.
vary from the strict or literal meaning of the words. The word or provision should not be given a meaning that will
The technical or legal, not the ordinary or general meaning of a restrict or defeat, but should instead be construed to effectuate,
word used in a statute should be adopted in the construction of the what has been intended in an enacting law.
statute, in the absence of nay qualification or intention to the
contrary. XII. Meaning of term dictated by context

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While ordinarily a word or term used in a statute will be given its The word or may also be used as the equivalent of that is to say
usual and commonly understood meaning, the context in which the giving that which it preceded it the same significance as that which
word or term is employed may dictate a different sense. follows it. It is not always disjunctive and is sometimes
The context in which the word is used oftentimes determines its interpretative or expository of the preceding word.
meaning. The word or may also mean successively.
A word is understood in the context in which it is used. Verba The word and is a conjunction pertinently defined as meaning
accipienda sunt secundum materiam together with, joined with, along or together with, added to
The context may likewise give a broad sense to a word of otherwise or linked to, used to conjoin word with word, phrase with phrase,
ordinarily limited meaning. clause with clause.
The context may also limit the meaning of what otherwise is a word The word and does not mean or; it is a conjunction used to
of broad signification. denote a joinder or union, binding together, relating the one to
the other.
However, and may mean or as an exception to the rule. The
XIII. Where the law does not distinguish exception is resorted to only when a literal interpretation would
Where the law does not distinguish, courts should not distinguish. pervert the plain intention of the legislature as gleaned from the
Ubi lex non distinguit, nec nos distinguere debemus. context of the statute or from external factors.
The rule founded on logic, is a corollary of the principle that general
words and phrases in a statute should ordinarily be accorded their XV. Noscitur a sociis
natural and general significance Where a particular word or phrase is ambiguous in itself or is
The rule requires that a general term or phrase should not be equally susceptible of various meanings, its correct construction
reduced into parts and one part distinguished from the other so as may be made clear and specific by considering the company of
to justify its exclusion from the operation of the law. words in which it is found or with which it is associated.
A corollary of the principle is the rule that where the law does not Where the law does not define a word used therein, it will be
make any exception, court may not except something therefrom, construed as having a meaning similar to that of words associated
unless there is compelling reason apparent in the law to justify it. with or accompanied by it.
Ubi lex non distinguit, nec non distinguere debemus, applies not A word, phrase should be interpreted in relation to, or given the
only in the construction of general words and expressions used in a same meaning of, words with which it is associated.
statute but also in the interpretation of a rule laid down therein. Where most of the words in an enumeration of words in a statute
This principle assumes that the legislature made no qualification in are used in their generic and ordinary sense, the rest of the words
the use of a general word or expression. should similarly be construed.
The courts may distinguish when there are facts or circumstances Where a word with more than one meaning is associated with
showing that the legislature intended a distinction or qualification, words having specific or particular signification, the former should
for in such a case, the courts merely give effect to the legislative be given a specific or particular signification.
XVI. Ejusdem generis
XIV. Disjunctive and conjunctive words While general words or expressions in a statute are, as a rule,
The word or is a disjunctive term signifying disassociation and accorded their full, natural, and generic sense, they will not be
independence of one thing from each of the other things given such meaning if they are used in association with specific
enumerated. It should be construed in the sense in which it words or phrases.
ordinarily implies, as a disjunctive word. General rule is that where a general word or phrase follows an
The use of the disjunctive word or between two phrases connotes enumeration of particular and specific words of the same class or
that either phrase serves as qualifying phrase. where the latter follow the former, the general word or phrase is to
The term or has sometimes been held to mean and, when the be construed to include, or to be restricted to, persons, things, or
spirit or context of the law so warrants.

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cases akin to, resembling, or of the same kind or class as those b. General expression followed by exceptions therefrom
specifically mentioned. implies that those which do not fall under the
Where a statute describes things of particular class or kind exceptions come within the scope of the general
accompanied by words of a generic character, the generic words expression. Exceptio firmat regulam in casibus non
will usually be limited to things of a kindred nature with those exceptis
particularly enumerated, unless there be something in the context c. Expression of one or more things of a class implies the
of the statute to repel such inference. exclusion of all not expressed, even though all would
Purpose: give effect to both the particular and general words, by have been implies had none been expressed.
treating the particular words as indicating the class and the general The rule expressio unius est exclusio alterius and its variations
words as indicating all that is embraced in said class, although not are canons of restrictive interpretation.
specifically named by particular words. Basis: legislature would not have made specified enumerations
This principle is based on the proposition that had the legislature in a statute had the intention been not to restrict its meaning
intended the general words to be used in their generic and and confine its terms to those expressly mentioned. They are
unrestricted sense, it would not have enumerated the specific opposite the doctrine of necessary implication.
Application: where specific and generic terms of the same nature XIX. Negative-opposite doctrine
are employed in the same act, the latter following the former. The principle that what is expressed puts an end to that which is
implied is also known as negative-positive doctrine or argumentum
XVII. Limitations of Ejusdem generic a contrario.
To be applicable, the following must concur:
o Statute contains an enumeration of particular and XX. Application of expressio unius rule
specific words, followed by a general word or phrase. The rule of expressio unius est exclusio alterius and its corollary
o The particular and specific words constitute a class or canons are generally used in the construction of statutes granting
are of the same kind powers, creating rights and remedies, restricting common rights,
o Enumeration of the particular and specific words is not and imposing penalties and forfeitures, as well as those statutes
exhaustive or is not merely by examples which are strictly construed.
o No indication of legislative intent to give the general Where a statute directs the performance of certain acts by a
words or phrases a broader meaning particular person or class or persons, it implies that it shall not be
The rule of ejusdem generic does not require the rejection of done otherwise or be a different person or class of persons.
general terms entirely. If a statute enumerates the things upon which it is to operate,
The rule is not of universal application, it should be used to carry everything else must necessarily, and by implication, be excluded.
out, not to defeat, the intent or purpose of the law.
If that intent clearly appears from other parts of the law, and XXI. Limitations of rule
such intent thus clearly manifested is contrary to the result The rule expressio unius est exclusio alterius is not a rule of law. It
which will be reached by applying the rule of ejusdem generic, is a mere tool of statutory construction or a means of ascertaining
the rule must give way in favor of the legislative intent. the legislative intent.
The rule, not being inflexible nor a mechanical or technical tool,
XVIII. Expressio unius est exclusio alterius must yield to what is clearly a legislative intent.
Express mention of one person, thing or consequence implies It is no more than an auxiliary rule of interpretation to be ignored
the exclusion of all others. where other circumstances indicate that the enumeration was not
It is formulated in a number of ways: intended to be exclusive.
a. One variation of the rules is the principle that what is It should applied only as a means of discovering legislative intent
expressed puts an end to that which is implied and should not be permitted to defeat the plainly indicated purpose
Expressum facit cessare tacitum of the legislature.

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It will not apply where the enumeration is by way of example or to embraced in the provision, the same should be made extensive to
remove doubts only. the whole.
It will not apply in case a statute appears upon its face to limit the Slight indication of legislative intent so to extend the relative term
operation of its provisions to particular persons or things by is sufficient. Nor does the doctrine apply where the intention is not
enumerating them, but no reason exists why other persons or to qualify the antecedent at all.
things not so enumerated should not have been included and
manifest injustice will follow by not including them. XXV. Reddendo singular singulis
The rule may be disregarded of it will result to incongruities or a The variation of the doctrine of last antecedent is the rule of
violation of the equal protection clause of the constitution, reddendo singular singulis. The maxim means referring each to
inconvenience, hardship and injury to the public interest. each; referring each phrase or expression to its appropriate object,
Where the legislative intent shows that the enumeration is not or let each be put in its proper place, that is, the words should be
exclusive, the maxim does not apply. taken distributively.
Reddendo singular singulis requires that the antecedents and
XXII. Doctrine of casus omissus consequences should be read distributively to the effect that each
The rule of casus omissus pro omisso habendus est states that a word is to be applied to the subject to which it appears by context
person, object or thing omitted from an enumeration must be held most appropriately related and to which it is most applicable.
to have been omitted intentionally.
Principle proceeds from a reasonable certainty that a particular
person, object or thing has been omitted from a legislative
enumeration XXVI. Provisos, generally
The rule does not apply where it is shown that the legislature did The office of a proviso is either to limit the application of the
not intend to exclude the person, thing, object from the enacting clause, section, or provision of a statute, or to except
enumeration. If such legislative intent is clearly indicated, the court something therefrom, or to qualify or restrain its generality , or to
may supply the omission if to do so will carry out the clear intent of exclude some possible ground of misinterpretation of it, as
the legislature and will not do violence to its language. extending to cases not intended by the legislature to be brought
within its purview.
XXIII. Doctrine of last antecedent Its primary purpose is to limit or restrict the general language or
Qualifying words restrict or modify only the words or phrases to operation of the statute, not to enlarge it.
which they are immediately associated. They do not qualify words A proviso is commonly found at the end of a section, or provision of
or phrases which are distantly or remotely located. a statute and is introduced, as a rule by the word Provided
In the absence of legislative intent to the contrary, preferential and What determines whether a clause is a proviso is its substance
qualifying words and phrases must be applied only to their rather than its form. If it performs any of the functions of a proviso,
immediate or last antecedent, and not to the other remote or then it will be regarded as such, irrespective of what word or phase
preceding words or association of words. is used to introduce it. It is a question of legislative intent.
The maxim expressive of this rule is proximum antecedens fiat
relatio nisi impediatur sententia, or relative words refer to the XXVII. Proviso may enlarge scope of law
nearest antecedents, unless the context otherwise requires. It has been held that even though the primary purpose of the
The use of comma to separate an antecedent from the rest exerts a proviso is to limit or restrain the general language of a statute, the
dominant influence in the application of the doctrine of last legislature, unfortunately, does not always use it with technical
antecedent. correctness; consequently, where its use creates an ambiguity, it is
the duty of the court to ascertain the legislative intention, through
XXIV. Qualification of the doctrine resort to the usual rules of construction applicable to statutes
Doctrine of last antecedent is subject to the exception that where generally and give it effect even though the statute is thereby
the intention of the law is to apply the phrase to all antecedents enlarged, or the provision made to assume the force of

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independent enactment and although a proviso as such has no An exception consists of that which would otherwise be included
existence apart from which it is designed to limit or qualify. in the provision from which it is excepted.
A proviso may thus enlarge, instead of restrict or limit, what An exception will be construed as such if it removes something
otherwise is a phrase of limited import has there been no proviso from the operation of a provision of law.
qualifying it. It is often said that an exception confirms the general rule. It
should not be construed to qualify the words or phrases
XXVIII. Proviso as additional legislation constituting the general rule.
A proviso may also assume the role of an additional legislation. It is well settled that the express mention of exceptions
A clear and unqualified purpose expressed in the opening statement operates to exclude other exceptions and conversely, those
of a section of a statute comprising several subdivisions has been which are not within the enumerated exceptions are deemed
construed as controlling and limiting a proviso attached to one of included in the general rule.
the subdivisions, where the proviso, if segregated therefrom, would Exceptions, as a general rule, should be strictly but reasonably
mean exactly the reverse of what it necessarily implied when read construed.
in connection with the limitation.
XXXIII. Exception and proviso distinguished
XXIX. What proviso qualifies an exception differs from a proviso. An exception exempts
The general rule is that the office of the proviso qualifies or something absolute from the operation of a statute, by express
modifies only the phrase immediately preceding it or restrains words in the enacting clause.
or limits the generality of the clause that it immediately follows. A proviso defeats its operation conditionally.
It should be confined to that which directly precedes it, or to A proviso avoids them by way of defeasance or excuse. An
the section to which it has been appended, unless it clearly exception is generally a part of the enactment itself, absolutely
appears that the legislature intended it to have a wider scope. excluding from its operation some subject or thing that
otherwise would fall within its scope.
XXX. Exception to the rule But when the enactment is modified by engrafting upon it a
Where the legislative intent is to restrain or qualify not only the new provision by way of amendment, providing conditionally for
phrase immediately preceding it but also earlier provisions of a new case, it is in the nature of a proviso.
the statute or even the statute itself as a whole, then the One of the functions of a proviso is to except something from
proviso will be construed in that manner, in order that the an enacting clause. In this sense, an exception and a proviso
intent of the law may be carried out. are similar.

XXXI. Repugnance between proviso and main provision XXXIV. Saving clause
A proviso should be so construed as to harmonize and not to It is a clause in a provision of law which operates to except
repeal or destroy, the main provision of the statute. from the effect of the law what the clause provides or to save
When there is an irreconcilable conflict or repugnancy between something which would otherwise be lost.
a proviso and the main provision of a statute, that which is a It is used to except or save something from the effect of a
located in a later portion of the statute prevails, unless there is repeal of a statute.
a legislative intent to the contrary or such construction will It should be construed in the light of the intent or purpose of
destroy the whole statute itself. the legislature (the principal consideration being to effectuate
The latter provision, whether a proviso or not, is given such intent or carry out such purpose).
preference because it is the latest expression of the intent of It should be given a strict or liberal construction depending
the legislation. upon the kind of interpretation that should, considering its
nature, be given to the statute as a whole.
XXXII. Exceptions generally

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CHAPTER 6 contradictory, should be allowed to stand and given effect by

6.01 Generally reconciling time. The statute must be so construed as to prevent a
A statute is passed as a while and not in parts or sections and is conflict between parts of it. For it is only by so construing a statute that
animated by one general purpose and intent. Consequently, each part the statute will be given effect as a whole.
or section should be construed in connection with every other part and 6.06 Special and general provisions in same statute
section so as to produce a harmonious whole. Whole and every part of When there is a particular or special provision and a general provision
statute should be construed together. in the same statue and the latter in its most comprehensive sense
would overrule the former, the particular or special provision must be
6.02 Intent ascertained from statue as whole operative and the general provision must be taken to affect only the
The intent or meaning of a statue should be ascertained from the other parts of the statute to which it may properly apply. The particular
statute taken as a whole and not from an isolated part or provision or special provision is construed as an exception to the general
thereof. The legislative meaning is to be extracted form the statue as a provision.
whole. Its clauses are not to be segrated, but every part of a statute is
to be construed with reference to every other part and every word and 6.07 Construction as not to render provision nugatory
phrase in connection with its context. Optima statute interpretatrix est The whole state should, if possible, be given effect is that a
ipsum statutum. The best interpreter of a statute is the statue itself. provision of a statute should be so construed as not to nullify or render
nugatory another provision of the same statute.
6.03 Purpose or context as controlling guide Interpretatio fienda est ut res magis valeat quam pereat,
A statute must always be construed as a whole, and the particular which means that a law should be interpreted with a view to upholding
meaning to be attached to any word or phrase is usually to be rather than destroying it. A construction that would render a provision
ascertained from the context, the nature of the subject treated and the inoperative or ineffective should be avoided.
purpose or intention of the body which enacted or framed the statute.
Statute must receive a reasonable construction, reference being had to 6.08 Reason for the rule
their controlling purpose, to all their provisions, force and effect being The construction that requires that apparently conflicting
given not narrowly to isolated and disjoined clauses, but to their spirit, provisions of a statute be reconciled and harmonized, if at all possible
broadly taking all their provisions together in one rational view. and that a provision should be so construed as not to nullify another, is
based on the presumption that the legislature has enacted a statute
6.04 Giving effect to statute as a whole whose provisions are in harmony and consistent with each other and
Because a statute is enacted in whole and not in parts or sections, that conflicting intentions in the same statue are never supposed or
which implies that one part is as important as the other, the statue regarded.
should be construed and given effect as a whole. A provision or section
which is unclear by itself may be made clear by reading and construing 6.09 Qualification of rule
it in relation to the whole statute. Every part of a statute should be One part of a statute cannot be reconciled or harmonized with
given effect because a statute is enacted as an integrated measure and another part without nullifying one in favor of the other, the court
not as a hodgepodge of conflicting provisions. should, in construing the statue, choose one which will best effectuate
Court should adopt a construction that will give effect to every part of a the legislative intent. Rule: where absolute harmony between parts of a
statue, if at all possible. This rule is expressed in the maxim ut res statue is demonstrably not possible, the court must reject that one
magis valeat quam pereat or the construction is to be sought which which is least in accord with the general plan of the whole statue.
gives effect to the whole of the statuteits every word. However, if there be no such ground for choice between inharmonious
provisions or sections, the latter provision or section, beign the last
6.05 Apparently conflicting provisions reconciled expression of the legislative will, must, in construction, vacate the
The rule that a statute must be construed and given effect as a whole former to the extent of the repugnancy.
requires that apparently conflicting provisions should be reconciled and
harmonized, if at all possible. All the provisions, even if apparently 6.10 Construction as to give life to law

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Law must receive sensible interpretation to promote the ends A statute should be construed whenever possible in a manner
for which they are enacted. They should be given reasonable and that will avoid conflict with the Constitution. It should not be construed
practical construction as will give life to them, if it can be done without in such a way as will give rise to a constitutional doubt. Nor should it be
doing violence to reason. Conversely, a law should not be construed as interpreted in such a manner as will render its application violative of a
to allow the doing of an act which is prohibited by law, nor so constitutional inhibition. It should be interpreted in consonance, rather
interpreted as to afford an opportunity to defeat compliance in terms, than repugnant to, any constitutional command or prescription.
create an inconsistency, or contravene the plain words of the law. Where a statute is reasonable susceptible of two constructions,
Interpretatio fienda est ut res magis valeat quam pereat or that one constitutional and the other unconstitutional, that construction in
interpretation that will give the thing efficacy is to be adopted. favor of its constitutionality shall be adopted and the construction that
The court should start with the assumption that the legislature will render it invalid rejected. Every intendment of law should lean
did not do a vain thin gin the enactment of the statute. It is to be towards its validity and the court should favor that construction which
presumed that the law is complete by itself. Ut res magis valeat quam gives it the greater chance of surviving the test of constitutionality.
pereat, that the courts should, if reasonably possible to do so without If there is doubt or uncertainty as to the meaning of the
violence to the spirit and language of an act, so interpret a statute as legislature, if the words or provisions are obscure, or if the enactment
to give it efficient operation and effect as a whole. is fairly susceptible of two or more constructions, that interpretation
will be adopted which will avoid the effect of unconstitutionality, even
6.11 Construction to avoid surplusage though it may be necessary, for this purpose, to disregard the more
The rule that a statue should be given effect as a whole usual or apparent import of the language employed. However, the court
requires that the state be so construed as to make no part of provision cannot, in order to bring a statute within the fundamental law, amend it
thereof surplusage. A legal provision must not be so construed as to be by construction.
a useless surplusage, and accordingly, meaningless in the sens of
adding nothing to the law or having no effect whatsoever therein. Nor 6.15 Statutes in pari materia
should a word be so construed as to render other words or phrases Statutes are in pari material when they relate to the same
associated with it serves no purpose. For the legislature, in enacting a person or thing, or have the same purpose or object, or cover the same
law, is presumed to have used the word or phrase for a purpose. In specific or particular subject matter. The later statute may specifically
short, the legislature, in enacting a statute, is supposed not to insert a refer to the prior statutes. The fact that no reference is made to the
provision which is unnecessary and a surplusage. prior law does not mean that the two laws are not in pari materia. It is
sufficient, in order that they may be considered in pari materia, that
6.13 Statute and its amendments construed together the two or more statute relate to the same specific subject matter. Two
All parts of a statute are to be harmonized and reconciled so laws are not in pari materia if they refer to different specific matters,
that effect may be given to each and every part thereof applies to the although they both fall under the same broad subject.
construction of a statute and its amendments. Amendments should be
given effect. It is to be presumed that the changes have some purpose, 6.16 How statutes in pari materia construed
which should be ascertained and given effect. A statute should be construed as to harmonize with other laws
on the same subject matter as to form a complete, coherent and
B. STATUTE CONSTRUED IN RELATION TO CONSTITUTION AND intelligible system. Interpretare et concordare leges legibus est optimus
OTHER STATUTES interpretandi modus or every statute must be so construed and
harmonized with other statutes as to form a uniform system of
6.14 Statute construed in harmony with the Constitution jurisprudence.
As the Constitution is the fundamental law to which all laws are Statutes in pari materia should be construed together to attain
subservient, a statute should not be interpreted independently of the the purpose of an express national policy. For the assumption is that
Constitution. The statute should be construed in harmony with and not whenever the legislature enacts a law, it has in mind the previous
in violation of the fundamental law. It is presumed that the legislature statutes relating to the same subject matter, and in the absence of any
in enacting a law, have adhered to the constitutional limitations. express repeal or amendment, the new statute is deemed enacted in

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accord with the legislative policy embodied in the prior statutes and equal force. It is one which embraces of a class of subject or places and
they should be construed together. Provisons in an act which are does not omit any subject or place naturally belonging to such class. A
omitted in another act relating to the same subject matter will be special statute is one which relates to particular persons or things of a
applied in a proceeding under the other act when not inconsistent with class or to a particular portion or section of the state only.
its purpose. Prior statutes relating to the same subject matter are to be A general law and special law on the same subject are statutes
compared with the new provisions, and if possible by reasonable in pari material and should, accordingly be read together and
construction, both are to be construed that effect is given to every harmonized, if possible, with a view to giving effect to both. Rule:
provision of such. Statutes in pari materia, although in apparent where there are two acts, one of which is special and particular and the
conflict, are so far as reasonably possible construed to be in harmony other general which, if standing alone, would include the same matter
with each other. Interpretare et concordare leges legibus, est optimus and thus conflict with the special act, the special must prevail since it
interpretandi modus, which means that the best method of evinces the legislative intent more clearly than that of a general statute
interpretation is that which makes laws consistent with other laws. and must be taken as intended to constitute an exception to the
When two or more statutes on the same subject were enacted general act.
at different times and under dissimilar circumstances or conditions, The circumstance that the special law is passed before or after
their interpretation should be in accordance with the circumstances or the general act does not change the principle. Where the special law is
conditions peculiar to each, in order that the statutes may be later, it will be regarded as an exception to or qualification of, the prior
harmonized or better understood. Rule based on: distingue tempora et general act; and where the general act is later, the special statute will
concordabis jura, or distinguish times and you will harmonize laws. be construed as remaining an exception to its terms, unless repealed
A statute will not, however, be construed as repealing prior act expressly or by necessary implication.
on the same subject in the absence of words to that effect, unless there Where two statutes are of equal theoretical application to a
is an irreconcilable repugnancy between them or unless the new law is particular case, the one designed therefore specially should prevail.
evidently intended to supersede all prior acts on the matter and to
comprise itself the sole and complete system of legislation on the 6.21 Reason for the rule
subject. Reason: (special as exception to the general) the legislature in
passing a law of special character has its attention directed to the
6.17 Reasons why laws on same subject are reconciled special facts and circumstance which the special facts and
In enacting a statute, the legislature is presumed to have been circumstances which the special act is intended to meet.
aware of, and have taken into account, prior laws on the subject of
legislation. It cannot be said that they intended the establishment of 6.22 Qualifications of the rule
conflicting and hostile systems on the same subject, or to leave in force The rule is not absolute. One exception is that where the
provisions of a prior law which may thwart and overthrow the will of the legislature clearly intended the later general enactment to cover the
legislature. whole subject and to repeal all prior laws inconsistent therewith, the
general law prevails over a special law on the subject. In such case,
6.18 Where harmonization is impossible there is a repeal of the special law.
If two or more laws on the same subject cannot possibly be Another exception: where the special law merely establishes a
reconciled or harmonized, one has to give way in favor of the other. general rule while the general law creates a specific and special rule, in
There cannot be two conflicting laws on the same subject. The earlier which case the general law prevails over the special law.
one must yield to the later one, it being the later expression of the The rule does not apply where the situation is reversed, that is,
legislative will. the general law treats the subject in particular and the special law
refers to it in general. In this situation, the general law prevails over
6.19 Illustration of the rule the special law in the event of repugnancy or conflict between the two
6.20 General and special statutes laws.
A general statute is a statute which applies to all of the people
of the state or to all of a particular class of persons in the state with 6.23 Reference statutes

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A reference statute is a statute which refers to other statutes The reenactment of a statute which has received a practical or
and makes them applicable to the subject of legislation. It is contemporaneous construction by those charged with the duty of
incorporation in a statute of another statute by reference. It is used to executing it is a persuasive indication of the adoption by the legislature
avoid encumbering the statute books of unnecessary repetition, and of the prior practical or executive construction, the legislature being
they have been recognized as an approved method of legislation, in the presumed to know the existence of such construction when it made the
absence of constitutional restrictions. reenactment.
The adoption by reference of a statute that was previously
repealed revives the statute. The adoption takes the adopted statute as 6.27 Qualification of the rule
it exists at the tie of adoption and does not include the subsequent the rule that when a judicial or contemporaneous construction
changes or modification of the statute so taken, unless it does so has been given to a statute, the reenactment of the statute is generally
expressly. held to be in effect a legislative adoption of the construction, applies
A reference statute should be so construed as to harmonize only when the statute is capable of the construction given to it and
with, and to give effect to, the adopted statute. when the construction has become a settled rule of conduct.

6.24 Supplemental statutes 6.28 Adopted statutes

A supplemental act is one intended to supply deficiencies in an An adopted statute is statute patterned after, or copied from
existing statute and to add, to complete, or extend the statute without a statute of a foreign country. In construing it, the court should take
changing or modifying its original text. The original statute and the into consideration the construction of the law by the courts of the
supplemental act should be read and construed together to make an country from which it is taken, as well as the law itself and the
intelligible whole. practices under it, for the legislature is presumed to have adopted such
construction and practices with the adoption of the law. The
6.25 Reenacted statutes presumption does not, however, apply to construction given the statute
A statute which reenacts a previous statute or the provisions subsequent to its adoption, although it had persuasive effect on the
thereof is known as reenacted statute. A reenactment is one in which interpretation of the adopted statute
the provisions of an earlier statute are reproduced in the same or
substantially the same words. The reenactment may also be made by CHAPTER 7
reference. Thus, where a statute provides that all laws not inconsistent
with the provisions thereof are deemed incorporated and made integral 7.01. Generally:
parts thereof by reference, such previous laws on the same subject Whether a statute is to be given a strict or liberal
matter are deemed enacted. construction will be depend upon the nature of the statute, the
The reenactment is a legislative expression of intention to purpose to be subserved and the mischief to be remedied, and
adopt the construction as well as the language of the prior act. Rule: a strict or liberal interpretation will be given a statute that will
when a statute or a provision thereof has been construed by the court best accomplish the end desired and effectuate legislative
of last resort and the same is substantially reenacted, the legislature intent.
may be regarded as adopting such construction, and the construction
which the adopted statute previously received. 7.02. Strict construction, generally
The rule is that two statute with a parallel scope, purpose and Strict construction is that construction according to the
terminology should, each in its own field, have a like interpretation, letter of a statute, which recognizes nothing that is not
unless in particular instances there is something peculiar in the expressed, takes the language used in its exact meaning, and
question under the consideration, or dissimilar in the terms of the act admits no equitable consideration. It does not mean giving a
relating thereto, requiring a different conclusion. statute its narrowest meaning of which it is susceptible. Nor
does it mean that words shall be so restricted as not to have
6.26 Adoption of contemporaneous construction their full meaning. Scope of statute shall not be extended or

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enlarged by implication, intendment, or equitable consideration Some authorities advocate a construction which seeks
beyond the literal meaning of its terms. an expansive application of statutes to attain the general welfare.
salus populi est suprema lex. Statute enacted for the public good are
7.03. Liberal construction, defined. to be construed liberally. Statuta pro publico commodo late
Liberal constructions means such equitable construction interpretantur. An authority on the subject expounds on this type of
as will enlarge of a statute to accomplish its intended purpose, construction: There is for me in all cases a principle of statutory
carry out its intent, or promote justice. It does not mean construction not to be found on the books, but which for the Philippine
enlargement of a provision which is clear, unambiguous and Islands is all-important. In the resolution of all questions, I begin with
free from doubt, for a statute which is plain and clear is not these queries: what is for the best interest of the Filipino people?
subject to construction. Liberal construction is that The statute in general has two, articulate organs for
construction which expands the meaning of a statute to meet lawmaking purposes the legislature and the tribunal. First organ
cases which are clearly within the spirit or reason thereof or makes new law, the second attests and confirms old law. Statutes
within the evil which the statute was designed to remedy, or must be interpreted in the light of the growth of civilization and varying
which give the statute its generally accepted meaning to the conditions.
end that the most comprehensive application thereof maybe
accorded, without being inconsistent with its language or doing 7.07. Penal statutes, generally.
violence to any of its terms. Liberal construction means that Penal statutes refer to those laws by which
the words should receive a fair and reasonable interpretation, punishments are imposed for violation or transgression of their
so as to attain the intent, spirit and purpose of the law. provisions. Acts of the legislature which prohibit certain acts and
establish penalties for their violation; or those that define crimes, treat
7.04. Liberal construction applied, generally. of their nature and provide for their punishment. Penal or criminal laws
The literal meaning of the words used may be rejected are those which impose punishment for an offense committed against
if the result of adopting said meaning would be to defeat the state, and which the chief executive has the power to pardon. A
purpose of the law. Liberal interpretation so as to save the statute which decrees the forfeiture in favor of the state of unexplained
statute from obliteration, ut res magis valeat quam pereat. wealth acquired by a public official while in office is criminal in nature.
Construction by this nature and the act of the court in
engrafting upon a law something which its believes ought to 7.08. Penal statutes strictly construed.
have been embraced therein. The former is liberal construction Penal or criminal laws are strictly construed against the
and is a legitimate exercise of judicial power. The latter is State and liberally in favor of the accused cannot be enlarged or
judicial legislation forbidden by the tripartite division of powers extended by intendment, implication, or any equitable consideration.
among the three departments of government, the executive, The language of a penal statutes cannot be enlarged beyond the
the legislative and the judicial. A statute may not be liberally ordinary meaning of its terms in order to carry into effect the general
construed to read into it something which its clear and plain purpose for which the statute was enacted. Resolved in favor of the
language rejects. person accused of violating the statute.
No person should be brought within the terms of a statute who is not
7.05. Construction to promote social justice. clearly within them, nor should any act be pronounced criminal which is
It (social justice mandate) is meant for the three not clearly made so by the statute.
departments: the legislative, executive, and judicial, because the latter The rule that penal statutes are strictly construed does not
two are no less than the agencies of the state than the first. Enhance mean that every penal law must be so narrowly construed as to defeat
social justice. the law itself; it merely means that they are not to be construed so
strictly as to nullify or destroy the obvious purpose of the legislature.
7.06. Construction taking into consideration general welfare or growth Be construed with such strictness as to carefully safeguard the rights of
of civilization. the defendant and at the same time preserve the obvious intention of
the legislature. It will endeavor to effect substantial justice.

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Careful scrutiny safeguard the rights of the accused. Two 7.13 Statutes in derogation of rights.
reasonable but contradictory constructions, that which operates in favor People in republican state enjoy certain rights, which
of a party accused under its provision is to be preferred. The principle are either inherent or guaranteed by the constitution or protected by
is that acts in and of themselves innocent and lawful cannot be held to law; rights are not absolute, and the state, in the exercise of its police
be criminal unless there is a clear and unequivocal expression of the power, may enact legislations curtailing or restricting their enjoyment.
legislative intent to make them such. As these statutes are in derogation of common or general rights, they
are generally strictly construed and rigidly confined to cases clearly
7.09. Reason why penal statutes are strictly construed. within their scope or purpose.; two reasonably possible constructions,
Law is tender in favor of the rights of an individual; the one which would diminish or restrict fundamental right of the people
object is to establish a certain rule by conformity to which mankind and the other of which would not do so, the latter construction must be
would be safe, and the discretion of the court limited. The purpose of adopted so as to allow full enjoyment of such fundamental right.
strict construction is not to enable a guilty person to escape
punishment through a technicality but to provide a precise definition of 7.14 Statutes authorizing expropriations.
forbidden acts. The power of eminent domain is essentially legislative
in nature. The legislature may not, however, by itself, exercise such
7.10. Acts mala in se and mala prohibita. power by enacting a law directly expropriating a particular land and
General rule is that a penal statute will not be fixing the amount of just compensation thereof. It may delegate the
construed to make the commission of certain prohibited acts criminal power, by law, subject to hearing as to just compensation to the
without regard to the intent of the doer, unless there is a clear president, local government units, or a public utility company.; strictly
legislative intent to the contrary; evil intent must combine with an act. construed against the expropriating authority and liberally in favor of
Actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea, the act itself does not make a property owners; exercise of the right of eminent domain, whether by
man guilty unless his intention were so. Actus me invito factus non est the state or by its authorized agents, is necessarily in derogation of
meus actus, an act done by me against my will is not my act. Mala in private rights, and the rule in that case is that the authority must be
se, criminal intent, apart from the act itself, is required but in those strictly construed; right to freehold inhabitants.
which are mala prohibita the only inquiry is, has the law been violated.
7.15 Statutes granting privileges.
7.12 Limitation of the rule. Statutes granting advantages to private persons or
The rule that penal statutes are given a strict entities have in many instance created special privileges or monopolies
construction is not the only factor in the interpretation of the criminal for the rantees and have thus been viewed with suspicion and strictly
laws; merely serves as an additional factor to be considered as an aid construed; public advantage is gained by the grant, it narrowly
in ascertaining the meaning of penal laws. A strict construction should appears to be secondary significance compared with the advantage
not be permitted to defeat the intent, policy, and purpose of the gained by the grantee.
statute. The court should consider the spirit and reason of a statute Strict construction requires that those who invoke a
where a literal meaning would lead to absurdity, contradiction, special privilege granted by the statute must comply strictly with its
injustice, or would defeat the clear purpose of the law, for strict provisions. Privilegia recipient largam interpretationem voluntati
construction of a criminal statute does not mean such construction as consonam concedentis, or privileges are to be interpreted in accordance
to deprive it of the meaning intended. with the will of him who grants them.
Capable of two interpretations, one which will operate to
exempt an accused from liability for violation thereof and another which 7.16 Legislative grants to local government units.
will give effect to the manifest intent of the statute and promote its Legislative grants in favor of local government units are
object, the latter the interpretation should be adopted; they are not to grants of a public nature, and hence, should be strictly construed
be so strictly construed as to defeat the obvious purpose of the against the grantee.; there is in such a grant a gratuitous donation of
legislature. public money or property which results in an unfair advantage to the

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grantee and for that reason, the grant should be narrowly restricted in are not to be imposed, nor presumed to be imposed, beyond what the
favor of the public. statutes expressly and clearly import.

7.17 Statutory grounds for removal of officials. 7.20 Statutes granting tax exemptions.
Statutes relating to suspension or removal of public Taxes are what the people pay for civilized society. ;
officials are strictly construed. ; removal is to be confined within the lifeblood of the nation. The law frowns against exemptions from
limits prescribed for it; the causes, manner and conditions fixed must taxation. Laws granting tax exemptions are thus construed strictissmi
be pursued with strictness; where the cause of removal is specified, the juris against the taxpayer and liberally in favor of the taxing authority.
specification amounts to a prohibition to remove for a different cause, Taxation is the rule and exemption is theexception. The burden of
which is a paraphrase of the maxim expressio unius est exclusion proof rests upon the party claiming exemption to prove that it is in fact
alterius. ; remedy of removal is drastic one and penal in nature.; covered by the exemption so claimed. Statutes granting tax
where a statute provides that a public official may be removed for exemptions are construed strictissimi juris against the taxpayer and
neglect of duty, oppression, corruption or other forms of liberally in favor of the taxing authority. Basis to minimize the
maladministration in office, the phrase in office should be construed different treatment and foster impartiality, fairness and equality of
to qualify the enumerated grounds, in that the grounds must be such treatment among taxpayers. For exemptions from taxation are not
as affect the officers performance of his duties as an officer and not favored in law, nor are they presumed. They must be expressed in the
such as affect only his character as a private person. clearest and most unambiguous language and not left to mere
implications. exemptions are never presumed, the burden is on the
7.18 Naturalization laws. claimant to establish clearly his right to exemption and an alleged grant
Laws on naturalization are strictly construed against an of exemption will be strictly construed and cannot be made out by
applicant for citizenship and rigidly followed and enforced. ; right of inference or implications but must be beyond reasonable doubt. In
an alien to become a citizen by naturalization is a statutory rather that other words, since taxation is the rule and exemption the intention to
a natural one, and it does not become vested until he files a petition make an exemption ought to be expressed in clear and unambiguous
and establishes by competent and satisfactory evidence that he has all terms.
the qualifications and none of the disqualifications specified by law.
7.21 Qualification of rule.
7.19 Statutes imposing taxes and custom duties. Not absolute. Where the provision of the law is clear
The power to tax is an incident of sovereignty and is and unambiguous , so that there is no occasion for the court seeking
unlimited in its range, acknowledging in its very nature no limits, so the legislative intent, the law must be taken as it is, devoid of judicial
that security against its abuse the is to be found only in the addition or subtraction. Law provides no qualification for the granting
responsibility of the legislature which imposes the tax of the of tax exemption, the court is not at liberty to supply one..; does not
constituency who are to pay it. ; power to tax involves the power to apply in the case of tax exemptions in favor of the government itself or
destroy. ; tax statutes must be construed strictly against its agencies.
the government and liberally in favor of the taxpayer. ; the statute is to
be construed strictly against the subjection to tax liability, and it will 7.22 Statutes concerning the sovereign.
not be construed as imposing a tax unless it does so clearly, expressly Restrictive statutes which impose burdens on the public
and unambiguously . a tax cannot be imposed without clear and treasury or which diminish rights and interest are strictly construed.
express words for that purpose. Tax or customs laws may not be For this reason, such statutes , no matter how broad their terms are,
extended by implication beyond the clear import of their language, nor do not embrace the sovereign, unless the sovereign is specifically
their operation enlarged so as to embrace matters not specifically mentioned.
provided. ;
Reason taxation is a destructive power which interferes with 7.23 Statutes authorizing suits against the government.
the personal and property rights of the people and takes from them a State may not be sued without its consent.
portion of their property for the support of the government.; burdens reaffirms universal rule that the sovereign is exempt from suit, in the

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absence of its consent to be sued usually in the form of a statute to law as against its spirit and will ultimately resolve any doubt in favor of
that effect, not because of any formal conception or absolute theory but the persons whom the law intended to benefit.
on the logical and practical ground that there can be no legal right Labor laws, tenancy laws, land reform laws and social
depends. Nullum tempus occurrit regi. A statute whereby the state security laws. However, while general welfare legislations are
gives its consent to be sued is strictly construed, and the waiver of construed liberally in favor of those intended to be benefited, this
immunity from suit, being in derogation of sovereignty, will not be principle holds true only when there is doubt or ambiguity in the law
lightly inferred. and not when the law itself is clear and free doubt.
Workingmans welfare should be the primordial and
7.24 Statutes prescribing formalities of will. paramount consideration. Article 4 of the New Labor Code which states
Statutes prescribing the formalities to be observed in that all doubts in the implementation and interpretation of the
the execution of wills are strictly construed, ; a will must be executed provisions of the Labor Code including its implementing rules and
in accordance with the statutory requirements, otherwise it is entirely regulations shall be resolved in favor of labor. Based on the premise
void. ; apply the intent of the legislators and not that of the testator, that the statute is ambiguous.
and the latters intention is frequently defeated by the non-observance
of what the statute requires. 7.27 General welfare clause.
The general welfare clause on the power of local
7.25 Exceptions and provisos. government has two branches. One branch attaches itself to the main
As a rule, exceptions should be strictly but reasonably trunk of municipal authority and relates to such ordinances and
construed; they extend only so far as their language fairly warrants, regulations as may be necessary to carry into effect and discharge the
and all doubts should be resolved in favor of the general provision powers and duties conferred upon local legislative bodies by law. The
rather than the exception. The court will not curtail the former nor second branch is much more independent of the specific functions
add to the latter by implication, and it is a rule that an express enumerated by law. It authorizes such ordinances as shall seem
exception excludes all others, although it is always proper in necessary and proper to provide for the health and safety, promote the
determining the applicability of this rule to inquire whether, in the prosperity, improve the morals, peace, good order, comfort, and
particular case, it accords with reason and justice. convenience of the local government unit and the inhabitants thereof,
Similarly, a statute, rule or situation which allows and for the protection of the property therein.
exceptions to the requirement of warrant of arrest or search warrant The general welfare clause should be construed liberally
must be strictly construed. A preference is an exception to the general in favor of the local government units.
rule and it is what its name implies.
A proviso should be interpreted consistently with the 7.28 Grant of power to local governments.
legislative intent. The reason is that the legislative purpose set forth in Limited self-government to full autonomy. The old rule
the general enactment expresses the legislative policy and only those is that municipal corporations, being mere creatures of the law, have
expressly exempted by the proviso should be freed from the operation only such powers as are expressly granted to them and those which are
of the statute. necessarily implied or incidental to the exercise thereof and that grants
of power to them are to be construed strictly and any doubt should be
resolved in favor of the national government and against the political
C. STATUTES LIBERALLY CONSTRUED subdivision concerned.
The rule of construction change with the enactment of
7.26 General social legislation Republic Act No.2264, otherwise known as the Local Autonomy Act.
Implement the social justice and protection-to-labor Section 12 of said Act provides in part that the implied power of a
provisions of the Constitution are known as general welfare legislations. province, a city or a municipality shall be liberally construed in its favor.
These statutes are construed liberally. General welfare legislations, the Any fair and reasonable doubt as to the existence of the power should
courts will be guided by more than just an inquiry into the letter of the be interpreted in favor of the local government and it shall be
presumed to exist. This liberal construction is fortified by the

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Constitution. 1973 Constitution is towards the fullest autonomy of local advantage of every opportunity to molest peaceful, law-abiding
government units. citizens.
Local Government Code any power of a barangay,
municipality, city or province shall be liberally construed in its favor. 7.31 Statues imposing penalties for non-payment of tax.
Shall be resolved in favor of devolution of powers and Statues imposing penalties for non-payment of taxes
of the lower local government unit. Tax ordinance or revenue measure within the required period are liberally construed in favor of the
shall be construed strictly against the local government unit enacting government and strictly observed and interpreted against the
it, and liberally in favor of the taxpayer. Any tax exemption construed taxpayer. Strong reasons of public policy support this rule. Such laws
strictly against the person claiming it; Liberally interpreted to give are intended to hasten tax payments or to punish evasions or neglect
more powers to local government units in accelerating economic of duty in respect thereto.
developmet and upgrading the quality of life for the people in the They will not place upon tax laws so loose a
community; governed by the original terms and conditions of said construction as to permit evasions on merely fanciful and insubstantial
contracts or the law in force at the time such rights were vested; distinctions. When proper, a tax statute should be construed to avoid
resolution of controversies may be had to the customs and traditions the possibilities of tax evasions.
in the place where the controversies take place.
7.32 Election Laws.
7.29 Statutes granting taxing power. Election laws should be reasonably and liberally
Before the 1973 Constitution, the rule is that a local construed to achieve their purpose to effectuate and safeguard the
government unit, unlike the sovereign state is clothed with no inherent will of the electorate in the choice of their representatives for the
power of taxation. And the taxing power when granted is to be application of election laws involves public interest and imposes upon
construed strictissimi juris. Any doubt or ambiguity arising out of the the Commission on Elections and the courts the imperative duty to
terms used in granting that power must be resolved against the local ascertain by all means within their command who is the real candidate
government unit. Inferences, implications, and deductions have no elected by the people.
place in the interpretation of the taxing power of a municipal Elections laws may be divided into three parts for
corporation. purposes of applying the rules of statutory construction. The first part
Based on the concept that local government, unlike the refers to the provisions for the conduct of elections which elections
sovereign state, are allocated with no inherent power to tax. The New officials are required to follow. The second part covers those provisions
Constitution has changed such concept. The Constitution provides that which candidates for office are required to perform. The third part
Each local government unit shall have the power to create its own embraces those procedural rules which are designed to ascertain, in
sources of revenue and to levy taxes, fees and charges subject to such case of dispute, the actual winner in the elections.
guidelines and limitations as the congress may provide, consistent with rules and regulations for the conduct of elections are
the basic policy of local autonomy. Statutes prescribing limitations of mandatory before the election, but when it is sought to enforce them
the taxing power of local government units must be strictly construed after the elections they are held to be directory only, if that is possible,
against the national government and liberally in favor of the local especially where, if they are held to be mandatory, innocent voters will
government units. be deprived of their votes, without any fault on their part. Generally,
the provisions of a statute as to the manner of conducting the details
7.30 Statutes prescribing prescriptive period to collect taxes. of an elections are not mandatory, but directory merely, and
Statutes prescribing the period of limitation of action for irregularities in conducting an elections and counting the votes, not
the collection of taxes is beneficial both to the government because tax proceeding from any wrongful intent and which deprives no legal voter
officers would be obliged to act promptly in the making of assessment, of his votes, will not vitiate an election or justify the rejection of the
and to citizens because after the lapse of the peiod of prescription, entire votes of a precinct.
citizens would have a feeling of security against unscrupulous tax The provisions of the election law which candidates for
agents who will always find an excuse to inspect the books of the office are required to comply are generally regarded as mandatory.
taxpayers, not to determine the latters real liability, but to take Qualifications of candidates, requiring the filing of certificates of

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candidacy, defining election offenses, and limiting the period within Adoption statutes are construed liberally in favor of the
which to file election contests, are mandatory and failure to comply child to be adopted with the liberal concept that adoption statutes,
with such provisions are fatal. being humane, and salutary, hold the interest and welfare of the child
The provisions of the election law designed to to be a paramount consideration and are designed to provide homes,
determine the will of the electorate are liberally construed. Technical parental care and education for the unfortunate, needy or orphaned
and procedural barriers should not be allowed to stand if they children and give them the protection of a society and family in the
constitute an obstacle in the choice of their elective officials. person of the adopter.
Election law intended to safeguard the will of the people
in their choice of their representatives should be construed liberally to 7.36 Veteran and pension laws
achieve such purpose. Veteran and pension laws are enacted to compensate a
Election protest, which should be liberally construed to class of men who suffered in the service for the hardships they endured
the end that the popular will expressed in the election of public officers and the dangers they encountered in line of duty. They are expression
will not, by reason of purely technical objections, be defeated. of gratitude to and recognition of those who rendered service tot eh
Rigid application of the law that will preclude the court country by extending to them regular monetary benefit. For these
from ascertaining the popular will should be rejected in favor of a reasons, such statutes are construed liberally to the end that their
liberal construction thereof that will subserve such end, where a rigid noble purpose is best accomplished. However, while veteran and
and strict application and enforcement of provisions of the election law pension laws are to be construed liberally, they should be so construed
will safeguard popular will and prevent transgression of suffrage and as to prevent a person from receiving double pension or compensation,
the mandate of the majority, the provisions will be given strict unless the law provides otherwise. Retirement or pension laws are also
construction. Election contest, especially appreciation of ballots, must liberally construed. Being remedial in character, a statute creating
be liberally construed to the end that the will of the electorate in the pension or establishing retirement plan should be liberally construed
choice of public officials may not be defeated by technical infirmities. and administered in favor of the persons intended to benefited thereby.

7.33 Amnesty proclamations. 7.37 Rules of Court.

Amnesty proclamations should be liberally construes so The Rules of Court, being procedural, are to be
as to carry out their purpose, which is to encourage the return to the construed liberally with the end in view of realizing their purpose the
field of the law of those who have veered from the law. Amnesty and proper and just determination of a litigation. A liberal construction of
pardon are synonymous, and for this reason, the grant of pardon the Rules of Court requires the courts, in the exercise of their functions,
should likewise be construed liberally in favor of those pardoned and to act reasonably and not capriciously, and enjoins them to apply the
strictly against the state, for where two words are synonymous, the rules in order to promote their object and to assist the parties in
rules for interpreting one will apply to the other. obtaining a just, speedy and inexpensive determination of their cases,
means conducive to the realization of the administration of law and
7.34 Statues prescribing prescriptions of crimes. justice.
A stature of limitation or prescription of offenses is in Lapses in the literal observance of a rule of procedure
the nature of amnesty granted by the state, declaring that after a will be overlooked when they do not involve public policy, when they
certain time, oblivion shall be cast over the offense. Hence, statutes of arose from an honest mistake or unforeseen accident, when they have
limitations are liberally of construction belongs to all acts of amnesty not prejudiced the adverse party and have not deprived the court of its
and grace, but because the very existence of the statute is a authority. Conceived in the best traditions of practical and moral
recognition and notification by the legislature of the fact that time, justice and common sense, the Rules of Court upon-splitting
while it gradually wears out proofs and innocence, has assigned to it technicalities that do not square with their liberal tendency and with the
fixed and positive periods in which it destroys proofs of guilt. ends of justice.
The literal stricture of the rule have been relaxed in
7.35 Adoption statues. favor of liberal construction in the following cases: 1. where a rigid
application will result in a manifest failure or miscarriage of justice 2.

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where the interest of substantial justice will be served 3. where the - Act executed against the provisions of mandatory or prohibitory
resolution of the emotion is addressed solely to the sound and judicious laws shall be void, except when the law itself authorizes their
discretion of the court and 4. where the injustice to the adverse party validity.
is not commensurate with the degree of his thoughtlessness in not - Where a statute is mandatory, the court has no power to
complying with the prescribed procedure. distinguish between material and immaterial breach thereof or
omission to comply with what it requires.
7.38 Other statues. - A directory statute is a statute which is permissive or
Curative statutes are enacted to cure defects in a prior discretionary in nature and merely outlines the act to be done
law or to validate legal proceedings which would otherwise be void for in such a way that no injury can result from ignoring it or that
want of conformity with certain legal requirements. They are intended its purpose can be accomplished in a manner other than that
to supply defects, abridge superfluities and curb certain evils. Their prescribed and substantially the same result obtained.
purpose is to give validity to acts done that would have been invalid - The nonperformance of what it (directory statute) prescribes,
under existing laws have been complied with. Curative statutes, by though constituting in some instances an irregularity or
their very nature, are retroactive. subjecting the official concerned to disciplinary or
Redemption laws, being remedial in nature are to be administrative sanction, will not vitiate the proceedings therein
construed liberally to carry our their purpose, which is to enable the taken.
debtor to have his property applied to pay as many debtors liabilities
as possible. Execution are interpreted liberally in order to give effect to When statute is mandatory or directory
their beneficent and humane purpose; and to this end, any reasonable - The primary object is to ascertain legislative intent.
doubt be construed in favor of the exemption from execution. Laws on - Legislative intent does not depend upon the form of the statute.
Attachment are also liberally construed in order to promote their - Consideration must be given to the entire statute, its object,
projects and assist the parties in obtaning speedy justice. purpose, legislative history and the consequences which would
An instrument of credit, warehouse receipts play a very result from construing it one way or the other, and the statute
important role in modern commerce, and accordingly, warehouse must be construed in connection with other related statutes.
receipt laws are given liberal construction in favor of bona fide holders - The language of the statute, however mandatory in form, may
of such receipts. be deemed directory whenever the legislative purpose can best
The purpose of the probation being to give first-hand be carried out by such construction, but the construction of
offenders a second chance to maintain his place in society through the mandatory words as directory should not be lightly adopted and
process of reformation, it should be liberally construed to achieve its never where it would in fact make a new law instead of that
objective. Thus, the probation law may liberally construed by passed by the legislature.
extending the benefits thereof to any one not specifically disqualified. - Whether a statute is mandatory or directory depends on
whether the thing directed to be done is of the essence of the
thing required, or is a mere matter of form, and what is a
matter of essence can often be determined only by judicial
CHAPTER 8 construction.
- Statutes may be classified either as mandatory or directory.
Test to determine nature of statute
Mandatory and directory statutes, generally - The test generally employed to determine whether a statute is
- Mandatory statute is a statute which commands either mandatory or directory is to ascertain the consequences that
positively that something be done, or performed in a particular will follow in case what the statute requires is not done or what
way, or negatively that something be not done, leaving the it forbids is performed.
person concerned no choice on the matter except to obey. - Whether a statutory requirement is mandatory or directory
depends on its effects.

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- If no substantial rights depend on it and no injury can result - One test used to determine whether the word shall in
from ignoring it; and the purpose of the legislature can be mandatory or discretionary is whether non-compliance with
accomplished in a manner other than that prescribed and what is required will result in the nullity of the act. If it results
substantially the same results obtained, then the statute will in the nullity of the act, the word is used as a command.
generally be regarded as directory; but if not, it will be
mandatory. Use of may
- A statute will not be construed as mandatory and requiring a - The word may is an auxiliary verb showing, among others
public officer to act within a certain time limit even if it is opportunity or possibility. Under ordinary circumstances, the
couched in words of positive command if it will cause hardship phrase may be implies the possible existence of something.
or injustice on the part of the public who is not at fault. Nor will - Generally speaking, the use of the word may in a statute
a statute be interpreted as mandatory if it will lead to absurd, denotes that it is directory in nature. The word may is
impossible or mischievous consequences. generally permissive only and operates to confer discretion.
- The word may as used in adjective laws, such as remedial
Language used statutes which are construed liberally, is only permissive and
- Statutes using words of command, such as shall, must, not mandatory.
ought, or should, or prohibition, such as cannot, shall
not or ought not, are generally regarded as mandatory. When shall is construed as may and vice versa
- The use of words of command or of prohibition indicates the - Depending upon a consideration of the entire provision, its
legislative intent to make the law mandatory. nature, its object, and the consequences that would follow from
- It has been held that the intention of the legislature as to the construing it one way or the other, the convertibility of said
mandatory or directory nature of particular statutory provision terms either as mandatory or directory is a standard recourse
is determined primarily from the language thereof. in statutory construction.
Use of shall or must - It is well-settled that the word may should be read as shall
- As a general rule, the use of the word shall in a statute where such construction is necessary to give effect to the
implies that the statute is mandatory. apparent intention of the legislature.
- It means ought to, must, and when used in a statute or - The word may will, as a rule, be construed as shall where a
regulation, expresses what is mandatory. statute provides for the doing of some act which is required by
- The term shall is a word of command, and one which has or justice or public duty, or where it vests a public body or officer
which must be given a compulsory meaning and it is generally with power and authority to take such action which concerns
imperative or mandatory. the public interest or rights of individuals.
- If a different interpretation is sought, it must rest upon - The word shall may be construed as may when so required
something in the character of the legislation or in the context by the context or intention of the legislature. It shall be
which will justify a different meaning. construed merely as permissive when no public benefit or
- It connotes compulsion or mandatoriness. private right requires that it be given an imperative meaning.
- This rule is not absolute. The import of the word depends upon
a consideration of the entire provision, its nature, object and Use of negative, prohibitory or exclusive terms
the consequences that would follow from construing it one way - A negative statute is mandatory. A negative statute is one
or the other. expressed in negative words or in the form of an affirmative
- The word must in a statute, like shall is not always proposition qualified by the word only, said word having the
imperative. It may be consistent with discretion. If the force of an exclusionary negation.
language of a statute considered as a whole and with due - The use of the legislature of negative, prohibitory or exclusive
regard to its nature and object reveals that the legislature terms or words in a statute is indicative of the legislative intent
intended to use the word must to be directory, it should be to make the statute mandatory.
given that meaning.

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- Prohibitive or negative words can rarely, if ever, be directory,

for there is but one way to obey the command, thou shall not, Statutes prescribing procedural requirements
and that is to completely refrain from doing the forbidden act. - In statutes relating to procedure, every act which is
jurisdictional, or of the essence of the proceedings, or is
B. MANDATORY STATUTES prescribed for the protection or benefit of the party affected, is
Statutes conferring power mandatory. A statute which requires a court to exercise its
- Statutes which confer upon a public body or officer power to jurisdiction in a particular manner, follow a particular
perform acts which concern the pubic interests or rights of procedure, or subject to certain limitations, is mandatory, and
individuals, are generally regarded as mandatory although the an act beyond those limits is void as in excess of jurisdiction.
language used is permissive only since such statutes are - The statute prescribing such requirements is regarded as
construed as imposing rather than conferring privileges. mandatory, even though the language used therein is
permissive in nature.
Statutes granting benefits
- Statutes which require certain steps to be taken or certain Election laws on conduct of election
conditions to be met before persons concerned can avail of the - The provisions of election laws governing the conduct of
benefits conferred by law are, with respect to such elections and prescribing the steps election officials are required
requirements, considered mandatory. to do in connection therewith are mandatory before the
- The rule is based on the maxim vigilantibus et non elections; however, when it is sought to enforce them after the
dormientibus jura subveniunt or the laws aid the vigilant, not elections, they are held to be directory only, if that is possible,
those who slumber on their rights. especially where, if they are held to be mandatory, innocent
- Potior est in tempoe, potior est in jure- he who is first in time is voters will be deprived of their votes without any fault on their
preferred in right. part.
- Unless of a character to affect an obstruction to the free and
Statutes prescribing jurisdictional requirements intelligent casting of the votes, or to the ascertainment of the
- The general rule is that statutory requirements by which courts result, or unless the provision affects an essential element of
or tribunals acquire jurisdiction to hear and decide particular the election, or unless it is expressly declared by the statute
actions must be strictly complied with before the courts or that the particular act is essential to the validity of an election,
tribunals can have authority to proceed. or that its omission shall render it void.
- Hence, statutes prescribing the various steps and methods to
be taken for acquisition by the courts or tribunals over certain Election laws on qualification and disqualification
matters are considered mandatory. - The rule that election laws are mandatory before but not after
the elections applies only to those provisions which are
Statutes prescribing time to take action or to appeal procedural in nature affecting the conduct of the election as
- Statutes or rules prescribing the time for litigants to take well as to those which direct or require election officials to do or
certain actions or to appeal from an adverse decision is perform certain acts, the purpose of such construction being to
generally mandatory. preserve the sanctity of the ballot and carry out the will of the
- Such statutes or rules have been held as absolutely electorate.
indispensable to the prevention of needless delays and to the - The rule does not apply to provisions of the election laws
orderly and speedy discharge of business and are a necessary prescribing the time limit to file certificates of candidacy and
incident to the proper, efficient, and orderly discharge of the qualifications and disqualifications to elective office.
judicial functions. - These provisions are considered mandatory even after
- Such statutes or rules require strict, not substantial, elections.
compliance. Accordingly, they are not waivable, nor can they be
the subject of agreements or stipulations by litigants. Statutes prescribing qualifications for office

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- Eligibility to a public office is of a continuing nature and must permitted to affect substantive right, unless the intention of the
exist at the commencement of the term and during the legislature is clearly expressed.
occupancy of the office. Statutes prescribing the eligibility or - It is universally held that statutes of this nature are merely
qualifications of persons to a public office are, as a rule, directory and noncompliance therewith is not necessary to the
regarded as mandatory. validity of the proceedings.

Statutes relating to assessment of taxes Statutes requiring rendition of decision within prescribed period
- It is a general rule that the provisions of a statute relating to the - The constitution provides that the maximum period within
assessment of taxes, which are intended for the security of the citizens, which a case or matter shall be decided or resolved from the
or to insure the equality of taxation, or for certainty as to the nature date of its submission, shall be 24 months for the Supreme
and amount of each others tax, are mandatory; but those designed Court, and unless reduced by the Supreme Court, 12 months
merely for the information or direction of officers or to secure for lower collegiate courts and 3 months for all other lower
methodical and systematic modes of proceedings are merely directory. courts.
- Each Constitutional Commission shall decide any case brought
Statutes concerning public auction sale before it within sixty days from the date of its submission for
- Statutes authorizing public auction sale of properties and resolution.
prescribing the procedure to be followed are in derogation of - A judgment promulgated after the expiration of the said period
property rights and due process, and are construed, with is not null and void, although the officer who failed to comply
respect to the prescribed procedure, to be mandatory. with the lay may be dealt with administratively in consequence
- The prescribed steps must be followed strictly; otherwise, the of his delay-unless the intention to the contrary is manifest.
sale at public auction shall be void. - Where a statute specifies the time at or within which an act is
to be done by a public officer or body, it is generally held to be
C. DIRECTORY STATUTES directory only as to the time, and not mandatory, unless the
Statutes prescribing guidance for officers time is of the essence of the thing to be done, or the language
- There are statutory requisitions intended for guidance of of the statute contains negative words, or shows that the
officers in the conduct of business devolved upon them which designation of the time was intended as a limitation of power,
do not limit their power or render its exercise in disregard of authority or right.
the requisitions ineffectual. - The better rule is that where a construction of a time provision
- Provisions of this character are not usually regarded as as mandatory will cause great injury to persons not at fault or
mandatory, unless accompanied by negative words importing result in a miscarriage of justice, such consequence should be
that the acts required shall not be done in any other manner or avoided by construing the statute as directory, for reasons of
time than that designated. fairness, justice and fair play require such construction.
- It has been held that a statute requiring rendition of judgment
Statutes prescribing manner of judicial action within a specified time is generally construed to be merely
- Statutes prescribing the requirements as to the manner of directory, so that non-compliance with them does not invalidate
judicial action that judges should follow in the discharge of their the judgment on the theory that if the statute had intended
functions are, as a rule, merely directory. such result, it would have clearly indicated.
- It should not be assumes in the absence of specific language to - However, while the period fixed by law to resolve a case is
the contrary that the legislature intended that the right of merely directory, it cannot be disregarded or ignored
parties should be seriously affected by the failure of a court or completely with absolute immunity.
some officer to comply strictly with the statutory requirements - It cannot be assumed that the law has included a provision that
of official action. is deliberately intended to become meaningless and to be
- Procedure is secondary in importance to substantive right, and treated as a dead letter.
the non observance of such procedure should never be

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Constitutional time provision directory expressed or necessarily implied (Cebu Portland vs. Commission of
- Does the Constitution alter the general rule and render time Internal Revenue).
provision to decide mandatory? Is a decision rendered beyond In every case of doubt, doubt must be resolved against retroactive
the period prescribed in the Constitution- 24 months for the operation of laws
Supreme Court, 12 months for the lower collegiate courts and 3
months for other lower courts- null and void? IV. Words Or Phrases Indication Prospectivity
- THE Supreme Court gave negative answers (Marcelino v. Cruz) (1) Hereafter
(2) Thereafter
CHAPTER 9 (3) In the enacting clause: from and after the passing
of this act
(4) shall (Cebu Portland vs. CIR
(5) Shall take effect upon its approval (Commissioner
I. Prospective And Retroactive Statutes: Definition of Internal Revenue vs. Filipinas Compania de
Prospective statute is one, which operates upon facts looks and
applies to the future. V. Retroactive statutes
A retroactive law is a law which disability in respect to a transaction The constitution does not prohibit the enactment of retroactive
already past. statutes, which do not impair the obligations of contract, deprive
persons of property without due process of law, or divest rights
II. Laws Operate Prospectively, Generally that have already become vested.
Ex post facto laws are prohibited.
A. Rule: statutes are to be construed as having only prospective
operation, unless the intent of the legislature to give them VI. Statues Given Prospective Effect
retroactive effect is expressly declared or is necessarily implied A. Penal statutes, generally
from the language used (Montilla vs. Agustinia Corp.) Article 21 RPC no felony shall be punishable by any penalty not
prescribed to its commission
Embodied in Article 4 of the civil code Basis of Article 21: Nullum crimen sine poena, nulla poena sine
Lex prospicit, non respicit the law looks forward, not backward legis: there is no crime if there is no law punishing it.
Lex futuro, judex de praeterito the law provides for the future, B. Ex post facto laws
the judge for the past Rule: No ex post facto laws shall be enacted
The fact that the law is silent as to the date of its application and Makes an act done before the passage of the law and which is
that is couched in the past tense does not necessarily imply that it innocent when done, and punishes such act.
should have retroactive effect. Applies only to criminal or penal matters and not to civil laws
C. Bill of attainder
B. Reason for the general rule Rule: No bill of attainder shall be enacted
The law has no binding effect until it is enacted hence it has no Bill of attainder is a legislative act, which inflicts punishment
application to past but only to future times. without judicial trial.
Nova consitutio futuris formam imponere debet non praeteritis a If a law is bill of attainder, it is an ex post facto law. If it is not an
new statute should affect the future, not the past. ex post facto law, it is not a bill of attainder.
D. When penal laws apply retroactively
III. Presumption against retroactivity Unless it is favorable to the accused (Article 22, RPC)
This is founded on conscience and good law and contained in
The presumption is that all laws operate prospectively unless the aphorism: Favorabilia sunt amplianda, adiosa restringenda (laws
contrary clearly appears or is clearly plainly and unequivocally that are favorable to the accused are given retroactive effect.

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Exception: Statutes which repeal earlier or prior laws operate prospectively

a) When the accused is a habitual delinquent. unless it is the intent of the legislature to give them retroactive
b) Where the later statute expressly provide that it shall not apply effect.
to existing actions or pending cases Repealing statue will not be given retroactive effect if it will impair
c) Accused disregards the later law and invokes the prior statute vested rights of the obligation of contract.
under which he was prosecuted.
d) Amendatory statute which renders an illegal act prior to VII. Statutes that are given retroactive effect
enactment legal is generally given retroactive effect unless it is A. Procedural laws adjective laws which prescribe rules and
expressly provide that such statute will not apply retroactively. forms of procedure of enforcing rights or obtaining redress for
E. Statutes substantive in nature their invasion.
Substantive law, which creates, defines or regulates rights The general rule that statutes are prospective and not retroactive
concerning life, liberty or property (creates substantive rights) does not ordinarily apply to procedural laws.
In the absence of legislative intent, substantive laws should apply Remedial laws laws relative to remedies or confirmation of rights
prospectively. already existing.
Procedural laws are retroactive. Administrative rule interpretative of a pre-existing statute and not
F. Effects of pending actions declarative of certain rights with obligations is given retroactive
A later statute restricting the jurisdiction of the court will not be so effect as of the date of the effectivity if the statute
construed as to affect the pending action, unless the statute itself VIII. Exceptions to the rule
provides or unless express prohibitory words are used, General rule: procedural laws are applicable to pending actions or
Where a court which has no jurisdiction over a certain case but proceedings
nevertheless decides it, from which appeal is taken, a statue Exceptions:
enacted during the pendency of the appeal vesting jurisdiction upon 1. When statute expressly provides or by necessary
such trial court over the subject matter or such case may not be implication
given retroactive effect so as to validate the judgment of the court 2. If applying procedural laws retroactively would not be
Substantive laws are generally not applicable to pending cases and feasible or would work injustice.
proceedings unless provided by the law. 3. If it would involve intricate problems of due process or
G. Qualification of rule impair independence of the court.
Substantive law only applies to pending action of such is the clear IX. Curative statutes
intent of the law, or it is a measure to promote social justice or in Healing acts; cures defects and adding to the means of enforcing
the exercise of police powers. existing obligations. Makes valid that which before the enactment if
Cases must be decided in the light of the law as it exists at the time the statute was invalid.
of the decision by the appellate court Rule: if the thing omitted or failed to be done and which constitutes
H. Statutes affecting vested rights the defect sought to be remove or made harmless is something
A statute may not be construed and applied retroactively if it which the legislature might dispensed with by a previous statute, it
impairs substantive right that has become vested. may do so by a subsequent one.
I. Statutes affecting obligation of contract. Retroactive
Laws existing at the time of the execution of contract are the one X. Limitations to the rule
applicable to such transactions and not later statutes, unless the General rule: Curative and remedial statutes ill not be applied
latter provide that they shall have retroactive effect. retroactively if they impair vested rights
Later statutes shall not be given retroactive effect if it impairs Exception: If the curative or remedial statute is enacted as police
obligations of contracts. power measure: applies retroactively even if it curtails vested
J. Repealing and amendatory acts rights.
XI. Police power legislations

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Reason for the exception: the non-impairment of obligations of Supreme court, in the exercise of its rule-making power or of its
contract or of vested rights must yield to the legitimate exercise of power to interpret the law, has no authority to amend or change
power, by the legislature, to prescribe the regulations to promote the law
the health, morals, peace, education, good order, safety and B. How amendment effected
general welfare of the people. By addition, deletion, or alteration of a statute which survives in its
XII. Statutes relating to prescription amended form.
General rule: statute relating to prescription of action, being By enacting amendatory act modifying or altering some provisions
procedural in nature, applies to all actions filed after its effectivity. of the statue either expressly or impliedly
It is prospective (applies to causes that accrued and will accrue Express amendment: done by providing amendatory act that specific
after it took effect) and retroactive (it applies to causes that sections or provisions of a statute are amended; indicated as : to read
accrued before its passage) as follows.
Exceptions to retroactivity: C. Amendment by implication
1. If to do so will remove the bar of limitation, which has There is implied amendment where a part of a prior statute
become complete or disturb existing claims without embracing the same subject as the later act may not be enforced
allowing a reasonable time to bring actions thereon. without nullifying the pertinent provision of the latter in which
2. If it will impair vested rights event, prior act is deemed amended to the extent of the
XIII. Prescription in criminal and civil cases repugnancy.
General rule: laws on prescription of action apply as well to crimes D. When amendment takes effect
committed before the enactment as afterwards After 15 days following the publication in the Official Gazette or
Difference: newspaper of general circulation
A. Civil suit: the statute is enacted by legislature as an impartial E. How construed
arbiter between two contending parties, not intended to be A statute and its amendment should be read together as a whole
made in favor of either party meaning, it should be read as if the statue has been originally
B. Criminal suite: statutes of limitation is a grantor surrendering enacted in its amended form.
by act of grace its right to prosecute or declare that the offense Portions not amended will continue to be in force with the same
is no linger subject of prosecution after the prescriptive period: meaning they have before amendment.
till be applied retroactively if favorable to the accused. F. Meaning of law changed by amendment
XIV. Statutes relating to appeals General rule: an amended act would be given a construction
General rule: right to appeal from an adverse judgment is different from that of the law prior to its amendment for it is
statutory and may be taken away. presumed that legislatures would not have amended the statue if it
Remedial or procedural in nature and applies to pending actions. did not intend to change its meaning.
Cannot be applied retroactively if it will impair vested rights G. Amendment operates prospectively
In absence of a clear legislative intent to the contrary, a statue General rule: amendatory act operates prospectively unless the
shortening the period for taking appeals is to be given prospective contrary is provided or the legislative intent to give it a retroactive
effect and may not be applied to pending proceedings in which effect is necessarily implied from the language used and no vested
judgment has already been rendered at the time of its enactment. rights is impaired.
However, amendments relating to procedures should be given
retroactive effect.
CHAPTER 10 H. Effect of amendment in vested rights
Rule: after the statute is amended, the original act continues to be
I. Amendment in force with regard to all rights that had accrued prior to the
A. Power to amend amendment or to obligations that were contracted under the prior
Legislature has the power to amend, subject to constitutional act.
requirement, any existing law I. Effect of amendment on jurisdiction

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Rule: a subsequent statute amending a prior act with the effect of 3. Express: there is a declaration in a statute (repealing
divesting the court of jurisdiction may not be construed to operate clause)
to oust jurisdiction that has already attached under the prior law. 4. Implied: all other repeals
J. Effect of nullity of prior or amendatory act C. Repeal by implication
An invalid or unconstitutional law does not in legal contemplation Two well-settled categories:
exist. 1. Where the provisions in the two acts on the same subject
Where a statute amended in invalid, nothing in effect has been matter are irreconcilable, the later act repeals the earlier
amended. The amended act shall be considered the original or one
independent act. 2. Later act covers the whole subject of the earlier one and is
When the amended act is declared unconstitutional, the original clearly intended as substitute.
statute remains unaffected and in force. D. Irreconcilable inconsistency
Rule: repugnancy must be clear and convincing or the later law
II. Revision and Codification nullifies the reason or purpose of the earlier to call for a repeal.
A. Generally: restating the existing laws into one statute in order Mere difference in terms will not create repugnance.
to simplify complicated provisions. Leges posteriors priores contraries abrogant: A later law repeals an
B. Construction to harmonize different provisions earlier law on the same subject which is repugnant thereto.
The different provisions of a revised statute or code should be read E. Implied repeal by revision or codification
and construed together. Rule: Where a statute is revised or a series of legislative acts on
Where there is irreconcilable conflict: that which is best in accord the same subject are revised and consolidated into one, covering
with the general plan or, in the absence of circumstances upon the entire field of subject matter, all parts and provisions of the
which to base a choice, that which is later in physical position, former act or acts that are omitted from the revised act are
being the latest expression of legislative will, will prevail. deemed repealed.
C. What is omitted is deemed repealed F. Repeal by reenactment
When both intent and scope clearly evince the idea of a repeal, Where a statute is a reenactment of the whole subject in
then all parts and provisions of the prior act that are omitted from substitution of the previous laws on the matter, the latter
the revised act are deemed repealed. disappears entirely and what is omitted in the reenacted law is
D. Change in phraseology deemed repealed.
Rule: Neither an alteration in phraseology nor omission or addition G. Other forms of implied repeal
of words in the later statute shall be held necessarily to alter the 1. When two laws is expressed in the form of a universal
construction of the former acts. negative: a negative statute repeals all conflicting
E. Continuation of existing law provisions unless the contrary intention is disclosed.
Rule: the rearrangement of section or parts of a statute, or the 2. Where the legislature enacts something in general terms
placing of portions of what formerly was a single section in separate and afterwards passes another on the same subject,
section, does not operate to change the operation, effect and although in affirmative language, introduces special
meaning of the statute, unless changes are of such nature as to condition or restrictions.
manifest the cleat intent to change the former laws. H. Repealing clause
III. Repeals All laws or part thereof, which are inconsistent with this act, are
A. Power to repeal hereby repealed or modified accordingly.
Legislature has plenary power to repeal, Supreme court, while it Nature of this clause: not an express repeal rather, it is a clause
has the power to promulgate rule of procedure, it cannot in the which predicates the intended repeal upon the condition that a
exercise of such power alter, change or repeal substantive laws. substantial conflict must be found on existing and prior acts of the
B. Repeal: total or partial, express or implied same subject matter
1. Total: rendered revoked completely Ex proprio vigore
2. Partial: Leaves the unaffected portion of the statue in force

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Rule: the failure to add a specific repealing clause particularly Jurisdiction to try and decide actions is determined by the law in
mentioning the statute to be repealed indicated the intent was not force at the time the action is filed.
to repeal any existing law on the matter unless an irreconcilable General rule: where the court or tribunal has already acquired and
inconsistency and repugnancy exist in the terms of the new and old is exercising jurisdiction over a controversy, its jurisdiction to
laws. proceed to final determination of the cause is not affected by the
I. Repeal by implication not favored new legislation repealing the statue which originally conferred
Rule: Repeals by implication not favored jurisdiction unless the repealing statute provides otherwise
Presumption is against inconsistency and against implied repeals expressly or by necessary implication.
for it is presumed that legislatures know existing laws on the O. On jurisdiction to try criminal cases
subject and not to have enacted inconsistent or conflicting statutes. Jurisdiction of a court to try a criminal case is determined by the
J. Leges posteriores priores contraries abrogant later law in force at the time the action is instituted.
statue repeals prior ones which are repugnant thereto. As P. On actions pending or otherwise
between two laws, on the same subject matter, which are The general rule is that the repeal of a statue defeats all actions
irreconcilable inconsistent, that which is passed later prevails. and proceedings including those which are still pending.
K. General law Q. On vested rights
Rule: General law on a subject does not operate to repeal a prior Repeal of a statute does not destroy or impair rights that accrued
special law on the same subject unless clearly appears that the and became vested under the statute before its repeal.
legislature has intended the later general act to modify the earlier R. On contracts
special law. When a contract is entered into by the parties on the basis of the
Generalia specialibus non derogant : a general law does not nullify law when obtaining, the repeal or amendment of said law does not
a specific or special law. affect the terms of the contract not impair the right of the parties
Reason: the legislature should make provisions for all circumstance thereunder.
of the particular case. S. Effect of repeal of tax law
L. When special or general law repeals the other Repeals does not preclude the collection of taxes assessed under
Rule: Where a later special law on a particular subject is repugnant the old law before its repeals unless the repealing statute provides
to or inconsistent with a prior general law on the same subject, a otherwise
partial repeal of the latter is implied to the extent of the T. Repeal and enactment
repugnancy or exception granted upon the general law. Simultaneous repeal and reenactment of a statue does not affect
Legislative intent to repeal must be shown in the act itself, the the rights and liabilities which have accrued under the original
explanatory not to the bill before its passage into a law, the statute since the reenactment neutralizes the repeal and continues
discussion on the floor of the legislature and the history of the two the law in force without interruption.
legislations. U. Effect of repeal of penal laws
Rule: General law cannot be construed to have repealed a special Repeal without qualification of penal law deprived the court of the
law by mere implication. jurisdiction to punish persons charged with a violation of the old
Rule: If intention to repeal the special law is clear, the special law law prior to its repeal.
will be considered as an exception to the general law will not apply. Where repeal is absolute, crime no longer exists.
Special law is repealed by implication. Exception:
M. Effects of repeals 1. The repealing act reenacts the statute and penalizes the
1. Statute is rendered inoperative same act previously penalized under the repealed law, the
2. Does not undo the consequences of the operation of the act committed before the reenactment continues to be a
statute while in force crime.
3. Does not render illegal what under the repealed act is legal 2. Where the repealing act contains a saving clause providing
4. Does not lake legal what under the former law is illegal that pending actions shall not be affected, the latter will
N. On jurisdiction continue to be prosecuted in accordance with the old law.

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o Distinction as to effect of repeal and expiration of law To ascertain intent or purpose of the framers of the Constitution as
In absolute repeal, the crime is obliterated expressed in the language of the fundamental law, and thereafter
In expiration of penal law by its own force does not have that effect to assure realization.
V. Effect of repeal of municipal charter
Superseding of the old charter by a new one has the effect of MODALITIES OF CONSTITUTIONAL CONSTRUCTION
abolishing the offices under the old charter. INTRINSIC
W. Repeal or nullity of repealing law Textual/Literal interpretation/Plain-meaning
Law first repealed shall not be revived unless expressly provided Terms must be construed in their general and ordinary
Where a repealing statute is declared unconstitutional, it will have sense
no effect of repealing the former statute. General prevails over the restricted unless the limited
sense is intended
CHAPTER 11 (CONSTITUTIONAL CONSTRUCTION) Drawing inferences from the architecture of the
CONSTITUTION Construction as a whole
Fundamental law which sets up a form of government and defines A provision in the Constitution should not be construed
and delimits powers thereof. in isolation rather as a whole and apparently conflicting
Is supreme, imperious, absolute and unalterable except by the provisions should be reconciled and harmonized in a
authority from which it emanates manner that may give to all of them full of force and
Authority of which emanates from the sovereign people effect]


1935 Constitution Historical
Act of US Congress/Tydings-Mcduffie Law authorized the people of Relying on circumstances, historical events and
P.I. to adopt a Constitution ideological positions upon the adoption of the
1 Drafting and approval of the Constitutional Convention Proceedings of the Convention
2 Certification of the US President Debates, interpretations, and opinions expressed
3 Ratification by the Filipino people- May 14, 1935 concerning particular provisions yield additional insight
1975 Constitution on the intent and meaning thereof but are not absolute
and conclusive for the Constitution does not derive its
R.A. 6132 call for a convention to propose amendments of the
force from the convention but from the people who
1935 Constitution
ratified it. Moreover, opinions expressed by some
Aug 24, 1970- election of delegates individuals during the convention, do not necessarily
Sept 21, 1972- declaration of Martial Law reflect the state of mind of those who did not express
Jan 17, 1973- 1973 Constitution is proclaimed ratified their opinion.
Freedom Constitution Doctrinal/Previous laws and judicial rulings
March 25, 1986-Feb 2, 1987 Relying on established precedents
1987 Constitution Courts are bound to presume that the people adopting
a constitution are familiar with the previous and
PURPOSE OF CONSTITUTIONAL CONSTRUCTION existing laws upon the subjects to which its provisions
relate and upon which they express their judgment and
opinion in its adoption

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Contemporaneous construction and writings that in a constitution, the sovereign itself speaks and is
Relying on construction of the legislative and executive laying
departments down the rules which for the time being at least are to
Where a legislature has revised a statute after a control
constitution has been adopted, such a revision is to be alike the government and the governed. Its provisions
regarded as a legislative construction. are binding
Changes in Phraseology upon all departments of the government.
A change in phraseology of the present Constitution Prospective or Retroactive
may indicate an intent t modify or change the meaning The rule is that a constitution should operate
of the old provision and thus reflect a different intent prospectively
Consequence of alternative constructions only, unless the words employed show a clear intention
Where a constitutional provision is ambiguous, that that it
construction which lead to absurd, impossible or should have a retroactive effect.
mischievous consequences must be rejected Applicability of Statutory Construction to Constitutional
OTHER RULES: Some of the rules in statutory construction are
applicable to the construction of the Constitution
Constitution construed as a whole Generally, Provisions of the Constitution are self-executing in
A provision in the Constitution should not be construed nature
in The general rule is that constitutional provisions are
isolation rather as a whole and apparently, conflicting self-
provisions executing, except when the provisions themselves
should be reconciled and harmonized in a manner that expressly require
may give to all legislations to implement them or when, from their
of them full force and effect. language or
Mandatory or Directory tenure, they are merely declarations of policies and
The established rule is that constitutional provisions are principles. A
to be construed as mandatory, unless by express self-executing provision is one which is complete by
provision or by itself and
necessary implication, a different intention is becomes operative without the aid of supplementary or
manifested. It is a enabling
general rule to regard constitutional provisions as legislation, or which supplies sufficient rule by means of
mandatory and which the
not to leave any discretion to the will of a legislature to right it grants may be enjoyed or protected. The rule is
obey or that in
to disregard them. This presumption as to mandatory case of doubt, the Constitution should be considered
quality is self-executing
usually followed unless it is unmistakably manifest that rather than non-self-executing
provisions are intended to be merely directory. The LATIN MAXIMS
reason why
provision of the constitution are generally regarded as
mandatory is

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Absoluta sententia expositore non indiget

When the language of law is clear, no explanation of it is required. Hoc quidem perquam durum est, sed ita lex scripta est
(p.127) It is exceedingly hard but so the law is written. (p.127)

Aequitas nunquam contravenit legis Ibi quid generaliter conceditur; inest haec exceptio, si non aliquid sit
Equity never acts in contravention of the law. (p.128) contras jus basque
Where anything is granted generally, this exception is implied; that
Casus omissus pro omisso habendus est nothing shall be contrary to law and right. (p.161)
A person, object, or thing omitted from an enumeration must be held to
have been omitted intentionally. (p.231) Impossibilium nulla obligatio est
There is no obligation to do an impossible thing. (p.162)
Cessante ratione legis, cessat et ipsa lex
When the reason of the law ceases, the law itself ceases. (p.142) In eo quod plus sit, semper inest et minus
The greater includes the lesser. (p.164)
Contemporanea expositio est optima et fortissima in lege
The contemporary construction is strongest in law. (p.110) In pari delicto potior est conditio defendentis (p.174)
(in the book, this maxim appears to mean No man should be allowed
Dura lex sed lex to take advantage of his own wrong, but that is also the meaning of
The law may be harsh, but that is the law. (p.127 and p.298) Nullus commodum potest de injuria propriasua)

Ea est accipienda interpretatio quae vitio caret Index animi sermo (p.124)
That interpretation is to be adopted which is free from evil or injustice. Index animi sermo est (glossary)
(p.153) Speech is the index of intention.

Ex dolo malo non oritur action Interest reipublicae ut sit finis litium
No man can be allowed to found a claim upon his own wrongdoing. The interest of the State demands that there be an end to litigation.
(p.174) (p.122)
Public interest requires that by the very nature of things there must be
Ex necessitate legis an end to a legal controversy. (glossary and p.340)
By necessary implication of law. (glossary)
From the necessity of the law. (p.164) Interpretatio fienda est ut res magis valeat quam pereat
That interpretation as will give the thing efficacy is to be adopted.
Expressio unius est exclusio alterius (p.131)
The express mention of one person, thing, or consequence implies the A law should be interpreted with a view to upholding rather than
exclusion of all others. (p.222) destroying it. (glossary and p.256)

Falsa demonstratio non nocet, cum de corpore constat Interpretatio talis in ambiguis semper fienda est ut evitetur
False description does not preclude construction nor vitiate the inconveniens et absurdum (p.148 and glossary)
meaning of the statute. (glossary) Interpretato talis in ambiguis semper frienda est, ut evitatur
False description does not preclude construction nor vitiate the inconveniens et absurdum (p.152)
meaning of the statute which is otherwise unclear. (p.161) Where there is ambiguity, such interpretation as will avoid
inconvenience and absurdity is to be adopted.
Fiat justicia, ruat coelum
Let right be done, though the heavens fall. (p.154)

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Jure naturae aequum est neminem cum alterius detrimento et injuria Interpretation according to the spirit or reason of the law. (p.132)
fieri locupletiorem
The fact that a statute is silent, obscure, or insufficient with respect to Ratio legis est anima legis (glossary)
a question before the court will not justify the latter from declining to Ratio legis est anima (p.142)
render judgment thereon. (p.157) The reason of the law is its soul.

Legis interpretatio legis vim obtinet (glossary) Stare decisis et non quieta movere
Legis interpretato legis vim obtinet (p.67) Follow past precedents and do not disturb what has been settled.
The authoritative interpretation of the court of a statute acquires the (glossary)
force of law by becoming a part thereof. (glossary) One should follow past precedents and should not disturb what has
The authoritative interpretation of the Supreme Court of a statute been settled. (p.121)
acquires the force of law by becoming a part thereof. (p.67)
Summum jus, summa injuria
Lex prospicit, non respicit The rigor of the law would become the highest injustice. (p.162)
The law looks forward, not backward. (p.68 and p.352)
Surplusagium non nocet (glossary)
Maledicta est expositio quae corrumpit textum Surplusagium non noceat (p.159)
It is dangerous construction which is against the text. (p.126) Surplusage does not vitiate a statute.

Nemo tenetur ad impossibile Ubi jus, ubi remedium

The law obliges no one to perform an impossibility. (p.162) Where there is a right, there is a remedy. (glossary)
Where there is a right, there is a remedy for violation thereof. (p.166)
Nullus commodum potest de injuria propriasua (glossary)
Nullus commodum capere potest de injuria sua propria (p.174) Utile per inutile non vitiatur
No man should be allowed to take advantage of his own wrong. The useful is not vitiated by the non-useful. (p.159)

Obiter dictum Verba intentioni, non e contra, debent inservire

An opinion expressed by a court on some question of law which is not Words ought to be more subservient to the intent and not the intent to
necessary to the decision of the case before it. (p.122) the words. (p.133)

Optimus interpres rerum usus Verba legis

The best interpreter of the law is usage. (p.114) Plain-meaning rule. (p.124)

Quando aliquid prohibetur ex directo, prohibetur et per obliquum Verba legis non est recedendum
What is prohibited directly is prohibited indirectly. (glossary) From the words of the statute there should be no departure. (p.124)
What cannot, by law, be done directly cannot be done indirectly.
Post-Midterms (Chapters 5-10)
Ratihabito mandato aquiparatur (glossary)
Ratihabitio mandato aequiparatur (p.120) Actus me invito factus non est meus actus
Legislative ratification is equivalent to a mandate. An act done by me against my will is not my act. (p.292)

Ratio legis
Interpretation according to spirit. (glossary)

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Actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea A general statement is understood in a general sense. (p.183)
The act itself dos not make a man guilty unless his intention were so.
(p.292) Generalia specialibus non derogant
A general law does not nullify a specific or special law. (p.415)
Ad proximum antecedens fiat relatio nisi impediatur sentential
Relative words refer to the nearest antecedents, unless the context Generalia verba sunt generaliter inteliigenda
otherwise requires. (p.232) What is generally spoken shall be generally understood. (p.183)

Argumentum a contrario Interest reipublicae ut sit finis litium

Negative-opposite doctrine (p.223) The interest of the State demands that there be an end to litigation.
Casus omissus pro omisso habendus est Public interest requires that by the very nature of things there must be
A person, object, or thing omitted from an enumeration must be held an end to a legal controversy. (glossary and p.340)
to have been omitted intentionally. (p.231)
Interpretare et concordare leges legibus est optimus interpretandi
Dissimilum dissimilis est ratio modus (p.268)
Of things dissimilar, the rule is dissimilar. (p.204) Interpotare et concordare legibus est optimus interpotandi modus
Distingue tempora et concordabis jura The best method of interpretation is that which makes laws consistent
Distinguish times and you will harmonize laws. (p.271) with other laws. (p.268)
Every statute must be so construed and harmonized with other statutes
Dura lex sed lex as to form uniform system of law. (glossary)
The law may be harsh, but that is the law. (p.127 and p.298)
Interpretatio fienda est ut res magis valeat quam pereat
Ejusdem generis That interpretation as will give the thing efficacy is to be adopted.
Of the same kind or specie. (p.213) (p.131)
A law should be interpreted with a view to upholding rather than
Exceptio firmat regulam in casibus non exceptis destroying it. (glossary and p.256)
A thing not being excepted must be regarded as coming within the
purview of the general rule. (pp.222-223) Leges posteriores priores contrarias abrogant Later statute repeals prior
ones which are repugnant thereto (p.413)
Expressio unius est exclusion alterius A later law repeals a prior law on the same subject which is repugnant
The express mention of one person, thing, or consequence implies the thereto. (glossary)
exclusion of all others. (p. and p.222)
Lex de futuro, judex de praeterito
Expressum facit cessare tacitum The law provides for the future, the judge for the past. (p.352)
What is expressed puts an end to what is implied. (p.222)
Lex prospicit, non respicit
Favorabilia sunt amplianda, adiosa restringenda (p.360) The law looks forward, not backward. (p.68 and p.352)
Favores ampliandi sunt; odia restringenda (glossary)
Penal laws which are favorable to the accused are given retroactive Noscitur a sociis
effect. Words construed with reference to accompanying or associated words.
Generale dictum generaliter est interpretandum

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Nova constitutio futuris formam imponere debet non praeteritis

A new statute should affect the future, not the past. (p.353) Verba accipienda sunt secundum materiam (p.196)
A word is to be understood in the context in which it is used.
Nullum crimen sine poena, nulla poena sine legis
There is no crime without a penalty, and there is no penalty without a Vigilantibus et non dormientibus jura subveniunt
law. (p.357) The laws aid the vigilant, not those who slumber on their rights.
Nullum tempus occurrit regi (p.307)
Nullum tempus occurit (glossary)
There can be no legal right as against the authority that makes the law
on which the right depends.

Optima statuti interpretatrix est ipsum statutum

The best interpreter of a statute is the statute itself. (p.248)

Pari materia
Relating to same matter (p.268)

Potior est in tempoe, potior est in jure

He who is first in time is preferred in right. (p.338)

Privilegia recipiunt largam interpretationem voluntati consonam

concedentis (p.298)

Privilegia reciprint largan interpretationem voluntate consonan

concedentis (glossary)
Privileges are to be interpreted in accordance with the will of him who
grants them.

Reddendo singula singulis

Referring each to each; referring each phrase or expression to the
appropriate object; or let each be put in its proper place. (p.234)

Salus populi est suprema lex

The voice of the people is the supreme law. (p.288)

Statuta pro publico commodo late interpretantur

Statutes enacted for the public good are to be construed liberally.

Ubi lex non distinguit, nec nos distinguere debemus

Where the law does not distinguish, we should not distinguish. (p.197)

Verba accipienda sunt secundum subjectam materiam (glossary)

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