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Chapter V: Presumption in Aid of Construction and Interpretation

Presumptions
In construing doubtful statute, Courts presume that legislature intended to enact a valid, sensible and just law and one which changes the prior law to effectuate the specific purpose of the questioned act. However, if the language of the law is clear, courts should not resort to presumptions.

Presumption against unconstitutionality


Laws are presumed constitutional. This is based on the doctrine of separation of powers which commands each department to respect the acts of the other departments. Consequently, it is presumed that the legislative and executive department have carefully studied the law and determined its constitutionality before it was enacted. The task of rebutting the presumption is on the party challenging the validity of the statute. To justify nullification of a law, there must be a clear and unequivocal breach of the constitution, not a doubtful and argumentative implication. A law shall not be declared invalid unless the conflict with the constitution is clear beyond reasonable doubt. ARIS (Philippines) Inc. vs. NLRC FACTS: Private respondents lodged a protest action against their employer, petitioner Aris Inc., since their working surroundings had become detrimental and hazardous. For these actions, they were dismissed for violation of company rules and regulations. They filed a complaint for illegal dismissal against petitioner with the NLRC. The latter ruled in favor of them and ordered their reinstatement. Pending appeal by petitioner, they invoked Section 12 of RA 6715 which allows the execution of the Labor Arbiters decision pending appeal. Petitioner assails the constitutionality of the said section of the law, as well as, Section 2 and 17 of the same law. ISSUE/S: W/N Sections 2, 12, and 17 of RA 6715 are Constitutional. RULING: The court dismissed the petition of Aris Inc. and upheld the Constitutionality of the Section 2, 12, and 17 of RA 6715. State, through its police power, may authorize an immediate implementation, pending appeal, of a decision reinstating a dismissed or separated employee. It is designed to stop the continued threat to the survival of the dismissed or separated employee and his family.

Laws are presumed constitutional. To justify nullification of a law, there must be a clear and unequivocal breach of the constitution, not a doubtful and argumentative implication. A law shall not be declared invalid unless the conflict with the constitution is clear beyond reasonable doubt.

All laws are presumed valid and constitutional until or otherwise ruled by the Court.
Hon. Lim vs. Hon. Pacquing and Associated Development Corporation (ADC) Guingona, Jr. and Cepeda, Jr. vs. Hon. Reyes and ADC FACTS: City Charter of Manila Section 18, allows the Municipal Board to tax Basque Pelota Game (Jai-Alai) and others. EO 392, transferred the authority to regulate jai-alais from local governments to the Games and Amusement Board (GAB) RA 954, prohibited certain activities in connection with Basque Pelota Games (Jai-Alai) and prescribed penalties for its violation. Manila passed Ordinance No. 7065, it authorized the Mayor to allow and permit the Associated Development Corporation to establish, maintain, and operate a Jai-Alai in the City of Manila, under the terms and conditions and for other purposes. PD 771, revoked all powers and authority of local governments to grant franchise, license or permit Basque Pelota Games (Jai-Alai). Section 3 of the same law, revoked all existing franchises and permits by issued local government. PD 810, granted the Philippine Jai-Alai and Amusement Corporation, a franchise to operate, construct, and maintain a fronton for Basque Pelota in the Greater Manila Area. EO 169, expressly repealed PD 810 by revoking and cancelling the franchise granted to Philippine Jai-Alai and Amusements Corporation. ADC tried to operate a Jai-Alai. Government intervened and invoked PD 771. ADC assails the constitutionality of PD 771 as violative of equal protection and non-impairment clauses of the Constitution. ISSUE/S: W/N PD 771 is Constitutional. RULING: The court dismissed the petition of ADC and upheld the Constitutionality of PD 771. All laws are presumed valid and constitutional until or unless otherwise ruled by this court. Only the Court En Banc has the power to declare a law as unconstitutional under Article VIII, Section 4 (2) of the Constitution.

Nothing on record shows or suggests that PD 771 has been repealed, altered, or amended by any subsequent presidential issuance.

Burden of proving the invalidity of a law rests on those who challenge it.
Lim and Lim vs. People of the Philippines, RTC and City Prosecutor of Quezon City, and Cham FACTS: Petitioners Lim and Lim questions the constitutionality of PD 818 on the ground that it is violative of the due process clause, right to bail, and provision against cruel, degrading or inhuman punishment. ISSUE/S: W/N PD 818 is constitutional RULING: The court dismissed the petition of Lim and Lim and upheld the Constitutionality of PD 818. When law is questioned before the Court, presumption is in favor of its constitutionality. To justify nullification of a law, there must be a clear and unequivocal breach of the constitution, not a doubtful and argumentative implication. A law shall not be declared invalid unless the conflict with the constitution is clear beyond reasonable doubt; the burden of proving rests on those who challenge it. In the case at bar, petitioners failed to present clear and convincing proof to defeat the presumption of constitutionality of PD 818.

Presumption against Injustice


In seeking the meaning of the law, the cardinal rule is to discover the intent of the lawmaker. Law should never be interpreted in such a way to cause injustice as this is never within the legislative intent. An indispensible part of the intent is to render justice. Law and Justice are inseparable. There are some laws which may seem arbitrary when applied in a particular case. In such situation, courts are not bound to apply the law in slavish obedience to its language. What the court should do is to find a balance between the word and the will that justice may be done even as the law is obeyed. Courts do not and must not unfeelingly apply the law as it is worded. They have the power to interpret the law in such a way as to reflect the will of the legislature. They may not read into the law a purpose that is not there, but nevertheless, read out the reason for its enactment. Defer not to the letter that killeth but to the spirit that vivifieth to give effect to the lawmakers will.

In case of doubt in the interpretation or application of laws, it is presumed that the lawmaking body intended right and justice to prevail.
Salvacion vs. Central Bank of the Philippines FACTS: Bartelli was charged with a criminal case of serious illegal detention and four (4) counts of rape and a civil case for damages with preliminary attachment for his acts done against Salvacion, 12 years old. The policemen recovered from Barteli the following items: 1. Dollar Check 2. COCOBANK Bank Book 3. Dollar Account-China Banking Corporation Bartelli escaped from jail. Eventually, judgment by default was rendered against Bartelli. He was ordered to pay the plaintiffs for moral damages, attorneys fees, litigation expenses, and cost of suits. The corresponding writ of execution was issued but respondents China Banking Corporation and Central Bank of the Philippines refused to honor the writ of execution pursuant to the provision of Central Bank Circular 960 which states: Section 113. Exemption from attachment Foreign currency deposits shall be exempt from attachment, garnishment or any other order or process of any court, legislative body, government agency or any administrative body whatsoever. The reason for the Circular is to assure the development and speedy growth of the Foreign Currency Deposit System and Offshore Banking System in the Philippines; thus, encouraging the inflow of foreign currency deposits into the banking institution. ISSUE/S: W/N Section 113 of Central Bank Circular 960 and Section 8 of RA 6426 as amended by PD 1426 Foreign Currency Deposit Act be made applicable to a foreign transient. RULING: The court granted the instant petition and upheld the validity of the writ of execution. The court held that the application of the law depends on the extent of its justice. Eventually, if we rule, that the questioned law, is applicable to a foreign transient injustice would result. This would negate Article 10 of the New Civil Code. Ninguno non deue enriquecerse fortizaramente condano de otro. When the statute is silent or ambiguous, this is one of those fundamental solutions that would respond to the vehement urge of conscience.

A law should not be interpreted so as to cause an injustice.


Alonzo and Alonzo vs. Intermediate Appellate Court and Padua FACTS: Five brothers and sisters inherited in equal pro indiviso as undivided shares parcel of land registered in the name of their deceased parents. One of them transferred his undivided share to Spouses Alonzo for a sum of money. The following year, another transferred her undivided share to the same vendee. By virtue of such agreements, Spouses Alonzo owned two-fifths (2/5) of the lot. They enclosed the same with fence and their son and his wife built a semi-concrete house on a part of the enclosed area. One of the brothers tried to redeem the area sold to the Alonzos but was dismissed since he was an American Citizen. Tecla Padua, another co-heir, filed her own complaint invoking the same right of redemption. RTC dismissed the complaint on the ground that the right had lapsed, not having been exercised within thirty (30) days from notice of the sales in 1963 and 1964. Although there was no written notice, it was held that actual knowledge of the sales by the co-heirs satisfied the requirement of the law. Intermediate Appellate Court reversed the RTCs decision and declared that notice required by the said article was written notice and that actual notice would not suffice as substitute. ISSUE: W/N there was a valid notice W/N written notice should be applied strictly in the instant case. RULING: The court granted the petition and affirmed the decision of RTC that the right of redemption of the Paduas had already lapsed and that their actual knowledge of the sales by their co-heirs satisfied the requirement of law. The court held that by requiring written proof of such notice, the court would be closing its eyes to the obvious truth in favor of the palpably false claim of ignorance of the private respondents. The purpose of the law is clear enough to make sure that redemptioners are duly notified. The court was satisfied that in this case the private respondents was duly informed, although not in writing, of the sales made in 1963 and 1964 and that such notice was sufficient. When did the 30-day period of redemption began? Anytime during the interval of thirteen (13) years from 1964 to 1977

Presumption against implied repeals


Repeals of laws by implication are not favored and courts must generally assume their congruent application. Interpretare et concordare leqibus est optimus interpretendi i.e. every statute must be so interpreted and brought in accord with other laws as to form a uniform system of jurisprudence. The reason is that legislature is presumed to have known existing laws on the subject and not to have enacted conflicting laws. All doubts must be resolved against implied repeal. Before the inference of implied repeal may be drawn, the two laws must be absolutely incompatible, and clear finding thereof must surface.

In the absence of an express repeal, a subsequent law cannot be construed as repealing a prior law unless an irreconcilable inconsistency and repugnancy exists in the terms of the new and old laws
Berces, Jr. vs. Hon. Guingona, Jr. FACTS: Petitioner filed two administrative cases against Mayor Corral with the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) for abuse of authority and/or oppression and dishonesty. SP ruled in favor of the petitioner and ordered the suspension of Corral. The latter appealed the decision to the Office of the President (OP) under Section 67 (b) of the Local Government Code and prayed to stay execution. OP granted the petition of Corral. Petitioners motion for reconsideration was denied; hence, this petition for certiorari and prohibition. ISSUE/S: W/N Section 68 of RA 7160 impliedly repealed Section 6 of AO 118. RULING: The court denied the instant petition and upheld that Section 68 of RA7160 did not impliedly repealed Section 6 of AO 118; thus, must be construed in harmony with each other. Section 68 of RA 7160 provides: An appeal shall not prevent a decision from becoming final and executory. While, Section 6 of AO 118 provides: Office of the President may direct or stay the execution of the decision/resolution/order appealed from The court held that absence of express repeal, a subsequent law cannot be construed as repealing a prior law unless an irreconcilable inconsistency and repugnancy exists in terms of the new and old. The two laws must be absolutely incompatible that they cannot be made to stand together.

In the case at bar, the court finds the two laws not irreconcilably inconsistent and repugnant; thus, the two laws must in be read together. Section 68 of RA 7160 must be construed as giving discretion to the reviewing officials to stay the execution of the appealed decision. There is nothing to infer therefrom that the reviewing officials are deprived of the authority to order a stay of the appealed order.

Repeals of Statute by Implication not favored


Mecano vs. Commission on Audit (COA) FACTS: Mecano seeks to nullify the decision of COA denying his claim for reimbursement. He was a Director II of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) who was hospitalized for Cholecystitis on account which he incurred medical and hospitalization expenses. COA Chairman Domingo denied petitioners claim on the ground hat Section 699 of the Revised Administrative Code (RAC) has been repealed by the Administrative Code (AC) of 1987 since the same section was not restated nor re-enacted in the said code. ISSUE/S: W/N enactment of the AC of 1987 operates to repeal RAC of 1917. RULING: The court granted the instant petition, ordered COA to give due course to petitioners claim and benefits, and held that AC of 1987 did not operate to repeal RAC of 1917. The repealing clause of AC 1987 falls under the category of an implied repeal. Comparing the two Codes, it shows that the New Code does not cover nor attempt to cover the entire subject matter of the Old Code. Repeals of Statutes by implication are not favored. It is presumed that Legislature, in passing a statute, did not intend to interfere or abrogate any former law relating to some matter; unless, the repugnancy between the two is clear and convincing, and flowing necessary from the language used. Otherwise, effort must be used to make all acts stand, and if possible be reconciled.

Presumption against effectiveness


It is presumed that Legislature intends to enact meanings that will render laws operative and effective, and to prevent persons from eluding them. In case of doubt, construction will be favored toward the effectiveness of laws.

In the interpretation of a statute, the Court should start with the assumption that the legislature intended to enact an effective statute.
Paras vs. Commission on Elections (COMELEC) FACTS: Paras is the incumbent Punong Barangay who won the last regular election in 1994. A petition for recall was filed by at least 29.30% of the registered voters which was above the 25% requirement provided by law. Acting on the petition, COMELEC set the election on November 1995 but deferred the recall election in view of petitioners opposition. Petitioner invokes Section 74(b) of RA 7160 which provides: No recall shall take place within one (1) year from the date of the officials assumption to office or one (1) year immediately preceding a regular election. Petitioner contends that the recall election is now barred since the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) election was set by RA 7808 on May 1996. He contends that SK election is a regular election. ISSUE/S: W/N SK election can be considered a regular local election RULING: The court granted the petition on the ground that the recall election is barred since the regular election for the Barangay office is barely seven (7) months away. However, it held that SK Election cannot be considered a regular election. Section 74 of RA 7160 provides. (a) Any elective local official may be the subject of a recall election only once during his term of office for loss of confidence. (b) No recall shall take place within one (1) year from the date of the officials assumption to office or one (1) year immediately preceding a regular election. Paragraph b construed with a merely designates the period when an elective local official may be subject of a recall election which is during the second term of his office. Thus, allowing petitioners contention to include SK election to the phrase regular election will circumscribe the provision of the RA 7160. In statutes interpretation, court should start with the assumption that the legislature intended to enact an effective law, and the latter is not presumed to have done a vain ting in the statutes enactment. Interpretation which renders a statute nullified should be avoided, as possible.

Presumption against absurdity Statutes must receive a sensible construction which will give effect to the legislative intention so as to avoid an unjust or absurd conclusion.
Commissioner of Internal Revenue (CIR) vs. Esso Standard Eastern, Inc. (Esso) and Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) FACTS: Esso overpaid its income tax by P220 000. Accordingly, CIR granted a tax credit. However, the following year Essos payment of tax by P370 000; thus, CIR wrote to Esso demanding payment of the deficiency with interest. Esso paid the demanded tax but protested that it should have not been required to pay interest on total amount of the deficiency tax but on the amount subtracted with the tax credit. Corollarily, Esso demanded refund on the overpaid interest. CIR denied Essos claim. However upon appeal, CTA granted Essos refund claim on the overpaid interest; hence, this instant appeal by CIR. RULING: The court denied CIRs petition and affirmed the decision of CTA granting Essos refund claim on the overpaid interest. The court held that since the amount of P220 000 belonging to Esso was already in the hands of the government, it has no right to charge interest on the same amount. Courts should not give word a meaning which would lead to absurd or unreasonable consequences.

Presumption against undesirable consequences was never intended by a legislative measure.


Ursua vs. CA FACTS: Petitioner Ursua was caught by using another name in furnishing a copy of a complaint against him in the Office of the Ombudsman. Consequently, he was charge in violation of Section of C.A. No. 142 as amended by RA 6085 where RTC found him guilty and CA affirmed the latters decision. ISSUE/S: W/N Ursuas use of another name belonging to another person in isolated transaction falls within the scope of RA 6085. RULING: The court granted Ursuas petition and reversed the decision of the lower courts thereby acquitting the latter. The court held that C.A. No. 142 was enacted to curb the common practice among the Chinese of adopting scores of different names and aliases which created tremendous confusion in the field of

trade. In line with this, the use of fictitious name belonging to another person in a single instance without any sign or indication that the user intends to be known by this name does not fall within the prohibition contained in C.A. No. 142. This is so in the case at bench. Statutes are to be construed with reference to the intended scope and purpose. The anti-alias law and its related statute seek to prevent are not present in this case since the circumstances are peculiar and distinct from those contemplated by legislature in enacting C.A. No. 142. Undesirable consequences were never intended by a legislative measure and that a construction of which the statute is fairly susceptible which will avoid injurious consequences is favored.

Presumption against violation of International Law


This presumption is in consonance with Article II Section 2 of the Constitution which provides: The Philippines as a democratic and republican state adopts a generally accepted principles of International Law as part of the law of the land The Philippines is a signatory of the 1961 Vienna Convention. Since it is a restatement of the generally accepted principles of international law, it should be part of the law of the land.