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STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION

CHAPTER IPRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS


STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION DEFINED
Statutory Construction

the
art
or
process
of
d i s c o v e r i n g a n d expounding
the meaning and intention of the
a u t h o r s o f t h e l a w w i t h respect to
its application to a given case, where that
intention is rendered doubtful, among
others, by reason of the fact that the
given case is not explicitly provided for
in the law. Justice Martin defi nes
statutory construction as the art of
seeking
the
intention
of
the
le gislature in enacting a statute
a n d a p p l y i n g i t t o a given state of
facts
.A
judicial
function
is
re qui re d
when
a
statute
is
i n v o ke d
and
d i ff e r e n t
interpretations are in contention.
Difference between judicial legislation and
statutory
construction:
Where
legislature attempts to do several
things one which is invalid, it may be
discarded if the remainder of the act
is workable and in no way depends
upon the invalid portion, but if that portion
is an integral part of t h e a c t , a n d i t s
excision changes the manifest
i n t e n t o f t h e a c t b y broadening
its scope to include subject matter or
territory which was not included therein
as enacted, such excision is judicial
legislation
and
not
statutory
construction.
CONSTRUCTION AND INTERPRETATION,
DISTINGUISHED
Construction
- is the drawing of conclusions
with respect to subjects tha
tare
beyond
the
direct
expression
of
the
text,
while
Interpretation
- is the process of discovering
the true meaning of the
language used.
Interpretation is limited to
exploring the written text.
Construction on the other
hand
is
the
drawing
of
conclusions, respecting subjects
that lie beyond the direct
expressions of the text.
SITUS
OF
CONSTRUCTION
INTERPRETATION
In our system of government:

AND

Legislative power is vested in


the Congre ss of the Philippine s
t h e Senate and the House of the
Representatives
Exe cuti ve powe r is veste d in
t h e Pre s i d e n t o f t h e Re p u b l i c
o f t h e Philippines (Art. VII, Sec.1, Phil.
Const.)
Judicial power is vested in one
Sup re me Court and in such lowe r
courts as may be established by law. (Art
VIII, Sec. 1, Phil. Const.)
Legislative makes the law
Executive - executes the law
Judicial interprets the law
Simply
stated,
the
situs
of
constructio n and inte rpre tation
o f w r i t t e n laws belong to the judicial
department. I t i s t h e d u t y o f t h e
Courts
of
Justice
to
settle
a c t u a l c o n t r o v e r s i e s involving
rights
which
are
legally
demandable
and
enforce able ,
and to determine whether or not
the re has be e n a grave abuse of
d i s c r e t i o n amounting to lack or
excess of jurisdiction on the part of
any branch or instrumentality of the
government. Supreme Court is the one
and only Constitutional Court and all
other lower courts are statutory
courts and such lower courts have
the power to construe and interpret
written laws.
DUTY
OF
THE
C O U RT S
TO
C O N S T R U E A N D I N T E R P R E T THE
LAW; REQUISITES
1. There must be an actual case
or controversy,
2. There is ambiguity in the law
involved in the controversy.
Ambiguity
exists
if
reasonable
persons can fi nd diff erent meanings
in a statute, document, etc. A s t a t u t e
is
ambiguous
if
it
is
admissible of two or more
p o s s i b l e meanings. I f t h e l a w i s
clear and unequivocal, the Court
h a s n o o t h e r a l t e r n a t i v e but to
apply the law and not to interpret.
Construction
and
interpretation
of
law
come
only
after
it
has
been
demonstrated
that
application
is
impossible or inadequate without them.

D
K
C
A

I
I
O
N

F
N
N
D

F E R E N T
D S
O F
S T R U C T I O N
INTERPRETATION

Hermeneutics

The science or art of construction


and interpretation.
Legal hermeneutics
is the systematic body
of
rules
which
are
recognized as applicable to the
construction and interpretation of
legal writings.
Dr. Lieber in his work on Hermeneutics
gives the following
Classification of the different kinds of
interpretation:
1. C l o s e
inte rpre tatio n

adopted
if
just
re asons
c o n n e c t e d w i t h t h e character
and formation of the text induce as
to
take
the
words
in
the
n a r r o w e s t
m e a n i n g .
T h i s
i s
g e n e r a l l y
k n o w n
a s literal interpretation.
2. E x t e n s i v e
interpretation
also called as liberal
i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , i t adopts a
more comprehensive signification
of the words.
3. E x t r a v a g a n t
inte rpre tation

substitutes
a
meaning
e v i d e n t l y b e y o n d the true
one. It is therefore not genuine
interpretation.
4. Fr e e
or
unre stricte d
inte rpre tatio n

proce e ds
simply
on
he
general
principles of interpretation in good
faith, not bound by any specific or
superior principle.
5. L i m i t e d
or
re stricte d
i n t e r p r e t a t i o n - i n fl u e n c e d
b y o t h e r p r i n c i p l e s than the
strictly hermeneutic ones.
6. Predestined interpretation

takes
place
when
the
interpreter, laboring u n d e r a
strong
bias
of
mind,
makes
the
text
subservient
to
his
preconceived views and desires.

CHAPTER II
STATUTES

LEGISLATIVE PROCEDURES
The
power
to
m a ke
laws
is
lodged
in
the
legislative
d e p a r t m e n t o f t h e government.
A statute starts with a bill.
Bill
is the draft of a proposed law from the
time of its introduction in a l e g i s l a t i v e
body through all the various
stages in both houses. It is
enacted into law by a vote of
t h e l e g i s l a t i v e b o d y.
A n Act i s t h e a p p r o p r i a t e t e r m
for it after it has been acted on
a n d p a s s e d b y t h e legislature. It
then becomes a statute, the written
will of the legislature solemnly
expressed according to the form
necessary to constitute it as the law
of the state.
Statute
Law
is
a
term
often used interchangeably
w i t h t h e w o r d statute. Statute
Law, however, is broader in meaning
since it includes not only statute but
also the judicial interpretation and
application of the enactment.
HOW DOES A BILL BECOMES A LAW
STEPS
A bill before it becomes a
law
must
pass
the
strict
c o n s t i t u t i o n a l requirements
explicit
both
in
the
1973
Constitution
and
the
1 9 8 7 Constitution.
Passage of a bill in a parliamentary system
(unicameral assembly):
1. A m e m b e r o f t h e N a t i o n a l
Assembly
may
introduce
t h e p r o p o s e d b i l l to the
Secretary
of
the
National
Assembly who will calendar the
same for the first reading.
2. In the fi rst reading, the bill is
read by its number and title
only.
3. A f t e r t h e fi r s t r e a d i n g ,
the bill is referred by
the
Speaker
to
the
app ro priate committe e for
s t u d y. A t t h i s s t a g e , t h e
app ro priate
committee
will
conduct
public
hearings. Then after the
public
hearings,
the
committee
shall
decide
whether or not to report the
bill favorably or whether a
substitute
bill
should
be

4.

5.
6.

7.

8.

9.

considered. Should there be an


unfavorable
report
of
the
committee, then the proposed
bill is dead.
Upon favorable action by
the committee, the bill
i s r e t u r n e d t o t h e National
Assembly and shall be calendared
for the second reading.
In the second reading, the
bill is read in its entirety.
Immediately
after
the
se cond re ading, the bill is
set for open debates w h e r e
members of the assembly
may
propose
a m e n d m e n t s a n d insertions
to the proposed bill.
Aft e r t h e a p p ro v a l o f t h e
bill in its se cond re ading
a n d a t l e a s t t h r e e (3) calendar
days before its final passage, the
bill is printed in its final form and
copies thereof distributed to each
of the members.
The
bill
is
then
calendared for the third
and
fi n a l
reading.
At
t h i s stage, no amendment
shall be allowed. Only the
t i t l e o f t h e b i l l i s read and
the National Assembly will
then vote on the bill. Under
the
present
1987b
Constitution, after the third
and fi nal reading at one House
where the bill originated, it will
go to the other House where
it will undergo the same process.
After the bill has been
passed,
it
will
be
submitted to the Prime
Minister
(President)
for
approval. If he disapproves, he
shall veto it a n d r e t u r n t h e
same with his objections to
the
National
Assembly
(House
whe re
it
originated),
and
if
app rove d by two - thirds of
all
its
members,
shall
b e c o m e a l a w. U n d e r t h e
present
set-up,
if
the
originating house will agree to
pass the bill, it shall be sent,
together with the objections to
the other house by which it shall be
likewise be considered and must
be approved by two-thirds of
the votes. Every bill passed by
Congress shall be acted upon
by the President within thirty
(30) days from receipt thereof.
Otherwise, it shall become a law.

CONSTITUTIONAL TEST IN THE PASSAGE


OF A BILL
Three (3) very important constitutional
requirements in the enactment of statute:
1. E v e r y
bill
passed
by
Cong re ss
shall
embrace
only
one
subject
which
shall be expressed in
t h e t i t l e t h e re o f. T h e
purposes
of
t h i s constitutional requirements
are:
To prevent hodge-podge or log-rolling
legislation;
To prevent surprise or fraud upon the
legislature; and
T o
fairly
apprise
the
people,
through
such
publications
o f legislative
proceedings
as
is
usually
made,
of
the
subjects
o f legislation
that
are
being
considered, in order that they may
have opportunity of being heard thereon
by petition or otherwise, if they shall so
desire.
2. N o b i l l p a s s e d b y e i t h e r
House
shall
become
law
u n l e s s i t h a s p a s s e d three
readings on separate days, and
printed copies thereof in its final
form have been distributed
to e ach me mbe r thre e days
b e f o r e i t s passage.
3. E v e r y b i l l p a s s e d b y t h e
Cong re ss shall, be fore it
b e c o m e s a l a w , b e presented
to the President. The executive
approval and veto power of the
President is the third important
constitutional requirement in the
mechanical passage of a bill.
PARTS OF STATUTE
a. Title - the heading on the
preliminary part, furnishing the
name by w h i c h t h e a c t i s
individually
known.
It is
usually
p r e fi x e d
to
the
statute in the brief summary of its
contents.
b. Preamble - part of statute
explaining the reasons for its
enactment and the objects
sought to be accomplished.
Usually,
it
starts
with
whereas.
c. Enacting clause - part
of
statute
which
declares
its
enactment and serves to identify
it as an act of legislation
proceeding
from
the
proper
legislative
authority.
Be
enacted is the usual formula
used to start this clause.

d. Body
the
main
and
operative
part
of
the
statute
containing
its
substantive and even procedural
provisions. Provisos and exceptions
may also be found.
e. R e p e a l i n g
Clause
announces
the
prior
statutes
or
s p e c i fi c
provisions which have been
abrogated by reason of the
enactment of the new law.
f. Saving Clause - restriction in
a repealing act, which is
intended to save rights, pending
proceedings, penalties, etc. from
the annihilation which would result
from an unrestricted repeal.
g. Separability
Clause
provi de s that in the e ve nt
t h a t o n e o r m o r e provisions or
unconstitutional, the remaining
provisions shall still being force.
h.
Effectivity Clause - announces
the effective date of the law.
KINDS OF STATUTES
1. General Law
- aff ects the community at
large. That which aff ects
allpeople of the state or all of a
particular class.2.
2. Special Law
- designed for a particular
purpose,
or
limited
in
rangeor
confined
to
a
prescribed field of action on
operation.

3. Local Law
- relates or operates over a
particular locality instead
of over the
whole
territory of the state.
4. Public Law
- a general classifi cation of
law, consisting generally
of c o n s t i t u t i o n a l ,
administrative,
criminal,
and
international
law,
concerned
with
the
organization of the state,
the relations between the
state and the people who
compose it, the responsibilities
of public o ffi c e r s o f t h e
state, to each other, and
to private persons, and
t h e relations of state to
one another. Public law may
be general, local or special
law.

5. Private Law
- d e fi n e s , r e g u l a t e s ,
enforces
and
administers
relationships among individuals,
associations and corporations.
6. Remedial Statute
- providing means or method
whereby
causes
of action
may be affectuated, wrongs
redressed and relief obtained.
7. Curative Statute
- a
form
of
retrospective
legislation which reaches
back into the past to operate
upon past events, acts or
transactions in o r d e r
to
corre ct
e rrors
and
irre gularitie s
and
to
r e n d e r v a l i d a n d effective
many attempted acts which
would otherwise be ineffective
forthe purpose intended.
8. Penal Statute
- defines
criminal
offenses
specify corresponding fines and
punishments.
9. Prospective Law
- applicable only to cases
which shall arise after its
enactment.
10.Retrospective Law
- looks
backward
or
contemplates
the
past;
one which is made to aff ect
acts or facts occurring, or
rights occurring, before it
came into force.
11. Affirmative Statute
- dire cts the doing of an
act,
or
de clare s
what
shall
be
done
in
contrast to a negative
statute which is one
t h a t prohibits the things
from
being
done,
or
declares what shall not be
done.
12. Mandatory Statutes
generic term describing
statutes
which
requireand not merely
permit a course of
action.
CONCEPT OF VAGUE STATUTES
Statues or act may be said to be
vague when it lacks
c o m p r e h e n s i b l e standards those
men of common intelligence must
necessarily guess a tits meaning and

differ as to its application. Statute is


repugnant to the Constitution in two (2)
respects:

1. I t v i o l a t e s d u e p r o c e s s
for failure to accord
persons fair notice
o f conduct to avoid; and
2. It leaves law enforcers unbridled
discretions.
The Supreme Court held that the
vagueness doctrine merely requires a
reasonable degree of certainty for the
statute to be upheld--- not absolute
precision or mathematical exactitude.
Flexibility, rather than meticulous
specificity, is permissible as long as the
metes and bounds of the statut eare
clearly delineated
REPEALS OF STATUTE MAY BE
EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED
Express repeal is the abrogation
or annulling of a previously existing
law by the enactment of a
subsequent statute which
d e c l a r e s t h a t t h e former law shall be
revoked and abrogated.
Implied repeal - when a later statute
contains provisions so contrary to
irreconcilable with those of
the earlier law that only one
o f t h e t w o statutes can stand in
force. T h e r e p e a l o f a p e n a l l a w
deprives the court of jurisdiction
t o p u n i s h persons charged with a
violation of the old penal law prior to its
repeal.
Only a law can repeal a law
The intention to repeal must be clear
and manifest, otherwise, at least, as
a general rule, the later act is to be
construed as a continuation of, and
not a substitute for, the first act.
Two (2) categories of repeal by
implication:
1. Where provision in the two acts on
the same subject matter are in an
irreconcilable conflict;
2. If the later act covers
the whole subject of the
e a r l i e r o n e a n d i s clearly
intended as a substitute to be a
complete and perfect system in itself.
ORDINANCE
Ordinance is an act passed by the local
legislative body in the exercise of its lawmaking authority.

TEST OF VALID ORDINANCE


1. Must not contravene the
Constitution or any statute;
2. Must not be unfair or
opp re ssive ;
3. Must not be partial or
discriminatory;
4. Must not prohibit but may
re gulate trade ;
5. Must be general and consistent
with public policy; and
6. Must not be un re asona ble .
R E A S O N
W H Y
A
O R D I N A N C E
S H O U L D
N O T CONTRAVENE A STATUTE

Lo c a l c o u n c i l s exe rc i s e o n l y
delegated legislative powers
c o n f e r r e d o n them by Congress as the
national law making body. The delegate
cannot be superior to the principal.
ROLE OF FOREIGN JURISPRUDENCE
Philippine laws must necessarily
be construed in accordance with
t h e intention of its own law makers
and such intent may be deduced
from the language of each law and the
context of other local legislation related
thereof.