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Maranan, Roland D.

Statutory Construction
FEU Law, JD4104
laws will be made applicable to a given case in accordance
with the meaning which the authors thereof seek to convey,
Construction
or purpose for which it is enacted or passed.
- the art or process of discovering and expounding the
meaning and intention of the authors of the law with
respect to its application to a given case. (Caltex Inc. v. Guides or assists the Courts as well as legal practitioners in
Palomar) unfolding and establishing the real meaning and purpose of
an ambiguous and obscure term or provision of the law.

Interpretation

- the art or process of discovering and expounding the Statutory Constitutional


intended signification of the language used, that is, the Construction Construction
meaning which the authors of the law designed it to convey Subject Laws lower Constitution
to others. ( Black Laws Dictionary) than the
Constitution
(statutes,
ordinances,
CONSTRUCTION AND INTERPRETATION CAN BE USED
IRRS)
INTERCHANGEABLY
Intent To ascertain To ascertain
They are both utilized in case of ambiguity in the law in the and discover the intent of
language used or in its application the intent of the framers of
the the
Legislature Constitution
They have the same object to ascertain the meaning and
will of the authors of the law in order that law may be
enforced. Three Branches of the Government

Executive
Legislative
Judiciary
Significance of Construction and Interpretation
Principle of Separation of Powers

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Maranan, Roland D. Statutory Construction
FEU Law, JD4104
- Refers to the constitutional demarcation of the three Concurrent Resolution It is not referred to the
fundamental powers of the government. (Belgica v. Ochoa) President and it does not have the force of law.
Simple Resolution deals with matters entirely
Principle of Checks and Balances
within the prerogative of one house of Congress
- No branch of the government is clothed with too much
power because each branch exercise some check over the
other branches. Legislative Process
Veto power
House of Representative
Judicial review
Commission on appointments 1. Numbering/Calendaring for First Reading
Judicial Independence 2. First Reading. Secretary General reads the title and number of
the bill, and the Speaker refers the bill to the appropriate
- Both the judiciary as an institution and also the individual Committee.
judges deciding particular cases must be able to exercise
their professional responsibilities without being influenced 3. Committee Consideration/Action. Evaluates it to
by Executive, the Legislature or any other inappropriate determine the necessity of conducting public hearings.
sources.
4. Calendaring for Second Reading. Submitted to the
Committee on Rules

LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT 5. Second Reading. Reads number, title, and text of the bill.

Legislative power the authority to make, amend, or repeal Period of Sponsorship and debate
laws. Period of Amendment
Voting

6. Printing and Distribution of Copies of the Bills Final


Types of Legislation:
version
Bill general measure or a legislative proposal,
7. Third Reading
which if passed upon, may become a law.
Joint Resolution used when dealing with a single 8. Senate Action on the same bill
item or issue. Also used for proposing amendments
9. Bicameral Conference Committee. If there is difference in
to the Constitution.
the versions of the two houses.

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Maranan, Roland D. Statutory Construction
FEU Law, JD4104
10. Presentation of the bill to the to President - Ordinance Power
- Power to Inform Congress (SONA)
11. Approval of the Bill

12. Assignment of Republic Act Number


JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT

Power of judicial review to declare a treaty, international or


Principle of Non Delegation Power executive agreement, law etc., unconstitutional.

- Congress cannot surrender or abdicate its legislative power, Power to Apply or Interpret
for doing so will be unconstitutional.
Judicial Construction

Exception - When there is doubt in its application, it has to construe the


The rule making authority make IRRs in order to law in order to ascertain the intent of the authors thereof
carry out an express legislative purpose or to effect and give effect thereof.
the operation and enforcement of a law.
Judicial legislation
authorized by the Legislature
Within the scope of the authority given by - Fills in the gaps in the law that cannot be justified by the
the Legislature spirit of the law.
In accordance with the prescribe procedure
Reasonable.
Duty of the Court to Apply the Law
EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT
When the law is clear and unambiguous, the Court is left with no
Residual Powers not specifically mentioned in the Constitution
alternative but to apply the same according to its clear language.
Appointing power, military power,
pardoning power, borrowing power,
diplomatic power, and budgetary power.
(Marcos v. Manglapus)
- Power to Enforce laws
- Power of Control
The power of an officer to alter or modify or nullify
or set aside what a subordinate officer has done.

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Maranan, Roland D. Statutory Construction
FEU Law, JD4104
Supreme Court is bound to adhere to the principle of Stare Decisis,
unless there are powerful countervailing consideration that will
Lokin vs. COMELEC require deviation therefrom.
Prohibitive or negative words can rarely, if ever, be directory, Only the Supreme Court sitting en banc may modify or reverse the
for there is but one way to obey the command thou shall not, doctrine and principle laid down in a prior case.
and that is to completely refrain from doing the forbidden act,
subject to certain exceptions stated in the law itself. In Re: Hon. Valenzuela and Hon. Vallarta (PRIOR CASE)

When a statute itself enumerates the exceptions to the During the period stated in Section 15, Article VII of the Constitution
application of the general rule, the exceptions are strictly but two months immediately before the next presidential elections and up
reasonably construed the exceptions extends only as far as to the end of his term The President is neither required to make
their language fairly warrants, and all doubts should be resolved appointments to the courts nor allowed to do so; and that Sections 4
(1) and 9 of Article VIII simply mean that the President is required to
in favor of the general provision rather than the exceptions.
fill vacancies in the courts within the time frames provided therein
unless prohibited by Section 15 of Article VII. It is noteworthy that the
prohibition on appointments comes into effect only once every six
years.
Question of Law when there is doubt as to what the law is on a
The Constitution must be construed in its entirety as one single
certain state of facts. (if the case petition can be resolved solely on
instrument.
what the law provides under the undisputed facts)

Question of Fact when the doubt arises as to the truth or falsity of


the alleged facts. De Castro v. JBC

Had the framers intended to extend the prohibition contained in


Section 15, Article VII to the appointment of Members of the Supreme
Stare Decisis (let the decision stand) Court, they could have explicitly done so they could not have ignored
the meticulous ordering of the provisions.
- To adhere to precedent and not to unsettle things that are
settled. Valenzuela arbitrarily ignored the express intent of the Constitutional
Commission to have Section 4 (1), Article VIII stand independently of
Article 8 of the NCC, judicial decisions pertains to the decisions of any other provision, least of all one found in Article VIII a
the Supreme Court and not of the lower courts. misrepresentation like Valenzuela should not be allowed to last after
its false premises have been exposed, Valenzuela now deserves to be
quickly sent to the dusbin of the unworthy and forgettable.

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Maranan, Roland D. Statutory Construction
FEU Law, JD4104
Provides for the mechanisms or steps by which a right may
be enforced or a wrong may be redressed.
Law

(general sense) science of moral rules founded on the rational Persons affected
nature of man - Public Law
Governs the conduct of state, government, public officials
(specific sense) a rule of conduct, just, obligatory, promulgated by and employees, their relationship with each other, and their
legitimate authority, and of common observance and benefit. relationships with the people

- Private Law
Classification of Laws Governs, defines, regulates and administers the relationship
Extent of Enforceability among private individuals, corporations, and organizations.
- General Law
Enforceable throughout the entire territory of a state Force
- Special Law - Mandatory Law
Limited to specific territory of a state (local law) or is Commands the doing, performance, or observance of an
applicable to a particular person act.

GE: Territory - Prohibitory Law


Exception: Subject To restrain the commission of an act, or command a person
from not doing an act.
General Law vs. Special Law
- Directory Law
SPECIAL LAW WILL PREVAIL Provides for either a direction or an instruction, the
observance of which is a matter of convenience.

Whether a right is created or procedure is Their effect and operation


provided - Prospective Law
- Substantive Law Applies to acts, situations, or events that will happen after
Creates a right, and imposes an obligation its effectively.
- Procedural Law
- Retroactive Law

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Maranan, Roland D. Statutory Construction
FEU Law, JD4104
Applies to acts, situation, or events that happened even
before its passage or enactment.
Tawang Multi-Purpose Cooperative vs. LTWD
Terms used The President, Congress, and the Court cannot create
- Affirmative Laws
directly franchises for the operation of a public utility that
Couched in affirmative terms
are exclusive in character. The 1935, 1973, and the 1987
Constitution expressly and clearly prohibit the creation of
- Negative Laws
Expressed in negative terms. Generally prohibitory law. franchises that are exclusive in character.

Contracts are not subject of statutory and constitutional


construction. Their interpretation is generally covered by the rules STATUTE
laid down by the Civil Code.
The law enacted by the legislature

Parts of a Statute
CONSTITUTION
Official citation
Written enactment by the direct action of the people providing for Title
the form of government and defining the powers of the several Enacting clause
departments.
Preamble
Body
Separability clause
Doctrine of Constitutional Supremacy
Repealing clause
- If the law or contract violates any norm of the constitution, Effectivity clause
that law or contract is null and void. The Constitution is the Definition section
fundamental paramount and supreme law of the nation, it Interpretation section
is deemed written in every statute and contract. Saving clause

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Maranan, Roland D. Statutory Construction
FEU Law, JD4104
BANAT v. COMELEC White Light Corporation v. City of Manila, G.R. No. 122846,
January 20, 2009
The constitutional requirement that every bill passed by
the Congress shall embrace only one subject which shall be Test of a Valid Ordinance - A long line of decisions has held that
for an ordinance to be valid, it must not only be within the
expressed in the title thereof is satisfied if the title is
corporate powers of the local government unit to enact and must
comprehensive enough to include subjects related to the be passed according to the procedure prescribed by law, it must
general purpose which the statute seeks to achieve. also conform to the following substantive requirements:
(1)must not contravene the Constitution or any statute;
(2)must not be unfair or oppressive;
ORDINANCE (3)must not be partial or discriminatory;
(4)must not prohibit but may regulate trade;
Law passed by the legislative bodies of the local government units. (5)must be general and consistent with public policy; and
Resolution (6)must not be unreasonable.

Merely a declaration of the sentiment or opinion of a lawmaking


body on a specific matter.
Doctrine of Vagueness

When a statute lacks comprehensible standards that men of


Fernando v. St. Scholasticas College
common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and
Compelling the respondents to construct their fence in differ as to its application.
accordance with the assailed ordinance is, thus, a clear . Doctrine of Overbreadth
encroachment on their right to property, which necessarily
includes their right to decide how best to protect their Invades the protected freedoms. Applicable only to free speech
cases.
property. It also appears that requiring the exposure of
their property via a see-thru fence is violative of their right
to privacy.
LEGISLATIVE INTENT

Purpose of the legislature in enacting the law, or the meaning the


legislature seeks to convey.

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Maranan, Roland D. Statutory Construction
FEU Law, JD4104

Rules in Determining Legislative Intent Gonzales III vs. Office of the President
Literal rule when the law is clear, plain, and free from It is a basic canon of statutory construction that in interpreting a
ambiguity, it must be given its literal meaning and applied statute, care, should be taken that every part thereof be given
without any interpretation or even construction. effect.

Purpose rule laws are to be construed in the light of the Provisions of law should be read and understood in their
purpose for which the law is passed or enacted. entirety and all parts thereof should be seen as
constituting a coherent whole.
Between two interpretations, the one that defeats the
purpose for which the law is enacted shall be disregarded
and other that achieves the intended purpose of the
legislature shall be upheld. Presumption

Mischief rule in construing a law, the evil and the remedy - Aids to reasoning and argumentation, which assume the
for its suppression should be kept in mind and the law truth of certain matters for the purpose of some given
should be construed in the light of the evil sought to be inquiry.
remedied. Effects of Presumption in Construction and Interpretation

Golden rule ordinary words must be given their ordinary - To create the need of presenting evidence to overcome the
and natural meaning, and special or technical words their prima facie case that shall prevail in the absence of proof to
special or technical meanings, unless the meaning would the contrary.
result to absurdity. Burden of proof

- He who claims the contrary has the duty to present


evidence
Legislative Intent can be discovered from the four corners of the
statute. (Every section, provision or clause of the statute)
Relevant Presumptions

PRESUMPTION AGAINST UNCONSTITUTIONALITY

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Maranan, Roland D. Statutory Construction
FEU Law, JD4104
Every statute is presumed valid. The presumption is that the 4. The case is capable of repetition yet
legislature intended to enact a valid, sensible and just law evading review
xxx (Farinas v. the Executive Secretary) b. The person challenging the act must have locus
standi
Can be overcome only by the clearest showing that there
was indeed an infraction of the Constitution In private suits real-parties-in interest

In public suits direct injury test


Requisites for Judicial Inquiry in Constitutional Litigation The person who impugns the validity of a statute
must have a personal and substantial interest in
a. There must be an actual case or controversy calling the case such that he has sustained, or will sustain
the exercise of judicial power direct injury as a result. (People vs. Vera)
- Conflict of legal rights
- assertion of opposite legal claims i. Involves constitutional issues
susceptible of judicial resolution ii. Taxpayers illegal disbursement of
- Ripe for adjudication public funds
iii. Voters validity of election law
iv. Concerned citizens showing that
Moot and Academic Principle issues raised are of transcendental
importance
- When there is not more actual controversy v. Legislators infringes upon their
between the parties or no useful purpose prerogatives as legislators.
can be served in passing upon the mertis.

Exception c. Question of constitutionality must be raised at the


earliest opportunity
1. Grave violation of the Constitution
2. Exceptional character of the situation and A party may raise its unconstitutionality or invalidity
paramount public interest is involved on every occasion that the regulation is being
3. Constitutional issue raised requires enforce. The party assailing the regulation must
formulation of controlling principles to show that it has been raised at the earliest
guide the bench, the bar, and the public opportunity. (Carbonilla v, Board of Airline
Representatives)

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Maranan, Roland D. Statutory Construction
FEU Law, JD4104
d. Issue of constitutionality must be the very lis mota The Philippines adopts the generally accepted principles of
of the case. international law as part of the law of the land.

- The case cannot be legally resolved unless


the constitutionality question raised is Principle of pacta sunt servanda performance of the good faith of
determined. treaty obligations on the part of the states that enter into the
agreement.

Unconstitutional
International Law vs. Administrative Issuances
Recognizes the presumption of constitutionality that every statute
enjoys. If the court finds a statute or any provision thereof
contravenes the constitution. Deutsche Bank AG Manila vs. CIR
Our Constitution provides adherence to the general principles of
Not Constitutional international law as part of the law of the land. The time-
honored international principle of pacta sunt servanda
Negates the presumption of constitutionality. It gives the demands performance in good faith of treaty obligations on the
impression that the statute has never been constitutional part of the states that enter into the agreement.

Effects of the Unconstitutionality of a provision of a statute

GE: where a part of a statute is void, while the other part is valid, PRESUMPTION AGAINST INJUSTICE
the valid portion, if separable, may stand and be enforced.
Article 10 of the NCC
Exception: parts of the statute are so mutually dependent and In case of doubt in the interpretation or application of laws,
connected, legislature enacted them as a whole, the nullity of one it is presumed that the lawmaking body intended right and
part will vitiate the rest. justice to prevail.
PRESUMPTION AGAINST VIOLATION OF INTERNATIONAL
LAW
PRESUMPTION AGAINST ABSURDITY
Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution - Unnecessary inconvenience

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Maranan, Roland D. Statutory Construction
FEU Law, JD4104
- Requires doing something that is
PMO vs. STRADEC
impossible
- Creates internal inconsistency or The peoples right to information does not warrant the
incompatibility within a statute, or creates award of bid to Dong-A Consortium.
repugnancy
The court does not condone the incongruous
Brent School v. Zamora interpretations of the courts a quo that the publics right
Article 280 of the Labor Code clearly appears to prevent to information merits both an explanation of the indicative
circumvention of the employees right to be secure in his tenure price and an automatic award of the bid to Dong-A
ruling out all written or oral agreements with the concept of Consortium illogical considering that, in order to win a
regular employment, should be construed to refer to the bid, bidders could simply demand explanations ad
substantive evil to circumvent security of tenure. infinitum. Government agencies would then be required to
It should have not application to instances where a fixed discuss each and every method of computation used in
period of employment was agreed upon knowingly by the arriving at a valuation. As a result, the bidders would
parties without force, duress etc., upon the employee and unduly exhaust the time, efforts, and resources of all
absent of vitiating his consent. participants in the process. this could open courts to a
multitude of suits.

- Makes a law illogical, incoherent, or Absurdity in Procedural Laws


incompatible with the legislative intent

Gamboa v. Teves PRESUMPTION AGAINST INEFFECTIVENESS

The term capital in Section 11, Article XII of the an interpretation that would make the law effective by
achieving its intended purpose should be favored.
Constitution refers only to shares of stock entitled to vote
in the election of directors, and thus in the present case PRESUMPTION AGAINST UNDESIRABLE CONSEQUENCES
only to common shares, and not to the total outstanding
capital stock compromising both common and non-voting PRESUMPTION AGAINST IMPLIED REPEAL
preferred shares.

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Maranan, Roland D. Statutory Construction
FEU Law, JD4104
Implied repeal is not favored. Penera vs. COMELEC
Conflicting provisions of two laws, the judge should first The decision under reconsideration considers a person who files
exert effort in reconciling and harmonizing the prior and later laws. a certificate of candidacy already a candidate even before the
start of the campaign period contrary to the clear intent and
letter of the law
Repeal

- Complete abrogation by the enactment of a


Lledo vs. Lledo
subsequent statute
Two accepted instances of implied repeal:
Amendment
- When the provisions in the two acts on the
- An alteration in the law already existing, leaving
same subject matter are irreconcilably
some part of the original still standing.
contradictory (later act constitutes an implied
Desuetude repeal of the earlier one)
- Later act covers the whole subject of the earlier
- A statute is not repealed by non-use (Article 7 of one and is clearly intended as a substitute.
NCC)

Executive Secretary v. Forerunner Multi Resources, Inc. PRESUMPTION AGAINST RETROSPECTIVE OPERATION OF
LAWS
The failure to add a specific repealing clause indicates that the
intent was not to repeal previous administrative issuances.

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