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Dela Cerna, Hannah Keziah P.

I- Wigmore (Group 2)

Statutory Construction Written Report

“OR” vs. “AND”


The conjunctive word ‘and’ has legal significance. It is not, by any chance, a
surplusage in the law. It means ‘in addition to’ (McCaull Webster Elevator
Company versus Adams, 167 Northwestern Reporter, 330, page 332). The
word ‘and’ connects words, phrases, or full sentences. It relates one thing to


The word “or” is a disjunctive term signifying disassociation and independence

of one thing from each of the other things enumerated.

A case that perfectly illustrates the significance of the word ​“and” is the
case of ​GMRC v. Bell Telecom​ (271 SCRA 790, 1997).

GMRC v. Bell Telecom Case Digest

Facts: On 19 October 1993, Bell Telecom (BellTel) filed with the National
Telecommunications Commission (NTC) an application for a certificate of
public convenience with a further request for the issuance of a provisional
authority (NTC Case 93-481). On 25​th of March 1994, RA 7692 was enacted
which granted Bell Telecom a legislative franchise to operate business of
providing telecommunication services.On the 12​th of July 1994, Bell Telecom
filed a second application for a certificate of public convenience, proposing to
install 2.6 million telephone lines in 10 years and to provide a 100% digital
local exchange network (NTC Case 94-229). It also moved for the withdrawal
of the first application, without prejudice, which was granted by the NTC. Bell
Telecom’s application (2nd ) was opposed by various telecommunication
companies. Bell Telecom’s application was referred to the Common Carriers
Authorization Department (CCAD), which found its proposal technically
feasible and the company to be financially capable. The two deputy
commissioners of the NTC signified their approval of the CCAD
recommendation. The working draft was prepared by the legal department,
was initialed by the two deputy commissioners, but was not signed by NTC
Commissioner Simeon Kintanar. BellTel filed a motion to promulgate, after
previously filing two urgent ex parte motions to resolve the applications which
were not acted upon by the NTC. On the 4th of July 1995, the NTC denied the
motion in an order signed solely by Commissioner Kintanar. On 17 July 1995,
BellTel filed a petition for certiorari, mandamus and prohibition against NTC
before the Supreme Court. The Court referred the case to the Court of
Appeals pursuant to Paragraph 1, Section 9 of BP 129. The Court of Appeals
granted BellTel’s position. Hence, this petition for review was filed by
Commissioner Kintanar and the other opposing telecommunications

Issue: ​Is the vote of the Chairman of the Commission alone sufficient to
legally render an NTC order, resolution or decision?

Held: “The Commission shall be composed of a Commissioner and two

Deputy Commissioners, preferably one of whom shall be a lawyer and
another an economist.” Having used the phrase “and two deputy
commissioners” means that the Commission is not only composed of one
person but three people. Kintanar is not the commission itself; he is but a part
of it. Having been organized under Executive Order 146 as a three-man
commission, the NTC is a collegial body and was a collegial body even during
the time it was acting as a one-man regime. NTC is a collegial body requiring
a majority vote out of three members of the commission in order to validly
decide a case or any incident therein. The vote alone of the chairman of the
Commission, absent the required concurring vote coming from the rest of the
membership of the commission to at least arrive at a majority decision, is not
sufficient to legally render an NTC order, resolution or decision. NTC Circulars
1-1-93, 3-1-93 and the Order of Kintanar, declaring the NTC as a single entity
or non-collegial entity, are contrary to law and thus are null and void.

Three cases that clearly illustrate the importance of the word “or” are the
cases of ​US v. De la Santa (9 Phil 22, 1907), ​Hda. Luisita Inc. V. PARC
(G.R. No. 171101, November 22, 20-11), & ​Romulo v. HDM ​found below:


FACTS: The complaint charges the defendant, De la santa, with the crime of
seduction (estupro) of a woman over 12 and under 23 years of age, as
defined and penalized in article 443 of the Penal Code. It is alleged that the
defendant seduced Teofila Sevilla under promise of marriage early in the year
1902, at which time she was less than 21 years of age. The complaint was
not filed until February, 1906, when she was more than 24 though less than
25 years of age, and was signed, sworn, and submitted by one Esteban
Sevilla, at whose "instance" these proceedings were had, he appearing as the
private prosecutor and alleging that he is the father of the said Teofila Sevilla.

"Criminal proceedings for seduction can only be instituted on the complaint of

the offended person or her parents, grandparents, or guardian.” The accused
objected that the trial court does not have jurisdiction over the case because
of procedural infirmity, specifically because it was only Teofilla’s father who
filed the complaint.

ISSUE: ​Should the complaint be dismissed because it was only filed by

Teofilla’s father?
HELD: ​The right to institute criminal proceedings in cases of seduction could
not be reposed in the offended person, her parents, grandparents, and
guardian, at one and the same time, without occasioning grave difficulties in
the administration of justice, resulting from the attempts of some of these
persons to institute criminal proceedings contrary to the wish and desire of the
others. Hence, although these persons are mentioned disjunctively, the above
provision of the Penal Code must be construed as meaning that the right to
institute criminal proceedings in cases of seduction is exclusively and
successively reposed in these persons in the order in which they are named,
so that no one of them has authority to proceed if there is any other person
previously mentioned therein with legal capacity to appear and institute the
action. Since the victim here was over 23 years old but less than 25 years of
age at the time when the complaint was filed, she was already of full age and
has the capacity to file the action for herself. The judgment of conviction of the
trial court should be, and is hereby, reversed and the complaint instituted in
these proceedings should be, and is hereby, dismissed


FACTS: ​On July 5, 2011, the Supreme Court en banc voted unanimously
(11-0) to dismiss the petition filed by HLI and AFFIRM with modifications the
resolutions of the PARC revoking HLI’s Stock Distribution Plan (SDP) and
placing the subject lands in Hacienda Luisita under compulsory coverage of
the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) of the government.

The Court however did not order outright land distribution. Voting 6-5, the
Court noted that there are operative facts that occurred in the interim and
which the Court cannot validly ignore. Thus, the Court declared that the
revocation of the SDP must, by application of the operative fact principle, give
way to the right of the original 6,296 qualified farmworkers-beneficiaries
(FWBs) to choose whether they want to remain as HLI stockholders or
[choose actual land distribution]. It thus ordered the Department of Agrarian
Reform (DAR) to “immediately schedule meetings with the said 6,296 FWBs
and explain to them the effects, consequences and legal or practical
implications of their choice, after which the FWBs will be asked to manifest, in
secret voting, their choices in the ballot, signing their signatures or placing
their thumb marks, as the case may be, over their printed names.”

The parties thereafter filed their respective motions for reconsideration of

the Court decision.

The respondents argue that the operative fact doctrine is a rule of equity
which may only be applied in the absence of a law. According to them, there
is a positive law which mandates the distribution of the land as a result of the
revocation of the SDP.

ISSUE (which is relevant to the topic): Can the operative fact doctrine be
applied in the instant case?

HELD: ​The operative fact doctrine can be applied in the case. the last
paragraph of Sec. 31 of RA 6657 states, ​“If within two (2) years from the
approval of this Act, the land or stock transfer envisioned above is not made
or realized ​or the plan for such stock distribution approved by the PARC
within the same period, the agricultural land of the corporate owners or
corporation shall be subject to the compulsory coverage of this Act.”
Markedly, the use of the word or under the last paragraph of Sec. 31 of RA
6657 connotes that the law gives the corporate landowner an option to avail
of the stock distribution option or to have the SDP approved within two (2)
years from the approval of RA 6657. This interpretation is consistent with the
well-established principle in statutory construction that the word or is a
disjunctive term signifying disassociation and independence of one thing from
the other things enumerated; it should, as a rule, be construed in the sense in
which it ordinarily implies, as a disjunctive word. Given that HLI secured
approval of its SDP in November 1989, well within the two-year period
reckoned from June 1988 when RA 6657 took effect, then HLI did not violate
the last paragraph of Sec. 31 of RA 6657. Pertinently, said provision does not
bar the Court from applying the operative fact doctrine.


FACTS: Romulo, Mabanta, Buenaventura, Sayoc and De Los Angeles Law

firm (petitioner), was exempted for the period January 1, 1994 to December
31, 1995, from the Pag-IBIG Fund coverage by respondent HDMF because of
a superior retirement plan. The HDMF Board of Trustees, pursuant to Section
5 of Republic Act No. 7742, issued Board Resolution No. 1011, Series of
1995, amending and modifying the Rules and Regulations Implementing R.A.
No. 7742. As amended, Section 1 of Rule VII provides that for a company to
be entitled to a waiver or suspension of Fund coverage, 3 it must have a plan
providing for both provident/retirement and housing benefits superior to those
provided under the Pag-IBIG Fund.

Petitioner submitted to the HDMF a letter explaining that the Amendments to

the Rules are invalid. In that the amendments are void insofar as they
abolished the exemption granted by Section 19 of P.D. 1752, as amended.
The repeal of such exemption involves the exercise of legislative power,
which cannot be delegated to HMDF. HDMF disapproved petitioner’s
application on the ground that the requirement that there should be both a
provident retirement fund and a housing plan is clear in the use of the phrase
“and/or,” and that the Rules Implementing R.A. No. 7742 did not amend nor
repeal Section 19 of P.D. No. 1752 but merely implement the law. The
respondent Board was merely exercising its rule-making power under Section
13 of P.D. No. 1752. It had the option to use “and” only instead of “or” in the
rules on waiver in order to effectively implement the Pag-IBIG Fund Law. By
choosing “and,” the Board has clarified the confusion brought about by the
use of “and/or” in Section 19 of P.D. No. 1752, as amended.

PETITIONER filed a petition for review before the Court of Appeals but was

ISSUE:​ Whether or not the board of HDMF exceeded its delegated power.
HELD: ​Yes, the board of HDMF has exceeded its power. It seems to us clear
from the language of the enabling law that Section 19 of P.D. No. 1752
intended that an employer with a provident plan or an employee housing plan
superior to that of the fund may obtain exemption from coverage. If the law
had intended that the employee [sic] should have both a superior provident
plan and a housing plan in order to qualify for exemption, it would have used
the words “and” instead of “and/or.” Notably, paragraph (a) of Section 19
requires for annual certification of waiver or suspension, that the features of
the plan or plans are superior to the fund or continue to be so. The law
obviously contemplates that the existence of either plan is considered as
sufficient basis for the grant of an exemption; needless to state, the
concurrence of both plans is more than sufficient. To require the existence of
both plans would radically impose a more stringent condition for waiver which
was not clearly envisioned by the basic law. By removing the disjunctive word
“or” in the implementing rules, the respondent Board has exceeded its

EXCEPTION: ​The word “or”, although used generally as a disjunctive word,

has been held to mean as “and” when the spirit of the law so warrants. Two
cases which demonstrate this are ​US v. de la Sabta (9 Phil 22, 1907) and
Gonzales v. COMELEC​ (G.R. No. L-28196).


The word “or” in Sec 2, Rule 112 of the Rules of Court authorizing a municipal
judge (now municipal trial judge) to conduct preliminary examination or
investigation may mean and because under the law he has authority to
conduct both the first and second stages of preliminary investigation


FACTS: ​In June 1967, Republic Act 4913 was passed. This law provided for
the COMELEC to hold a plebiscite for the proposed amendments to the
Constitution. It was provided in the said law that the plebiscite shall be held on
the same day that the general national elections shall be held (November 14,
1967). This was questioned by Ramon Gonzales and other concerned groups
as they argued that this was unlawful as there would be no proper
submission of the proposals to the people who would be more interested in
the issues involved in the general election rather than in the issues involving
the plebiscite.

Gonzales also questioned the validity of the procedure adopted by Congress

when they came up with their proposals to amend the Constitution (RA 4913).
In this regard, the COMELEC and other respondents interposed the defense
that said act of Congress cannot be reviewed by the courts because it is a
political question.
ISSUE: Whether or not a plebiscite may be held simultaneously with a
general election.

HELD: Yes. There is no prohibition to the effect that a plebiscite must only be
held on a special election. SC held that there is nothing in this provision of the
[1935] Constitution to indicate that the election therein referred to is a special,
not a general election. The circumstance that the previous amendment to the
Constitution had been submitted to the people for ratification in special
elections merely shows that Congress deemed it best to do so under the
circumstances then obtaining. It does not negate its authority to submit
proposed amendments for ratification in general elections.



It means mainly, mostly, or generally.


This word is used to signify the exclusion of others not mentioned. It can be
held to mean “only” or “solely”.

ALFON v. REPUBLIC (97 SCRA 859, 1980)

FACTS: Petitioner Maria Estrella Veronica Primitiva Duterte through her

counsel, Atty. Rosauro Alvarez, prayed to the court that her name be changed
from Maria Estrella Veronica Primitiva Duterte to Estrella S. Alfon. The lower
court dismissed her petition. It reasoned out that her birth certificate clearly
shows that her father is Filomeno Duterte. Petitioner likewise admitted this
fact in her testimony. To allow petitioner to change her surname from Duterte
to Alfon is equivalent to allowing her to use her mother's surname. Article 364
of the Civil Code provides: “Legitimate and legitimated children shall
principally use the surname of the father.”

ISSUE: ​Did the lower court err in interpreting Article 364 of the Civil Code and
dismissing the petition?

HELD: ​Yes. The lower court should have granted the petition. The only
reason why the lower court denied the petitioner's prayer to change her
surname is that as legitimate child of Filomeno Duterte and Estrella Alfon she
should principally use the surname of her father invoking Art. 364 of the Civil
Code. But the word "principally" as used in the codal provision is not
equivalent to "exclusively" so that there is no legal obstacle if a legitimate or
legitimated child should choose to use the surname of its mother to which it is
equally entitled.

FACTS: Perfecto Floresca et al are the heirs of the deceased employees of

Philex Mining Corporation who, while working at its copper mines
underground operations in Tuba, Benguet on June 28, 1967, died as a result
of the cave-in that buried them in the tunnels of the mine. Their complaint
alleges that Philex, in violation of government rules and regulations,
negligently and deliberately failed to take the required precautions for the
protection of the lives of its men working underground. Floresca et al moved
to claim their benefits pursuant to the Workmen’s Compensation Act before
the Workmen’s Compensation Commission. They also filed a separate civil
case against Philex for damages. Philex sought the dismissal of the civil case
as it insisted that Floresca et al have already claimed benefits under the
Workmen’s Compensation Act.

ISSUE: ​Is Phillex’s contention that, the action to file benefits under the WCA
is exclusive, correct?

HELD:​ Yes. Under the law, Floresca et al could only do either one. If they
filed for benefits under the WCA then they will be estopped from proceeding
with a civil case before the regular courts. Conversely, if they sued before the
civil courts then they would also be estopped from claiming benefits under the

CHAVEZ v. NHA (G.R. No. 164527, August 15, 2007)

FACTS: On August 5, 2004, former Solicitor General Francisco Chavez, filed

an instant petition raising constitutional issues on the JVA entered by National
Housing Authority and R-II Builders, Inc.

On March 1, 1988, then-President Cory Aquino issued Memorandum order

No. (MO) 161 approving and directing implementation of the Comprehensive
and Integrated Metropolitan Manila Waste Management Plan. During this
time, Smokey Mountain, a wasteland in Tondo, Manila, are being made
residence of many Filipinos living in a subhuman state.

As presented in MO 161, NHA prepared feasibility studies to turn the

dumpsite into low-cost housing project, thus, Smokey Mountain Development
and Reclamation Project (SMDRP), came into place. RA 6957
(Build-Operate-Transfer Law) was passed on July 1990 declaring the
importance of private sectors as contractors in government projects.
Thereafter, Aquino proclaimed MO 415 applying RA 6957 to SMDRP, among
others. The same MO also established EXECOM and TECHCOM in the
execution and evaluation of the plan, respectively, to be assisted by the
Public Estates Authority (PEA).

Notices of public bidding to become NHA’s venture partner for SMDRP were
published in newspapers in 1992, from which R-II Builders, Inc. (RBI) won the
bidding process. Then-President Ramos authorized NHA to enter into a Joint
Venture Agreement with RBI.
Under the JVA, the project involves the clearing of Smokey Mountain for
eventual development into a low cost housing complex and
industrial/commercial site. RBI is expected to fully finance the development of
Smokey Mountain and reclaim 40 hectares of the land at the Manila Bay
Area. The latter together with the commercial area to be built on Smokey
Mountain will be owned by RBI as enabling components. If the project is
revoked or terminated by the Government through no fault of RBI or by
mutual agreement, the Government shall compensate RBI for its actual
expenses incurred in the Project plus a reasonable rate of return not
exceeding that stated in the feasibility study and in the contract as of the date
of such revocation, cancellation, or termination on a schedule to be agreed
upon by both parties.

To summarize, the SMDRP shall consist of Phase I and Phase II. Phase I of
the project involves clearing, levelling-off the dumpsite, and construction of
temporary housing units for the current residents on the cleared and levelled
site. Phase II involves the construction of a fenced incineration area for the
on-site disposal of the garbage at the dumpsite.

Due to the recommendations done by the DENR after evaluations done, the
JVA was amended and restated (now ARJVA) to accommodate the design
changes and additional work to be done to successfully implement the
project. The original 3,500 units of temporary housing were decreased to
2,992. The reclaimed land as enabling component was increased from 40
hectares to 79 hectares, which was supported by the issuance of
Proclamation No. 465 by President Ramos. The revision also provided for the
119-hectare land as an enabling component for Phase II of the project.

Subsequently, the Clean Air Act was passed by the legislature which made
the establishment of an incinerator illegal, making the off-site dumpsite at
Smokey Mountain necessary. On August 1, 1998, the project was
suspended, to be later reconstituted by President Estrada in MO No. 33.

On August 27, 2003, the NHA and RBI executed a Memorandum of

Agreement whereby both parties agreed to terminate the JVA and
subsequent agreements. During this time, NHA reported that 34 temporary
housing structures and 21 permanent housing structures had been turned
over by RBI.

ISSUE: ​Is the petitioner’s contention that, the power and authority to reclaim
lands of the public domain is vested exclusively in PEA, correct?

HELD: ​Executive Order 525 reads that the PEA shall be primarily responsible
for integrating, directing, and coordinating all reclamation projects for and on
behalf of the National Government. This does not mean that it shall be
responsible for all. The requisites for a valid and legal reclamation project are
approval by the President, favourable recommendation of PEA (which were
seen as a part of its recommendations to the EXECOM), and undertaken
either by PEA or entity under contract of PEA or by the National Government
Agency (NHA is a government agency whose authority to reclaim lands under
consultation with PEA is derived under PD 727 and RA 7279).


A term is a fixed period of time, whereas tenure is not.

The tenure represents the term during which the incumbent actually holds the

APPARI v. CA (127 SCRA 231, 1984)

FACTS: ​On January 15, 1960, private respondent approved the following
Resolution No.13, hereby appointing Mr. Bruno Aparri, as general manager of
NARRA, with all the rights, prerogatives and compensations to take effect on
January 116, 1960. On March 15, 1962, the board of directors approved
Resolution No. 24 which stating thereat that the incumbent general manager
shall perform his duty up to the close of office hour on March 31, 1962. In
accordance with the provisions of section 8, sub-section 2 of RA 1160. It
hereby fixes the term of office of the incumbent general manager until march
31, 1962. Petitioner filed a mandamus with preliminary injunction with the first
instance court. The petition pray for the annulment of the resolution of
NARRA board.

ISSUE: Was the board resolution No. 24 a removal or dismissal of petitioner

without cause?

HELD: It was affirmed that the term of office of petitioner expired on March
31, 1962. It is necessary in each case to interpret the word ​“term” with the
purview of the statutes so as to effectuate the statutory scheme pertaining to
the office under examination. In the case at bar, the term of office is not fixed
by law. However, the power to fix the term is rested in the board of directors
subject to the recommendation of the office of economic coordination and the
approval of the President of the Philippines. Resolution No. 24 speaks of no
removal but an expiration of the term of office of the petitioner. The statute is
undeniably clear. "It is the rule in statutory construction that if the words and
phrases of a statute are not obscure or ambiguous. Its meaning and intention
of the legislative must be determined from the language employed and where
there is no ambiguity in words, there is no room for construction.

The petitioner in this case was not removed before the expiration of his term
rather, his right to hold office ceased by the expiration on March 31, 1962, of
his term to hold such office.

"Every" means each one of a group, without exception It means all possible
and all taken one by one.

NHC v. NLRC (G.R. No. L-64313, January 17, 1985)

FACTS: ​Private respondent (Benjamin C. Juco) was a project engineer of the

National Housing Corporation (NHC) from November 16, 1970 to May 14,
1975. For having been implicated in a crime of theft and/or malversation of
public funds involving 214 pieces of scrap G.I. pipes owned by the corporation
which was allegedly committed on March 5, 1975. Juco's services were
terminated by (NHC) effective as of the close of working hours on May 14,
1975. On March 25, 1977 he filed a complaint for illegal dismissal against
petitioner (NHC) with Regional Office No. 4, Department of Labor (now
Ministry of Labor and Employment) docketed as R04-3-3309-77 (Annex A,
Petition). The said complaint was certified by Regional Branch No. IV of the
NLRC for compulsory arbitration where it was docketed as Case No.
RB-IV-12038-77 and assigned to Labor Arbiter Ernilo V. Peñalosa. The latter
conducted the hearing. By agreement of the parties, the case was submitted
for resolution upon submission of their respective position papers. Private
respondent (Juco) submitted his position paper on July 15, 1977. He
professed innocence of the criminal acts imputed against him contending
"that he was dismissed based on purely fabricated charges purposely to
harass him because he stood as a witness in the theft case filed against
certain high officials of the respondent's establishment" (NHC) and prayed for
'his immediate reinstatement to his former position in the (NHC) without loss
of seniority rights and the consequent payment of his will back wages plus all
the benefits appertaining thereto. On July 28, 1977, the NHC also filed its
position paper alleging that the Regional Office Branch IV, Manila, NLRC, "is
without authority to entertain the case for lack of jurisdiction, considering that
the NHC is a government owned and controlled corporation”

ISSUE: Are employees of the National Housing Corporation (NHC) covered

by the Labor Code or by laws and regulations governing the civil service?

HELD:​ Section 1, Article XII-B of the Constitution specifically provides:

The Civil Service embraces ​every branch, agency, subdivision, and

instrumentality of the Government, including every government-owned or
controlled corporation. Section I of Article XII-B, Constitution uses the word
"every" to modify the phrase "government-owned or controlled corporation."
"Every" means each one of a group, without exception It means all possible
and all taken one by one. This means that employees of the NHC are
governed by the regulations of the Civil Service.