You are on page 1of 6

STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION

Caltex v Palomar defines it as 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 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.

CONSTRUCTION v. INTERPRETATION
Construction drawing of conclusions with respect to subjects that are beyond the direct
expression of the text from elements known and given in the text.
Interpretation process of discovering the true meaning of the language used.

The situs of both construction and interpretation belong to the judicial department.

REQUISITIES FOR THE COURTS TO CONSTRUE AND INTERPRET LAW


Two requisites must concur before the courts become duty bound to construe and interpret laws:
1. There must be an actual case or controversy, meaning, a case brought to the court by party
litigants to hear and settle their disputes.
2. There is ambiguity in the law involved in the controversy.

WHEN IS THERE AMBIGUITY?


There is ambiguity when there is doubtfulness, doubleness of meaning, duplicity,
indistinctiveness, or uncertainty of meaning of an expression used in a written instrument. The
language used is wanting in clearness or definiteness, difficult to conmprehend and distinguish,
and of doubtful import.
Ambiguity is a condition of admitting two or more meanings, of being understood in more than
one way, or of referring to two or more things at the same time.

DIFFERENT KINDS OF CONSTRUCTION AND INTERPRETATION


Hermeneutics the science or art of construction and interpretation
Legal hermeneutics systematic body of rules which are recognized as applicable to the
construction and interpretation of legal writings.
Classification of the different kinds of interpretation:
1. Close literal interpretation; narrowest meaning
2. Extensive liberal interpretation; more comprehensive signification of the words
3. Extravagant substitutes a meaning evidently beyond the true one.
4. Free or unrestricted proceeds simply on the general principles of interpretation in good faith,
not bound by any specific or superior principle
5. Limited or restricted influenced by other principles than the strictly hermeneutic ones.

6. Predestined takes place if the interpreter, with bias, makes the text subservient to his
preconceived views and desires.

STATUTES
The legislature has the authority to make, alter or repeal laws.
Steps on the becoming of a law
1. A member of Congress introduces a proposed bill to the Secretary of Congress who will
calendar the same for the first reading. The proponent must affix his signature in the proposed
bill stating his purpose.
2. In the first reading, the bill is read by its number and title only.
3. After first reading, the House speaker refers the bill to appropriate committee for study. Public
hearings (involving necessary parties, persons, orgs or sectors of societies) shall be adopted by
the appropriate committee. The committee shall decide WON to report the bill favorably or
whether a substitute bill should be sought. (If unfavorable: bill is dead)
4. Upon favorable action by the committee, the bill shall be calendared for 2 nd reading.
5. In the2nd reading, the bill is read in its entirety.
6. The bill is set for open debates where Congress members may propose amendments and
insertions to the proposed bill.
7. After passing 2nd reading and at least 3 calendar days before its final passage, the bill is
printed in its final form and copies are distributed to the members of the House, unless the
President in writing certifies as to the necessity of the immediate enactment of the bill.
8. The bill is then calendared for 3rd and final reading. (No amendments are allowed; only the title
is read; and voting shall follow. Only a majority of the present members constituting a
quorum is needed) Quorum: 50 % plus One of the members
9. If the YES vote wins, the bill shall go to the other House where it undergo another three
readings on three separate days. If there is variance in the proposed bill, it may pass thru the
bicameral conference committee which can introduce amendments to suit both houses of
Congress, resulting to a compromise bill.
If the NO vote wins, the proposed bill is DEAD.
10. The President shall sign the law if he approves the same, otherwise, he shall veto it and
return the same with his objections to the House where it originated. If it is approved by 2/3 of
ALL its members, it shall be sent, together with the objections, to the other House, and if it is
approved by all the members of that House, it shall become a law.
If the President has not acted upon the bill within 30 days, the bill shall become a law as if
he had signed it.

CONSTITUTIONAL TEST IN THE PASSAGE OF A BILL


Re: Mechanical procedures in the passage of a bill, there are 3 requirements:
1. Every bill passed by Congress shall embrace only one subject which shall be expressed
in the title thereof. Purposes:

a. To prevent hodge-podge or log-rolling legislation;


b. To prevent surprise or fraud upon the legislature; and
c. To fairly apprise the people, through such publications of legislative proceedings
as is usually made, of the subjects of 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. No bill passed by either House shall become a law unless it has passed three readings
on separate days, and printed copies thereof in its final form have been
distributed to each member three days before its passage, except when the
President certifies to the necessity of its immediate enactment to meet a public
calamity or emergency. Upon the last reading of a bill, no amendment thereto
shall be allowed, and the vote thereon shall be taken immediately thereafter, and
the yeas and nays entered in the journal.
PARTS OF A STATUTE
a. Title heading on the preliminary part, furnishing the name by which the act is individually
known. It is usually prefixed to the statute in the form of a brief summary of its contents.
b.Preamble explains the reasons for its enactment and the objects sought to be
accomplished, usually starting with WHEREAS. It is a declaration by the legislature of the
reasons for the passage of the statute.
c. Enacting Clause declares its enactment and serves to identify it as an act of legislation
proceeding from the proper legislative authority usually starting with BE IT ENACTED
d. Body the main and operative part of he statute containing substantive and even procedural
provisions. Provisos and exceptions may also be found in the body of the statute.
e. Repealing clause announces the prior statutes or specifies provisions which have been
abrogated by reason of the enactment of the new law.
f. Saving clause a 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 provides that in the event that one or more provisions are declared
void or unconstitutional, the remaining provisions shall still be in force.
h. Effectivity clause that part of the statute which announces the effective date of the law.

KINDS OF STATUTES
1. General Law affects the community at large, relating to a subject of a general nature,
affecting all people of the state or all of a particular class
2. Special Law different from others of the same general kind or designed for a particular
purpose, or limited in range or 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 classification of law, consisting generally of constitutional,
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 officers

to the state, to each other, and to private persons, and the relations of states to one another. It
may be general, local, or special law.
5. Private Law portions of the law which defines, regulates, enforces, and administers
relationships among individuals, associations and corporations.
6. Remedial Statute provides means or methods whereby causes of action may be effectuated,
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 order to correct errors and irregularities and to
render valid and effective many attempted acts which would otherwise be ineffective for the
purpose intended.
8. Penal Statute defines criminal offenses and 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
11. Affirmative Statute couched in affirmative or mandatory terms. One which directs the doing
of an act, or declares what shall be done in contrast to a negative statute which is one that
prohibits a thing from being done, or declares what shall be done.
12. Mandatory Statute generic term describing statutes which require not merely permit a
course of action.

VAGUE STATUTES
When is it vague? When it lacks comprehensible standards that men of common
intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to its application.
They are repugnant to the Constitution because (1) it violates due process for failure to
accord persons, especially the parties targeted by it, fair notice of the conduct to avoid (2) it
leaves enforcers unbridled discretion in carrying out its provisions and becomes and arbitrary
flexing of the government muscle.

REPEALS
Express Repeal abrogation or annulling of a previously existing law by the enactment
of a subsequent statute which declares that the former law shall be revoked and abrogated.
Implied Repeal two categories:
a. Where provision in the two acts on the same subject matter are in an
irreconcilable conflict, the later act to the extent of conflict constitutes an
implied repeal of the earlier one.
b. It the later act covers the whole subject of the earlier one and is clearly
intended as a substitute, it will operate to repeal the earlier law.
TEST OF VALID ORDINANCE
An ordinance is an act passed by the local legislative body in the exercise of its lawmaking authority. In case of conflict between an ordinance and a statute, the ordinance must
give way. Why? Because municipal governments are only agents of the national government.

Local councils exercise only delegated legislative powers conferred on them by Congress as the
national law making body.
An ordinance must conform to the following substantive requirements:
1. It must not contravene the Constitution or any statute;
2. It must not be unfair or oppressive;
3. It must not be partial or discriminatory;
4. It must not prohibit but may regulate trade;
5. It must be general and consistent with public policy; and
6. It must not be unreasonable.
BASIC GUIDELINES IN THE CONSTRUCTION AND INTERPRETATION OF LAWS
1. Legislative Intent is determined principally from the language of the statute (Case: Socorro
Ramirez v. CA & Ester S. Garcia)
2. VerbaLegis(Plain Meaning Rule) The statute must be interpreted literally. If the language of
the statute is plain and free from ambiguity, and expresses a single, definite, and sensible
meaning, that meaning is conclusively presumed to be the meaning which the legislature
intended to convey. (Case: Globe Mackay v. NLRC and Imelda Salazar; FelicitoBasbacio v Sec of
Justice)
3. In interpreting a statute, care should be taken that every part be given effect. Legislative
intent must be ascertained from a consideration of the statute as a whole and not merely of a
particular provision. (JMM Promotions v NLRU; Radiola Toshiba v. IAC; Asporna v. CA & People)
4. A construction that gives to the language used in a statute a meaning that does not
accomplish the purpose for which the statute was enacted should be rejected. (De Guia v.
Comelec)
5. Between two statutory interpretations, that which better serves the purpose of the law should
prevail (Salenillas v. CA)
6. Cessanterationelegis, cessatipsalex. When the reason of the law ceases, the law itself
ceases (Case: Commendador v. Camera, et.al)
7. Doctrine of necessary implications. What is implied in a statute is as much a part thereof
as that which is expressed. (Cases: Chua v. Civil Service Commission; City of Manila v. Judge
Gomez and Esso Phils)
8. CassusOmissus pro moissohabendusest. A person, object or thing omitted from an
enumeration must be held to have been omitted intentionally. This rule can operate and apply
only if and when the omission has been clearly established. (Case: People v. Manantan)
9. Stare Decisis. Follow past precedents and do not disturb what has been settled. Matters
already decided on the merits cannot be relitigated again and again. Why? It is against public
policy that matters already decided on the merits be relitigated again, consuming the courts
time and energies at the expense of other litigants (Cases: People v. Manantan; Tuason v. Aquial,
et.al, CIR vs. Fortune Tobacco Corporation)

CONSTRUCTION AND INTERPRETATION OF WORDS AND PHRASES

1. When the law does not distinguish, courts should not distinguish. The rule, founded on logic, is
a corollary of the principle that general words and phrases of a statute should originally be
accorded their natural and general significance. (PBAC, Inc. v. IAC; Pilar v. Comelec; People v.
Evangelista &Tugonon)
2. When the law does not make any exception, courts may not except something compelling
reasons exist to justify it. (Case: De Villa v. CA)
3. General terms may be restricted by specific words, with the result that the general language
will be limited by specific language which indicates that statutes object and purpose. The rule is
applicable only to cases wherein, except for one general term, all the items in an enumeration
belong to or fall under one specific class. (Colgate-Palmolive Phils. V Jimenez; Bellis v. Bellis;
Mutuc v. Comelec)
4. Ejusdem Generis where general words follow an enumeration of persons or things, by
words of a particular, and specific meaning, such general words are not to be construed in their
widest extent, but are to be held as applying only to persons or things of the same kind or class
as those specifically mentioned. Such may be resorted to when legislative intent is uncertain.
(Republic v. Migrinio and Tecson; People v. Echavez, et.al; Vera v. Cuevas
5. ExpressioUniusEstExclusioAlterius. The express mention of one person, thing, act, or
consequence excludes all others. (Gannan v. IAC & People; Dazon v. Yap; Lerum, et. Al. v. Cruz,
et.al; Santos To v. Pano; Manabat v. De Aquino
6. Noscitur A Sociis. Associated Words. Where a particular word is equally susceptible of
various meanings, its correct construction may be made specific by considering the company of
terms in which it is found or with which it is associated. (Buenaseda v. Flavier; People v.
Santiago; Caltex v. Palomar)