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Statutory Construction Notes

Statutory Construction Notes

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Published by: priam gabriel d salidaga on Aug 06, 2009
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STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION
CHAPTER IPRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS
STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION DEFINED
Statutory Construction
the art or process of discovering andexpounding the meaning and intention of the authors of the law withrespect to its application to a given case, where that intention is rendereddoubtful, among others, by reason of the fact that the given case is notexplicitly provided for in the law. Justice Martin defines statutory construction as the art of seeking theintention of the legislature in enacting a statute and applying it to agiven state of facts.A judicial function is required when a statute is invoked and differentinterpretations are in contention.Difference between judicial legislation and statutory construction:Where legislature attempts to do several things one which is invalid, itmay be discarded if the remainder of the act is workable and in no waydepends upon the invalid portion, but if that portion is an integral part of the act, and its excision changes the manifest intent of the act bybroadening its scope to include subject matter or territory which was notincluded therein as enacted, such excision is “judicial legislation” andnot “statutory construction”.
CONSTRUCTION AND INTERPRETATION, DISTINGUISHED
Construction
is the drawing of conclusions with respect to subjects thatare beyond the direct expression of the text, while
interpretation
is theprocess of discovering the true meaning of the language used.Interpretation is limited to exploring the written text. Construction onthe other hand is the drawing of conclusions, respecting subjects that liebeyond the direct expressions of the text.
 
SITUS OF CONSTRUCTION AND INTERPRETATION
In our system of government:
Legislative power is vested in the Congress of the Philippines – theSenate and the House of the Representatives
Executive power is vested in the President of the Republic of thePhilippines (Art. VII, Sec.1, Phil. Const.)
 Judicial power is vested in one Supreme Court and in such lowercourts as may be established by law. (Art VIII, Sec. 1, Phil. Const.)Legislative – makes the lawExecutive - executes the law Judicial – interprets the lawSimply stated, the situs of construction and interpretation of writtenlaws belong to the judicial department.It is the duty of the Courts of Justice to settle actual controversiesinvolving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and todetermine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretionamounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch orinstrumentality of the government.Supreme Court is the one and only Constitutional Court and all otherlower courts are statutory courts and such lower courts have the powerto construe and interpret written laws.
DUTY OF THE COURTS TO CONSTRUE AND INTERPRETTHE 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 find different meanings in astatute, document, etc.A statute is ambiguous if it is admissible of two or more possiblemeanings.If the law is clear and unequivocal, the Court has no other alternativebut to apply the law and not to interpret.
 
Construction and interpretation of law come only after it has beendemonstrated that application is impossible or inadequate without them.
DIFFERENT KINDS OF CONSTRUCTION ANDINTERPRETATION
Hermeneutics
– the science or art of construction and interpretation.
Legal hermeneutics
is the systematic body of rules which arerecognized as applicable to the construction and interpretation of legal writings.Dr. Lieber in his work on Hermeneutics gives the following
classificationof the different kinds of interpretation
:
1.
Close interpretation adopted if just reasons connected with thecharacter and formation of the text induce as to take the words in thenarrowest meaning. This is generally known as
literal 
interpretation.2.Extensive interpretation also called as liberal interpretation, itadopts a more comprehensive signification of the words.3.Extravagant interpretation substitutes a meaning evidently beyondthe true one. It is therefore not genuine interpretation.4.Free or unrestricted interpretation – proceeds simply on he generalprinciples of interpretation in good faith, not bound by any specific orsuperior principle.5.Limited or restricted interpretation - influenced by other principlesthan the strictly hermeneutic ones.6.Predestined interpretation – takes place when the interpreter, laboringunder a strong bias of mind, makes the text subservient to hispreconceived views and desires.
SUBJECTS OF CONSTRUCTION AND INTERPRETATION
Most common subjects of construction and interpretation are theconstitution and statutes which include ordinances. But we may alsoadd resolutions, executive orders and department circulars.

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