Part I – Introduction to Statutory Construction (Preliminary Considerations) 1. Definition of Statutory Construction Caltex v. Palomar, G.R. No.

L-19650, September 29, 1966 Hermeneutics and Legal Hermeneutics Legis interpretatio legis vim obtinet People v. Jabinal, G.R. No. L-30061, February 27, 1974 Pesca v. Pesca, G.R. No. 136921, April 17, 2001 When is there room for interpretation or construction? Songco v. NLRC, GR L-50999 March 23, 1990 Amores v. HRET, GR 189600, June 29, 2010 Distinction Between Interpretation and Construction Classes of interpretation according to Dr. Francis Lieber Intrinsic or internal aids in Statutory Interpretation Extrinsic or External aids in Statutory Construction Situs of Construction and Interpretation

2. 3.

4.

5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

10. When can Courts Construe or Interpret the Law?
RCBC v. IAC, G.R. No. 74851, December 9, 1999

11. When courts need not resort to interpretation or construction
Go Ka Toc Sons v. Rice and Corn Board, G.R. No. L-23607, May 23, 1967 People v. Mapa, G.R. No. L-22301, August 30, 1967 Luzon Surety v. De Garcia, G.R. No. L-25659, October 31, 1969

12. Punctuation and Grammar: An Aid to Interpretation and Construction US v. Hart, G.R. No. L-8848 November 21, 1913

13. Statutory Construction vis-a-vis Judicial Legislation Floresca v. Philex Mining, G.R. No. L-30642 April 30, 1985 Republic v. CA and Molina, G.R. No. 108763, February 13, 1997

14. How must legislative intent be ascertained? Aisporna v. CA, G.R. No. L-39419 April 12, 1982 Republic v. CA and Molina, G.R. No. 108763, February 13, 1997

Statutory Construction Defined. Statutory Construction is defined 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. It as the art of seeking the intention of the legislature in enacting a statute and applying it to a given state of facts. A judicial function is required when a statute is invoked and different interpretations are in contention. When considering a statute, a court will apply rules of construction only when the language contained in the statute is ambiguous. Under the “plain-meaning” rule, if the intention of the legislature is “so apparent from the face of the statute that there can be no question as to its meaning, there is no need for the court to apply canons of construction.” Thus, before even considering what canons to apply, the court must first determine whether the statute in question is ambiguous. Courts have generally held that a statute is ambiguous when reasonably well-informed persons could understand the language in either of two or more senses. Hermeneutics and Legal Hermeneutics Hermeneutics is 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. Legis interpretatio legis vim obtinet “Legis interpretatio legis vim obtinet” is a Latin maxim which means “The construction of law obtains the force of law.” When is there room for interpretation or construction? “The final consideration is, in carrying out and interpreting the Labor Code’s provisions and its implementing regulations, the workingman’s welfare should be the primordial and paramount consideration. This kind of interpretation gives meaning and substance to the liberal and compassionate spirit of the law as provided for in Article 4 of the Labor Code which states that “all doubts in the implementation and interpretation of the provisions of the Labor Code including its implementing rules and regulations shall be resolved in favor of labor” (Abella v. NLRC, G.R. No. 71812, July 30,1987,152 SCRA 140; Manila Electric Company v. NLRC, et al., G.R. No. 78763, July 12,1989), and Article 1702 of the Civil Code which provides that “in case of doubt, all labor legislation and all labor contracts shall be construed in favor of the safety and decent living for the laborer.” [Songco v. NLRC, GR L-50999 March 23, 1990]. “A cardinal rule in statutory construction is that when the law is clear and free from any doubt or ambiguity, there is no room for construction or interpretation. There is only room for application.” [Amores v. HRET, GR 189600, June 29, 2010]. Construction and Interpretation, Distinguished.

Construction is the drawing of conclusions with respect to subjects that are 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. Dr. Lieber, Legal and Political Hermeneutics (3d edition, 1880,. by Hammond), thus expresses the distinction: “Interpretation is the art of finding out the true sense of any form of words; that is, the sense which their author intended to convey; and of enabling others to derive from them the same idea which the author intended to convey.” (p. 11.) ” Construction is the drawing of conclusions respecting subjects that lie beyond the direct expression of the text, from elements known from and given in the text – conclusions which are in the spirit though not within the letter of the text.” (p. 44.)

Interpretation has been classified as: (1) Literal (Interpretatio restrictiva) -is where the letter is closely followed, as where, in interpreting a statute, the term “man” is given an exclusively masculine sense, and where metaphorical terms are construed literally. (2) Liberal (Interpretatio extensiva) is the ascription to words of their largest sense. Of this we have an illustration in the interpretation of the words “regulate commerce” in the constitution of interpretation. (3) Arbitrary (Interpretatio predestinata) is that which subordinates interpretation to pre-assuraed construction, making the word mean that which the interpreter thinks most consistent with a preconceived scheme of his own. In this way construction is erroneously made the basis of interpretation, and not interpretation the material for construction. (4) Authoritative (Interpretatio declarativa) is that which accepts the meaning of a term as it has been affixed by the state acting either through its legislature or its judiciary.

Intrinsic or internal aids in Statutory Interpretation are those found within the statute itself. An examination of the whole of a statute, or at least those parts which deal with the subject matter of the provision to be interpreted, should give some indication of the overall purpose of the legislation. It may show that a particular interpretation of that provision will lead to absurdity when taken with another section.

Other enacting words

Explanatory notes as aids to interpretation Aids found in all laws: Long title

The use of explanatory notes in statutory interpretation is new.

Some laws have their own interpretation sections such as “Definition of Terms.” It became established that the long title could be considered as an aid to interpretation. The long title should be read as part of the context, “as the plainest of all the guides to the general objectives of a statute.”

Example: [REPUBLIC ACT NO. 10361] AN ACT INSTITUTING POLICIES FOR THE PROTECTION AND WELFARE OF DOMESTIC WORKERS That part of a statute explaining the reasons for its enactment and the objects sought to be accomplished. It usually starts with the word “Whereas”. It is therefore clearly permissible to have recourse to it as an aid to construing the enacting provisions. Preambles ceased to be used in recent legislation. It is replaced by, inter alia, “Declaration of Policies.” Examples: PREAMBLE: “WHEREAS, under Section 5 of Presidential Decree No. 705, the Bureau of Forest Development is vested with authority and jurisdiction over all forest lands including watershed reservations;” DECLARATION OF POLICIES: “SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy. – The State recognizes and guarantees the human rights of all persons including their right to equality and nondiscrimination of these rights, the right to sustainable human development, the right to health which includes reproductive health, the right to education and information, and the right to choose and make decisions for themselves in accordance with their religious convictions, ethics, cultural beliefs, and the demands of responsible parenthood.” There is some question whether the short title should be used to resolve doubt. Example: “The Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012″ Short title “When the meaning of a legislative enactment is in question, it is the duty of the courts to ascertain, if possible, the true legislative intention, and adopt that construction of the statute which will give it effect. The construction finally adopted should be based upon something more substantial than the mere punctuation found in the printed Act. If the punctuation of the statute gives it a meaning which is reasonable and in apparent accord with the legislative will, it may be used as an additional argument for adopting the literal meaning of the words of the statute as thus punctuated. But an argument based upon punctuation alone is not conclusive, and the courts will not hesitate to change the punctuation when necessary, to give to the Act the effect intended by the Legislature, disregarding superfluous or incorrect punctuation marks, and inserting others where necessary.” [G.R. No. L8848, U.S. v. Hart, Miller and Natividad]. Punctuation Body The main and operative part of the statute containing its substantive and even procedural provisions. Provisos and exceptions may also be found in the body of the law.

Preamble

Extrinsic or External aids in Statutory Construction Can be cited as authoritative statements of the law of their time, and therefore of the present law if it is shown not to have changed. The reputation of the author and the date of the book are important.

Textbooks and writers on law Other cases Dictionaries Treaties

eminent

Cases from any branch of law and from any jurisdiction are used by the courts to assist construction. Notably dictionaries of the time will be used to find out the meaning of a word in a statute. The court may consider the historical setting of the provision that is being construed.

Historical setting

Practice Congressional Record

The practice followed in the past may be a guide to construction. The official record of proceedings and debates in either house of Congress’ proceedings can be used as externals aid in statutory construction.

Situs of Construction and Interpretation. In our system of government:

Legislative power is vested in the Congress of the Philippines – the Senate and the House of the Representatives; • Executive power is vested in the President of the Republic of the Philippines (Art. VII, Sec.1, 1987 Phil. Constitution); and • Judicial power is vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law. (Art. VIII, Sec. 1, 1987 Phil. Constitution)

Legislature – makes the law; Executive – executes the law; and Judiciary – interprets the law.

Simply stated, the situs of construction and interpretation of written laws is in the judicial department . It is the duty of the Courts of Justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the government. The 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.

HOW A BILL BECOMES A LAW • House Rule X: Bills, Resolutions, Messages, Memorials and Petitions • Flowchart: Legislative Process 1. PREPARATION OF THE BILL 2. FIRST READING 3. COMMITTEE CONSIDERATION / ACTION 4. SECOND READING 5. THIRD READING 6. TRANSMITTAL OF THE APPROVED BILL TO THE SENATE 7. SENATE ACTION ON APPROVED BILL OF THE HOUSE 8. CONFERENCE COMMITTEE 9. TRANSMITTAL OF THE BILL TO THE PRESIDENT 10. PRESIDENTIAL ACTION ON THE BILL 11. ACTION ON APPROVED BILL 12. ACTION ON VETOED BILL 1. PREPARATION OF THE BILL The Member or the Bill Drafting Division of the Reference and Research Bureau prepares and drafts the bill upon the Member’s request. 2. FIRST READING 1. The bill is filed with the Bills and Index Service and the same is numbered and reproduced. 2. Three days after its filing, the same is included in the Order of Business for First Reading. 3. On First Reading, the Secretary General reads the title and number of the bill. The Speaker refers the bill to the appropriate Committee/s. 3. COMMITTEE CONSIDERATION/ACTION

The Committee where the bill was referred to evaluates it to determine the necessity of conducting public hearings. If the Committee finds it necessary to conduct public hearings, it schedules the time thereof, issues public notics and invites resource persons from the public and private sectors, the academe and experts on the proposed legislation. If the Committee finds that no public hearing is not needed, it schedules the bill for Committee discussion/s. 2. Based on the result of the public hearings or Committee discussions, the Committee may introduce amendments, consolidate bills on the same subject matter, or propose a subsitute bill. It then prepares the corresponding committee report. 3. The Committee approves the Committee Report and formally transmits the same to the Plenary Affairs Bureau. 4. SECOND READING 1. The Committee Report is registered and numbered by the Bills and Index Service. It is included in the Order of Business and referred to the Committee on Rules. 2. The Committee on Rules schedules the bill for consideration on Second Reading. 3. On Second Reading, the Secretary General reads the number, title and text of the bill and the following takes place: o Period of Sponsorship and Debate o Period of Amendments o Voting which may be by:  viva voce  count by tellers  division of the House; or  nominal voting 5. THIRD READING 1. The amendments, if any, are engrossed and printed copies of the bill are reproduced for Third Reading. 2. The engrossed bill is included in the Calendar of Bills for Third Reading and copies of the same are distributed to all the Members three days before its Third Reading. 3. On Third Reading, the Secretary General reads only the number and title of the bill. 4. A roll call or nominal voting is called and a Member, if he desires, is given three minutes to explain his vote. No amendment on the bill is allowed at this stage. 5. The bill is approved by an affirmative vote of a majority of the Members present. 6. If the bill is disapproved, the same is transmitted to the Archives. 6. TRANSMITTAL OF THE APPROVED BILL TO THE SENATE The approved bill is transmitted to the Senate for its concurrence. 7. SENATE ACTION ON APPROVED BILL OF THE HOUSE The bill undergoes the same legislative process in the Senate. 8. CONFERENCE COMMITTEE 1. A Conference Committee is constituted and is composed of Members from each House of Congress to settle, reconcile or thresh out differences or disagreements on any provision of the bill. 2. The conferees are not limited to reconciling the differences in the bill but may introduce new provisions germane to the subject matter or may report out an entirely new bill on the subject. 3. The Conference Committee prepares a report to be signed by all the conferees and the Chairman. 4. The Conference Committee Report is submitted for consideration/approval of both Houses. No amendment is allowed. 9. TRANSMITTAL OF THE BILL TO THE PRESIDENT Copies of the bill, signed by the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives and certified by both the Secretary of the Senate and the Secretary General of the House, are transmitted to the President. 10. PRESIDENTIAL ACTION ON THE BILL 1. If the bill is approved the President, the same is assigned an RA number and transmitted to the House where it originated. 2. If the bill is vetoed, the same, together with a message citing the reason for the veto, is transmitted to the House where the bill originated. 11. ACTION ON APPROVED BILL The bill is reproduced and copies are sent to the Official Gasette Office for publication and distribution to the implementing agencies. It is then included in the annual compilation of Acts and Resolutions. 12. ACTION ON VETOED BILL

1.

The message is included in the Order of Business. If the Congress decides to override the veto, the House and the Senate shall proceed separately to reconsider the bill or the vetoed items of the bill. If the bill or its vetoed items is passed by a vote of two-thirds of the Members of each House, such bill or items shall become a law. NOTE: A joint resolution having the force and effect of a law goes through the same process.

Parts of a Statute
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Title – the heading on the preliminary part, furnishing the name by which the act is individually known. It is usually prefixed to the statute in the brief summary of its contents. Preamble – part of statute explaining the reasons for its enactment and the objects sought to be accomplished. Usually, it starts with “whereas”. 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. Body – the main and operative part of the statute containing its substantive and even procedural provisions. Provisos and exceptions may also be found. Repealing Clause – announces the prior statutes or specific provisions which have been abrogated by reason of the enactment of the new law. 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. Separability Clause – provides that in the event that one or more provisions or unconstitutional, the remaining provisions shall still be in force. Effectivity Clause – announces the effective date of the law.

Constitutional Test in the Passage of a Bill. There are three (3) very important constitutional requirements in the enactment of a statute: 1. Every bill passed by Congress shall embrace only one subject which shall be expressed in the title thereof. The purposes of this constitutional requirements are:

• • •

To prevent hodge-podge or log-rolling legislation; To prevent surprise or fraud upon the legislature; and 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. CASE: Giron v. Comelec, G.R. No. 188179, January 22, 2013 2. No bill passed by either House shall become 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. CASE: Tolentino v. Sec. of Finance, G.R. No. 115455, October 30, 1995 3. Every bill passed by the Congress shall, before it becomes a law, be 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. CASE: Miller v. Mardo, G.R. No. L-15138, July 31, 1961

When can courts construe or interpret the law? It bears stressing that the first and fundamental duty of the Court is to apply the law. When the law is clear and free from any doubt or ambiguity, there is no room for construction or interpretation. As has been our consistent ruling, where the law speaks in clear and categorical language, there is no occasion for interpretation; there is only room for application.

Where the law is clear and unambiguous, it must be taken to mean exactly what it says and the court has no choice but to see to it that its mandate is obeyed. Only when the law is ambiguous or of doubtful meaning may the court interpret or construe its true intent. 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. A statute is ambiguous if it is admissible of two or more possible meanings, in which case, the Court is called upon to exercise one of its judicial functions, which is to interpret the law according to its true intent. CASE: RCBC v. IAC, G.R. No. 74851, December 9, 1999 When courts need not resort to interpretation or construction CASES: 1. GO KA TOC SONS v. RICE AND CORN BOARD, G.R. No. L-23607, May 23, 1967 “What the court a quo did was to resort to statutory construction. But this was improper as well as incorrect. The law is clear in enunciating the policy that only Filipinos and associations, partnerships or corporations 100% Filipino can engage even in the trade and acquisition of the by-products of rice and/or corn. So the court’s only duty was to apply the law as it was. The purpose of the Act, as expressed in the introductory note of the bill, can control the language of the law only in case of ambiguity. There is none here.” 2. PEOPLE v. MAPA, G.R. No. L-22301, August 30, 1967 “The law cannot be any clearer. No provision is made for a secret agent. As such he is not exempt. Our task is equally clear. The first and fundamental duty of courts is to apply the law. “Construction and interpretation come only after it has been demonstrated that application is impossible or inadequate without them.” 3. LUZON SURETY v. DE GARCIA, G.R. No. L-25659, October 31, 1969 “Its language is clear; it does not admit of doubt. No process of interpretation or construction need be resorted to. It peremptorily calls for application. Where a requirement is made in explicit and unambiguous terms, no discretion is left to the judiciary. It must see to it that its mandate is obeyed. So it is in this case.” Punctuation and Grammar: An Aid to Interpretation [and Construction] While punctuation can assist in the interpretation of statutes, care must be taken: The following citations can be noted to arrive at if Grammar is material or not. Likewise punctuation is dealt with here in details. Although Canadian courts consider punctuation part of the legislation, they are unwilling to place much reliance on it as an aid to interpretation. The primary reason for this distrust is its inherent unreliability. Many of the conventions governing punctuation, especially comma placement, are fluid and unstable. Practices vary from one region to another and may change rapidly over time. Also, considerable discretion is left to individual writers to vary punctuation as a matter of taste or style. And not least of all, even competent users of language often make mistakes out of carelessness or uncertainty. For these reasons, the courts are rightly cautious of attaching too much significance to a single punctuation mark. A debate on punctuation cannot take the place of an interpretation based on the legislative context and ordinary meaning of words. The reliability of punctuation as a tool of interpretation has indeed.[1] been questioned, . . .Punctuation is a rational part of English composition, and is sometimes quite significantly employed. I see no reason for depriving legal documents of such significance as attaches to punctuation in other writings.[2] Punctuation is but one tool to help in the determination of legislative intent[3]. In Caridnal, V.R.[4] MAHONEY J. wrote, “Punctuation cannot render a single interpretation so certainly correct as to obviate the need to refer to the entire enactment in the interpretation of one of it’s provisions but it is certainly to be considered.” The court is capable of assessing punctuation and grammar without expert or other opinion. [5] To resolve a syntactic ambiguity in a statute the courts may elicit the punctuation used in that part of the statute but do so with caution because many conventions governing punctuation are fluid and unstable especially with the use of the comma[6]. In Canada the courts look at punctuation in interpreting statutes with some caution. In the Interpretation of Legislation in Canada by Pierre André Coté (2nd Ed.) there appears at p. 62 and 63: ‘In Canada, punctuation is considered to be a part of the stature and may be looked at in its interpretation:In construing the clause it is my opinion that we should have regard to the punctuation … The ratio decidendi of those cases which held that punctuation in a Statute ought not to be regarded was that statutes as engrossed on the original roll did not contain punctuation marks. We were informed by counsel that in British Columbia statutes are presented to

the Legislature for passing and are passed punctuated as they appear in the copies printed by the Queen’s Printer; consequently the foundation of the earlier decisions has been removed. But even admitting that punctuation is part of the enactment, the question of its relative weight remains. As with other parts of a statute, the authorities indicate that this will vary according to the circumstances. Punctuation, particularly the comma, is essential to written communication, and judges cannot totally ignore it. However, they will hesitate to base a decision solely on the presence or absence of particular punctuation marks. Several reasons justify such caution: “. . . punctuation is not subject to rigorous and well-defined rules.” To the extent that rules exist, they are poorly understood and may not have been respected, with the result that a document may be “. . . copiously, if not carefully, punctuated”.[footnotes ommitted][7]Replying to arguments based on punctuation, the courts will not only refer to its unreliable nature but also the context and object of the statute. [1] In Laurentide Motels Ltd. v. Beauport (Ville), 1989 CanLII 81 (S.C.C.), [1989] 1 S.C.R. 705 at 755, per L’HEUREAUXDUBE J [2] Housten v Burns 1918] A.C. 337 per LORD SHAW of Dunfermline ,See also: The Queen v. Alaska Pine and Cellulose Co. [1960] S.C.R. 686 [3] R. v. C. L. , 2005 NSFC 21 [4]In Caridnal, V.R. {1980} F.C. 149 at 154-55 [5] R. v. Galbraith, 2008 ONCJ 761,the court observed that:” The opinion regarding grammar and punctuation was from someone not established as an expert, and the opinion offered is not needed” in the matter related to Provincial Offences Act, s. 50(3) was being discussed. [6] See: Driedger on the Construction of Statutes at pp. 276-277. At p. 277 the author states: ”. . . A comma before the qualifying words ordinarily indicates that they are meant to apply to all antecedents while the absence of a comma indicates that they are meant to apply to the last antecedent alone. . . .” Further in the case of Mawson Hotels Ltd. v. Solie, 1997 CanLII 11194 (SK Q.B.) it was observed that ’ In the matter before me there is a comma before the qualifying words, respecting any materials, equipment or appliances used or installed in a building, structure or premises. An application of the rule would lead to the interpretation that the qualifying words apply to all antecedents. Such an interpretation is in conflict with the purpose of the legislation and would lead to an unreasonable outcome. I find that the placement of the comma leads to an interpretation which conflicts with the purpose of the legislation. Thus the purpose of the legislation must take precedence.per HRABINSKY J [7] Bell v. Canada (Attorney General), 2001 NSSC

Statutory Construction vis-a-vis Judicial Legislation When is it construction and when is it judicial legislation? To declare what the law shall be is a legislative power, but to declare what the law is or has been, is judicial. However, the courts “do and must legislate” to fill in the gaps in the law. The Court decided to go beyond merely ruling on the facts of the existing law and jurisprudence. (Floresca v. Philex Mining; Republic v. CA and Molina) 1. Floresca v. Philex Mining, G.R. No. L-30642 April 30, 1985 Does the CFI (RTC) have jurisdiction over the complaint? Pursuant to Article 9 of the Civil Code which provides that: “No judge or court shall decline to render judgment by reason of the silence, obscurity or insufficiency of the laws.” It argues that the application or interpretation placed by the Court upon a law is part of the law as of the date of the enactment of the said law since the Court’s application or interpretation merely establishes the contemporaneous legislative intent that the construed law purports to carry into effect. Yet, the Court argues that the Court can legislate, pursuant to Article 9 of the New Civil Code. However, even the legislator himself recognizes that in certain instances, the courts “do and must legislate” to fill in the gaps in the law; because the mind of the legislator, like all human beings, is finite and therefore cannot envisage all possible cases to which the law may apply. 2. Republic v. CA and Molina, G.R. No. 108763, February 13, 1997 Guidelines presented by the court. The Family Code of the Philippines provides an entirely new ground (in addition to those enumerated in the Civil Code) to assail the validity of a marriage, namely, “psychological incapacity.” In addition to resolving the present case, the court finds the need to lay down specific guidelines in the interpretation and application of Article 36 of the Family Code. In the present case, it appears to that there is a “difficulty,” if not outright “refusal” or “neglect” in the performance of some marital obligations of the respondent spouse. Mere showing of “irreconcilable differences” and “conflicting personalities” in no wise constitutes psychological incapacity. Hence, the Court decided to go beyond merely ruling on the facts of this case vis-a-vis existing law and jurisprudence. For psychological incapacity to prosper, three characteristics should manifest: gravity, juridical antecedence and incurability.

How must legislative intent be ascertained? Legislative Intent. The object of all interpretation and construction of statutes is to ascertain the meaning and intention of the legislature, to the end that the same may be enforced. Legislative intent is determined principally from the language of the statute. VERBA LEGIS If the language of the statute is plain and free from ambiguity, and express a single, definite, and sensible meaning, that meaning is conclusively presumed to be the meaning which the legislature intended to convey. Legislative intent must be ascertained from a consideration of the statute as a whole. The particular words, clauses and phrases should not be studied as detached and isolated expressions, but the whole and every part of the statute must be considered in fixing the meaning of any of its parts and in order to produce harmonious whole. (Aisporna v. CA; China Bank v. Ortega; PVA Board of Administrators v. Bautista) 1. Aisporna v. CA, G.R. No. L-39419 April 12, 1982 Legislative intent of the Insurance Act: Whether an insurance sub-agent or proxy is covered by Section 189 of the Insurance Act. Legislative intent must be ascertained from a consideration of the statute as a whole. The particular words, clauses and phrases should not be studied as detached and isolated expressions, but the whole and every part of the statute must be considered in fixing the meaning of any of its parts and in order to produce harmonious whole. In the present case, the first paragraph of Section 189 prohibits a person from acting as agent, sub-agent or broker in the solicitation or procurement of applications for insurance without first procuring a certificate of authority so to act from the Insurance Commissioner; while the second paragraph defines who is an insurance agent within the intent of the section; while the third paragraph prescribes the penalty to be imposed for its violation. 2. China Banking Corp. v. Ortega, G.R. No. L-34964 January 31, 1973 Whether a banking institution can validly refuse a court process garnishing the bank deposit invoking the provisions of R.A. No. 1405 (An Act prohibiting Disclosure of or Inquiry into, Deposits with any Banking Institution). The gist of the pertinent provisions of RA 1405, Sec. 2., is that although transactions with banking institutions in the Philippines are absolutely confidential, there are exceptions such as when there is written permission from the depositor, or in cases of impeachment, or upon order of the competent court in cases of bribery or dereliction of duty of public officials, or in cases where the money deposited or invested is the subject matter of litigation. In the present case, China Bank was in default because the court merely required the bank to inform the court whether or not the defendant had a deposit with the bank for the purposes of garnishment. However, the disclosure is purely incidental to the execution process. 3. Board of Administrators, PVA v. Bautista, G.R. No. L-37867, February 22, 1982 Whether the plaintiff is entitled to pension from 1955 instead of from 1968. The purpose of Congress in granting veterans’ pensions is to compensate a class of men who suffered in the service for the hardships they endured and the dangers they encountered, and more importantly, those who have become incapacitated for work owing to sickness, disease or injuries sustained while in the line of the duty. R.A. No. 65 (Veteran’s Bill of Rights) or Veteran Pension Law is, therefore, a governmental expression of gratitude to and those who rendered service for the country, by extending to them regular monetary aid. If the pension awards are made effective only upon approval of the application, then the noble and humanitarian purposes for which the law was enacted could easily be thwarted or defeated.

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