You are on page 1of 15

1

ATTY. NESTOR MONDOC


Professor, Statutory Construction
COLLEGE OF LAW
UNIVERSITY OF THE CORDILLERAS
STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION
(A Compendium from the books of Rodriguez, Martin and Agpalo)

Introduction
CONCEPTS AND GENERAL PRINCIPLES

I. Statutory Construction
- Statutory construction is the art or process of discovering and expounding the meaning
and intention of the authors of the law with respect to its application in a given case,
where the intention rendered is doubtful by reason of the fact that the given case is not
explicitly provided for in the law (Caltex vs. Palomar 18 SCRA 247)
- It is the art of seeking the intention of the authors of the legislature in creating a statute
and applying it to given a state of facts.
- It is the art or process of ascertaining the intention of the law-making body to resolve
ambiguity in the law or its part.
Note: Only statutes with ambiguous or doubtful meaning may be the subject of Statutory
Construction

Ambiguity
- Is the doubtfulness, doubleness, indistinctness, non-singularity or uncertainty of meaning
of an expression used in a written instrument (Blacks Law Dictionary).
- Also refers to vagueness or obscurity of the true sense or meaning of an expression, text
or language used in a statute.

II. Legal Hermeneutics
- It is the branch of science that establishes the principles and rules of interpretation and
construction of written laws.
- Branch of Jurisprudence

III. Exegesis
- The application of the principles and rules established by legal hermeneutics.

Statutory Construction Legal Hermeneutics Exegesis
Seeking the intention using
the principles/procedures to
be able to interpret or
construct
Establish the principles and
rules: knowing the
procedures
Application of principles
and rules
Goal: To ascertain the intention of the authors of the law.

Cardinal Rule on Statutory Construction
- Achieve the goal of the law
- Ascertain the intention of the framers of the law

Formula:
Facts + Law = Decision
(F + L = D)



2

ATTY. NESTOR MONDOC
Professor, Statutory Construction
COLLEGE OF LAW
UNIVERSITY OF THE CORDILLERAS


Chapter 1
STATUTE, LAWS, BILLS

Statute is an Act of the legislature as an organized body; it is the Written will of the
legislature, Expressed according to the form necessary to constitute it a law of the state and
Rendered authentic by certain prescribed forms and solemnities. (AWER)

Law a rule of conduct or order of sequence which any being will not, ought not or cannot
deviate. Elements: certain kinds of force, deviation and consequence.

Bill is a proposed law; draft of a law submitted to the consideration of the legislative body for
adoption.

Kinds of Bills
1. Appropriation Bill the primary and specific purpose is to authorize the release of funds
from the public treasury.
2. Revenue Bill one that levies taxes and raises funds for the government.
3. Tariff Bill one that specifies the rates or duties to be imposed on imported articles.
4. Bill Increasing Public Debt one that authorizes the government to borrow money, either
by borrowing from external sources or offering bonds for public subscriptions.
5. Bill of Local Application one which is local in character like the creation of new town,
city or province.
6. Private Bill one that will not operate directly for the public good but calculate to serve
good will (e.g. bills granting honorary membership).

How laws are made: (Procedures)
o Research
First Reading any member of either house may present a bill, signed by him and
reference to the proper committee; principal author may propose the inclusion; the bill is
read by its title number and name/s of author/s
o Referral to the Appropriate Committee if disapproved, the bill dies a natural
death unless the House decides otherwise following the submission of the report.
Second Reading the entire bill is read. Debates ensue and changes and amendments
are inserted. The bill is then printed and distributed to all the members of congress. If
favored the bill is forwarded to the Committee on Rules.
Third Reading only the title of the bill is read; voting takes place; majority is sufficient to
pass the bill
Referral to the Other House the same procedure takes place
o Submission to Joint Bicameral Committee
o Enrolled Bill/Journal
Submission to the President






3

ATTY. NESTOR MONDOC
Professor, Statutory Construction
COLLEGE OF LAW
UNIVERSITY OF THE CORDILLERAS




Three (3) ways when a bill becomes a law:
1. The President approves the enrolled bill
2. Overriding of veto
3. Non-action of the President

Different Kinds of Statutes:
1. As to Nature:
a. Penal Statutes;
b. Remedial Statutes;
c. Substantive Statutes;
d. Labor Statutes
e. Tax Statutes
2. As to Application
a. Mandatory
b. Directory
3. As to Performance
a. Permanent
b. Temporary
4. As to Scope
a. General
b. Special
5. Other Classification
a. A statute could either be prospective or retroactive
b. A statute could either be repealing act or an amendatory
c. A statute could either be reference statute or a declaratory statute

Functions of Law:
In general, it regulates human conduct; promotion of the common good
i. Defines the rights and duties of citizens
ii. Imposes taxes
iii. Appropriate funds
iv. Defines crimes and provides for their punishment
v. Creates and abolishes government offices; determines their jurisdiction and functions.

Parts of Law:

1. TITLE gives a general statement of, and calls attention to the subject matter of an act
so that legislators and the public may be appraised of the subject matter of the
legislation, and be put upon inquiry regarding thereto.






D, Dencios Code
N ature
A pplication
P Performance
S cope
O- ther classification

4

ATTY. NESTOR MONDOC
Professor, Statutory Construction
COLLEGE OF LAW
UNIVERSITY OF THE CORDILLERAS
2. PREAMBLE is the part following the title preceding the enacting clause, which states
the reasons for or objective of the statute
Points to remember:
o A preamble does not create a right nor does it grant any right
o It is not a source of government power
o It is not an essential part of a statute

3. ENACTING CLAUSE the part which indicates the authority which promulgated the
enactment. The enacting clause is not essential to the validity of the law but this clause
cloth the statute with certain dignity because the specific authority that promulgated the
law is therein stated.

4. BODY it contains the subject matter of the statute. The body of the statute should
embrace only one subject matter as required by the Constitution.

5. EXCEPTION AND PROVISIONS the part which acts as a restraint upon or as a
qualification of the generality of the language which it follows.

6. INTERPRETATIVE CLAUSE the part of the statute where the legislature defines its
own language and prescribes rules for its construction.

7. REPEALING CLAUSE the part which announces the legislative intent to terminate,
revoke or repeal another statute/s.

8. SAVING CLAUSE the part which restricts the repealing act and preserves existing
powers, rights pending proceeding from the effect of the repeal.

9. SEPARABILITY CLAUSE it is a clause which states that for any reason, any section or
provisions of the statute is held to be unconstitutional or revoked, the other section or
provision of the law shall not be affected.
Points to remember:
o A separability clause creates a presumption that the legislature intended a
separability rather than complete nullity of the statute. This means that if one part
of the statute is void or unconstitutional, the other parts thereof, which are valid
may still stand. This is the GENERAL rule.
o The general rule, however, is subject to the limitation that if the part of the statute
are so mutually dependent and connected thereby creating a belief that the
legislature intended them as a whole, the nullity or constitutionality of one part
may violate the rest.

10. DATE OF EFFECTIVITY specifies the date and time when the law takes effect.
Sources of Laws:
- Constitution
- Statute enacted by Congress

5

ATTY. NESTOR MONDOC
Professor, Statutory Construction
COLLEGE OF LAW
UNIVERSITY OF THE CORDILLERAS
- Decrees issued under the 1973 Constitution
- Executive of the President
- Decision of Courts

The Three (3) Branches or departments of Government

1. EXECUTIVE
- Vested in the president; administer laws, carrying them into practical operation and
enforcing their due observance.

2. LEGISLATIVE
- Power to make, alter or repeal laws
- Vested in a bicameral Congress

3. JUDICIARY
- Power to interpret and apply the laws
- Vested in one Supreme Court and such lower courts as may be established by law

Principles:
Check and Balance (maintain equilibrium)
- Law making power of Congress subject to veto power of the president, which in turn
may be overridden (avoid hasty and improvident legislation, i.e. Hodgepodge and
log-rolling legislation)
- Congress may refuse to give concurrence to an amnesty granted or treaty entered
into by the president.
- Judicial review
Separation the purpose is to prevent the concentration of authority in one person or
group that might lead to an irreversible error or abuse in its exercise. (Absolute power
corrupts absolutely).
Justice Laurel:
To secure action, to forestall over action, to prevent despotism (absolute power)
and to obtain efficiency.

Constitution:
The three branches are entrusted with each of their powers are not permitted to
encroach upon the powers of confided to the others.
Non-delegation of Powers
- What has been delegated cannot be delegated
- Delegated power constitutes not only a right but also a duty to be performed by the
delegate through the instrumentality of his own judgment.

The Test of Valid Delegation
1. Completeness Test Laws must be complete in all its essential terms and conditions so
that there will be nothing left for the delegate except to enforce it.
2. Sufficiency of Standard Test Indicates the circumstances which the policies are to be
pursued and implemented. Limits and provides parameters of discretion; purpose is to
prevent total transference of legislative power from the law-making body to the delegate.


Separation of powers principle that
states that the division of power shall be
maintained which means that a function of
one shall not be a function of another,
unless the people allow it.
6

ATTY. NESTOR MONDOC
Professor, Statutory Construction
COLLEGE OF LAW
UNIVERSITY OF THE CORDILLERAS
CHAPTER 2
INTERPRETATION AND CONSTRUCTION

Rule: In determining the intention of the legislature, courts should resort first to
interpretation (intrinsic aids) before resorting to construction (extrinsic aids).
Reason: speech is the index of intention.

INTERPRETATION:
- Is the part of finding the true sense and meaning of word/s without going beyond the
context of the statute.
- It utilizes intrinsic aids (those present in the law itself), which are as follows:
a. Title expresses the subject matter of the law
b. Preamble states the reasons and objectives of the enactment
c. Punctuation may be used as an additional argument for adopting the literal
meaning of the words thus punctuated but can never control against the
intelligible meaning of a written word.
d. Words, Phrases, Sentences and Context the intention must primarily be
determined from the language of the statute as a whole and not from any
single part/portion or section or from isolated words, phrases and sentences
used.
e. Headings and Marginal Notes determines the scope of the provision and
their relation to other portions of the act, however, if the meaning of the
statute or if its text is clear, it will prevail as against the heading, if the latter
has been prepared by compilers and not the legislature.
f. Legislative Definition and Interpretation definition of the legislature of the
words used in the stature and the construction to be placed thereon. The
rules are as follows:
If a law provides that in case of doubt, it should be construed and
interpreted in a certain manner that the courts should follow such
instructions.
In case of conflict between the interpretation clauses and the
legislative meaning, as revealed by the statute when considered in its
totality, the latter shall prevail.
A term is used throughout the statute in the same sense it is first
deemed.
Legislative definition in similar terms on the statute maybe resolved to,
except, where a particular law expressly declares that its definition
therein is limited in application to the statutes in which they appear.











7

ATTY. NESTOR MONDOC
Professor, Statutory Construction
COLLEGE OF LAW
UNIVERSITY OF THE CORDILLERAS
EXTRINSIC AIDS
- Extraneous facts, circumstances of means of explanation resorted to for the purpose
of determining the legislative intent.
- Drawing conclusions respecting subjects that lie beyond the direct expression of the
text.
- It can only be resorted when intrinsic aids have been used and exhausted.
- It utilizes extrinsic aids, which are as follows:
a. Contemporaneous Circumstances conditions existing at the time the law
was enacted; previous state of the law; evils sought to be prevented; customs
and languages of the people.
b. Policy the general policy of the law or the settled policy of the state which
induced the enactment may enlighten the interpreter of the laws as to be the
intention of the legislature enacting the same.
c. Legislative History of the State may be found in the reports of the
legislative committees in the transcript of the stenographic notes taken during
hearings, investigation and debates.
d. Contemporaneous and Practical Construction those who lived near or
at the time when the law was enacted were more acquainted of the
conditions why the law was enacted. Their understanding and application of
the law, especially if the same has been construed by the judicial tribunals
and legal profession, deserve to be considered by the courts.
e. Executive Construction deserves great weight and should be respected if
said construction has been formed and observed for a long period of time.
The rules to remember are as follows:
Congress is deemed to have been aware of the contemporaneous
and practical construction made by the officers charged with the
administration of and enforcement of the law.
The court should respect that contemporaneous construction except if
it is clearly erroneous.
Executive construction has more weight if it is rendered by the Chief
Legal Adviser of the government who can issue opinions to assist
various departments of the government charged with the duty to
administer the law.
The opinion, however, by the Chief Legal Adviser is subservient to the
ruling of the judiciary which is in charge of applying and interpreting
the laws.
f. Legislative Construction entitled to consideration but cannot control
against the courts prerogative to decide on what is wrong and right
interpretation.
g. Judicial Construction it is presumed that statutes were enacted in the
light of judicial construction that the prior enactment had received.
h. Construction by the Bar and Legal Commentators the meaning publicly
given by the members of the legal profession is a true one and regarded as
one that should not be lightly charged.





8

ATTY. NESTOR MONDOC
Professor, Statutory Construction
COLLEGE OF LAW
UNIVERSITY OF THE CORDILLERAS
PRACTICAL FORMULA IN STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION





Statutory
Construction
INTERPRETATION
Exegesis

P1 P2
Intrinsic Aids + LAW (Principle) = Conclusion




Intention of the
Authors of the Law Construction
Exegesis

P1 P2
Extrinsic Aids + LAW (Principle) = Conclusion

CHAPTER 3
PRESUMPTIONS AND LATIN MAXIMS

Presumption of Validity
Every statute passed by the legislature is presumed to be valid because the legislature
is supposed to have considered the question of its validity before approving it. In cases of doubt,
the court resolves in favor of its validity.

Presumption of Constitutionality
The presumption is always in favor of constitutionality. However, if the statute is really
unconstitutional, the courts are not only authorized but must declare its unconstitutionality. The
court must see to it that the other departments have not exceeded their constitutional authority.
(Essence of Separation of Powers and System of Check and Balance)

Presumption of Good Faith
It is presumed that the legislative department had good motives in having considered
and adopted a particular law; that it acted with a desire to promote an intention not to disregard
the civil and political liberties of the people.

Presumption against Injustice
In case of doubt in the interpretation of laws, it is presumed that the lawmaking body
intended right and justice to prevail (Article 10, Civil Code of the Philippines)














9

ATTY. NESTOR MONDOC
Professor, Statutory Construction
COLLEGE OF LAW
UNIVERSITY OF THE CORDILLERAS
Presumption against Inconsistency/Presumption on Consistency
In case of doubt, such construction as will make all provisions on the statute consistent
with one another and with the entire act should be adopted.
A word or phrase repeated in a statute will have the same meaning throughout the
statute, unless a different intention appears.

Presumption against Absurdity
It is presumed that the legislature does not intend that absurdity will flow from its
enactment. The courts therefore have the duty to interpret the law in such a way as to avoid
absurd results.

Presumption against Ineffectiveness
It is presumed that the legislative body does not intend to adopt laws which are
unnecessary and ineffective. It is presumed that it intends to impart to its enactment such a
meaning as will render them operative and effective. There are two important rules in statutory
construction on this point, thus:
a. Where a law is susceptible of two constructions, one will render it
unconstitutional and the other upholds its validity, the latter must be adopted.
b. Where the language of the law is susceptible of two or more construction, one
will render the statute ineffective or inefficient and another will tend to give effect
to the object for which the law was adopted, then latter should prevail.

Presumption against Irrepealable laws
It is presumed that the law making body does not intend its laws shall be irrepealable
because Congress cannot enact irrepealable laws nor limit its future legislative act. The need of
today and the situation obtaining now will not most likely be the same in the years to come.
Laws should adapt to changing times.

Presumption against Implied Repeal
Repeal by implication is not favored. There are two requirements before a statute can be
considered to have repealed a prior statute by implication, namely:
a. That the statute touch on the same subject matter; and
b. That the latter statute is repugnant to the earlier one.

Note: Rules to remember on the matters of repeal:
1. Laws are repealed only by subsequent ones, and their violation or non-
observance shall not be excused by disuse, custom or practice to the
contrary. (Art. 7, Civil Code of the Philippine)
2. When a law which expressly repeals a prior one, the first law shall not be
thereby revived, unless expressly provided. However, when a law repeals a
prior law, not expressly but by implication only, its repeal revives the prior
law, unless, the language of the repealing statute provides otherwise.
3. A general law does not repeal special law unless it is so expressly provided,
or they are incompatible, in which case, the special law prevails over the
general law.




10

ATTY. NESTOR MONDOC
Professor, Statutory Construction
COLLEGE OF LAW
UNIVERSITY OF THE CORDILLERAS
Presumption against Violation of Public Policy
It is presumed that the legislature designed to favor and foster rather than to contravene
the public policy which is based upon the principles of natural justice, good morals, and the
settled wisdom of the law as applied to the ordinary affairs of life.

Presumption of Knowledge of Existing Laws
In enacting a law, the lawmaking body is presumed to have the full knowledge of existing
laws on the subject. Hence, if there are two laws on the same subject enacted in different dates,
the latter law cannot be held to have abrogated the former law unless repugnancy is clear,
convincing and irreconcilable.

Presumption of Acquiescence to Judicial Construction
When the court has construed a statute in a particular manner and the lawmaking body
had no move to alter or amend the said statute, it is presumed that the legislature has
acquiesced to that interpretation.

Presumption of Jurisdiction
A statute will not be construed in such a manner as to oust or restrict the jurisdiction of
the superior courts or to vest a new jurisdiction in them, unless, there are express words or a
necessary implication to the effect.

Presumption on Acting within the Scope of Authority
It is presumed that the legislature acted within the scope of its authority. If a statute
admits more than one interpretation, one that places the statute outside of the legislative
competence and one that places the legislative within the limits of legislative competence, the
court should adopt the latter interpretation.

Presumption against Violation of International Law
It is presumed that a statute is in conformity with the rules and principles of International
Laws, or with treaties duly entered into and accepted by our government. This is in line with
Section 2, Article II of the 1987 Constitution, which provides:
Section 2. The Philippines renounces war as an instrument of national policy, adopts
the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land, and
adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation and amity with all
nations.

Doctrine of Incorporation holds that every state is, by reason of its membership in the
family of nations, bound by the generally accepted principles of international law.
Doctrine of Transformation holds that an international agreement would be binding
only upon a state if that state enacts a law specifically making such international
agreement part and parcel of their laws.








11

ATTY. NESTOR MONDOC
Professor, Statutory Construction
COLLEGE OF LAW
UNIVERSITY OF THE CORDILLERAS
General Principles in the Construction of Statutes
1. In Pari Materia Rule
2. Statutes must be read and construed as a whole.
3. Legislative intent must be ascertained from the statute as whole.
4. Courts have the duty to reconcile or harmonize the different provisions of the statute,
including the conflicting provisions thereof.
5. As a rule, a statute of latter dates prevails.
6. Generalia Specialibus non derogant
7. A special law prevails over a general law
8. In interpreting re-enacted statutes, the courts will follow the construction which the
statutes previously received.
9. In case of adopted statutes, the interpretation of the courts of the state from where it is
adopted should be considered.
10. In case of conflict between a common law principle and a statutory provision, the latter
prevails.

Latin Maxims on Construction/Interpretation of Words and Phrases

Doctrine of Last Antecedent
Relative and qualifying words, phrases and clauses are to be applied to the word
or phrase immediately preceding and not to others more remote.

Ejusdem Generis
Where the general term follows the designation of particular things or classes of
persons or subjects, the general term will be construed to include only those things or
persons of the same class, kind or nature as those specifically enumerated.
The purpose of the rule is to give effect to both the particular and the general
words by treating the particular words indicating the class and the general words as
including all that is embraced in the said class, although not specifically named by the
particular words. This is justified on the ground that if the legislature intended the general
terms to be used in their unrestricted sense, it would not have made an enumeration of
the particular subjects but would have also used only general terms.
The principle applies when specific words preceding the general expression are
of the same nature. Where if they are of different genre, the meaning of the general word
remains unaffected by its connection with them.
(READ: Mutuc vs. COMELEC, November 26, 1970, 36 SCRA 228)

Noscitur a Sociis
Under this rule, the meaning of particular terms in a statute may be ascertained
by reference to words associated with or related to them in a statute.
Where particular word or phrase in a statute is ambiguous in itself, or is simply
susceptible of various meanings, its true meaning may be made clear and specific by
considering the company of words in which it is found or which it is associated.
Where there are two or more words of ambiguous meaning together in a statute,
they are understood to be used in their cognate sense to express the same relations and
give color and expression to each word.
Where a law does not define a word therein, it will be construed as having a
meaning similar to that of words associated or accompanied by it.
(READ: Caltex vs. Palomar, September 29, 1966, 18 SCRA 247)
12

ATTY. NESTOR MONDOC
Professor, Statutory Construction
COLLEGE OF LAW
UNIVERSITY OF THE CORDILLERAS
Casus Omisus
Under this rule, the words or phrases may be supplied by the courts and inserted
in a statute where that is necessary to eliminate repugnancy and inconsistency in the
statute and to complete the sense thereof, and to give effect to the intention of the
legislature manifested therein. The rule is especially applicable where such application is
necessary to prevent the law from becoming a nullity. This rule is also used to supply
omissions occasioned by clerical errors, by accident or inadvertence.

Casus Omisus Pro Omisso Hebendus Est
Under this rule, a person, object or thing omitted from the enumeration must be
held to have been omitted intentionally. The maxim can operate when the omission had
been clearly established.

Verba Legis (Plain Language Rule)
If the statute is clear, plain and free from ambiguity, it must be given its literal
meaning and applied without attempted interpretation.
The language of the statute affords the best means of its exposition and
legislative intent must be determined primarily therefrom. It is the courts duty to give the
statute the interpretation called for by its language. The court may not speculate as to
the probable intent of the legislature apart from the words. Popular clamor as to the
enforcement of a law adds nothing to, and detracts nothing from the duty of the court to
construe the law as it is. The law may sometimes be harsh, but if it is so written and
intended by the legislature, the courts have no recourse but to apply it.
(READ: Daoang vs Municipal Judges of San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte, March 28, 1988, 159
SCRA 369)

Verba Legis Non Est Recedendum
From the words of a statute there should be no departure.

Absolute Sentencia Expositore Non Indiget
When the language of the law is clear, no explanation of it is required.

Generalia Verba Sun Generaliter Intelligencia
What is generally spoken shall be general understood.

Dura Lex Sed Lex (The law may be harsh but that is the law)
The reason for the rule is that the legislature must be presumed to know the
meaning of the words, to have used the words advisedly and to have expressed its
intent by the use of such words as are found in the statute.










13

ATTY. NESTOR MONDOC
Professor, Statutory Construction
COLLEGE OF LAW
UNIVERSITY OF THE CORDILLERAS
Ratio Legis (Interpretation according to spirit)
In construing a statute, the courts must look into the spirit of the law or the
reason for it. The spirit or intention of the law prevails over the latter thereof. The statute
may be extended to cases which are not included within the literal meaning of the words,
if such case is within the reason for the statute. And the cases within the letter of the law
but not within the spirit thereof are not within the statute. No reason, however, may be
imputed to the legislature, which is not supported by the fact of the law itself. In
determining the reason for the law, recourse may be had to the preamble or applicable
where adherence to the latter would lead to absurdity, injustice, contradiction or defeat
the plain purpose of the act. Apparent inaccuracies did and mistakes in the mere
verbiage or phraseology will be overlooked to give effect to the spirit of the law.

Ratio Legis Est Anime
The reason of the law is its soul.

Cessante Ratione (Legis) Cessat Ipsa Lex
When the reason for the law ceases, the law also ceases to exist.

Mens Legilatores
The courts look into the object to be accomplished, the evils and mischief to be
remedied or the purpose to be observed. The court should give the statute a reasonable
or liberal construction which will best effect its purpose rather than one which will defeat
it even though such construction is not within the strict literal interpretation of the statute.
The court should give the statute a reasonable or liberal construction which will
best effect its purpose rather than one which will defeat it.
Statutes must be construed to avoid injustice.

Reddendo Singula Singulis (Let each be put in its proper place)
Under this principle, where a sentence has several antecedents and several
consequents, they are to be read distributively. The antecedents should be referred to
their appropriate consequents and vice versa.
Each word, phrase or clause must be given its proper connection in order to give
it proper force and effect, rendering none of them useless or superfluous. A transposition
of words and clauses may be resorted to where the sentence or clause is without
meaning as it stands.
This is also to be referred to as the doctrine of collocation which literally means,
referring each to each.

Expressio Unius Est Exclusio Alterius (Inclusio Unius Est Exclusio Alterius)
Mention of one thing implies the exclusion of another.
When a statute enumerates the subjects or things on which it is to operate, it is to
be construed as excluding from its effect all those not expressly mentioned.
The maxim is only auxiliary rule of statutory construction. It is not of universal
application neither is it conclusive. It should be applied only as a means of discovering
the legislative intent which is not otherwise manifest and should never be permitted to
defeat the plainly indicative purpose of the legislature.
The maxim does not apply when words are mentioned by way of example, or to
remove doubts. CASE: ESCRIBANO V. AVILA G.R. No. 30375, September 12, 1978, 85
SCRA 245
14

ATTY. NESTOR MONDOC
Professor, Statutory Construction
COLLEGE OF LAW
UNIVERSITY OF THE CORDILLERAS
Generalia Specialibus Non Derogant
A penal law does not nullify a specific law. Special provisions prevail over
general provisions. A special law must be intended to constitute an exception to the
general law in the absence of special circumstances forcing a contrary conclusion.

Legis Posteriors Priores Contraries Abrogant
In case of an irreconcilable conflict between two laws of different vintages, the
latter enactment prevails. The rationale is that a latter law repeals an earlier one
because it is the latter legislative will. It is to be presumed that the lawmaker knew the
older law and intended to change it. In enacting the older law, the legislators cannot
have known the newer one and hence could have intended to change what they did not
know. Under the Civil Code, laws are repealed only by subsequent ones.

Optima Statuli Interpretatix Est Ipsum Statutum
The best interpreter of a statute is the statute itself

Ut Res Magis Quam Pereat
This means that it is not enough that the statute should be given effect as a
whole but that effect should be given to each of the provisions of the statute.

Pari Matria (Materia) Rule
All statute relating to the same subject, or having the same general purpose,
should be construed together as if they constituted one law. They should be construed
and harmonized with the existing law.

Lex Prospicit, Non Respicit
The law looks forward not backwards.

Lex De Futuro, Judex De Praterito
The law provides for the future, the judge for the past.

Ubi Lex Non Distinguit Nec Nos Distinguire Debemos
When the law does not distinguish, courts should also not distinguish. Founded
on logic, the rule is corollary of the principle that general words and phrases in a statute
should ordinarily be accorded their natural and general significance. It requires that the
general words and phrases should not be reduced into parts and other parts
distinguished from the other parts so as to justify its exclusion from the operation of the
law. There should be no distinction in the application of a statute where none is
indicated.

Index Animi Sermo Est
Speech is the index of ntention

Interpration Talis In Ambiguis Semper Frienda Est, Ut Eviatur Inconveniens Et
Absurdum
Where there is ambiguity, such interpretation as will avoid inconvenience and
absurdity is to be adopted.


15

ATTY. NESTOR MONDOC
Professor, Statutory Construction
COLLEGE OF LAW
UNIVERSITY OF THE CORDILLERAS
Ex Necissitate Legis (Doctrine of Necessary Implication)
What is implied in the statute is as much part thereof as that which is expressed.
Every statute is understood, by implication, to contain all such provisions as may be
necessary to effectuate its object and purpose.

In Eo Plus Sit, Simper Inest Inest Et Minus
The greater includes the lesser.