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CHAPTER III: Basic Guidelines in the Construction and Interpretation of Laws

1. Legislative Intent is determined principally from the language of the statute 2. Plain Meaning Rule or Verba Legis 3. When the language of the law is clear, it should be given its natural meaning 4. In interpreting a statute, care should be taken that every part be given effect 5. 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 6. Between two statutory interpretations, that which better serves the purpose of the law should prevail 7. When the reason of the law ceases, the law itself ceases 8. Doctrine of necessary implications: What is implied in a statute is as much a part thereof as that which is expressed 9. The rule of “casus omissus pro omisso habendus est” can operate and apply only if and when the omission has been clearly established 10.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.

I.

Legislative Intent is determined principally from the language of the statute Ramirez vs. Garcia Garcia: Secretly taping the confrontation is Illegal! It is a violation of RA 4200. Ramirez: Facts charged is not an offense. RA 4200 refers to a person not involved in the conversation! Substance must be alleged in the information! R.A. 4200 does not apply to private conversations! RA 4200 Section 1: “It shall be unlawful for any person, not being authorized by all the parties to any private communication or spoken word, to tap any wire or cable…..” Court: The statute’s intent is to penalize all persons unauthorized to make such recording by the use of qualifier “any”. The law makes no distinction whether the party sought to be penalized is part of the conversation or not. Nature of the conversation is immaterial to a violation of the statute. RA 4200 penalizes acts of secretly overhearing, intercepting or recording private communications. Private communication is broad enough to include verbal or nonverbal, written or expressive communications.

II.

Plain Meaning Rule or Verba Legis Globe Mackay Cable and Radio Communications vs. NLRC and Salazar Mackay: 1 month preventive suspension! Since you were unable to refute and disprove the findings we dismiss you! NLRC: Reinstate Salazar to her former position, pay her full backwages, and pay her P50, 000.00 for moral damages! Art. 279 of the Labor Code: “An employee who is unjustly dismissed from work shall be entitled to reinstatement…..” Court: Law is on the side of private respondent. The wording of the Labor Code is clear and unambiguous.

III.

When the language of the law is clear, it should be given its natural meaning Basbacio vs. Secretary of Justice Basbacio: Since I was acquitted, I am entitled to compensation according to RA 7309, Section 3! The fact that I was convicted for a crime, imprisoned for two years my appeals was pending, and which I was subsequently acquitted of is already unjust in itself! Secretary of Justice: There was no sufficient evidence to find you guilty beyond reasonable doubt. However, you were on the scene of killing, there was bad blood between you and the deceased as a result of land dispute, and you son-in-law was convicted with the crime

of murder. Therefore, there was a basis for finding that you are “probably guilty”! RA 7309, Section 3: Who may file claims The following may file claims for compensation before the Board: “Any person, who was unjustly accused, convicted, imprisoned but subsequently released by virtue of a judgment of acquittal.” Court: Petitioner leaves out of the provision in question the qualifying word “unjust”. The fact that his conviction is reversed and the accused is acquitted is not itself proof that the previous conviction was “unjust” Even though the evidence against him does not satisfy quantum of proof required for conviction, it may nonetheless be sufficient to sustain a civil action for damages. IV. In interpreting a statute, care should be taken that every part be given effect JMM Promotions and Management, Inc. vs. NLRC and Delos Santos NLRC: Your appeal is dismissed because you failed to post the required appeal bond pursuant to Rule VI, Section 6 of the new Rules of Procedure of the NLRC. Solicitor General: Appeal bond requirement is needed. However, the rules cited by NLRC are applicable only to decisions of the Labor Arbiters and not of POEA. Decisions of POEA are governed by the provisions of Section 6, Rule V, Book VII of the POEA Rules (Appeal Bond Requirement)

JMM: We have already paid a total of P150, 000.00 in accordance with Section 4, Rule II, Book II of the POEA Rules. In addition, we have placed in escrow the sum of P200, 000.00 in accordance with Section 17, Rule II, Book II of the same rule. Therefore, appeal bond pursuant to Section 6 of the same rule is not necessary to us licensed recruiters for overseas employment because of the numerous bonds we have paid. Court: Under, Petitioner’s interpretation, the appeal bond required by section 6 of the aforementioned POEA rule should be disregarded because of the earlier bonds and escrow money it has posted. The petitioner would in effect nullify Section 6 as a superfluity but we do not see any such redundancy; on the contrary, we find that Section 6 complements Section 4 and Section 17. The rule is that a construction that would render a provision inoperative should be avoided; instead, apparently inconsistent provisions should be reconciled whenever possible as parts of a coordinated and harmonious whole.

Radiola Toshiba Philippines vs. Intermediate Appellate Court FACTS: March 4, 1980 Petitioner Radiola obtained a levy of attachment against the properties of spouses Gatmaytan for collection of sum of money before the Pasig RTC. July 2, 1980 Three creditors, herein private respondents, filed a petition for involuntary insolvency of spouses Gatmaytan in Pampanga and Angeles RTC.

December 10, 1980 Petitioner obtained a favorable Judgment. Writ of Execution was issued. September 21, 1981 Court ordered consolidation of ownership of petitioner over said properties. Sheriff refused to issue a final certificate of sale in favor of the petitioner in view of insolvency proceedings before the Pampanga and Angeles RTC. ISSUE: W/N Levy of Attachment in favor of the petitioner is dissolved by the insolvency proceedings against respondent spouses commenced four months after said attachment. HELD: Section 32 of the Insolvency Law: “As soon as assignee is appointed by the court, the clerk of court shall convey all the real and personal property of the debtor to the assignee. Such assignment shall relate back to the commencement of the proceedings in insolvency….. By operation of law shall vest the title to all such property, although, the same is then attached on mesne process (a process issued between the commencement of a lawsuit and the final judgment of determination), as the property of the debtor….. Attachment dissolved are those levied within one (1) month next preceding the commencement of the insolvency proceedings and judgment vacated and set aside are judgments entered in any action, including judgment entered by default or consent of the debtor, where the actions was filed within thirty (30) days immediately prior to the commencement of insolvency proceedings.” On the other hand, Section 79 of the same Law provides for the right of the plaintiff if attachment is not dissolved before the commencement of proceedings in insolvency, if the claim upon which attachment suit was commenced proved against the estate of the debtor. There is no conflict between the two provisions.

Where statute is susceptible of more than one interpretation, the court should adopt such reasonable and beneficial construction as will render the provision thereof operative and effective and harmonious with each other. V. 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 vs. COMELEC De Guia: The second provision of Paragraph (C), Section 3, RA 7166, which requires the apportionment into district of said municipalities does not specify when the members of their Sangguniang Bayan will be elected by district. In addition, Paragraph (D) states that “For purposes of the regular elections on May 11, 1992, elective members of Sangguniang Bayan shall be elected at large in accordance with existing laws. However, beginning with the regular election in 1995, they shall be elected by district.” Court: If we pursue petitioner’s course, we may conclude in absurdity because then there would no reason for RA 7166 to single out the single district provinces referred to in Paragraph (B) and the municipalities in the Metro-Manila Area mentioned in the second provision of Paragraph (C), to be apportioned into two (2) districts each if members of their respective sanggunian after all would still be elected at large as they were in the 1988 elections. No law is ever enacted that it is intended to be meaningless, much less inutile. We must therefore, as far as we can, define its meaning, its significance, its reason for being.

A construction should be rejected that gives to the language used in a statute a meaning that does not accomplish the purpose for which the statute was enacted, and that tends to defeat the ends which are sought to be attained by the enactment The reason for promulgation of RA 7166 is shown in the explanatory note of Senate Bill No. 1861: “….. Specifically, it seeks to: (1) Reduce the number of positions to be voted for by providing therein that the members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, Sangguniang Panlungsod, and Sangguniang Bayan be elected not at large, but by district.” This policy is manifest from the four corners of Section 3 which shows that the purpose of districting/apportioning the sanggunian seats is to reduce the number of positions to be voted for in the May 11, 1992 synchronized elections and ensure the efficiency of the electoral process. VI. Between two statutory interpretations, that which better serves the purpose of the law should prevail Salenillas vs. CA Spouses Enciso were grantees of free patent. They sold their property to their daughter, Salenillas. Petitioners mortgaged the property in favor of PNB to secure for a loan of P2, 500.00. Guera was the highest bidder in the said public auction and as a result “Certificate of Sale” was issued to him. PNB filed a motion for writ of possession which was granted by the court. The sheriff attempted to place the property in the possession of PNB, however, Salenillas refused to vacate and surrender the possession and offered to repurchase it under Section 119 of the Public Land Act.

Salenillas: I am a daughter and legal heir of Spouses Enciso. We have the right to repurchase the land. Since, our right to repurchase within five years under Section 119 of the Public Land Act has not yet prescribed. Philippine National Bank: The sale of the contested property by the patentees to petitioners disqualified the latter from being legal heirs of the said property. ISSUE: W/N Salenillas has the right to repurchase the contested property under Section 119 of the Public Land Act. HELD: Section 119 Public Land Act: Every conveyance of land acquired under the free patent or homestead provisions, when proper shall be subject to repurchase by the applicant, his widow, or legal heirs within a period of five years from the date of conveyance. To indorse distinction of PNB and CA would be to contravene the very purpose of Section 119 of the Public Land Act. Allowing Salenillas and her husband to repurchase the property would be more in keeping with the spirit of the law. Between two statutory interpretations, that which serves the purpose of the law should prevail.

VII.

When the reason of the law ceases, the law itself ceases Commendador vs. Camera Commendador: We invoke our right to exercise peremptory challenge under Art. 18 of Commonwealth Act 408

Camera: We rule that your right to exercise peremptory challenge had been discontinued under PD 39. Court: PD 39 was issued to implement GO 8 and the other general orders mentioned therein. When martial law was terminated and the military tribunals were dissolved, the reason for existence of PD 39 ceased automatically. When the reason of the law ceases, the law itself ceases. Cessante rationale legis, cessat ipsa lex. The reason of law is its soul. Ratio legis est anima. VIII. Doctrine of necessary implications: What is implied in a statute is as much a part thereof as that which is expressed Chua vs. Civil Service Commission RA 6683 Early Retirement and Voluntary Separation The benefits authorized under this Act shall apply to all regular, temporary, casual, and emergency employees. . . Chua: I am applying for early retirement and voluntary separation under RA 6683. NIA and Civil Service: You are not covered by the law since you are a coterminous employee. ISSUE: W/N Chua’s status as co-terminous employee is excluded from the benefits of RA 6683. HELD: Applying Expressio Unius and Casus Omissus can result in incongruities and in violation of the equal protection clause of the Constitution.

The Doctrine of Necessary Implication applies: what is implied in a statute is as much a part thereof as that what is expressed. City of Manila vs. Judge Gomez and Esso Phil Section 4 RA 5447 Special Education Fund Law: Impose an annual additional tax of one per centum on the assessed value of real property in addition to the real property tax regularly levied thereon under existing laws but the total real property tax shall not exceed a maximum of three per centum. City of Manila: We fix the realty tax at three (3) percent pursuant to RA 5447, that is, an additional of 1 ½% in the annual realty tax. Judge Gomez and Esso: The additional 1 ½% is void because it is not authorized by the city charter nor by any law. ISSUE: W/N the addition of 1 ½% of the City of Manila is valid. HELD: The Doctrine of Implication sustains the City of Manila’s contention that the additional 1 ½% realty tax is sanctioned by Section 4 of RA 5447 that “the total real property tax shall not exceed a maximum of three (3) per centum.” The obvious implication is that an additional 1 ½% tax could be imposed by municipal corporations.

IX.

The rule of “casus omissus pro omisso habendus est” can operate and apply only if and when the omission has been clearly established People vs. Manantan Section 54 of Revised Election Code: “No justice, judge, fiscal, treasurer…”

Section 449 of Revised Administrative Code: [Predecessor] “No Judge of the First Instance, Justice of the peace or treasurer. . .” Manantan: I invoke Casus Omissus. Section 54 of the Revised Election Code omitted the words, “justice of peace”, the omission revealed the intention of the legislature to exclude justices of the peace from its operation. ISSUE: W/N Justice of Peace is included in the prohibition of Section 54 of the Revised Election Code. HELD: Casus Omissus does not apply. There has been no such omission but there has only been a substitution of terms. Under Section 449 of the Revised Administrative Code, the word “judge” was modified or qualified by the phrase “of First Instance”, while under Section 54 of the Revised Election Code, no such modification exists. In other words, justices of peace were expressly included in Section 449 of the Revised Administrative Code because the kinds of judges therein specified. In Section 54, however, there was no necessity anymore to include justices of the peace in the enumeration because the legislature had availed itself of the more generic and broader term “Judge”. The rule of “casus omissus pro omisso habendus est” can operate and apply only if and when the omission has been clearly established

X.

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. J.M. Tuason vs. Judge Mariaon, Aquial and Cordova ISSUE: W/N OCT No. 735 and the titles derived therefrom can be questioned by Aquial and Cordova. HELD: The validity of OCT No. 735 and the titles derived therefrom has already been upheld by this court. Stare Decisis et non quieta movere (follow past precedents and do not disturb what has been settled). It becomes evident that respondents Aquial and Cordova actions has already been settled and it is no longer open to attack. Interest rei publicae ut finis sit litium – It is against public policy that matters already decided on the merits be relitigated again and again, consuming the courts’ time and energies at the expense of other litigants.