Cusipag Statutory Construction Doctrines


Statutory Construction Doctrines
(Based on the Agpalo Book) __________________________________________________________________________ Construction, defined Construction is the art or process of discovering and expounding the meaning and intention of the authors of the law, where that intention is rendered doubtful by reason of the ambiguity in its language or of the fact that the given case is not explicitly provided for in the law. (Caltex v. Palomar) Plain Meaning Rule/Verba Legis Where the statute is clear, plain and free from ambiguity, it must be given its literal meaning and applied without interpretation. This plain meaning rule or verbal egis derived from the maxim index animi sermo est (speech is the index of intention) rests on the valid presumption that the words employed by the legislature in a statute correctly express its intention or will and preclude the court from construing it differently. Legislative intent/Ratio Legis A statute must be read according to its spirit and intent, and where legislative intent apparently conflicts with the letter of the law, the former prevails over the latter. (Tanada v. Cuenco) The principle that what is within the spirit of a statute is within the statute itself although it is not within its letter applies only when there is ambiguity in the language employed in the law. Where the law is clear and free from ambiguity, the letter of the law is not to be disregarded on the pretext of pursuing its spirit. (Tanada v. Cuenco) Dura Lex Sed Lex Valid in part, void in part The principle requires that the statute should be applied regardless of whether it is unwise, hard or harsh. If the law is clear and free from doubt, it is the sworn duty of the court to apply it without fear or favor, to follow its mandate, and not to tamper with it. (Go v. Anti-Chinese League of the Phils.) Ut Res Magis Valeat Quam Pereat The rule is that a construction that would render a provision inoperative should be avoided; The general rule is that where part of a statute is void as repugnant to the Constitution, while another part is valid, the valid portion, if separable from the invalid, may stand and be enforced. (Barrameda v. Moir) The exception to the general rule is that when the parts of a statute are so mutually dependent and connected, as conditions, considerations, inducements, or compensations for each other, as to warrant a belief that the legislature instead, apparently inconsistent provisions should be reconciled whenever possible as parts of a coordinated and harmonious whole. (JMM Promotions & Management, Inc. v. NLRC) Review of law in its entirety and intendment must be given effect its

The legislative meaning is to be extracted from the statute as a whole. Its clauses are not to be segregated, but every part of a statute is to be construed with reference to every other part and every word and phrase in connection with its context. (Tamayo v. Gsell) Wisdom/Practicality of Law Courts do not pass upon questions of wisdom, justice, or expediency of legislation, for it is not within their province to supervise legislation and keep it within the bounds of propriety and common sense. That is primarily and exclusively a legislative concern. Hence, as long as laws do not violate the Constitution, the courts merely interpret and apply them regardless of whether or not they are wise or salutary. (Quintos v. Lacson) Executive/Administrative Interpretation The principle that the contemporaneous construction of a statute by the executive officers of the government, whose duty it is to execute it, is entitled to great respect, and should ordinarily control the construction of the statute by the courts, is so firmly embedded in our jurisdiction that no authorities need be cited to support it. (In re Allen)

(Villanueva v. where there is doubt as to what a provision of a statute means. (Empire Insurance Co. then the statute will generally be regarded as directory. Games and Amusements Board) Noscitur a sociis A word or phrase should be interpreted in relation to.Cusipag Statutory Construction Doctrines intended them as a whole. things or cases akin resembling. but if not. If no substantial rights depend on it and no injury can result from ignoring it. Inc. Inc. neither should the courts do so. (People v. (Magtajas v.” when the spirit or context of the law so . or the legislators. persons. the courts merely give effect to the legislative intent. Commissioner of Customs) Statement of Individual Legislator Thus. as y of 2 Exceptions: Enumeration has no distinguishable common characteristics and enumeration of the particular and specific words is exhaustive. or given the same meaning of. the general word or phrase is to be construed to include. Rufino) Ejusdem generis The general rule is that where a general word or phrase follows an enumeration of particular and specific words of the same class or where the latter follow the former. (Arenas v. but should include all others of the same class although not enumerated therein.) And/or The word “or” is a disjunctive term signifying disassociation and independence of one thing from each of the other things enumerated. Lakewood Housing Co. Union Insurance Society Canton) be to. in voting for its passage. (Asturias Sugar Central. City of San Carlos) Where the statute is clear and free from ambiguity. where there is no ambiguity in it. The courts may distinguish when there are facts or circumstances showing that the legislature intended a distinction or qualification. v. (Social Security System v.) Expressio unius est exclusion alterius One variation of the rule is the principle that what is expressed puts an end to that which is implied. v. for in such case. Where a statute uses a general word. (Lindasan v.. (Go Tiaco Hermanos v. or of the same king or class those specifically mentioned. courts will not inquire into the motives which influence the legislature. nor indeed as to the intention of the draftsman. assumes that the legislature made no qualification in the use of a general word or expression. or to restricted to. and the purpose of the legislature can be accomplished in a manner other than that prescribed and substantially the same results obtained. it will be mandatory. Martin) The term “or” has sometimes been held to mean “and. so far as it has not been expressed in the act. Pryce Properties Corp. To read into the law the supposed intention of the legislators. that meaning which was put to the provision during the legislative deliberation or discussion on the bill may be adopted. Courts should not distinguish The principle that where the law does not distinguish. (Manila Jockey Club. (Espiritu v. (Miller v. even though all would have been implied had none been expressed. Commission on Elections) Law does not distinguish. followed by an enumeration of specific words embraced within the general word merely as examples. v. would be to supply something that does not appear in the act. Cipriano) Another variation of the rules is the canon that a general expression followed by exceptions therefrom implies that those which do not fall under the exceptions come within the scope of the general expression. or individual members. City of Iloilo) Still another variation of the rule is the axiom that the expression of one or more things of a class implies the exclusion of all not expressed. the enumeration does not thereby restrict the meaning of the general word. words with which it is associated. City of Bacolod) Mandatory/Directory/Prohibiture Whether a statutory requirement is mandatory or directory depends on its effect. Inc. the nullity of one part will vitiate the rest.

v.” giving that which precedes it the same significance as that which follows it. (Vir-jen Shipping & Marine Services. The rule does not apply where it is shown that the legislature did not intend to exclude the person. the word “and” is a conjunction pertinently defined as meaning “together with. Manantan) Computation of Time See Article 13 of the Civil Code and CIR v. Asia Brewery. v. De la Sabta) On the other hand. Where a statute requires the doing of an act within a specified number of days.” “added to or linked to. it means ten calendar days and not ten working days. (San Miguel Corp. Primetown Property Group.. object or thing omitted from an enumeration must be held to have been omitted intentionally. (Sec. Inc. the last day falls on a Sunday or a holiday. Inc..) Retroactivity The general rule is that laws have no retroactive effect. Auditor General) If by applying the rule that the first day shall be excluded and the last day included in the computation of a period within which an act shall be done.” Elections) (Gonzales v. such as ten days.) Casus omissus pro omisso habendus est The rule of casus omissus pro omisso habendus est states that a person. phrase with phrase. FW Wollworth Co. (Cervantes v. Buencamino) 3 The word “or” may also be used as the equivalent of “that is to say. Mathay) The term “and/or” means that effect shall be given to both the conjunctive “and” and the disjunctive “or” or that one word or the other may be taken accordingly as one or the other will best effectuate the purpose intended by the legislature as gathered from the whole statute (AE Davidson v. NLRC) . there are exceptions to the general rule such as procedural laws and curative laws which are given retroactive operation.” “along or together with. Revised Administrative Code) This principle does not apply to the computation of the period of prescription of a crime. v. the information concerning said felony cannot be filed on the next working day. (Zulueta v. Commission on The exclude-the-first and include-the-last day rule governs the computation of a period. However. (US v. in which the rule is that if the last day in the period of prescription of a felony falls on a Sunday or legal holiday. from notice.” “joined with.” used to conjoin word with word. the act can still be done the following day. as the offense has by then already prescribed. Municipal City of Mandaue) The word “or” may also mean successively.Cusipag Statutory Construction Doctrines warrants. Inc. 31. Constitutional Assn. (Yapdiangco v. (Phil. Inc. clause with clause. thing or object from enumeration (People v.