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Chapter 1

Generating Legal Issues
Most things we do implicate the law (i.e. in vehicular accidents, law
determines the liabilities attached)
Laws govern the acts of government leaders and regulate conflicts among
the branches of government
Much of what is read may no longer be good law or no longer the
prevailing rule as the generation and interpretation of law is an on going
Resolution of issues = marshaling sources of law to determine what the law
is on the specific issue raised
Legal Method
Often called legal writing, lawyering skills, or legal process
Basics of legal analysis
o How to read and think about the law, how to do legal research, and
how to do legal writing
Legal Method differs in different legal systems
NOT concerned with the principles, doctrines, and rules comprising
substantive law in a specific field
Concerned with the methodology used, principally by courts, to create,
elaborate, and apply that substance
o Tools and training needed to use these tools
Illustrates what law is and how it is formed and shows that life situations and
social settings influence the law through the intellectual efforts of attorneys,
legislators, and judges
o All play a role in determining the laws content
Legal Method vs. Statutory Construction
o Latter is 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 could be doubtful since given case is not explicitly
provided for in the law
o Interpretation of statutes is one aspect of legal method
Legal Method vs. Legal Bibliography
o Latter is development of skills in the use of legal materials and the law
Questions on the nature of law Legal theory
Evolution of laws and the legal system Legal History

Chapter 2
Philippine History And The Legal System
A Hybrid System
Philippine legal system today mixture of civil law and common law
o Inevitable outcome of the successive colonization of the country by
Spain and the United States
o Introduced largely in Asia through colonization
Common law
o Introduced in the British colonies (applies today in territories such as
India, Malaysia, and Singapore.
o Based on judge-made law, developed on a case by case basis
o Legislation main source of law, but case law is historically and
theoretically the backbone
Civil Law
o Introduced by the French and Dutch in territories like Indochina and
o Have comprehensive written codes, designed to cover every area of
o Legislation main source of law; jurisprudence plays a secondary role to
codes and statutes
Codes govern the area primarily in the area of private law
Statutes predominate public law
Legal System in the Philippines mixture of (fusion of legal traditions):
o Islamic Law
There is an acknowledgement and acceptance of the existence of
customary laws that may have controlling force in certain
Autonomous regions
o Indigenous systems
Indigenous Peoples Rights Act
Spanish version of the Roman law replaced many indigenous
regulations, but to avert native resistance, the colonial govt
allowed indigenous people to retain laws that did not conflict
with Spanish traditions
o Spanish civil law
Dispute resolution system
gobernadorcillo mediate and resolve conflicts;
jurisdiction over civil cases)

alcades mayors where appeals were brought; handled

initial criminal cases and civil suits involving large sums
Audiencia Territorial de Manila final appeal (SC)
o American common law
Gradual shift towards common law, while permitting certain
aspects of Roman law and indigenous traditions to continue
Initially permitted the Spanish court system to remain essentially
untouched (changed highest court of appeals to US SC instead of
Spanish Council of Indies)
Introduction of judicial system similar to the United States
No overhaul but gradual decay of Spanish civil law
Muslim Autonomy
Creation of autonomous regions meant to accommodate the demands of
Muslims for meaningful autonomy in the governance of their affairs
Cordillera area too (failed)
Conflict rooted in history
o Displacement of millions of indigenous peoples + legal regime
imposed by Spanish and American colonizers that did not recognize
private ownership rights of indigenous communities
o Law sanctioned land grabbing (for military, land reform, etc.)
The Philippine Supreme Court In History
Pre-Marcos Supreme Court
o One of the worlds most independent important and prestigious
Supreme Courts
o Had the respect and confidence of the Philippine people
Post-Marcos Supreme Court
o Regarded as subservient to the president and timid
1987 Consti
o established expanded power of judicial review
o strengthened the judiciary to prevent its subservience to the other
branches of government
o Present constitution contains provisions that promote the
independence of the judiciary
o Introduction of the JBC
Branches of the Government and the Judicial Power
Judicial power vested in the SC and such lower courts as may be established
by law

Presidential type of government that distributes power among three coequal branches (essential to the separation of powers)
o Chief characteristics of the Constitution
Separation of powers may be violated when one branch of government
interferes impermissibly with the others performance of its constitutionally
assigned function :
o Impermissible interference of another branchs functions
o Assumption of another branchs functions

Judicial Hierarchy
First Level
o Metropolitan Trial Courts (MeTC)
created in every metropolitan area
o Municipal Trial Courts in Cities (MTCC)
every city not in metropolitan area
o Municipal Trial Courts(MTC)
each of the other cities or municipalities
o Municipal Circuit Trial Courts (MCTC)
each circuit compromising such cities and/or municipalities as
grouped by law
o Sharia Circuit Courts
established in Islamic regions and provinces to interpret and
apply the Code of Muslim Personal laws (PD 1083)
Second Level
o Regional Trial Courts
Est. in each of the 13 regions in the Philippines
Composed of several branches
Act as trial courts; receive evidence
Exercise appellate jurisdiction over 1st level (except Sharia)
o Sharia District Court
Third Level
o Court of Appeals
23 divisions of 3 members each
review cases elevated to it from RTC and quasi judicial agencies
review death penalty cases as well as Ombudsman decision in
administrative disciplinary cases
collegiate court; sits en banc for the purpose of administrative
and non-adjudicatory functions.
Basis of record, but may also receive evidence
o Sandiganbayan
Anti-graft court that tries public officers (including co-accused
private persons) including civil liabilities attached

Presiding Justice and 14 Associate Justice

5 divisions of 3 justices each
decisions may be directly appealed to the Supreme Court
o Court of Tax Appeals
Presiding Justice + 5 Associate Justices
En banc or in 2 divisions of 3 justices each
Exclusive jurisdiction to review appeal on tax decisions
o Sharia Appellate Court
Original jurisdiction over petitions of CPMH; appeallate
jurisdiction over Sharia district court
Yet to be organized CA with Muslim Justice
Fourth Level
o Supreme Court
Chief Justice and 14 Associate Justices
En banc or divisions of 3, 5, and 7
Court of last resort

The Separation of Powers

Each of the three branches of government has exclusive cognizance of and is
supreme in matters failing within its own constitutionally allocated sphere
Principle of non-delegation what has been delegated cannot be
Judiciary does not create, but interpret the law
Allows the blending of some of the executive, legislative, and judicial
powers in one body
Does not prevent one branch of government from inquiring in the affairs of
the other branches to maintain the balance of power
Ensures that there is no encroachment on matters within exclusive
President can issue the ff:
Executive orders
o Rules of a general or permanent character in execution of
constitutional or statutory powers
Administrative orders
o Relate to a particular aspect of government operations
o Declaring a status or condition of public moment
Memorandum Orders

o Matters of administrative detail or of subordinate or temporary interest

(particular office)
General or Special Orders
o Commander in Chief of AFP orders

Chapter 3
The Constitution and Its Construction
What is the Constitution?
Set of fundamental laws for the governance and administration of a nation
Supreme and absolute; unalterable except by the authority from which it
Fundamental and paramount law of the nation
Prescribes the permanent framework of a system a system of government
Assigns to the different departments their respective powers and duties
Established certain fixed principles on which the government is founded
Basic law to which all laws must conform to
Expression of the sovereign will and governs the resolution of constitution
Constitutional Construction (Laurence H. Tribe) modes of interpretation
o Narrowly parsing the text of the document; examining the words alone
o Text is primary and ultimate authority of interpreting; anything
contrary to it will not stand
o Nevertheless, text is not exclusive; words may be ambiguous, not
definitive, or self-contradictory
o Textualism risks freezing of the Constitution in an earlier century and
rendering it obsolete
o Close attention to linguistic context is needed how words were used,
relevant, does it appear elsewhere
o Reliance on mere text is insufficient
Structural analysis or reading across words
o Looking at the physical arrangement of the Constitutions text
o Structure what the text shows but does not directly say
Diction, word repetitions, organizing forms
o Comes into play when the constitutional text is ambiguous or when the
Constitution itself is silent on a particular issue
o Looking at the lawmakers intent
o Applying the Constitution in the ways the framers consciously
o original intent
o It would be nonsensical to treat a phrase to mean one thin, when to
those who read or ratified it, it meant something else entirely
o Disadvantages

Subjectifies ratified text into purely subjective and un-enacted

intentions of a group of people who are long dead
Focuses on abstract intentions rather than on concrete
The framers, drafters, and ratifiers did not always share a single
purpose for the language chosen
Historical record of such intentional and aims as they did share is
often dramatically inconclusive and at times downright
Normative and Pragmatic Approach
o Elucidation of meaning thru attempts to discern which interpretation
best accords with the ethos and moral character of the nation
o Has inappropriate subjectivity
Reliance on stare decisis
o Judicial elaboration of decision doctrine to derive answers to
constitutional questions
o Flexibility
Has the ability to adapt to changes, where a constitutional text
that the Supreme Court read at one period could be read
differently by a new Supreme Court
Corrections do not revise the underlying constitutional
provision or the structure itself
Aim is to preserve the basic meaning of the Constitution
o Stability
Requires judge to follow, and indeed to extend when principled
adjudication so requires
Combination of above approaches

Philippine Setting
Verba legis
o Words reflects objectives
o meaning of the words unclear, courts can rely on extraneous aids of
construction and interpretation
Francisco v House of Reps (outlined procedure for interpreting the
o VERBA LEGIS give ordinary meaning except when technical terms
are applied
o RATIO LEGIS EST ANIMA accordance with the intent of the framers
o UT MAGIS VALEAT QUA PEREAT Constitution interpreted as a whole
No one provision of the Constitution is to be separated from all
the others to effectuate great purposes of the instrument

Court must harmonize

Fundamental principle of constitutional construction is to give effect to the
intent of framers and the people adopting it
o There is distinction between statutotry construction and constitutional
construction (but SC does not seem to make one)
When law is clear and free from any doubt or ambiguity, there is no room for
construction or interpretation

Words as they are commonly used

Words should be understood in the sense tat they have in common use and
give their ordinary meaning, except when technical terms are used if this
is the case, then technical terms will govern.
Prospective Application
Provisions of the Constitution are to be applied prospectively unless
otherwise provided
Language requires no construction
Words are plain, clear, and free of ambiguity, it must be given its literal
meaning and applied without attempted interpretation
Interpretation shall be used where a literal interpretation would be
impossible, absurd, or unjust
Verba legis non est recedendum, index animi sermo est there should be no
departure from the words of the statute because speech is the index of
Legislature is presumed to know the meaning for the words used, to have
used the words advisedly, and to have expressed its intent by the words
found in the statute
Mandatory and directory provisions
No hard and fast rule
Case-to-case basis
Look into nature, structure, and aim of the law to determine legislative intent
Directory no consequential rights or liabilities depend on it, no injury
results from ignoring it, and that thepurpose of the legislature can be
accomplished in a manner other than that prescribed when substantially the
same results can be obtained
Aids in Interpretation

In construing ambiguity, courts consider the debates of constitutional

convention to shed light on the intent of the framers
o Intent is not controlling by itself but the understanding of the
convention helps in explaining the understanding of the people when
they ratified it.
o Deliberations of the Constitutional Commission does not yield absolute
certain interpretation

Statutes and Executive Regulations Not Binding on Courts

Statutes and implementing rules are entitled great weight in constitutional
construction only as indicators of contemporaneous interpretation
o Interpretation is NOT necessarily binding on courts
o Contemporaneous construction stricter when construing constitution
compared to statutes
Self Executing Provisions
Not all provisions are immediately operative
ART II declaration of state policies; not intended to be self-executing and
ready for enforcement thru the courts
o Used as judiciary as guides in judicial review and by the legislature in
its enactment of laws
Oposa Sec 15 and 16 of Art II self executing
Tanada some sections in Article XII not self executing
o Do not embody judicially enforceable constitutional rights
Gamboa vs. Teves Sec 11 Art XI (reserving to the Filipinos specific areas of
investment is self-executing (no need for legistlation)
Manila Prince vs GSIS provision which lays down a general principle, (ART II)
usually not self executing
o Provision which is complete in itself and becomes operative without the
aid of supplementary or enabling legislation (or that which supplies
sufficient rule by means of the right it grants may be enjoyed or
protected, is self-executing.
o Constitutional provision is self executing if
Self executing, if the nature of the right it grants and the liability
imposed are fixed in the Constitution itself (no language that it is
to be referred to subsequent legislation)
o ART XIII, Sec 3, not self Executing
o Sec 19, Art II mere declaration of principle, which is not self executing,
used as judiciary as guides in the exercise of judicial review and by the
legislature in its enactment of laws

Unless it is expressly provided that a legislative act is necessary to enforce a

constitutional mandate, all the provisions of the Constitution are presumed to
be self-executing
o Not doing so would allow legislature to curtail fundamental power of
the land

Chapter 4
Judicial Review
Power of judicial review = power to declare a law, treaty, international or executive
agreement, presidential decree, order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation
Vested in the courts, including RTC
Through the power of judicial review, the judiciary enforces and upholds the
Supremacy of the Constitution
Origins and Constitutional Basis
Court has been given the power to review discretionary acts of the political
branches of government
Assigned broader powers under the 1987 Constitution as a consequence of
the judiciarys subservience under the Marcos regime
o Always avoided confrontation with Marcos by invoking the political
question doctrine
Judicial power includes the duty of courts of justice to settle actual
controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable
o Determine GAD
Angara vs. Electoral Commission judicial review is indeed an integral
component of the system of checks and balances
Expanded certiorari jurisdiction GAD
o Meant to address previous cowering behind the political question
Political questions those which are to be decided by the people in their
sovereign capacity, or in regard to which full discretionary authority has been
delegated to the legislative or executive branch of government
o 1987 Consti limits the resort to the political question doctrine and
broadens the scope of judicial inquiry
o Nevertheless, there are still areas beyond judicial review
Pres. Recognition of a foreign government
Set aside a presidential pardon
Amend the Consti in the guise of resolving a dispute
Grave Abuse capricious or whimsical exercise of judgment that is patent
and gross as to amount to an evasion of political duty or a virtual refusal to
perform a duty enjoined by law, or to act at all in contemplation of law, as
where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner
Requisites for Judicial Review
Actual case or controversy calling for an exercise of judicial power

o Existing case or controversy that is appropriate or ripe for

determnitation, not conjectural or anticipatory
o Does not include hypothetical situtations
o A court might initially assume jurisdiction over a case but may be
forced to dismiss the same because the issues therein have become
moot , UNLESS:
Grave violation of the constitution
Situation has exceptional character and paramount public
interest is involved
Constitutional issue raised requires formulation of controlling
principles to guide the bench, bar, and the public
Case is capable of repetition but has evaded review

Standing; personal and substantial interest, he will sustain direct injury as a

result of its enforcement (proper party)
o Locus standi personal and substantial interest in the case such that
the party has sustained or will sustain direct inury as a result of the
governmental act that is being challenged
o One who has sustained or is in immediate danger of sustaining an
injury as a result of the act complained of
Questions of constitutionality must be raised at the earliest possible
opportunity (Earliest Opportunity)
o Question of constitutionality should have been immediately raised in
the proceedings in the court below
o Does not mean has to be raised after the act
Issue of constitutionality must be the very lis mota of the case
o Should be the threshold issues cause of the suit
o Arises from the presumption of validity

Effect of Declaration of Unconstitutionality

GR: unconstitutional act is not a law,; confers no rights, imposes no duties, it
affords no protection, it creates no office
Note: doctrine of operative fact
Seperability clause lack of such does not raise a presumption against