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STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION

Agpalo 2009, San Beda College of Law

aiza ebina/2012

CHAPTER 1 & 2
FOCUS/DOCTRINES:
1. spirit/essence/intent of legislature/law
2. Judicial decisions part of the judicial system and has force of law
3. Stare decisis when SC has once laid down a principle of law, it will adhere to that principle and
apply it to future case where facts are the same
4. Legis interpratio legis vim obtinet interpretation of SC of a statute acquires the force of law
5. Tests of constitutionality/validity of laws/statutes
6. Orthodox (retroactive) and Modern (prospective) views
7. Court may not construe when statute is clear (only when ambiguous)
8. Court may not enlarge nor restrict statutes
9. Mistake in printing of a bill: remedy is by amendment enacting a curative legislation, not by
judicial decree
10. Journal - constitutional (discrepancy between enrolled bill and journal, enrolled bill prevails and
conclusive upon courts)
CASES:
1. CASCO vs GIMENEZ
- urea formaldehyde not urea AND formaldehyde
- Casco wants to be exempted from margin fees
- SC: view of some members of legislature does not represent entirety of the Senate
- Enrolled bill prevails and conclusive upon courts
- If there is mistake in printing, remedy is by amendment or curative legislation not judicial
decree
2. ASTORGA vs VILLEGAS
- Wrong version of bill was signed by President
- Senate President and President withdrew their signatures
- Vice-Mayor still wanted to comply with the erroneous bill
- Respondent Mayor: bill never became a law and was invalid because it was not the bill
actually passed by Senate; journals should be consulted
- SC: verified the journals and declared that the bill was not duly enacted and therefore did
not become law.
- To hold that the erroneous bill has become law would be to sacrifice truth to fiction and
bring about mischievous consequences not intended by the law-making body
3. FLORES vs COMELEC
- Election case on barangay level
- Question on constitutionality of law on law on giving appellate jurisdiction to RTC in
barangay election cases decided by RTC

STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION
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Agpalo 2009, San Beda College of Law

aiza ebina/2012

COMELEC refused petitioners appeal from RTC decision because law states that appellate
decision of RTC is final and non-appealable
SC: COMELEC should not be deprived of their appellate jurisdiction over election cases, even
barangay elections. Decisions of MTC must be directly appealed to COMELEC, not to the
RTC.
Sec. 8 incumbent elective officials running for the same office shall not be considered
resigned upon filing of their certificates of candidacy, they shall continue to hold office until
their successors have been elected and qualified
Petitioner contends that regulation is inofficious because the prescribed forfeiture is not
authorized by statute itself and beyond intentions of legislature
SC: ruled in the negative. Sec. 8 refers to incumbent elected officials that are not considered
resigned as long as they were running for the same position. The purpose of the resolution
was merely to implement this intention, which was applicable as well to the punong
barangay.

4. LIBANAN vs HRET
- Election case
- Ballots were not signed at the back by chairman of the Board of Election Inspectors
- Were the ballots spurious and invalid?
- SC: not spurious, RA 7166 Sec 24 only renders the BEI accountable to the offense. According
to law, such offense will not invalidate the ballot.
- Courts may not enlarge the scope of the statute n guise of interpretation
- If the words in the statute are clear and not ambiguous, there should be no room for
construction
5. PEOPLE vs JABINAL
- Illegal possession of firearms
- No license/PTC
- Because he was appointed as secret agent from Governor of Batangas
- He was arraigned while the Macarandang doctrine was prevailing (committed the offense at
this time), but the decision was promulgated when the Mapa doctrine was in place
- Insisted on the ruling on People vs Macarandang wherein a peace officer was exempted
from issuance of a license of firearms included a secret agent hired by governor not on
ruling on People vs Mapa wherein the it abandoned the doctrine of Macarandang
- SC: acquitted him on the basis of stare decsisi doctrine and retroactivity doctrine
- legis interpretatio legis vim obtinet
6. PITC vs COA
- COA auditor disallowed car plan benefits of incumbent government employees when RA
6758 was passed

STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION
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Agpalo 2009, San Beda College of Law

aiza ebina/2012

SC: legislative intent is to protect incumbents who are receiving salaries and/or allowances
over and above those authorized by Republic Act 6758 by allowing them to continue to
receive the same even after Republic Act 6758 took effect.
In reserving the benefit to incumbents, the legislature has manifested its intent to gradually
phase out this privilege without upsetting the policy of non-diminution of pay and
consistent with the rule that laws should only be applied prospectively in the spirit of
fairness and justice

CHAPTER 3
FOCUS/DOCTRINES:
1. If not within legislative intent, do not resort to aids of construction
2. Aids to Construction (intrinsic printed page and extrinsic extraneous facts and circumstances
outside printed page)
3. If statute is ambiguous, its preamble can be resorted to clarify ambiguity
4. Punctuation marks can be resorted to as well (semi-colon: separation in relation of thought;
comma and semi-colon: not used to introduce new idea but to divide sentences. Semi-colon
use: division more pronounced) but are aids of low degree and can never control against
intelligible meaning of written words. Argument based on punctuation is not persuasive.
5. Headnotes or Epigraphs are secondary aids. They are prefixed to sections or chapters of a
statute for ready reference or classification. Mere reference aids indicating the general nature
of the text that follows.
6. Lingual Text. English shall govern. In cases of ambiguity, Spanish text may be consulted to
explain English text.
7. Intent or Spirit of the Law. The law itself. Controlling factor.
8. Prior laws. Antecedents of statutes involved. Applicable to interpretation of codes, revised,
complied statutes
9. Legislative History. History of statute. Refers to all its antecedents from its inception until its
enactment into law
10. Adopted Statutes. Foreign statutes adopted in this country or from local laws are patterned
from parts of the legislative history of the latter
11. Principles of Common Law. Some imported in our jurisdiction, similar to those of the US. Has
limitation on rule that decisions of courts in another country are of great weight
12. Construction is rejected when it defeats legislative intent or spirit
CASES:
1. PEOPLE vs ECHAVES
- Whether or not PD 772, which penalizes squatting and similar acts applies to agricultural
lands

STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION
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Agpalo 2009, San Beda College of Law

aiza ebina/2012

SC: PD 772 does not apply to pasture lands because its preamble shows that it was
intended to apply to squatting in urban communities or more particularly to illegal
constructions in squatter areas made by well-to-do individuals

2. US vs HART
- Respondent punished under Act No. 519 which penalizes every person found loitering
about saloons or dram shops or gambling houses, or tramping or straying through the
country without visible means of support.
- The said portion of law is divided into two parts, separated by a comma, separating those
caught in gambling houses and those straying through the country without means of
support.
- Hart had visible means of support
- They were charged with the first part (those caught in gambling houses - ONLY even though
he had visible means of support, this was disregarded)
- They persisted that without visible means of support was in connection to the second part
of said portion of the Act
- SC: The construction of a statute should be based upon something more substantial than
mere punctuation
- Court will not hesitate to change the punctuation to give the act the effect intended by the
legislature
- Defendant has visible means of support and that the absence of such was necessary for
the conviction for gambling and loitering in saloons and gambling houses, he was acquitted.
3. CENTRAL BANK EMPLOYEES vs BSP
- In the case at bar, it is clear in the legislative deliberations that the exemption of officers (SG
20 and above) from the SSL was intended to address the BSPs lack of competitiveness in
terms of attracting competent officers and executivesit was not intended to discriminate
against the rank-and-file, and the resulting discrimination or distinction has a rational basis
and is not palpably, purely, and entirely arbitrary in the legislative sense.
- Congress is allowed a wide leeway in providing for a valid classification. The equal
protection clause is not infringed by legislation which applies only to those persons falling
within a specified class. If the groupings are characterized by substantial distinctions that
make real differences, one class may be treated and regulated differently from another.
4.

PEOPLE VS MANGULABNAN
- robbery with accidental homicide case
- Mangulabnan and company were intruders in a house and one of his companions
accidentally shot the victim hiding in the ceiling
- Article 294, No. 1, of the Revised Penal Code, which defines the special, single and indivisible
crime of robbery with homicide only punishes any person guilty of robbery with the use of
violence against or intimidation of any person, with the penalty of reclusion perpetua when
by reason or on occasion of the robbery, the crime of homicide shall have been committed,

STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION

Agpalo 2009, San Beda College of Law

aiza ebina/2012

but this English version of the Code is a poor translation of the prevailing Spanish text of said
paragraph
Spanish text which states that robbery with homicide is a criminal act even if homicide is a
mere accident even though the RPC conveys the meaning that homicide should be
intentionally committed
Con la pena de reclusion perpetua a muerte, cuando con motivo o con ocasion del robo
resultare homicidio (SPANISH TEXT)
In robbery with homicide, it is enough that a homicide would result by reason or on the
occasion of the robbery. It is immaterial that the death would supervene by mere accident,
provided that the homicide be produced by reason or on occasion of the robbery, inasmuch
as it is only the result obtained , without reference or distinction as to the circumstances,
causes, modes or persons intervening in the commission of the crime.

5. PEOPLE vs MANANTAN
- Manantan was charged with a violation of Section 54 of the Revised Election Code
- defendants plea of not guilty As justice of the peace, the defendant is not one of the
officers enumerated in Section 54 of the Revised Election Code
- contended that the omission of the phrase justice of peace expressed the intent of the
legislative that he is not included in the provision
- SC: Denied the contention. The word judge (in the said provision), includes justice of
peace.
- A review of the history of the Revised Election Code will help justify and clarify above
conclusion
6. ARTATES vs URBI
- A homestead should not be used as payment for debt contracted
- Said sale of the homestead should be considered void
- SC: declared the spouses Artates to be entitled to the return and possession of the subject
land without prejudice to their continuing obligation to pay the judgment debt, and
expenses connected therewith
- SC: Considering the protective policy of the law, the Philippines public land laws, being
copied from American legislation, resort to American precedents (foreign statute) which
held that the exemption from "debts contracted" by a homesteader include freedom from
money liabilities, from torts or crimes committed by him, such as from bigamy or slander,
breach of contract or other torts.
7. AZNAR vs YAPDIANGCO
- Case of sale of a car to an unsuspecting third party through fraud by the original perpetrator
- common law principle contended by Aznar: where one of two innocent persons must suffer
a fraud perpetrated by another, the law imposes the loss upon the party who, by his
misplaced confidence, has enable the fraud to be committed
- SC: Common law cannot be applied in this case, which is covered by an express provision of
law
- The applicable law is Article 559. The rule is to the effect that if the owner has lost a thing,
or if he has been unlawfully deprived of it, he has a right to recover it, not only from its
finder, thief or robber, but also from third persons who may have acquired it in good faith
from such finder, thief or robber. Statutory provision shall prevail over common law

STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION

Agpalo 2009, San Beda College of Law

aiza ebina/2012

8. PEOPLE vs DEGAMO
- Rape case with use of deadly weapon with aggravating circumstances of dwelling and
nighttime
- Victim became insane
- RA 7659 expressly provides that when by reason or on the occasion of the rape, the victim
has become insane, the penalty shall be death.
- But there is no ruling yet whether temporary insanity by reason of rape (when the victim
responded to psychiatric treatment as in the present case) still falls within the purview of
the same provision
- doctrine in statutory construction that it is the duty of the court in construing a law to
determine legislative intention from its language
- RA 263235 is the first law that introduced the qualifying circumstance of insanity by reason
or on occasion of rape, amending Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code. An examination of
the deliberation of the lawmakers in enacting R.A. No. 2632, convinces us that the degree of
insanity, whether permanent or temporary, is not relevant in considering the same as a
qualifying circumstance for as long as the victim has become insane by reason or on
occasion of the rape
CHAPTER 4
FOCUS/DOCTRINES:
1. If statute is plain, free from ambiguity, give LITERAL MEANING. (plain meaning rule) Do not
attempt interpretation.
2. Verba legis literal meaning of words in a statute
3. Verba legis non est recedendum words of statute there should be no departure
4. What is not clearly provided in the law cannot be extended to those matters outside its scope
5. Courts must administer law as they find it without regard to consequences
6. What is within the spirit is within the law (intent over letter)
7. If there are two statutory interpretations, the one that better serve the purpose of law must
prevail
8. Cessante ratione legis, cessat et ipsa lex: when reason of law ceases, law itself ceases
9. Interpretation is to be adopted which is free from evil or injustice
10. Legislature intended right and justice to prevail (Article 10 Civil Code)
11. Statutes construed in the light of the purposes to be achieved and the evil sought to be
remedied
12. A statute ought never to be construed to violate the law of nations if any other possible
construction remains
13. Doctrine of Necessary Implication: what is implied is as much a part thereof as that which is
expressed (anything implied is expressed)
14. Remedy implied from a right: Where there is a right, there is a remedy for violation thereof
(where there is a wrong *deprivation of right*, there is a remedy)
15. No man can file claim upon his own wrongdoing or inequity (come to court with clean hands)

STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION

Agpalo 2009, San Beda College of Law

aiza ebina/2012

CASES:
1. NFL vs NLRC
- Employees claiming separation pay
- Employer may also terminate employment of an employee
- may is directory in nature and generally permissive
- If we depart from meaning expressed by statute, it is legislating, not interpreting
2. KING vs HERNAEZ
- Anti-Dummy Law
- May an alien be employed in a retail establishment (which is non-technical)?
- SC: No. Anti-Dummy Law prohibits aliens from intervening in the management, operation,
administration and control thereof
- When law prohibits, one must comply
3. COMMENDADOR vs DE VILLA
- When reason of law ceases (purpose), the law itself ceases
- 1989 coup d etat failed attempt
- Invoked peremptorily challenge
- Invocation denied thus appeal
- PD 39: withdrew the right to peremptorily challenge members of military tribunal (Martial
Law reason for existence of PD 39)
- PD 2045: made PD 39 inoperative when martial law was lifted
- When Martial Law was terminated, the reason for PD 39, it in itself ceased as well
- SC: Right to peremptorily challenge of petitioners were allowed
4. AMATAN vs AUJERO
- Homicide case
- Criminal Procedure: an accused may plead to downgrade a penalty (plea bargaining
agreement)
- Respondent Judge downgraded case to attempted homicide (even if victim was DEAD)
because the offender pleaded guilty to homicide
- If a law is silent or ambiguous, judges must invoke a solution responsive to conscience
(avoid injustice)
- In case of doubt, the intent is to promote right and justice
- Judge guilty of gross ignorance of the law
5. URSUA vs CA
- Petitioner wrote the name of the messenger in the Office of the Ombudsman to claim a
document which of course, is not his true name
- Anti-Alias Law charged
- Anti-Alias Law: prevent confusion and fraud in business transactions

STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION
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Agpalo 2009, San Beda College of Law

aiza ebina/2012

SC: It was not a violation of the law (it was done only once), it is not prohibited by law,
otherwise, injustice, absurdity and contradiction will result
Statute must be construed with reference to intended scope and purpose

6. CO KIM CHAM vs VALDEZ TAN KEH


- processes referred to Douglas MacArthur does not include judicial processes because
public hardship is at stand
- Criminals freed, vested right impaired
- It can be presumed that it could not and it could not have been MacArthurs intent to refer
to judicial processes when he said PROCESSES OF ANY OTHER GOVERNMENT in violation
of relevant principles of international law
- processes refer to other governmental processes other than judicial or courts proceedings
- A statute ought never to be construed to violate the law of nations if any other possible
construction remains
7. SALVACION vs BSP
- Rape case
- To satisfy courts judgment, garnishment from offenders (foreigner depositor) bank was
ordered to pay the fees required but bank refused invoking Circular 960
- foreign currency deposits shall be exempt from attachment, garnishment or any process of
court
- SC: apply principles of right and justice to prevail over strict and literal words of statute
- Article 10 of Civil Code: In case of doubt as to the interpretation and application of laws, it is
presumed that the lawmaking body intended right and justice to prevail
8. FELIPE VS LEUTERIO
- Mathematical mistake (error) in an oratorical contest
- SC: Error is not wrong
- Error and wrong do not mean the same thing
- "Wrong" as used in the legal principle that where there is a wrong there is a remedy, is the
deprivation or violation of a right.
- SC: Courts have no power, on the ground of error in such case
9. MATABUENA VS CERVANTES
- Donation of property to a live-in partner during cohabitation period
- Parties married until the one who donated died
- Sister of deceased sought for nullification of donation
- every donation between the spouses during marriage shall be void
- SC: The prohibition of law applies to donations between live-in partners as well because it is
what is within the spirit of the law
- To prevent undue influence and improper pressure being exerted by one spouse on the
other

STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION

Agpalo 2009, San Beda College of Law

aiza ebina/2012

10. ROMUALDEZ vs SANDIGANBAYAN


- Petitioner intervened directly and indirectly in a contract between a governmentcontrolled and private-owned corporation thus accused with violation of the Anti-Graft Law
- Claimed that the phrase in the aid law to intervene is vague
- SC: the word can be easily understood through simple statutory construction
- Words should be construed in their plain and simple (ordinary and usual) meaning
- intervene means to come between
- The absence of a statutory definition of a term in a statute will not render the law void for
vagueness if the meaning can be determined through the judicial function of construction
CHAPTER 5
FOCUS/DOCTRINES:
1. Words or phrases may have an ordinary, generic, restricted, technical, legal, commercial or
trade meaning which may be defined by the statute itself or have received a judicial
construction.
2. The general rule is that words should be given their plain, ordinary, and common usage meaning
3. Statutory definition: statutes sometimes define particular words and phrases (legislative
definition controls the meaning of the word)
4. A general word should not be given a restricted meaning where no restriction is indicated
(general meaning must prevail over restricted meaning if both exists in a statute)
5. Generalia verba sunt generaliter intellegenda (what is generally spoken shall be generally
understood)
6. Generale dictum generaliter est (a general statement is understood in a general sense)
7. Ubi lex non distinguit nec nos dintinguire debemos (where the law does not distinguish, courts
should not distinguish)
8. Noscitur a sociis (where the law does not define a word, it will be construed as having a
meaning similar to that of words associated or accompanied by it)
9. Ejusdem generis (while general words are accorded their generic sense, they will not be given
such meaning if they are used in association with specific words; general and unlimited terms
are restrained and limited by the particular terms they follow in the statute)
10. Expressio unius est exclusio alterius (express mention of one person, thing or consequence
implies the exclusion of all the others)
CASES:
1. PEOPLE vs SANTIAGO
- Accused of besmirching the name of the Mayor with malicious intent
- Contended it was only oral defamation
- Amplifier was used by defendant in the act
- Amplifier vs Radio
- Amplifier: uses a conducting wire intervening between the transmitter and receiver

STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION
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Agpalo 2009, San Beda College of Law

aiza ebina/2012

Radio: involves transmission of electromagnetic waves without wires. Cannot be interpreted


to include amplifier

2. RAMIREZ vs CA
- Private respondent insulted and humiliated petitioner
- Presented in verbatim transcript of the event to court because she recorded said
conversation
- Private respondent filed criminal case against petitioner for violating Anti Wiretapping Act
- Petitioner contended she was exempted since she was a party to the conversation
- Law clearly provided any person not authorized by all parties to any private
communication is liable
- Law did not distinguish (exempted) whether the party sought o be penalized ought to be
party other than or different from those involved in the private communication
3. PILAR vs COMELEC
- RA 7166: every candidate shall within 30 days after the day of the election file true and
itemized statement of all contributions and expenditures in connection with the election
- Law did not distinguish between a candidate who pushed through and one who withdrew it
- every candidate refers to one who pursued and even to those who withdrew his
candidacy
4. CARANDANG vs SANTIAGO
- Petitioner survived attack of respondent thus was charged with frustrated homicide
- Petitioner filed civil case to recover damages
- Respondent argued that frustrated homicide was not included as basis for a civil case under
Article 33
- Term physical injuries means any bodily injury
- It should not be construed as a specific crime falling under RPC other words associating it
fraud and defamation do not have specific definition and provisions in the RPC
- Noscitur a sociis (associated words)
5. VERA vs CUEVAS
- Petitioner ordered the withdrawal; of private respondents filled milk products from the
market which do not bear inscription required by Tax Code
- all milk should be understood within the meaning of skimmed milk since headnote
(skimmed milk) and the text (condensed skimmed milk)talk about this.
- Tax Code does not apply to filled milk
- Ejusdem generis
6. MUTUC vs COMELEC
Act makes unlawful the distribution of electoral propaganda gadgets, pens, lighters, fans,
flashlights, athletic goods, materials and the like.

STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION
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Agpalo 2009, San Beda College of Law

aiza ebina/2012

and the like does not embrace taped jingles for campaign purposes
Ejusdem generis

7. EB VILLAROSA vs BENITO
- Summons for a case of breach of contract was served upon the defendant through its
branch manager
- Defendant moved to dismiss the case on ground of improper submission of summons
- Rules of Court amended by Rules of Civil Procedure saying that only a general manager,
corporate secretary, treasurer may be summoned
- Does not include branch manager
- Expressio unius est exclusio alterius
8. CAGAYAN VALLEY ENTERPRISES vs CA
- other lawful beverages: does it include liquor?
- The title of the act An Act to regulate the use of stamped or marked bottles, boxes, caska,
kegs, barrels, and other similar containers shows intent to give protection to all marked
bottles of lawful beverages even liquor which although regulated, is not prohibited
(unlawful)
9. US vs SANTO NINO
- Ejusdem generis cannot be used because the intent is clear on prohibition of carrying
concealed and deadly weapons (limitations)
- Ejusdem generis can be used only in determining legislative intent
- Deadly weapons include an unlicensed revolver (proviso)