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Law, in its jural and generic sense, refers to the whole body or system of law.
In its jural and concrete sense, law means a rule of conduct formulated and made obligatory by
legitimate power of the state.
statues enacted by the legislature
presidential decree
executive orders
Note2 and 3 are made by the president in the exercise of his legislative power.
other presidential issuance in the exercise of his ordinance power
rulings of the Supreme Court
rules and regulation promulgated by administrative or executive officers pursuant to a delegated
ordinances passed by LGU
Statute is an act of legislature as an organized body, expressed in the form, passed according to
the procedure, required to constitute it as part of the law of the land.
Laws which has the same category and binding force arepresidential decrees issued during
Martial law and executive orders issued under the Freedom Constitution.
Types of statutes
passed by the Philippine Legislature
Philippine Commission
Philippine Legislature
Batasang Pambasna
Congress of the Philippines
Made by the president
Presidential decrees (1973 constitution)
Executive orders (Freedom Constitution)
Other types of Statues
Public Statutewhich affects the public at large or the whole community; classifications
general- which applies to the whole state and operates throughout the state alike upon all the
people or all of a class;
special- which relates to a particular persons or things of a class or to a particular community,
individual or thing;
local- whose operation is confined to a specific place or locality
Private Statuteapplies only to a specific person or subject
Types according to Duration
permanent statutewhose operation is not limited in duration but continues until repealed;
temporary statutewhose duration is for a limited period of time fixed in the statute itself or whose
life ceases upon the happening of an event.
In respect to their application
remedial, and

Manner of referring to statutes
Public Acts
Philippine Commission and Philippine Legislature 1901-1935
Commonwealth Actsenacted during the Commonwealth 1936-1946
Republic Actspassed by Congress of the Philippines 1946-1972 and from 1987
NoteStatutes may be referred to by its serial number, or its title.
Legislative power is the power to make, alter, and repeals laws.
Under the 1973 and freedom constitution, the president exercised legislative power which
remained valid until repealed.
LGU can enact ordinances within their own jurisdiction, but such laws are inferior and subordinate
to the laws of the state. (Primicias v. Municipality of Urdaneta).
Administrative or executive officer can make rules and regulations to implement specific laws.
Essential feature of the legislative function is the determination of the legislative policy and its
formulation and promulgation as a defined and binding rule of conduct
A bill is a proposed legislative measure introduced by a member of Congress for enactment into
Passage of a bill:
A bill shall embrace only one subject which shall be expressed in the title thereof. It shall be
signed by its author and filed with the Secretary of the House.
A bill may originate in the lower or upper house except appropriation, revenue or tariff bills, bills
authorizing increase of public debt, bills of local application, private bills, which shall originate
exclusively in the House of Representatives.
A bill is approved by either house after it has gone three readings on separate days except when
the President certifies to the necessity of its immediate enactment.
The Secretary reports for the first reading, which consists of reading the number and title of the
bill, followed by its referral to the appropriate Committee for study and recommendation.
Second Readingthe bill shall be read in full with the amendments proposed by the Committee, if
any, unless copies thereof are distributed and such reading is dispensed with. After the
amendments, the bill will be voted on second reading.
Third readingthe bill approved on second reading will be submitted for final vote by yeas and
nays. No amendments may be introduced.
The bill approved on the third reading by one house is transmitted to the other house for
concurrence, which will follow the same procedures as a bill originally filed with it.
If the other house introduces amendments and the House from which it originated does not agree
with said amendments, the differences will be settled by the Conference Committee of both
chambers, whose report or recommendation thereon will have to be approved by both Houses in
order that it will be considered passed by Congress and thereafter sent to the President for
If the President shall veto it, and if after such consideration, two- thirds of all the Members of such
House shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent, together with the objections, to the other House
by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two-thirds of all the Members of that
House, it shall become a law.
A bill passed by Congress becomes a law in either of three ways:
When the President signs it
When the President does not sign nor communicate his veto of the bill within thirty days after his
receipt thereof
When the vetoed bill is repassed by Congress by two-thirds vote of all its members, voting

Procedure for enactment of appropriations and revenue bills is same with ordinary bills, but it may
only come from the lower house. Appropriations bill are subject to the restrictions or qualifications
as provided in the Constitution [Art VI, Sec. 25] and [Art. VI Sec. 27 (2)]
The lawmaking process in Congress ends when the bill is approved by the body. Approval is
indispensable to the validity of the bill.
The system of authentication devised is the signing by the Speaker and the Senate President of
the printed copy of the approved bill, to signify to the President that the bill being presented to him
has been duly approved by the legislature and is ready for his approval or rejection.
The Constitution requires that each House shall keep a journal [Art. VI Sec. 16(4)]. The Journal is
regarded as conclusive with respect to matters that are required by the Constitution to be
recorded therein. With respect to other matters, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, the
Journals have also been accorded conclusive effect. Considerations of public policy led to the
adoption of the rule giving verity (truth) and unimpeachability to legislative records. Imperative
reasons of public policy require that the authenticity of laws should rest upon public memorials of
the most permanent character. That the rights acquired today upon the faith of what has been
declared to be law shall not be destroyed tomorrow, or at some remote period of time, by facts
resting only in the memory of individuals.
Enrolled BillUnder the enrolled bill doctrine, the text of the act as passed and approved is deemed
importing absolute veracity and is binding on the courts.It is conclusive not only of its provisions
but also of its due enactment.
If there has been any mistake in the printing of the bill before it was certified by the officer of the
assembly and approved by the chief executive, the remedy is by amendment by enacting a
curative legislation, not by judicial decree (Casco Phil. Chemical Co., Inc. v. Gimenez)
Where there is discrepancy between the journal and the enrolled bill, the latter as a rule prevails
over the former, particularly with respect to matters not expressly required to be entered in the
The legislative journals and the enrolled bill are both conclusive upon the courts. However, where
there is discrepancy, the enrolled bill as a rule prevails, particularly with respect to matters not
expressly required to be entered into the legislative journal.
The Speaker and the Senate President may withdraw their signatures from the signed bill where
there is serious and substantial discrepancy between the text of the bill as deliberated and shown
by the journal and that of the enrolled bill.It thus, renders the bill without attestation and nullifies
its status as an enrolled bill.The court can declare that the bill has not been duly enacted and did
not accordingly become a law (Astorga v. Villegas).
Titleevery bill passed shall embrace only one subject which shall be expressed in the title. This
provisions contains dual limitations upon the legislature:
The legislature is to refrain from conglomeration, under one statute, of heterogeneous subjects.
The title of the bill is to be couched in a language sufficient to notify the legislators and the public
and those concerned of the import of the single subject thereof.
Purpose of one title-one subject rule:
To prevent hodge-podge or log-rolling legislation
To prevent surprise or fraud upon legislature, by means of provisions in bills of which the title
gave no information, and which might therefore be overlooked and carelessly and unintentionally
To fairly apprise the people through such publication of legislative proceedings as is usually
made, of the subjects of the legislation that are being heard thereon
These requirements should be liberally construed (People v. Buenviaje).It should not be given a
technical interpretation, nor narrowly construed as to cripple or impede the power of legislation

(Tobias v. Abalos).(Cordero vs. Cabatuando)

Title of the statute is used as a guide in ascertaining legislative intent when the language of the
act does not clearly express its purpose.
When there is doubt as to whether the title sufficiently expresses the subject matter of the statute,
the question should be resolved against the doubt and in favor of the constitutionality of the
statute (Insular Lumber vs. Court of Tax Appeals)
NoteThere is sufficient compliance with the one-title-subject requirement
if the title be comprehensive enough to reasonably include the general object which a statute
seeks to effect, without each and every end and means necessary or convenient for
accomplishing the subject.
if all parts of the law are related and germane to the subject matter expressed in the title.
If the title indicates in broad or clear terms, the nature, scope, and consequences of the law and
its operations.
The tile should not be catalogue or index of the bill (People v. Ferrer).
Titles ending with and for other purposes expresses nothing as a compliance with the
constitutional requirement.
It does not apply to laws in force existing at the time the 1935 Constitution took effect
(People v. Valensoy), nor to municipal or city ordinances because they do not partake of the
nature of laws passed by the legislature.
Effect pf insufficiency of title
A statue whose title does not conform to the one title-subject or is not related to its subject is null
and void.
If subject matter of statute is not sufficiently expressed in its title, only the unexpressed subject
matter is void leaving the rest in force.
Enacting Clausepart of the statute written immediately after the title thereof which states the
authority by which the act is enacted
Preambleprefatory statement or explanation or a finding of facts, reciting the purpose, reason, or
occasion for making the law to which it is prefixed. Laws passed by legislature seldom contain the
preamble because the statement embodying the purpose, reason, etc is contained in the
explanatory note. Presidential decrees and Executive Orders generally have preambles.
Purview or body of a statutepart which tells what the law is all about.
NoteA complex and comprehensive piece of legislation usually containsa short title, a policy
section, definition section, administrative section, sections prescribing standards or conduct,
section imposing sanctions for violation of its provisions, transitory provision, separability clause,
repealing clause, and effectivity clause.
The constitutional requirement that a bill should have only one subject matter which should be
expressed in its title is complied with where the provisions thereof, no matter how diverse they
may be, are allied and germane to the subject, or negatively stated, where the provisions are not
inconsistent with, but in furtherance of, the single subject matter (People v. Carlos).
Separability Clausepart of a statute, which states that if any provision of the act is declared
invalid, the remainder shall not be affected thereby. Such clause is not controlling and the courts
may, in spite of it, invalidate the whole statute where what is left, after the void part, is not
complete and workable.
Presidential Issuancesthose which the President issues in the exercise of his ordinance power,
which have the force and effect of law. They include:
Administrative orders- acts of the President which relate to the particular aspects of governmental
operations in pursuance of his duties as administrative head.
Proclamations- acts of the President fixing a date or declaring a statute or condition of public

moment or interest, upon the existence of which the operation of a specific law or regulation is
made to depend.
Memorandum Orders- acts of the President on matters of administrative detail or of subordinate
or temporary interest which only concern a particular officer or office of the government.
Memorandum Circulars- acts of the President on matters relating to internal administration which
the President desires to bring to the attention of all or some of the departments, agencies,
bureaus, or offices of the government, for information or compliance.
General or specific orders- acts and commands of the President in his capacity as Commanderin0Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Executive Ordersacts of the President providing for rules of a general or permanent character in
the implementation or execution of constitutional or statutory powers, which do not have the force
of statutes.
The rule making power of the Supreme Court includes the power to repeal procedural laws/ parts
of statues which deal with procedural aspects can be modified or repealed by the SC by virtue of
its constitutional rule-making power. SC does not have the power to promulgate rules which are
substantive in nature; rules promulgated by them must operate only as to regulate procedure. If it
operates as a means of implementing an existing right then the rules deals merely with
Rules and regulations issued by administrative or executive officers, in accordance with and as
authorized by law have the same force and effect of law or partake the nature of a statute,
In case of discrepancy or conflict between the basic law and the regulations issued to implement
it, the former prevails over the latter (Wise Co. v. Meer).For it is elementary principle in statutory
construction that a statute is superior to an administrative regulation and the former cannot be
repealed or amended by the latter (China Banking Corp. v. C.A.).
The rule-making power of a public administrative agency is a delegated legislative power.
The power to fill-in details in the execution, enforcement or administration of law, it is essential
that the said law (a) be complete in itself- it must set forth therein the policy to be executed,
carried out or implemented by the delegate; (b) fix a standard- the limits of which are sufficiently
determinable-to which the delegate must conform in the performance of his functions, marks its
limits and maps out its boundaries.
A statutory grant of powers should not be extended by implication beyond what may be
necessary for their just and reasonable execution. It is axiomatic that a rule or regulation must
bear upon, and be consistent with, the provisions of the enacting statute if such rule or regulation
is to be valid.
When an administrative agency promulgates rules and regulations, it makes a new law with the
force and effect of a valid law, which are binding on the courts. When it renders an opinion or
gives a statement of policy, it merely interprets a preexisting law; it is only advisory, for it is the
courts that finally determine what the law means.
Baranggay ordinance:
Sangguniang barangaysmallest legislative body; may pass an ordinance affecting a barangay by
a majority vote of all its members. Its ordinance is subject to review by sangguniang bayan or
panlungsod, to determine if it is in accordance with municipal or city ordinance. Sangguniang
Bayan or panlungsod shall take action on the ordinance within 3days from submission.
Municipal Ordinance
Sangguniang Bayanaffirmative vote of a majority of the members of the sangguniang bayan,
there being a quorum. Ordinance is then submitted to the municipal mayor, who within 1days
from receiptshall return it with his approval or veto. The ordinance is then submitted to
sangguniang panlalawigan for review, who within 3days may invalidate it in whole or in part.
City Ordinance
Sangguniang panlungsod- affirmative vote of a majority of the members of the sangguniang
panlungsod present, and there being a quorum. Approved ordinance shall be submitted to the
mayor, who withn 1days shall return it with approval or his veto. The Sangguniang may repass a
vetoed ordinance. If the city is a component city, the approved ordinance is submitted to the
Sanguniang panlalawigan, who shall act within 3days.

Provincial Ordinance
Sangguniangpanlalawigan- by a vote of a majority of the members present, there being a
quorum, enact ordinance that will affect the province. The ordinance is forwarded to the governor
who, within 15 days, shall return it with his approval or veto. A vetoed ordinance may be repassed
by two-thirds vote.
Every statute is presumed valid. To declare a law unconstitutional, the repugnancy of the law to
the Constitution must be clear and unequivocal. To strike down a law, there must be a clear
showing that what the fundamental law condemns or prohibits, the statute allows it to be done.
All reasonable doubts should be resolved in favor of the constitutionality of law. To doubt is to
The final authority to declare a law unconstitutional is the SC en banc by the concurrence of a
majority of the Members who actually took part in the deliberations.
Trial courts have jurisdiction to initially decide the issue of constitutionality of a law in appropriate
Before the court may resolve the question of constitutionality, the following requisites should be
Existence of an appropriate case / actual case
An interest personal and substantial by the party raising the constitutionality
The plea that the function be exercised at the earliest opportunity
The necessity that the constitutional question be passed upon in order to decide the case.
Legal Standing (locus Standi)- a personal and substantial interest in the case such that the party
has sustained or will sustain direct injury as a result of the governmental act that is being
How a citizen acquires standing:
He has suffered some actual or threatened injury as a result of the allegedly illegal conduct of
Injury is fairly traceable to the challenged action.
Injury is likely to be redressed by a favorable action
Tax payers legal standing:
When it is established that public funds have been disbursed in alleged contravention of the law
or the constitution, or in preventing the illegal expenditure of money raised by taxation.
He will sustain a direct injury as a result of the enforcement of the questioned statute.
The SC may take cognizance of a suit which does not satisfy the requirements of legal standing;
the Court has adopted a liberal attitude on the locus standi of a petitioner where the petitioner is
able to craft an issue of transcendental significance to the people or paramount importance to the
Constitutionality must be raised at the earliest possible time. If the question is not raised in the
pleadings, ordinarily it may not be raised at the trial, and if not raised in the trial, it will not be
considered in appeal.
the question may raised in a motion for reconsideration or new trial in the lower court, where the
statute sought to be invalidated was not in existence when the complaint was filed or during the
the question of validity may also be raised in criminal cases at any stage of the proceedings.
In civil cases where it appears clearly that a determination of the question is necessary to a
decision and incases where it involved the jurisdiction of the court below.
Test of constitutionality
A stature may be declared unconstitutional because:
it is not within the legislative power to enact
or it creates or establishes methods or forms that infringe constitutional principles
its purpose or effect violates the constitution
it is vague. It is vague when it lacks comprehensive standards that men of common intelligence
must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ in its application.

The change of circumstances or conditions may affect the validity of some statues, specially
those so-called emergency laws designed specifically to meet certain contingencies.
With respect to ordinances, the test of validity are:
Must not contravene the constitution or any statute
Must not be unfair or oppressive
Must not be partial or discriminatory
Must not prohibit but may regulate trade
Must be general and consistent with public policy
Must not be unreasonable
Effects of unconstitutionality
The general rule is that an unconstitutional act is not a law.
it confers no rights.
it afford no protection
it imposes no duties
it creates no office
it is inoperative as though it had never been passed.
Regard should be had to what has been done while the statute was in operation and presumed to
be valid. Hence, its operative fact before a declaration of nullity must be recognized.
There are two view on the effects of a declaration of the unconstitutionality of a statute:
Orthodox View -- An unconstitutional law confers no right, is not a law, imposes no duties, affords
no protection; in legal contemplation, it is inoperative, as if it had not been passed.
Modern View -- The court in passing upon the question of constitutionality does not annul or
repeal the statute if it is unconstitutional, it simply refuses to recognize it and determines the
rights of the parties just as if the statute had no existence. It does not repeal, supersede, revoke
or annul the statute. The parties to the suit are concluded by the judgment, but no one else is
Invalidity due to change of conditions
The general rule as to the effects of unconstitutionality of a statute is not applicable to a statute
that is declared invalid because of the change of circumstances affecting its validity. It becomes
invalid only because the change of conditions makes its continued operation violative of the
Constitution, and accordingly, the declaration of its nullity should affect only the parties involved in
the case, and its effects applied prospectively.
Partial Invalidity
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
Note Exceptions to this rulewhen the parts are so mutually dependent and connected. The
presence of separability clause creates the presumption that the legislature intended separability,
rather than complete nullity of the statute.
When laws take effect
Art 2 of the Civil Code provides that Laws shall take effect after fifteen days following the
completion of their publication in the Official Gazette, unless it is otherwise provided.
All laws or statutes, including those of local application and private law shall be published as a
condition for their effectivity (Taada v. Tuvera), otherwise it would violate the due process clause
of the constitution.
The general rule is that where the law is silent as to its effectivity, or where it provides that it shall
take effect immediately or upon its approval, such law shall take effect after 15 days from its
publication in the Official Gazette.

The completion of publication, from which date the period of publication will be counted, refers to
the date of release of the O.G. or newspaper for circulation and not to its date, unless the two
dates coincide.
The requirement of publication as a condition for the effectivity of statues applies to Presidential
Issuances, except those which are merely interpretative or internal in nature not concerning the
When presidential issuance, rules, and regulations take effect
The requirement of publication also applies to Presidential issuances.
Exceptionsthose which are merely interpretative or internal in nature not concerning the public.
Rules and regulations of administrative and executive officers are of two types
Whose purpose is to implement or enforce existing law pursuant to a valid delegation or to fill in
the details of a statute; whether they are penal or non-penal; this requires publication.
those are merely interpretative in nature or merely internal in character not concerning the public,
does not need publication.
In addition, the 1987 Administrative Code provides that
Every agency shall file with the U.P. Law center three copies of every rule adopted by it. Rules in
force on the date of effectivity of this Code which are not filed within 3 months from that date shall
not be the basis of any sanction against any party or persons.
Each rule shall become effective 15 days from the date of filing as above provided unless a
different date is fixed by law, or specified in the rule in cases of imminent danger to public health,
safety and welfare.
Publication and filing requirements are indispensable to the effectivity of rules and regulations,
except when the law authorizing its issuance dispenses the filing requirements.
When local ordinance take effect.
Local ordinance shall take effect after 1days from the date a copy thereof is posted in a bulletin
board at the entrance of the provincial capitol or city, municipal, or barangay hall, as the case may
be, and in atleast two other conspicuous places in the local government unit.
the secretary to the sanggunian shall cause the posting of the ordinance within 5 days after its
The gist of all ordinances with penal sanctions shall be published in a newspaper of general
circulation, within the province where the local legislative body concerned belongs.
In case of highly urbanized and independent component cities, the main feature of the ordinance
or resolution duly enacted or adopted shall, in addition to being posted, be published once in a
local newspaper of general circulation within the city.
Unless a statute is by its provisions for a limited period only, it continues in force until changed or
repealed by the legislature. Law once established continues until changed by some competent
legislative power. It is not changed by change of sovereignty.
Manner of computing time:
Where a statute requires the doing of an act within a specified number of days, such as ten days,
from notice, It means 1calendar days and not working days.
Where the word week is used as a measure of time and without reference to the calendar, it
means a period of seven consecutive days without regard to the day of the week from which it
begins (PNB v. C.A).
Year365 days
months3days except if the months are designated by their name
days24 hours
nightsfrom sunrise to sunset
week --a period of 7 consecutive days without regard to the day of the week from which it begins.
Civil code adopts the 365 day year and the 30-day month and not the calendar year not the solar
The exclude- the first and include the last day rule governs the computation of a period. If the last
day falls on a Sunday or legal holiday, the act can still be done the following day. The principle
does not apply to the computation of the period ofprescription of a crime, in which the rule is that
if the last days in the period of prescription of a felony falls on a Sunday or legal holiday, the
information concerning said felony cannot be filed on the next working day, as the offense has

been by then already prescribed.

Construction and Interpretation
Definition of Construction
It 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 the
fact that the given case is not explicitly provided for in the law.
It is the drawing of warranted conclusions respecting subjects that lie beyond the direct
expression of the text, conclusions which are in the spirit, though not within the letter of the text.
Difference between construction and interpretation
Interpretation art of finding the true meaning and sense of any form of words
Construction process of drawing warranted conclusions respecting subjects that lie beyond the
direct expressions or determining the application of words to facts in litigation.
Note Although there is technical distinction between the two, they are alike in practical results.In
practice and common usage, they have the same signification.
Rules of construction, generally
Rules of construction are tools used to ascertain the legislative intent because in enacting a
statute, the legislature is presumed to know the rules of statutory construction.
When there is ambiguity in the language of a statute, the rules of statutory construction is
employed by the courts in order to ascertain the true intent and meaning of the law.
Rules of statutory construction have no binding effect on the courts.They are only used to clarify,
not to defeat, legislative intent.
Purpose or object of construction
Cardinal rule in interpretationto ascertain, and give effect to, the intent of law.
The sole object of all judicial interpretation of a statute is to determine legislative intent, what
intention is conveyed, wither expressly or impliedly.
Legislative intent, generally
It is the essence of the law.
It is the spirit, which gives life to legislative enactment.Intent mustbe enforced when ascertained,
although it may not be consistent with the strict letter of the statute.
Intent is equated with the wordspurpose, meaning and spirit.
Legislative purpose
The reason why a particular statue was enacted.
Legislation defined
It is an active instrument of government, which, for purposes of interpretation, means that laws
have ends to be achieved.
Statutes should be so construed so as not to defeat but to carry out such ends and purposes.
(Litex Employees Assn v. Eduvala).

Legislative meaning
It is what the law, by its language, means.What it comprehends, covers or embraces, limits and
confines are.
Legislative intent and meaning are synonymous.Thus IF THERE IS AMBIGUITY IN THE
The courts, by judicial construction will give effect to such intent.
Matters inquired into in construing a statute
ascertain the intention or meaning of the statute (internal element)
see whether the intention or meaning has been expressed in such a way as to give it legal effect
and validity (external element)
Note Legal act then originates in intention and is perfected by expression.Failure of the latter may
defeat the former.
Source of legislative intent
Primary source statute itself.
(Regalado vs. Yulo)
Where the words and phrases of a statute are not obscure or ambiguous, its meaning and the
intention of the legislature must be determined from the language employed. (B.E. San Diego,
Inc. vs. CA)
Other sources:
purpose of the statute
the reason or cause which induced the enactment of the law
the mischief to be suppressed
the policy which dictated its passage.
If these sources fail, the court may look into the effect of the law.
Note Judicial legislation happens when the court looks into the effect of the law without
ascertaining the other sources of legislative intent.
Construction is a judicial function
The power and duty to interpret or construe a statue or the Constitution belong to the judiciary.
A Supreme Court construes the applicable law in controversies which are ripe for judicial
Moot and academic cases cases wherein:
purpose has become stale
where no practical relief can be granted
which have no practical effect
The court may nonetheless resolve a moot case where public interest requires its resolution.
Laws are not interpreted in a vacuum, they are always decided based on facts.Thus, LAWS ARE
Legislature cannot overrule judicial construction
Legislature may indicate its construction of a stature in the form of a resolution or declaratory act
BUT it has no power to overrule the interpretation or construction of a statute or the constitution

by the Supreme Court, for interpretation is a judicial function assigned to the latter by the
fundamental law.
ReasonBecause of the principle of separation of powers.The legislature may enact and make
laws but as to interpretation and application of said laws belong exclusively to the judicial
When judicial interpretation may be set aside:
The Supreme Court itself may, in appropriate case, change or overrule its previous construction.
The rule that Supreme Court has the final word in the interpretation of a statue merely means that
the legislature cannot, by law or resolution, modify or annul the judicial construction without
modifying or repealing the very statute which has been the subject of construction.
When court may construe statute:
There must be doubt or ambiguity in its language.ONLY STATUTES WITH AN AMBIGUOUS OR
Municipal Judge)
Ambiguity a condition of admitting two or more meanings, of being understood in more than one
way or of referring to two or more things at the same time.
Court may not construe where the statute is clear.
Construction or interpretation comes only after it has been demonstrate that application is
impossible or inadequate without it.It is the last function the court should exercise, for if there is
more application and less construction, there would be more stability in law.
Court may not construe a statute that is clears and free from doubt. WHEN THE LAW IS CLEAR,
(Cebu Portland Cement Co. vs. Municipality of Naga)
Fidelity to such task precludes construction and interpretation, unless application is impossible or
inadequate without it.
When the law is free from ambiguity, the court may not engraft into the law qualifications not
A meaning that does not appear nor is intended or reflected in the very language of the statute
cannot be placed therein by construction.
It is a principle in statutory construction that where the two statutes that applies in a particular
case, that which was specifically designed for the said case must prevail over the other. (Lapid
vs. CA)
Rulings of the Supreme Court as part of the legal system.
Legis interpretato legis vim obtinet authoritative interpretation of the Supreme Court or a statute
acquires the force of law by becoming a part thereof.
Rulings of the SC are laws in their own right because they interpret what the law say or mean.
Stare decisis et non quieta novere rulings of the supreme court, until reversed, are binding upon
inferior courts.
XVI.Judicial rulings have no retroactive effect
Judicial ruling cannot be given a retroactive effect because dong so will impair vested rights.Nor
may judicial ruling overruling a previous one be applied retroactively so as to nullify a right which
arose under the previous ruling before its abandonment
Lex prospicit, non respicit (the law looks forward not backward) Art. 4 of the civil code.
The Supreme Court may abandon or overrule its earlier decision construing a statute whenever it
is right and prosper to do so.
No doctrine or principle of law laid down by the Court in a decision rendered en banc or in division

may be modified or reversed except by the court sitting en banc.Said ruling must be applied
The interpretation of a statute by the Supreme Court remains to be part of the legal system until
the latter overrule it and the new doctrine overruling the old is applied prospectively in favor of the
persons who have relied thereon in good faith.
vs. Ferrer where the court issued guidelines for prosecution under the Anti-Subversion Law).
Courts may not enlarge nor restrict statutes (doing so would be considered law making).
Courts may not revise even the most arbitrary and unfair action of the legislature
Courts may not rewrite the law to conform with what they think should be the law.
Courts may not interpret into the law a requirement which the law does not prescribe.
Courts must not be influenced by questions of wisdom.
They must not pass upon questions of wisdom, justice, or expedience of legislation, for it is not
within their province to supervise legislation.
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.
Questions regarding wisdom, morality or practicability of statutes are not addressed to the
judiciary by may be resolved only the legislative and executive departments.
GENERALLY Where the meaning of a statute is ambiguous, the court may avail itself of all
legitimate aids to construction in order that it can ascertain the true intent of the statue.
It serves as aid in case of doubt in its language, to its construction and ascertaining legislative
Used by the court to clear the obscurity.
An aid when there is doubt as to the meaning of the law.
that part of the statute written immediately after its title, which states the purpose, reason or
justification for the enactment of the law.
Expressed in the Whereas Clause
Usually omitted in statutes made by the congress.In its place, these legislative bodies used the
explanatory note to explain the reasons for the enactment of statutes.
Not an essential part of a statute.
Thus, where the meaning if a statute is clear and unambiguous, the preamble can neither expand
nor restrict its operation, much less prevail over its text.
It cannot be used as basis for giving a statute a meaning not apparent on its face.
It may clarify ambiguities (thus it is the key of the statute)
It may express the legislative intent to make the law apply retroactively, in which case the law has
to be given retroactive effect, so as to carry out such intent (PNB v. Office of the President).

Legislative intent should accordingly be ascertained from a consideration of the whole context of
the stature and not from an isolated part of particular provision (Aboitiz Shipping Corp. v. City of
The best source from which to ascertain the legislative intent is the statute itself the words,
phrases, sentences, sections, clauses, provisions taken as a whole and in relation to one
another. (Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. TMX Sales).
PUNCTUATION MARKSaids of low degree and can never control the intelligible meaning of
written words; may be used to clear ambiguities.
Punctuation marks are aids of low degree and can never control against the intelligible meaning
of written word.The reason is that punctuation marks are not part of a stature; nor are they part of
the English language (Feliciano v. Aquino).
Semi-colon indicates a separation in the relation of the thought, a degree greater than that
expressed by a comma.Makes the difference being that the semi-colon makes the division a little
more pronounced
Comma also separates the parts and sentences, but less pronounced than the comma.
Period used to indicate the end of a sentence.
Note An argument based upon punctuation alone is not persuasive, and the courts will not
hesitate to change the punctuation when necessary, to give the statute the effect intended by the
CAPITALIZATION OF LETTERS also an aid of low degree in the construction of statute.
HEADNOTES OR EPIGRAPHS convenient index to the content of its provisions.
In case of doubt or ambiguity in the meaning of the law or the intention of the legislature, they
may be consulted in aid or interpretation.
They are not part of the law thus, they can never control the plain terms of the enacting clauses.
When the text of the statute is clear and unambiguous, there is neither necessity nor propriety to
resort to headings and epigraphs for the interpretations of the text.
These secondary aids may be consulted to remove, but not to create, doubt nor to limit or control
the plain language of the law.
Philippines laws are official promulgated either in:
Or either in two such languages
if text is in English and Spanish, English text shall govern.
But in case of ambiguity, omission, or mistake, the Spanish text may be consulted to explain the
English text.
If statute is officially promulgated in Spanish, English or in Filipino with translations into other
languages, the language in which it is written prevails over its transaction.
In the interpretation of a law or administrative issuance promulgated in all the official languages
(Filipino), the English text shall control, unless otherwise specifically provided.In case of
ambiguity, omission or other mistake, the other texts may be consulted.

The intent or spirit of the law is the law itself, thus the legislative intent is the controlling factor, the
leading star and the guiding light in the application and interpretation of a statute.
The spirit rather than the letter of a stature determines its construction.
If legislative intent is not expressed in the law, the courts cannot by interpretation speculate as to
an intent and supply a meaning not found in the phraseology of the law.They cannot assume an
intent, otherwise, they would be usurping legislative power.
Policy of law.
The policy of the law, once ascertained should be given effect by the judiciary.
In order to accomplish this, a statue of a doubtful meaning must be given a construction that will
promote public policy.
A construction which would carry into effect the evident policy of the law should be adopted in
favor of that interpretation which would defeat it.
The following factors must be considered in the construction of a law:
the purpose or object of the law
mischief intended to be removed or suppressed
causes which induced the enactment of the law.
The purpose of a statute is more important than rules of grammar and logic in ascertaining its
The courts may consult dictionaries, legal, scientific or general as aid in determining the meaning
of words or phrases in a statute if said statutes does not define the word and phrases used
However, these definitions are not binding
In construing a statute, the objective should always be to arrive at a reasonable and sensible
interpretation that is in full accord with the legislative intent.As a general rule, a construction of a
statute should be rejected that will cause
injustice or hardship;
result in absurdity;
defeat legislative intent or spirit;
preclude accomplishment of legislative purpose or object;
render certain words or phrases a surplusage;
nullify the statute or make any of its provision nugatory.
In construing a statue, the court may properly rely on presumptions as to legislative intent in order
to resolve doubts as to its correct interpretation.
Presumption are based on:
common sense
These presumptions include presumptions in favor of:
constitutionality of a statute
of its completeness
of its prospective operation
of right and justice,
of its effect, sensible, beneficial and reasonable operation as a whole,
as well as those against impossibility, absurdity, injustice and hardship, inconvenience and

all antecedents from the statutes inception until its enactment into law.
Includes the presidents message if bill was enacted in response thereto
Explanatory note accompanying the bill
Committee reports of legislative investigations
Public hearings on the subject of the bill
Sponsorship speech
Debates and deliberations concerning the bill
Amendments and changes in phraseology it has undergone before final approval.
If statute is a revision of prior statute, the latters practical application and judicial construction
amendments it underwent and contemporary events during the time of its enactment shall form
part of its legislative history.
Foreign statute, history includes:
history of Anglo-American precedents or other foreign sources
their practical application and the decision of the courts construing and applying such precedents
in the country of origin.
Presidents message to the legislature
Presidents address (State of the Nation Address) address to the Congress at the opening of the
regular session.Contains
proposed legislative measures
indicates the presidents thinking on the proposed legislation, which when enacted into law,
follows his line of thinking
Explanatory Note a short exposition of explanation accompanying a proposed legislation by its
author or proponent.Contains:
statement of the reason or purpose of the bill
arguments advanced by its author in urging its passage
The explanatory not be used as basis for giving a statute a meaning that is inconsistent with what
is expressed in the text of the statute.
Explanatory note is only resorted to only for clarification in case of doubt, and not where there is
no ambiguity in the law.
This is a mere expression of authors views and reasons for the proposed legislation and may not
accordingly override the clear intent as expressed in the statute

Legislative debates may be resorted to when there is doubt as to what a provision of a statute
means.However, the views expressed by the legislators during deliberations of a bill as to the bills
purpose are not controlling in the interpretation of the law.
The opinions and views expressed by the legislators during floor deliberations of a bill may not be
given weight at all in any of the following instances:
where the circumstances indicating meaning of a statute other than that expressed by the
where the views expressed were conflicting
where the intent deducible from such views is not clear
where the statute involved is free from ambiguity.
Reports of commissions
Commissions are usually formed to compile and collate all laws on a particular subject and to
prepare the draft of the proposed code.
Special commissions were created to draft the text of the RPC and Civil Code.
Prior laws from which statute is based
In ascertaining the intention of the lawmaker, courts are permitted to look to prior laws on the
same subject and to investigate the antecedents of the statute involved.
This is applicable in the interpretation of:
Revised or compiled statutes
Prior laws, which have been codified, compiled or revised, reveal the legislative history that will
clarify the intent of the law or shed light on the meaning and scope of the codified or revised
Change in phraseology by amendments also indicates legislative intent to change the meaning
of provision from that or originally had.
Amendment by deletion
Amendment by deletion of certain words or phrases in a statute indicates that the legislature
intended to change the meaning of the statute, for the presumption is that the legislature would
not have made the deletion had the intention been not to effect a change in its meaning.
The amended statute should accordingly be given a construction different from that previous to its
RULE An Amendment of a statute indicates a change in meaning from that which the statute
originally had.
This applies only when the deleted words or phrases are not surplusage or when the intention is
clear to change the previous meaning of the old law.
The rule does not apply where the intent is clear that the amendment is precisely to plainly
express the construction of the act prior to its amendment.
In codification of statues or revision, neither alteration in phraseology not the omission or addition
of words in the latter statute will be held to alter the construction of the former act or acts.
Adopted statues
The general rule is that where local statues are pattered after or copied from those of another
country, the decision of the courts in such country construing those laws are entitled to great

weight in the interpretation of such local statues and will be generally followed if found reasonable
and in harmony with justice, public policy and other local statues on the subject.
Example of such statues:
corporation law
labor laws
naturalization law
Rules of court
Limitations of the rule
where the local law and id the foreign statute from which the former was patterned differ in some
material aspects
foreign construction is clearly erroneous or has not become settled
where the adopting state has given the statute its own interpretation
Principles of Common law
If there is a conflict between the common law principle and statutory principle, the latter prevails.
Definitionthese are constructions placed upon statues at the time of, or after, their enactment by
the executive, legislature or judicial authorities, as well as by those who, because of their
involvement in the process of legislation, are knowledgeable of the intent and purpose of the law.
Contemporanea expositio est optima et fortissima in lege the contemporary construction is
strongest in law.
Contemporaneous construction is the construction placed upon the statute by an executive or
administrative officer called upon to execute or administer such statue.
Executive and administrative officers are generally the very first official to interpret the law.These
interpretations are in the form of:
opinions and
Types of executive interpretation:
construction by an executive or administrative officer directly called to implement the law which
may be:
expressed (ex. Interpretation embodied in circulars, directive or regulation)
implied. (a practice of enforcement of not applying the statute to certain situations)
Construction by the Secretary of Justice in his capacity as the chief legal adviser of the
government in the form of opinions.In the absence of the ruling of a president, the opinions of
Sec. Of Justice is controlling among administrative and executive officials.
Interpretation handed down in and adversary proceeding in the form of a ruling by an executive
office exercising quasi-judicial power.
Note In the absence of error or abuse of power or lack of jurisdiction or grave abuse of discretion
clearly conflicting with either the letter or the spirit of a legislative enactment creating or changing
a governmental agency, the action of the agency would not be disturbed by the courts.
E.Reason why contemporaneous construction is given much weight it comes from the particular
branch of government called upon to implement the law thus construed these same people are
the drafters of the law they interpret.
When to disregard Contemporaneous construction
This contemporaneous construction is not binding upon the court.The court may disregard it:
where there is no ambiguity in the law
where the construction is clearly erroneous
where strong reason to the contrary exists
where the court has previously given the statue a different interpretation

If there is an error in implementation of the law, such error may be corrected.The doctrine of
estoppel does not apply.
As a rule, erroneous contemporaneous construction creates no vested right on the part of those
who relied and followed such construction.But this rule is not absolute.There may be exeptions in
the interest of justice and fair play (ex. Tax cases)
Legislative interpretation the legislature may provide an interpretation or declaration clause in a
statue by they cannot limit or restrict the power granted to courts.
While legislative interpretation is not controlling, courts may resort to it to clarify ambiguity in the
such legislative interpretation is entitled of respect especially of the executive department has
similarly construed the statute.
Legislative approval the legislature, by action or inaction approve or ratify such
contemporaneous construction.Such approval may manifest in many ways such as:
when it reenacts statute previously given a contemporaneous construction
when it amends a prior statute without providing anything which would restrict, change, nullify the
previous contemporaneous construction.
appropriation of money for the officer designated to perform a task pursuant to an interpretation of
a stature
non-repudiation of the construction.
NoteRatiohabitio Mandati aequiparatur legislative ratification is equivalent to mandate.
Stare decisis
Stare decisis et non quieta movere one should follow past precedents and should not disturb
what has been settled.
Reason for such doctrine the supreme court has a duty not only of interpreting and applying the
law but also in protecting the society from needless upheavals.Interest reipublicae ut sit finis
litium interest of then state demands that there be an end to litigation.
A ruling in order to come within the doctrine of stare decision must be categorically stated in the
issue expressly raised by the parties; must be a direct ruling.
Rulings that are merely sub silencio are merely obiter dictum (an opinion of the court upon some
question of law which is not necessary to the decision of the case before it; not binding)
This doctrine is not absolute because Supreme Court may change or abandon a precedent
enunciated by it.