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STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION PRINCIPLES AND CANONS 10.

Presumption of Nonexclusive “Include”- The verb to


include introduces examples, not an exhaustive list
LAW – rule of conduct formulated and made obligatory by a legitimate 11. Untintellibility Canon- An unintelligible text is inoperative.
power of the state. 12. Grammar Canon- Words are to be given the meaning that
proper grammer and usage would assign to them
STATUTE – an act of legislature as an organized body, expressed in the 13. Proviso Canon- A proviso cnditions the principal matter that it
form, and passed according to the procedure, required to constitute it as qualifies- almost always the matter immediately preceeding it
part of the law of the land. 14. Punctuation Canon- Punctuation is a permissible indicator of
meaning
STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION – is the art or process of discovering
and expounding the meaning and intention of the authors of the law, CONTEXTUAL CANONS
where that intention is rendered doubtful by reason of ambiguity in its
language or of the fact that the given case is not explicitly provided for in 1. Whole-Text Canon- The text must be construed as a whole
the law. 2. Presumption of Consistent Usage- A word or phrase is
presumed to bear the same meaning throughout a text; a
NOTE: Construction vs Interpretation. Interpretation is limited within the material variation in terms suggest a variation in meaning
four corners of the written text, while Construction draws warranted 3. Surplusage Canon- If possible, evry word and every
conclusions beyond the language of the written text. provision is to be given effect (verba cum effectu sunt
accipienda) None should be ignored. None should needlessly
NOTE FURTHER: Rules of construction are not rules of law but merely be given an interpretation that causes it to duplicate another
axioms of experience or general principles. provision or to have no consequence.
4. Harmonious-Reading Canon- The provision of a text should
LEGISLATIVE INTENT – essence of the law; composing of the purpose be interpreted in a way that renders them compatible, not
and meaning of the law contradictory.
5. General/Specific Canon- If there is a conflict between a
LEGISLATIVE PURPOSE – the objective why the law was created general provision and a specific provision, the specific
provision prevails (generalie specialibus non derogant)
LEGISLATIVE MEANING – the scope of the law determined by the 6. Irreconcilable Canon- If a tect contains truly irreconcilable
language used in the law provision at the same level of generality, and they have been
simultaneoudly adopted, neither provision should be given
ELEMENTS OF A LEGAL ACT effect.
1. INTERNAL – intention of legislature 7. Associated-Words Canon- Associated words bear on one
2. EXTERNAL – expression used by legislature another’s meaning (noscitur a solicis)
8. Ejusdem Generis Canon- Where general words follow an
NOTE: The primary source of legislative intent is in the statute itself – enumeration of two or more things, they apply only to persons
pertaining to the WHOLE written text. Where the law speaks in clear and or things of the same general kind of class specifically
categorical language, there is no room for interpretation / Where there is menrioned (ejusdem generis)
no ambiguity, there is no room for construction. 9. Prefatory-Materials Canon- TA preamble, purpose clause, or
recital is a permissible indicator of meaning
FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES 10. Title-and Headings-Canon- The title and headings are
permissible indicators of meaning
11. Absurdity Doctrine- A provision may be either disregarded or
1. Interpretation Principles- Every application of a text to
judicially correted as an error (when the correction is textually
particular circumstances necessarily entails interpretation
simple) if failing to do so would result in a disposition that no
2. Supremacy-of-Text Principle- The word of a governin text
reasonable person could approve.
are of paramount concern, what they convey, in their context,
is what the text mean.
3. Principle of Interrelating Canons- Nocanon of interpretation EXPECTED MEANING CANONS
is absolute. Each may be overcome by the strength of differing
princples that point in other directions 1. Constitutional-Doubt Canon- A statute should be interpreted
4. Presumption Against Ineffectivenes- A textually permissible in a way that avoids placing its constitutionality in doubt
interpretation that further rathen obstructs the document’s 2. Relate-Statutes Canon- Statues in pari material are to be
purpose should be favoured interpreted together, as though they were one in law
5. Presumption of Validity- An interpretation that validates 3. Reenactment Canon- If the legislature amend or re-enacts a
outweighs one that invalidates (ut res magis valeat quam provision other that by way of consolidating statute or restyling
pereat) project, a significant change in language is presumed to entail
a change in meaning
SEMANTIC CANONS 4. Presumption Agaisnt Retroactivity- A statute presumptively
has no retroactive application
5. Artificial-Person Canon- The word person includes
1. Ordinary-Meaning Canon- Words are to be understood in
corporations and other entities, but not the sovereign.
their ordinary, everyday meanings- unless the context
6. Rule of Lenity- Ambiguity in a statute defining a crime or
indicates that they bear a technical sense.
imposing a penalty shoul be resolved in the defendant’s favour
2. Fixed-Meaning Canon- Words must be given the meaning
they had when the text was adopted.
3. Ommitted-Case Canon- Nothing is to be added to what the STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION DOCTRINES
text states or reasonable implies (casus omissus pro omisso
habendus est) That is, a matter not covered is to ve treated as CONSTRUCTION, DEFINED
not covered
4. General-Terms Canon- General terms are to be given their Caltex v. Palomar
general meaning (generalia verba sunct generaliter  Construction is the art or process of discovering and
intelligenda) expounding the meaning and the intention of the authors of
5. Negative-Implication Canon- The expression of one thing the law with respect to its application to a given case, where
implies the exclusion of others (expression unius est exclusion that intention is rendered doubtful, amongst others, by reason
alterius) of the fact that the given case is not explicitly provided for in
6. Mandatory/Permissive Canon- Mandatory words impose the law.
duty; permissive words grant discretion
7. Conjunctive/Disjunctive Canon LEGISLATIVE INTENT/RATIO LEGIS – DURA LEX SED LEX
And joint a conjunctive list
or a disjunctive list- but with negatives, plurals, and When the law is clear and unambiguous, there is no room for
various specific wording there are nuances interpretation/Plain Meaning Rule/Spirit and Purpose of Law
8. Subordinating/Superordinating Canon- Subordinating
language, signalled by subjet to, or superordinating language, The law is harsh, but it is still the law. It must be applied regardless of
signalled by nothwithstanding or despite, merely shows which who may be affected, even if it may be harsh or onerous.
provision prevails in the event of a clash- but not necessarily
denote a clash of provisions. When the language of the law is clear, no explanation of it is required.
9. Gender/Number Canon- In the absence of a contrary
indication, the masculine includes the feminine (and vice RCBC v. IAC
versa) and the singular includes the plurat (and vice versa)  When the law is clear and free from any doubt or ambiguity,
there is no room for construction or interpretation. Only when
the law is ambiguous or of doubtful meaning may the court may, to some, be more logical and wise but unfortunately,
interpret or construe its true intent. A statute is ambiguous if it such is incongruent with the clear language of the law. To
is admissible of two or more possible meanings, in which insist on such ruling, no matter how practical and noble, would
case, the Court is called upon to exercise one of its judicial be to encroach upon legislative prerogative to define the
functions, which is to interpret the law according to its true wisdom of the law – plainly judicial legislation.
intent.
Lacson v. Roque, et al.
Regalado v. Yulo  Mere silence of the statute with respect to notice and hearing
 The intent of the Legislature is to be ascertained and enforced will not justify the removal of such an officer without
is the intent expressed in the words of the statute. The courts knowledge of the charges and an opportunity to be heard.
cannot assume some purpose in no way expressed and then
construe the statute to accomplish this supposed intention. Quintos v. Lacson, et al.
 As long as laws do not violate any Constitutional provision, it
Matabuena v. Cervantes is the duty of the courts to interpret and apply them regardless
 The principle of statutory construction that what is within the of whether or not they are wise and salutary. If the law is
spirit of the law is as much a part of it as what is written; deemed unwise and detrimental to the discipline and
whatever omission may be apparent in an interpretation purely efficiency of public officers, proper representations and
literal of the language used must be remedial by an adherence requests may be made to the Legislature.
to its avowed objective.
EXECUTIVE/ADMINISTRATIVE INTERPRETATION
Del Mar v. Pagcor
 In the interpretation of statutes, it is not proper or permissible Presidential Issuances – exercise of the President’s ordinance power
to inquire into the motives which influenced the legislative
body, except insofar as such motives are disclosed by the Classification Of Presidential Issuances
statute itself. 1. Executive Orders – rules of general or permanent in
character to implement or execute a constitutional or statutory
Cecilleville Realty and Service Corp. v. Court of Appeals provision
 Where the law is unambiguous and clear, it must be applied 2. Administrative Orders – relates to a particular government
according to its plain and obvious meaning, according to its operation in his capacity as administrative head
express terms. 3. Proclamations – fixes a date or declares a status or condition
of public moment or interest
Ursua v. Court of Appeals 4. Memorandum Orders – settles matters of administrative
 There exists a valid presumption that undesirable detail specific to a particular office or officer
consequences were never intended by a legislative measure 5. Memorandum Circulars – provides points of interest relating
and that a construction of which the statute is fairly susceptible to internal administration calling the attention of all or some
is favored which will avoid all objectionable, mischievous, government agencies
indefensible, wrongful, evil and injurious consequences. 6. General or Special Orders – commands to the Armed Forces
as Commander in Chief
Garcia v. Social Security Commission Legal and Collection
 The spirit, rather than the letter of a law determines Administrative Rules And Regulations – rules and regulations issued
construction of a provision of law – it is a cardinal rule in by administrative or executive officers
statutory construction that in interpreting the meaning and
scope of a term used in the law, a careful review of the whole Tests Of Validity Of Administrative Issuances
law involved, as well as the intendment of the law, must be 1. Promulgation must be authorized by the legislature
made. 2. Promulgated in accordance with the prescribed procedure
3. Within the scope of authority given by the legislature
Francisco, Jr. v. Nagmamalasakit na mga Manananggol ng mga 4. Must be reasonable
Manggagawang Pilipino, Inc.
 If the plain meaning of the word is not found to be clear, resort NOTE: Administrative rules and regulations have the force and effect of
to other aids is available. The proper interpretation of a law, while Administrative interpretation is, at best, advisory in nature.
constitutional provision depends more on how it was
understood by the people adopting it than the framers’ UP v. Court of Appeals
understanding thereof.  The previous uncontested acts of the Civil Service authorities
in endorsing to the University for action the administrative
UT RES MAGIS VALEAT QUAM PEREAT cases of Hospital employees Fernandez and Gorospe, and
declaring that “the Bureau had no disciplinary jurisdiction over
That thing may rather have effect than be destroyed said employees in view of the provisions of the University
charter,” constitutes contemporary interpretation of highly
Statute as a Whole persuasive character.
 Statute must be considered as a whole, just as it is necessary
to consider a sentence in its entirety in order to grasp its true Enrique v. Court of Appeals
meaning  Great weight accorded to interpretation or construction of a
statute by the government agency called upon to implement
JMM Promotions and Management Inc., v. NLRC the same.
 In interpreting a statute, care should be taken that every part
be given effect. Construction that would render a provision LITERAL INTERPRETATION
inoperative should be avoided and inconsistent provisions
should be reconciled whenever possible as parts of the Bello v. CA
harmonious whole.  This Court has cautioned against narrowly interpreting a
statute as to defeat the purpose of the legislator and stressed
WISDOM/PRACTICALITY OF LAW that it is of the essence of judicial duty to construe statutes so
as to avoid such deplorable result (of injustice or absurdity)
Spirit and Purpose of the Law and that therefore a literal interpretation is to be rejected if it
 Ratio est anima-the reason of law is its soul would be unjust or lead to absurd results. In the construction
 No law is ever enacted that is intended to be meaningless, of its own Rules of Court, this Court is all the more so bound
much less inutile. to liberally construe them to avoid injustice, discrimination and
unfairness and to supply the void – that is certainly within the
 Between two statutory interpretations, that which better serves
spirit and purpose of the Rule to eliminate repugnancy and
the purpose of the law should prevail.
inconsistency.
 Ubi lex non distinguit ne nos distinguere-when the law
does not distinguish, we ought not to distinguish Salaria v. Buenviaje
 Cessante ratione legis, cessat ipsa lex- when the reason of
 Construction by Executive Branch of government of a
the law ceases, the law itself ceases
particular law although not binding upon courts must be given
weight as the construction comes from that branch of
RCBC v. IAC
government called upon to implement the law.
 The holding that suspension of actions for claims against a
corporation under rehabilitation takes effect as soon as the
application or a petition for rehabilitation is filed with the SEC –
VALID IN PART, VOID IN PART
Pimentel, Jr. v. Aguirre
Barrameda v. Moir  The provision in the Local Government Code providing for
 The general rule is that where part of a statute is void as such release uses the word “shall” and as a rule, the term
repugnant to the Organic Law, while another part is valid, the “shall” is a word of command that must be given compulsory
valid portion, if separable from the invalid, may stand and be meaning.
enforced.
Marcelino v. Cruz
Tatad v. Secretary of the Department of Energy  Constitutional provisions are directory, and not mandatory,
 A separability clause states that if for any reason, any section where they refer to matters merely procedural.
or provision of the statute is held to be unconstitutional or
(invalid), the other section(s) or provision(s) of the law shall Brehm v. Republic
not be affected thereby. It is a legislative expression of intent  Mandatory provisions prevail over directory ones.
that the nullity of one provision shall not invalidate the other
provisions of the act. Such a clause is not, however, EXPRESSIO UNIUS EST EXCLUSION ALTERIUS
controlling and the courts may, in spite of it, invalidate the
whole statute where what is left, after the void part, is Useful only as a guide in determining the probable intention of the
complete and workable. legislature

AMBIGUITY, CONSTRUED AGAINST PARTY WHO CAUSED IT The express mention of one person, thing orconsequence implies
the exclusion of all others.
Reyes v. dela Cruz
 If there is any ambiguity or obscurity in the interpretation and Variations Of “Expressio Unius Est Exclusio Alterius
meaning of a contract, the same shall not favour the party who
cause such ambiguity or obscurity. 1. Expressum facit cessare tacitum – What is expressed puts
an end to that which is implied; where a statute, by its terms,
Ildefonso v. Sibal is expressly limited to certain matters, it may not, by
 Agreements must be construed according to the intention of interpretation or construction, be extended to other matters
the parties.
2. Exceptio firmat regulam in casibus non exceptis – a thing
Qua Chee Gan v. Law Union and Rock Insurance Company Ltd. not being excepted must be regarded as coming within the
 The contract of insurance is one of perfect good faith not for purview of the general rule
the insured alone, but equally so for the insurer; in fact, it is
more so for the latter, since its dominant bargaining position 3. “The expression of one or more things of a class implies
carries with it stricter responsibility, By reason of the exclusive the exclusion of all not expressed, even though all would
control of the insurance company over the terms and have been implied had none been expressed.”
phraseology of the insurance contract, the ambiguity must be
strictly interpreted against the insurer and liberally in favour of
the injured, especially to avoid a forfeiture. NOTE: The rule Expressio Unius Est Exclusio Alterius and its variations
are canons of restrictive interpretation. They proceed on the premise that
Baylon v. Court of Appeals the legislature would not have made specified enumerations in a statute
 If the terms of a contract are clear and leave no doubt as to had the intention been not to restrict its meaning and confine its terms to
the intention of the contracting parties, the literal meaning of those expressly mentioned.
its stipulation shall control.
When Expressio Unius Est Exclusio Alterius And Its Variations Are
LAW DOES NOT DISTINGUISH, COURTS SHOULD NOT Generally Used
DISTINGUISH 1. Granting powers
2. Creating rights and remedies
Colgate Palmolive Phil., Inc. v. Gimenez 3. Restricting common rights
 General terms may be restricted by specific words, with the 4. Imposing penalties and forfeitures
result that the general language will be limited by specific
Limitations Of Expressio Unius Est Exclusio Alterius And Its
language which indicates the statute’s object and purpose.
The rule is applicable only to cases where, except for one Variations
general term, all the items in an enumeration belong to or fall 1. These principles are mere tools of statutory construction and
under one specific class. cannot defeat the plainly indicated purpose of the legislature.
 Where the law does not distinguish, we should not 2. These are auxiliary rules of interpretation which can be
ignored when other circumstances indicate that the
distinguish.
enumeration was not intended to be exclusive.
 The rule of construction, that general and unlimited terms are
3. These principles do not apply where the enumeration is by
restrained and limited by particular recitals, when used in
way of example or to remove doubts.
connection with them, does not require the rejection of the
4. These principles do not apply when there is some special
general term entirely. It is intended merely as an aid in
reason for mentioning one thing and none for mentioning
ascertaining the legislative intent and is to be considered in
another which is otherwise within the statute, so that the
connection with other rules of construction.
absense of any mention of such other will not exclude it.
5. These principles do not apply if its application will result in
Phil. British Assurance Co. v. IAC
incongruities or a violation of the equal protection clause of the
 There should be no distinction in the application of a statute Constitution.
where none is indicated. For courts are not authorized to 6. These principles do not apply if adherance thereto would
distinguish where the law makes no distinction. They should cause inconvenience, hardship, and injury to public interest.
instead administer the law not as they think it ought to be but
as they find it and without regard to consequences.
City Government of San Pablo, Laguna v. Reyes
 A corollary of the principle is the rule that where the law does
 It is a basic precept in statutory construction that the express
not make any exception, courts may not except something
mention of one person, thing, act, or consequence excludes
therefrom, unless there is compelling reason apparent in the
all others.
law to justify it.
People v. Moro Macarandang
MANDATORY AND DIRECTORY AND PROHIBITURE
 “Peace officers” are exempted from the requirements relating
to the issuance of license to possess firearms.
Mandatory Statutes – a statute which commands either postively that
something be done orpeformed in a particular way or negatively that Peope v. Mapa
something be not done, leaving the person concerned no choice on the  The fact that a person, found in possession of an unlicensed
matter except to obey. firearm, is a secret agent of a provincial governor does not
exempt him from criminal liability. The law does not contain
Directory Statutes – a statute which is permissive or discretionary in any exception for a secret agent.
nature and merely outlinesthe act to be done in such a way that no injury
can result from ignoring it People v. Santayama
 At the accused’s apprehension, the doctrine then prevailing is
NOTE: There is no universal rule by which directory statutes are
enunciated in the case of People v. Macarandang, holding that
classified from mandatory statutes.
the appointment of a civilian as “secret agent to assist in the enumerated.
maintenance of peace and order campaigns and detection of 2. OR as to mean AND – Only when the spirit or context of the
crimes sufficiently puts him within the category of a ‘peace law so warrants
officer’ equivalent even to a member of the municipal police 3. OR as “That is to say”/interpretative/ expository – Giving
expressly covered by Section 879.” The case of People v. that which precedes it the same significance as that which
Mapa revoked the doctrine in Macarandang case only on follows it.
August 30, 1967. Under the Macarandang rule therefore 4. OR as to mean successively – To follow the order in which
obtaining at the time of the accused’s appointment as secret objects, acts or persons have been named in the statute
agent, he incurred no criminal liability for possession of the 5. AND as conjunctive – Used to denote union, binding
pistol. together, or relating one to the other
6. AND as to mean OR – Only resorted to when a literal
EJUSDEM GENERIS interpretation would pervert the plain intention of the
legislature as gleaned from the context of the statute or from
Same kind/same specie; to give effect to both the particular and general external factors
words, by treating the particular words as indicating the class and the 7. AND/OR construed – shall be given to both conjunctive and
general words as indicating all that is embraced in said class, although disjunctive accordingly as one or the other may best effectuate
not specifically named by the particular words. the purpose intended by the legislature

Exceptions of Application of Ejusdem Generis Romulo, Mabanta v. Home Development and Mutual Fund
1. The enumeration have no distinguishable common  The term ‘and/or’ means that the effect shall be given to both
characteristics and greatly differ from one another the conjunctive “and” and the disjunctive “or;” or that one word
2. The enumeration of the particular and specific words is or the other may be taken accordingly as one or the other will
exhaustive best effectuate the purpose intended by the legislature as
3. The enumeration does not thereby restrict the meaning of the gathered from the whole statute. The term is used to avoid a
general word, but should include others of the same class construction which by the use of the disjunctive “or” alone will
although not enumerated therein exclude the combination of several of the alternatives or by
the use of the conjunctive “and” will exclude the efficacy of any
Limitations/ Requisites of Ejusdem Generis one of the alternatives standing alone.” It is accordingly
4. A statute contains an enumeration of particlar and specific ordinarily held that the intention of the legislature in using the
words, followed by a general word or phrase; term “and/or” is that the word “and” and the word “or” are to be
5. The particular and specific words constitute a class or are of used interchangeably.
the same kind;
6. The enumeration of the particular class and specific words is RETROACTIVITY
not exhaustive or is not merely by examples; and
7. There is no indication of legislative intent to give the general Lex Prospicit, Non Respicit – the law looks forward, not backward
words or phrases a broader meaning.
Lex De Futuro, Judex De Praeterito – the law provides for the future,
Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila v. SSS the judge for the past
 The rule of ejusdem generis applies only when there is Espiritu v. Cipriano
uncertainty. It is not controlling where the plain purpose and  Statutes are not to be construed as intended to have a
intent of the lawmaking body would thereby hindered and retroactive effect so as to affect pending proceedings unless
defeated. such intent is expressly declared or clearly and necessarily
implied from the language of enactment.
Mutuc v. COMELEC
 Under the well-known principle of ejusdem generis, the CASUS OMISSUS PRO OMISSO HABENDUS EST
general words following any enumeration being applicable
only to things of the same kind or class as those specificially A person, object or thing ommitted from an enumeration must be held to
referred to. have been omitted intentionally.
STATEMENT OF INDIVIDUAL LEGISLATOR NOTE: As a general rule, the courts cannot supply omissions even
though the omission may have resulted from inadvertence or because
Casco Phil. Chemical Co. v. Gimenez the case in question was not foreseen or contemplated. EXCEPT when
 Individual statements made by Senators on the floor of the legislative intent is clear and supplying the omission will not do violence
Senate do not necessarily reflect the view of the Senate. Much to its language.
less do they indicate the intent of the House of
Representatives. People v. Manantan
 The rule of casus omissus pro omisso habendus est can
Manila Jockey Club Inc. v. Games and Amusement Board operate and apply only if and when the omission has been
 In the interpretation of a legal document, especially a statute, clearly established.
unlike in the interpretation of an ordinary written document, it
is not enough to obtain information as to the intention or COMPUTATION OF TIME
meaning of the author or authors, but also to see whether the
intention or meaning has been expressed in such a way as to Manner of Computing Time
give it legal effect and validity. The legal act, so to speak, is (Article 13 of the New Civil Code)
made up of two elements – an internal and an external one; it
originates in intention and is perfected by expression. Failure 1. Years-365 Days
of the latter may defeat the former. 2. Months –30 days, except if months are identified by their name, then
computed by number of days therein
NOSCITUR A SOCIIS 3. Days–24 hours
4. Nights –Sunset to Sunrise
Where a particular word or phrase is ambiguous in itself or is equally 5. Week –7 days
susceptible of various meanings, its correct construction may be made
clear and specific by considering the company of words in which it is
found or with which it is associated Viray v. CA
 The rule that excludes the last day of a period, should the
Nagtajas v. Pryce Properties Corp., Inc. same be a holiday, refers to the performance of the act
 Under the rule of noscitur a sociis, a word or pharse should be prescribed or required. But it does not apply where at the end
interpreted in relation to, or given the same meaning of, words of the period no such act is to be done.
with which it is associated, and, since the word “gambling” is
associated with “and other prohibited games of chance,” under
Sec. 458 of the Local Government Code, the word should be
read as referring only to illegal gambling.

AND/OR

Disjunctive vs Conjuctive Words


1. OR as disjunctive – Signifying disassociation and
independence of one thing from each of the other things