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Legal Method Reviewer

: Statutory Construction by AgpaloPage
The art or process of discovering and expounding the meaning and intention of the authors of 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 thelaw.

: to ascertain and give effect to the intent of the law, to determine legislative intent.

These are tools used to ascertain legislative intent. They are not rules but mere axioms of experience.
Legislative Intent
The essence of the law. The intent of the legislature is the law, and the key to, and the controlling factor
in, its construction and interpretation.
The primary source of legislative intent is the statute itself.
Where the words or phrases of a statute are not obscure or ambiguous, its meaning and the intention of
the legislature must be determined from the language employed.
Legislative Purpose
The reason why a particular statute was enacted by the legislature.
Legislative Meaning
What the law, by its language, means: what it comprehends, what it covers or embraces, what it limits
or confines.
In construing a statute, it is not enough to ascertain the intention or meaning of the statute; it is also
necessary to see whether the intention or meaning has been expressed in such a way as to give it legal
effect and validity.
The duty and power to interpret or construe a statute or the Constitution belongs to the judiciary.
The SC construes the applicable law in controversies which are ripe for judicial resolution.
The court does not interpret law in a vacuum.

The legislature 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.
The SC may, in an appropriate case, change or overrule its previous construction.
A condition
sine qua non
before the court may construe or interpret a statute, is that there be doubt or ambiguity in its language.
The province of construction lies wholly within the domain of ambiguity. Where there is no ambiguity in
the words of a statute, there is no room for construction.
A statute is ambiguous when it is capable of being understood by reasonably well-informed persons in
either of two senses.
Where the law is free from ambiguity, the court may not introduce exceptions or conditions where none
is provided.
A meaning that does not appear nor is intended or reflected in the very language of the statute cannot
be placed therein be construction.
Where the two statutes that apply to a particular case, that which was specifically designed for the said
case must prevail over the other.
When the SC has laid down a principle of law as applicable to a certain state of facts, it will adhere to
that principle and apply it to all future cases where the facts are substantially the same.
Judicial rulings have no retroactive effect.
The court may issue guidelines in applying the statute, not to enlarge or restrict it but to clearly
delineate what the law requires. This is not judicial legislation but an act to define what the law is.
Limitations on power to construe
Courts may not enlarge nor restrict statutes.
Courts may not be influenced by questions of wisdom.
To ascertain the true intent of the statute, the court may avail of intrinsic aids, or those found in the
printed page of the statute, and
extrinsic aids , those extraneous facts and circumstances outside the printed page.1. Title

The title may indicate the legislative extent or restrict the scope of the law, and a statute couched in a
language of doubtful import will be construed to conform to the legislative intent as disclosed in its title.
When the text of the statute is clear and free form doubt, it is improper to resort to its title to make it
The process of determining what a particular statute means so that a court may apply it accurately.
Any question of statutory interpretation begins with looking at the plain language of the statute to
discover its original intent. To discover a statute's original intent, courts first look to the words of the
statute and apply their usual and ordinary meanings.
If after looking at the language of the statute the meaning of the statute remains unclear, courts
attempt to ascertain the intent of the legislature by looking at legislative history and other sources.
Courts generally steer clear of any interpretation that would create an absurd result which the
Legislature did not intend.
Other rules of statutory interpretation include, but are not limited to:
Statutes should be internally consistent. A particular section of the statute should not be inconsistent
with the rest of the statute.
When the legislature enumerates an exception to a rule, one can infer that there are no other
When the legislature includes limiting language in an earlier version of a statute, but deletes it prior to
enactment of the statute, it can be presumed that the limitation was not intended by the legislature.
The legislature is presumed to act intentionally and purposely when it includes language in one section
but omits it in another.
Where legislation and case law conflict, courts generally presume that legislation takes precedence over
case law.
The Rule of Lenity: in construing an ambiguous criminal statute, a court should resolve the ambiguity in
favor of the defendant.
A court may also look at: the common usage of a word, case law, dictionaries, parallel reasoning,

Statutes are sometimes ambiguous enough to support more than one interpretation. In these cases,
courts are free to interpret statutes themselves. Once a court interprets the statute, other courts usually
will not go through the exercise again, but rather will enforce the statute as interpreted by the other
Statutory Construction
Posted on November 5, 2010 by Erineus
It is a rule in statutory construction that every part of the statute must be interpreted with reference to
the context, i.e., that every part of the statute must be considered together with the other parts, and
kept subservient to the general intent of the whole enactment.[Land Bank of the Philippines v. AMS
Farming Corporation, G.R. No. 174971. October 15, 2008, 569 SCRA 154, 183] Because the law must
not be read in truncated parts, its provisions must be read in relation to the whole law. The statutes
clauses and phrases must not, consequently, be taken as detached and isolated expressions, but the
whole and every part thereof must be considered in fixing the meaning of any of its parts in order to
produce a harmonious whole. [Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority v. Urgello, G.R. No. 162288.
April 4, 2007, 520 SCRA 515, 535 Consistent with the fundamentals of statutory construction, all the
words in the statute must be taken into consideration in order to ascertain its meaning. [Smart
Communications, Inc. vs. The City of Davao, G.R. No. 155491, September 16, 2008, 565 SCRA 237, 247-
Principle of statutory construction states that where there are two statutes applicable to a particular
case, that which is specially intended for the said case must prevail
On various occasions, the Court has ruled on the primacy of special laws and of their implementing
regulations over the Administrative Code of 1987 in settling controversies specifically subject of these
special laws. For instance, in Hon. Joson v. Exec. Sec. Torres, the Court held that the Local Government
Code of 1991, the Rules and Regulations Implementing the Local Government Code of 1991, and
Administrative Order No. 23 (A.O. No. 23) govern administrative disciplinary proceedings against
elective local officials, whereas the Rules of Court and the Administrative Code of 1987 apply in a
suppletory character to all matters not provided in A.O. No. 23. The aforesaid ruling is based on the
principle of statutory construction that where there are two statutes applicable to a particular case, that
which is specially intended for the said case must prevail.
More significantly, in Lapid v. Court of Appeals, the Court expressly upheld the applicability of The
Ombudsman Act of 1989 and the implementing rules and regulations thereof to the exclusion of the
Local Government Code and the Administrative Code of 1989 on the issue of the execution of the
Ombudsmans decision pending appeal. The Court noted that petitioner therein was charged before the

Office of the Ombudsman and accordingly, The Ombudsman Act of 1989 should apply exclusively. The
Court explained, thus:
There is no basis in law for the proposition that the provisions of the Administrative Code of 1987 and
the Local Government Code on execution pending review should be applied suppletorily to the
provisions of the Ombudsman Act as there is nothing in the Ombudsman Act which provides for such
suppletory application. xxx xxx xxx
And while in one respect, the Ombudsman Law, the Administrative Code of 1987 and the Local
Government Code are in pari materia insofar as the three laws relate or deal with public officers, the
similarity ends there. It is a principle in statutory construction that where there are two statutes that
apply to a particular case, that which was specially designed for the said case must prevail over the
other. In the instant case, the acts attributed to petitioner could have been the subject of administrative
disciplinary proceedings before the Office of the President under the Local Government Code or before
the Office of the Ombudsman under the Ombudsman Act. Considering however, that petitioner was
charged under the Ombudsman Act, it is this law alone which should govern his case.
Thus, as between the Administrative Code of 1987 and Administrative Order No. 07, as amended, issued
by the Office of the Ombudsman, the latter governs in this case which involves an administrative
complaint filed with the Office of the Ombudsman and which raises the question of whether petitioner
is entitled to a formal investigation as a matter of right.
What do the legal maxims Animi sermo est (speech is the index of intention) and Verba legis non est
recedendum (from the words of a statute there should be no departure) mean?
Posted on January 26, 2012 by Erineus
As to the issue of who has the better right over the SSS death benefits, Section 8(e) and (k) of R. A. No.
8282[27] is very clear. Hence, we need only apply the law. Under the principles of statutory
construction, if a statute is clear, plain and free from ambiguity, it must be given its literal meaning and
applied without attempted interpretation. This plain meaning rule or verba legis, derived from the
maxim index animi sermo est (speech is the index of intention), rests on the valid presumption that the
words employed by the legislature in a statute correctly express its intent by the use of such words as
are found in the statute. Verba legis non est recedendum, or, from the words of a statute there should
be no departure.[28]
yolanda signey vs SSS