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Statutory Construction

I. Statutes, in general

A. Definitions and Distinctions

1. What is a statute?

- an act of the legislature commanding or prohibiting
something; a particular law enacted and established
by the will of the legislative department of
government; the written will of the legislature,
solemnly expressed according to the forms necessary
to constitute it the law of the state.

2. What is a law?

- law means a rule of conduct formulated and made
obligatory by legitimate power of the state.

3. What is Construction?

- rootword is "construe"
- the drawing of conclusions with respect to subjects
that are beyond the direct expression of the text from
elements known and given in the text.

4. What is Interpretation?
- the process of discovering the true meaning of the
language used.

5. What is Statutory Construction?

- is the art or process of discovering and expounding
the meaning and the intention of the authors of the
law with respect to its application in a given case,
where that intention is rendered doubtful, amongst
others, by reason of the fact that the given case is not
explicitly provided for in the law.

Definition of Statutory Construction
case 1: Caltex v. Palomar (GR L-19650, 29 September

B. Parts of a Statute
1) Title - The part which announces the subject of the
bill. The purpose of a title is to give a general
statement of and to call attention to the subject matter
of the act. It may also be used for identification. The
title is used as a guide to ascertain the legislative will
when the language of the act does not clearly express
its purpose

2) Preamble
- It is the part which follows the title and precedes the
enacting clause. The preamble explains the reasons
for the enactment and the objects sought to be
attained thereby. A preamble neither creates nor
grants any right, nor is it the source of any government

3) Enacting Clause - It is the part of the bill
immediately preceding the body of the statue and
which identifies the bill as an act of legislation.

4) Body - It is the principal portion of the bill
embodying the substance of the right or
remedy provided for.

5) Effectivity Date - It is that portion which provides for
the time when the law shall take effect

C. Enactment of a Statute (How does a bill
become a law?)

- No bill passed by either House shall become a law
unless it has passed three readings on separate days
and printed copies thereof in its final form have been
distributed to its Members three (3) days before its
passage, except when the President certifies to the
necessity of its immediate enactment to meet a public
calamity or emergency.

- Upon the last reading of a bill, no amendment
thereto shall be allowed, and the vote thereon shall be
taken immediately thereafter, and the yeas and nays
entered in the Journal.

- Every bill passed by the Congress shall, before it
becomes a law, be presented to the President.

- If he approves the same, he shall sign it; otherwise,
he shall veto it and return the same with his
objections to the House where it originated, which
shall enter the objections at large in its Journal and
proceed to reconsider it.

- If, after such reconsideration, two-thirds (2/3) 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 (2/3) of all
the Members of that House, it shall become a law.

- In all such cases, the votes of each House shall be
determined by yeas and nays, and the names of the
Members voting for or against shall be entered in its

- The President shall communicate his veto of any bill
to the House where it originated within thirty (30)days
after the date of receipt thereof; otherwise, it shall
become a law as if he had signed it.

D. Presidential Issuances

- Presidential issuances are those which the
President issues in the exercise of his ordinance
power. They include executive orders, administrative
orders, proclamations, memorandum orders,
memorandum circulars, and general or special orders.
These issuances have the force and effect of laws.

- Generally, rules and regulations issued by
administrative or executive officers are of two (2)
types namely:
> those whose purpose is to enforce or
implement existing law pursuant to a valid delegation
or to fill in the details of a statute
(i.e. requires publication for its effectivity)
> those which are merely interpretative in
nature or merely internal in character not concerning
the public (i.e. does not require publication for its

E. Effect and Operation

F. Types/Kinds of Statutes
As to Scope of Application:

GENERAL - one which affects all of the
people of the State or all persons or things of
a particular class-

SPECIAL - one which relates either to
particular persons or things of a class or
which operates on a portion of a class
instead of all the classes.-

LOCAL - one which operates over a
particular locality instead of over the whole
territory of the State

As to Interested Parties:

PUBLIC - one which concerns the interest of
the public at large-

PRIVATE - one which relates to, concerns
and affects particular individuals.

As to Effect (In Time):

PROSPECTIVE - one which anticipates the
regulation of future conduct

RETROSPECTIVE - one that affects acts
already committed and operates on
transactions completed

As to Purpose:

REMEDIAL- Statutes which afford a remedy,
or improve or facilitate existing remedies for
the enforcement of rights and of redress of

PENAL - Those which impose a punishment
for the violation of its provisions-

CURATIVE - Those which are enacted to
cure defects in a prior law

As to Coercive Force Applied:

MANDATORY- A statute is mandatory if
non-compliance therewith renders
the proceedings to which it relates null and

DIRECTORY- A statute or any of its
provisions is directory if non-compliance
there with does not invalidate the
proceedings to which it relates.

As to Period of Effectivity:

PERMANENT- One whose operation or
activity is not limited to some particular term
or period, but continues in force until
repealed or amended.

TEMPORARY- One whose operation or
effectivity is limited to a fixed period or term.
It continues in force up to the expiration of
said period or term, unless earlier repealed
or amended.

As to Stage of Enactment:

ORIGINAL- One which purports to be
independent of existing statutory provision.

AMENDATORY- One which expressly adds
to or supplements, or works out an
improvement in the original law.

REPEALING - One which revokes or
terminates another statute.

ADOPTED - Those which are adopted
wholly or in part by another state.-

RE-ENACTED - These are pre-existing
statues which are passed by the legislature
which originally enacted them in the same
terms or in substantially the same language
and for the same purpose and object as the
original statute.

II. Statutory Construction, in general

A. When does statutory construction
come in?

- "The first and fundamental duty of courts, in our
judgment, is to apply the law. Construction and
interpretation come only after it has been
demonstrated that application is impossible or
inadequate without them."

case 2:
National Federation of Labor (NFL) v. Eisma (GR L-
61236, 31 January 1984)

case 3:
Paat v. CA (GR 111107, 10 January 1997)

case 4:
People v. Mapa (GR L-22301, 30 August 1967)

case 5:
Daoang v. Municipal Judge of San Nicolas (GR L-
34568, 28 March 1988)

case 6:
Paras v. Comelec (GR 123169, 4 November 1996)

B. Statutory Construction vs. Judicial

Statutory Construction, whose job is it?
- "To declare what the law shall be is a legislative
power, but to declare what the law is or has been, is

case 7:
Floresca v. Philex Mining (GR L-30642, 30 April 1985)

case 8:
Republic v. CA and Molina (GR 108763, 13 February

C. Legislative Intent, how ascertained

How must Legislative Intent be ascertained?

- Legislative intent must be ascertained from a
consideration of the statute as a whole. The particular
words, clauses and phrases should not be studied as
detached and isolated expressions, but the whole and
every part of the statute must be considered in fixing
the meaning of any of its parts and in order to
produce a harmonious whole. A statue must be
construed so as to harmonize and give effect to all its
provisions wherever possible.

case 9:
Aisporma v. CA (GR L-39419, 12 April 1982)
Chinabank v. Ortega (GR L-34964, 31 January 1973)
Board of Adminstrators of the PVA v. Bautista (GR L-
37867, 22 Feb. 1982)