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Statutory Construction
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 the law.
Purpose: to ascertain and give effect to the
intent of the law, to determine legislative
Rules of Statutory Construction
These are tools used to ascertain legislative
intent. They are not rules but mere axioms of
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
The primary source of legislative intent is
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
comprehends, what it covers or embraces,
what it limits or confines.
In construing a statute, it is not enough to
the intention or meaning of the statute; it
is also
necessary to see whether the intention or
has been expressed in such a way as to
give it legal
effect and validity.
The duty and power to interpret or construe
statute or the Constitution belongs to the
The SC construes the applicable law in
controversies which are ripe for judicial
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
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
A statute is ambiguous when it is capable of
being understood by reasonably wellinformed
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
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
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
Courts may not be influenced by questions

To ascertain the true intent of the statute, the
may avail of intrinsic aids, or those found in the
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page of the statute, and extrinsic aids, those
facts and circumstances outside the printed
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 obscure.
2. Preamble
That part of the statute written
immediately after its title, which states the
purpose, reason or justification for the
enactment of a law. It is usually expressed
in the form of whereas clauses.
It is not an essential part of the statute. But
it may, when the statute is ambiguous, be
resorted to clarify the ambiguity, as a key
to open the minds of the lawmakers as to
the purpose of the statute.
3. Context of the whole text
The best source from which to ascertain
the legislative intent is the statute itself
the words, the phrases, the sentences,
sections, clauses, provisions taken as a
whole and in relation to one another.
4. Punctuation marks
Punctuation marks are aids of low degree;
they are not parts of the statute nor the
English language.
Where there is, however, an ambiguity in a
statute which may be partially or wholly
solved by a punctuation mark, it may be
considered in the construction of a statute.
5. Capitalization of letters
An aid of low degree in the construction of
6. Headnotes or epigraphs
These are convenient index to the contents
of the provisions of a statute; they may be
consulted in case of doubt in
They are not entitled to much weight.
7. Lingual text
Unless otherwise provided, where a
statute is officially promulgated in English
and Spanish, the English text shall govern,
but in case of ambiguity, omission or
mistake, the Spanish may be consulted to
explain the English text.
The language in which a statute is written
prevails over its translation.
8. Intent or spirit of law
Legislative intent or spirit is the
controlling factor, the influence most
dominant if a statute needs construction.
The intent of the law is that which is
expressed in the words thereof, discovered
in the four corners of the law and aided if
necessary by its legislative history.
9. Policy of law
A statute of doubtful meaning must be
given a construction that will promote
public policy.
10. Purpose of law or mischief to be
The purpose or object of the law or the
mischief intended to be suppressed are
important factors to be considered in its
11. Dictionaries
While definitions given by lexicographers
are not binding, courts have adopted, in
proper cases, such definitions to support
their conclusion as to the meaning of the
particular words used in a statute.
12. Consequences of various constructions
Construction of a statute should be
rejected if it will cause injustice, result in
absurdity or defeat the legislative intent.
13. Presumptions
Based on logic, common sense; eg.
Presumption of constitutionality,
completeness, prospective application,
right and justice, etc.
Where a statute is susceptible of several
interpretations, there is no better means of
ascertaining the will and intention of the
than that which is afforded by the history of the
The history of a statute refers to all its

from its inception until its enactment into law.
1. Presidents message to the legislature
This usually contains proposed legislative
measures and indicates the Presidents
thinking on the proposed legislation
which, when enacted into law, follows his
line of thinking into the matter.
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2. Explanatory note
A short exposition of explanation
accompanying a proposed legislation by its
author or proponent. It contains
statements of the reason or purpose of the
bill, as well as arguments advanced by its
author in urging its passage.
3. Legislative debates, views and deliberations
Where there is doubt as to what a
provision of a statute means, that meaning
which was put to the provision during the
legislative deliberation or discussion on
the bill may be adopted.
4. Reports of commissions
In construing the provisions of the code as
thus enacted, courts may properly refer to
the reports of the commission that drafted
the code in aid of clarifying ambiguities
5. Prior laws from which the statute is based
Legislative history will clarify the intent of
the law or shed light on the meaning and
scope of the codified or revised statute.
6. Change in phraseology by amendments
Courts may investigate the history of the
provisions to ascertain legislative intent as
to the meaning and scope of the amended
7. Amendment by deletion
The amendment statute should be given a
construction different from that previous
to its amendment.
8. Adopted statutes
Where local statutes are patterned after or
copied from those of another country, the
decisions of courts in such country
construing those laws are entitled to great
weight in the interpretation of such local
9. Principles of common law
Courts may properly resort to common
law principles in construing doubtful
provisions of a statute, particularly where
such a statute is modeled upon Anglo
American precedents.
10. Conditions at the time of the enactment
It is proper, in the interpretation of a
statute, to consider the physical conditions
of the country and the circumstances then
obtaining which must of necessity affect its
operation in order to understand the
intent of the statute.
11. History of the times
The history of the times out of which the
law grew and to which it may be rationally
supposed to bear some direct relationship.
The constructions placed upon statutes at
time of, or after, their enactment by the
executive, legislature or judicial authorities, as
well as those who, because of their
involvement in the process of legislation, are
knowledgeable of the intent and purpose of the
law, such as draftsmen and bill sponsors.
The contemporary construction is the
strongest in law.
1. Construction by an executive or
officer directly called to implement the law
May be express interpretation embodied
in a circular, directive or regulation.
May be implied a practice or mode of
enforcement of not applying the statute to
certain situations or of applying it in a
particular manner; interpretation by usage
or practice.
2. Construction by the Sec. of Justice as his
capacity as the chief legal adviser of the
In the form of opinions issued upon
request of administrative or executive
officials who enforce the law.
President or Executive Secretary has the
power to modify or alter or reverse the
construction given by a department
3. Interpretation handed down in an adversary
proceeding in the form of a ruling by an
executive officer exercising quasijudicial
Such rulings need not have the
detachment of a judicial, or semijudicial
decision, and may properly carry basis.
The contemporaneous construction is

probably the true expression of the
purpose, especially if the construction is
for a considerable period of time. It is thus
to great weight and respect by the courts
in the
interpretation of the ambiguous
provisions of law,
and unless it is shown to be clearly
erroneous, it
will control the interpretation of statutes
by the
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The best interpreter of law is usage.
Interpretation by those charged with their
enforcement is entitled to great weight by the
Contemporaneous construction is entitled
great weight because it comes from a
particular branch of government called upon
to implement the laws thus construed.
Respect is due the government agency or
officials charged with the implementation of
the law for their competence, expertness,
experience and informed judgment, and the
fact that they are frequently the drafters of the
law they interpret.
The court may disregard
construction when there is no ambiguity
in the law,
where the construction is clearly
erroneous, where
strong reason to the contrary exists, and
where the
court has previously given the statute a
If through the misapprehension of the law
executive or administrative officer called upon
to implement it has erroneously applied and
executed it, the error may be corrected when
the true construction is ascertained.
Erroneous contemporaneous construction
creates no vested right on the part of those
who relied upon, and followed such
construction. The rule is not absolute and
admits exceptions in the interest of justice and
fair play.
Legislative interpretation
Legislative interpretation of a statute is not
controlling, but the courts may resort to it to
clarify ambiguity in the language thereof.
Legislative approval
The legislature is presumed to have full
knowledge of a contemporaneous or practical
construction of a statute. Legislative
ratification is equivalent to a mandate.
The most common act of legislative
the reenactment of a statute, previously given
a contemporaneous construction, is a
persuasive indication of the adaptation by the
legislature of the prior construction.
Stare Decisis
The decision of the SC applying or
a statute is controlling with respect to the
interpretation of that statute and is of greater
weight than that of an executive or
administrative officer in the construction of
other statutes of similar import.
Past decisions of the court must be
followed in
the adjudication of cases: Stare decisis et non
quieta movere, one should follow past
precedents and should not disturb what has
been settled.
Where the court resolved a question
sub silencio, its decision does not come within
the maxim of stare decisis
Nor does an opinion expressed by the way,
up to the point in the issue, fall within the
maxim; it is merely an obiter dictum
o An obiter dictum is an opinion expressed
by a court upon some question of law
which is not necessary to the decision of
the case before it. It is a remark, by the
way; it is not binding as a precedent.
The rule of stare decisis is not absolute. If
found contrary to law, it must be abandoned.
If a statute is clear, plain and free from
ambiguity, it
must be given its literal meaning and applied
attempted interpretation. Verba legis non est

recedendum, from the words of a statute there
be no departure.
Dura lex sed lex
The law is harsh, but it is still the law. It
be applied regardless of who may be affected,
even if it may be harsh or onerous.
When the language of the law is clear, no
explanation of it is required.
Statutes must be capable of construction or
interpretation. If no judicial certainty can be
had as to
its meaning, the court is not at liberty to supply
nor to
make one.
What is within the spirit is within the law
When what the legislature had in mind is
accurately reflected in the language of the
statute, resort is had to the principle that the
spirit of the law controls its letter. Ratio legis,
interpretation according to the spirit of the
Literal import must yield to intent
The intention of the legislature and its
or object controls the interpretation of
particular language of a statute.
Words ought to be more subservient to the
intent and not the intent to the words.
Construction to accomplish purpose
Statutes should be construed in the light of
object to be achieved and the evil or mischief
to be suppressed, and they should be given
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construction as will advance the object,
suppress the mischief, and secure the benefits
When reason of law ceases, law itself
Reason for the law is the heart of the law.
When the reason of the law ceases, the law
itself ceases. The reason of the law is its soul.
Supplying legislative omission
Where a literal import of the language of
statute shows that words have been omitted
that should have been in the statute in order to
carry out its intent and spirit, clearly
ascertainable from its context, the courts may
supply the omission to make the statute
conform to the obvious intent of the legislature
or to prevent the act from being absurd.
Correcting clerical errors
In order to carry out the intent of the
legislature, the court may correct clerical
errors, which, uncorrected, would render the
statute meaningless.
Construction to avoid absurdity
Courts are not to give a statute a meaning
would lead to absurdities. Where there is
ambiguity, such interpretation as will avoid
inconvenience and absurdity is to be adopted.
Constructing to avoid injustice
Presumed that undesirable consequences
never intended as a legislative measure; that
interpretation is to be adopted which is free
from evil or injustice.
Construction to avoid danger to public
Where great inconvenience will result, or
public interest will be endangered or
sacrificed, or great mischief done, from a
particular construction of the statute, such
construction should be avoided.
Construction in favor of right and justice
In case of doubt in the interpretation and
application of the law, it is presumed that the
lawmaking body intended right and justice to
The fact that the statute is silent, obscure
insufficient with respect to a question before a
court will not justify the latter from declining
judgment. That one is perceived to tip the
scales which the court believes will best
promote the public welfare in its probable
Surplusage and superfluity disregarded
The statute should be construed in
with the evident intent of the legislature
without regard to the rejected word, phrase or
Redundant words may be rejected
While the general rule is that every effort
should be made to give some meaning to every
part of the statute, there is no obligation to

give every redundant word or phrase a special
significance, contrary to the manifest intention
of the legislature.
Obscure or missing words or false
description may
not preclude construction
Neither does false description neither
construction nor vitiate the meaning of a
statute which is otherwise unclear.
Exemption from rigid application of the
Every rule is not without an exception.
rigorous application may lead to injustice, the
general rule should yield to occasional
Law does not require the impossible
The law obliges no one to perform an
impossible thing.
Number and gender
1. When the context of the statute indicates,
words in plural include the singular, vice versa.
2. The masculine but not the feminine includes
genders, unless the context indicates
No statute can be enacted that can provide all
details involved in its application. What is
implied in a
statute is as much a part thereof as that which
Grant of jurisdiction
The jurisdiction to hear and decide cases is
only by the Constitution or by statute. The
grant of
jurisdiction to try actions carries with it all
and incidental powers to employ all writs,
and other means essential to make its
Grant of power includes incidental power
Where a general power is conferred or duty
every particular power necessary for the
exercise of
one of the performance of the other is also
Grant of power excludes greater power
The foregoing principle implies the exclusion of
which are greater than conferred.
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What is implied should not be against the
The statutory grant of power does not include
incidental power which cannot be exercised
violating the Constitution, the statute granting
or other laws of the same subject.
Authority to charge against public funds
may not be
Unless a statute expressly so authorizes, no
against public finds may be allowed.
Illegality of act implied from prohibition
Where a statute prohibits the doing of an act,
the act
done in violation thereof is by implication null
void. No man can be allowed to found a claim
upon his
own wrongdoing or inequity. No man should be
allowed to take advantage of his own wrong. In
Exceptions to In Pari Delicto
1. It will not apply when its enforcement or
application will violate an avowed
fundamental policy or public interest
2. When the transaction is not illegal per se but
merely prohibited, and the prohibition by law
is designed for the protection of one party
What cannot be done directly cannot be
What the law prohibits cannot, in some other
way, be
legally accomplished.
There should be no penalty for
compliance with
A person who complies with a statute cannot,
implication, be penalized by it.

Which meaning should be given to a word or
phrase in
a statute depends upon what the legislature
Statutory definition
The legislative definition controls the
of the statutory word, irrespective of any other
meaning the word or phrase may have in its
ordinary or usual sense.
When the term pr phrase is specifically
in a particular law, the definition must be
adopted in applying and enforecing such law.
While definitions in a statute must be given
the weight due them, the terms must be given
effect in their entiretyas a harmonious,
coordinated whole.
Statutory definitions are controlling in so far
the said act is concerned.
A statutory definition does not apply where
application creates incongruities.
Words construed in their ordinary sense
In the absence of legislative intent to the
contrary, they
should be given their plain, ordinary and
usage meanings.
General words construed generally
A word of general significance in a statute is
be taken in its ordinary and comprehensive
sense, unless the word is intended to be given
a different or restricted meaning.
General words shall be understood in the
general sense
The general must prevail over the restricted
unless the nature and the context indicates
that the limited sense is intended
Generic term includes things that arise
Progressive interpretation extends by
construction the application of a statute to all
subjects or conditions within its general
purpose or scope that come into existence
subsequent to its passage; keeps legislation
from becoming ephemeral and transitory
Words with commercial or trade meaning
Words and phrases which are in common use
traders and merchants, acquire trade or
meanings which are generally accepted in the
community in which they have been in
common use. In
absence of intent to contrary, trade and
terms in a statute are presumed to have been
used in
their trade and commercial sense.
Words with technical or legal meaning
Should be interpreted according to the sense in
they have been previously used, although the
may vary from the strict or literal meaning of
How identical terms in the same statute
A word or phrase repeatedly used will bear the
meaning throughout the statute; presumed to
be used
in the same sense throughout the law.
Meaning of word qualified by purpose of
The meaning of a word may be qualified by the
which induced the legislature to enact the
Words or phrases construed in relation to
A word or phrase should not be construed in
but must be interpreted in relation to other
of law; construed as a whole, each provision
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Meaning of term dictated by context
The context in which the word or term is
may dictate a different sense. A word is to be
understood in the context in which it is used.
Where the law does not distinguish
Neither should the court
Disjunctive and conjunctive words

OR is a disjunctive term signifying
disassociation and independence of one thing
from each of the other things enumerated
AND is a conjunction meaning together
joined with added to, linked to
The term AND/OR means that effect shall be
given to both conjunctive and disjunctive
(Noscitur a sociis) Where a particular
word or
phrase is ambiguous in itself or is equally
susceptible of various meanings, its correct
construction may be made clear and specific by
considering the company of words in which it
is found and in which it is associated.
o Where the law does not define a word
used therein, it will be construed as having
a meaning similar to that of words
associated with or accompanied by it.
o Where most of the words in an
enumeration are used in their generic
sense, the rest of the words should be so
similarly construed.
(Ejusdem generis) While general words or
expressions in a statute are accorded their full,
natural and generic sense, they will not be
given such meaning if they are used in
association with specific words or phrases.
o Where a statute describes things of
particular class or kind accompanied by
words of a generic character, the generic
words will usually be limited to things of a
kindred nature with those particularly
enumerated, unless there be something in
the context of the statute to repel such
o Limitations:
1. A statute contains an enumeration
of particular and specific words,
followed by a general word or
2. The particular and specific words
constitute a class or are of the
same kind
3. The enumeration of a particular
and specific words is not
exhaustive or is not merely by
4. There is no indication of
legislative intent to give the
general words or phrases a
broader meaning
(Expressio unius exclusio alterius) The
mention of one person, thing or consequence
implies the exclusion of all others. Limitation:
not applicable if there is some special reason
for mentioning one thing and none for
mentioning another which is otherwise within
the statute, so that the absence of any mention
of such will not exclude it. Also, must be
disregarded if :
o It will cause inconvenience
o Where the legislative intent shows
that the enumeration is not exclusive
What is expressed puts an
end to what is implied.
(Cassus Omisso pro Omiso Habendus
Est) A
person, object or thing omitted from an
enumeration must be held to have been
omitted intentionally. ONLY when the
omission has been clearly established.
o Does not apply where it is shown that
the legislature did not intend to
exclude the person, thing or object
from the enumeration.
(Doctrine Last Antecedent) Qualifying
restrict or modify only the words or phrases to
which they are immediately associated, and
not those to which they are distantly or
remotely associated.
o Does not apply when the intention is
not to qualify the antecedent at all
(Reddendo Singula Singulis) Antecedents
consequences should be read distributive to
the effect that each word is to be applied to the
subject to which it appears by context most
appropriately related and most applicable.
Its office is to limit the application of the
clause, section or provision of a statute;
introduced by
the word Provided
It may enlarge the scope of the law
It may assume the role of an additional
It modifies only the phrase immediately
preceding it or restrains or limit the generality

of the clause following it
It should be construed to harmonize, and not
to repeal or destroy the main provision of the
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Exception introduced by except, unless
otherwise and shall not apply is a clause
which exempts something from the operation
of a statute by express words.
o An exception exempts something
absolutely from the operation of a statute;
a proviso defeats its operation
o An exception takes out of the statute
something that otherwise would be a part
of the subject matter of it. A proviso avoids
them by way of an excuse.
o One of the functions of a proviso is to
except something from an enacting clause.
In this sense is it similar with exception.
A clause in the provision of law which operates
except from the effect of law what the clause
or to save something which would otherwise
be lost.
Must be construed in the light of the legislative
A statute is passed as a whole and not in parts
sections and is animated by one general
purpose and
The intent or the meaning of the statute
be ascertained from the statute takes as a
Statutes must receive a reasonable
construction, reference being had to their
controlling purpose.
One part is as important as the other.
Where a statute is susceptible of more than
one interpretation, the court should adopt such
reasonable and beneficial construction as will
render the provision operative and
harmonious. Constructions that would render
it inoperative must be avoided; must be
reconciled, parts must be a coordinated and
harmonious whole.
Conflicting provisions should be reconciled
and harmonized; they must be reconciled
instead of declaring them invalid.
Where there is a particular or special
provision and
a general provision in the same statute
and the
latter in its most comprehensive sense
overrule the former, the particular or
provision must be taken to affect only the
parts of the statute to which it may
properly apply.
A law should be interpreted with a view to
upholding it rather than destroying it.
All laws are presumed to be consistent
each other.
If provisions cannot be reconciled despite
efforts, the courts should choose one that will
best effectuate the legislative intent.
The interpretation that will give the thing
efficacy is to be adopted; legislative did not do
a vain thing in its enactment.
Construction should avoid surplusage.
Statutes must be construed in harmony
with the
Statutes in pari materia (relating to the
specific subject matter) must be
construed together
to attain national policy.
Legislature is presumed to be aware of
Where there are two acts, one of which is
and particular and the other general
which, if
standing alone, would include the same
matter and thus conflicting with the
special act, the
special must prevail since it evinces the
intent more clearly than that of a general
and must be taken as intended to
constitute an
exception to the general rule. A special law

considered an exception to the general law on
the same
subject; the legislature is passing a law of
character has its attention directed to the
special facts
and circumstances which the special act is
intended to
Reference statutes
Refers to other statutes and makes them
applicable to
the subject of legislation.
Supplemental statutes
Intended to supply deficiencies in an existing
and to add, complete or extend the statute
changing or modifying its original text.
Reenacted statutes
One in which the provisions of an earlier
statute are
reproduced in the same or substantially the
In construing reenacted statutes, court
should take
into account prior contemporaneous
Adopted statutes
Statute patterned after, or copied from a
statute of a
foreign country.
Construction according to the letter; scope of
statute is
not extended or enlarged.
1. Penal statutes
2. Statutes in derogation of rights
3. Statutes authorizing expropriations
4. Statutes granting privileges
5. Legislative grants to local government units
6. Statutory grounds for removing officials
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7. Naturalization laws
8. Statutes imposing taxes and custom duties
9. Statutes granting tax exemptions
10. Statutes concerning the sovereign
11. Statutes authorizing suits against the
12. Statutes prescribing formalities of will
13. Exceptions and provisos
Giving a liberal interpretation to save from
reading into its something which its clear and
language rejects.
1. General social legislation
2. General welfare clause
3. Grant of power to local governments
4. Statutes granting taxing power
5. Statutes prescribing prescriptive period to
collect taxes
6. Statutes imposing penalties for nonpayment
7. Election laws
8. Amnesty proclamations
9. Statutes prescribing prescriptions of crimes
10. Adoption statutes
11. Veteran and pension laws
12. Rules of Court
13. Other statutes
o Curative statutes
o Redemption laws
o Instruments of credit
o Probation law
A statute which commands either positively
something be done, or performed in a
particular way,
or negatively that something not be done,
leaving the
person concerned no choice on the matter
except to
obey. Contains words of command or
prohibition. Uses:
shall, must, ought, should; prohibitions such as
shall not, ought not
1. Statutes conferring power
2. Statutes granting benefits
3. Statutes prescribing jurisdictional
4. Statutes prescribing time to take action or
5. Statutes prescribing procedural
6. Election laws on conduct of election
7. Election laws on qualification and
8. Statutes prescribing qualifications for office
9. Statutes relating to assessment of taxes

10. Statutes concerning public auction sale
Permissive or discretionary in nature and
outlines the act to be done in such a way that
no injury
can result from ignoring it or that its purpose
can be
accomplished in a manner other than that
and substantially the same result obtained.
Uses: may
1. Statutes prescribing guidance for officers
2. Statutes prescribing manner of judicial
3. Statutes requiring rendition of decisions
within prescribed period
Statutes are to be construed as having
prospective application, unless the
intendment of
the legislature to give them a retroactive
effect is
expressly declared or is necessarily
implied from
the language used. Presumption is
Prospectivity words/in futuro: hereafter,
thereafter, shall have been made, from and
after, shall take effect upon its approval
The Constitution does not prohibit the
of retroactive statutes which do not impair
obligation of contracts, deprive persons of
without due process of law, or divest
rights that
have become vested, or which are not in
the nature
of ex post facto laws.
Operates upon facts or transactions that occur
after the
statute takes effect, one that looks and applies
to the
1. Penal statutes, generally
2. Ex post facto law
3. Bill of attainder
4. Statutes substantive in nature
5. Statutes affecting vested rights
6. Statutes affecting obligations of contracts
7. Repealing an amendatory acts
Creates a new obligation, imposes a new duty
attaches a new disability in respect to a
already past.
1. Procedural laws
2. Curative statutes
3. Police power legislations
4. Statutes relating to prescription
5. Statutes relating to appeals
Change or modification by addition or deletion,
alteration of a statute which survives in its
Purpose is to restate existing laws into one
simplify complicated provisions, and make the
laws on
the subject easily found.
A statute repealed is rendered revoked
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Constitution fundamental law w/c sets up a
form of
government and defines and delimits the
thereof and those of its officers, reserving to
the people
themselves plenary sovereignty.
Purpose of Constitutional Construction to
give effect
to the intent of the framers of the organic law
and of
the people adopting it with the end view of
the purpose of the Phil Constitution which is to
and enhance the peoples interests (Acar v.
The Constitution is enduring for ages it is
permanent and substantial. The principles
in it are fixed and unchanged.
1. The Language of Constitution is construed

according to the words In which the provisions
are couched. (UPSU v. Laguesma)
2. The terms should be given their ordinary
meaning except when technical terms are
employed because the Constitution is not a
lawyers document but is that of the people
(Oceena v. COMELEC; JM Tuaon v. Land Tenure
3. A word or phrase must receive the same
interpretation when used in every other part,
unless it clearly appears that a different
meaning should be applied (Lozada v.
4. The Constitution must be construed as a
whole. Its provisions must be harmonized to
give full effect to the whole instrument
(Chiongbian v. de Leon)
5. Generally, provisions are selfexecutin,
when the provisions expressly require that
legislations be made to implement them. A
selfexecuting provision is one w/c is complete
by itself and becomes operative w/o the aid of
supplementary or enabling legislation. (Manila
Prince Hotel v. GSIS)
6. When the provisions are taken from or
patterned after provisions in foreign countries,
it is proper for the courts to take into
consideration the construction of provisions y
the courts of the country from which they are
Aids to Construction
1. History or realities existing during its
(Legaspi v. Minister of Finance)
2. Proceedings of the convention
a members opinion may not be
representative of the peoples intent
the constitutional wisdom is derived not
from those who framed it but from the
people who ratified it
the proceedings are used to ascertain the
meaning w/c the framers want to a word
or phrase to be used (Luz Farms v DAR)
resort to proceedings may be had when
other guides fail (CLU v. Exec Sec.)
3. Changes in phraseology
mere deletion of a phrase from the
proposal before its final adoption is not
determinative of any conclusion
(Chionbian v. de Leon)
changes in phraseology in the new Consti
may indicate an intent to modify or change
the meaning of the old provision from w/c
it was based (Aratuc v. COMELEC)
4. Prior laws and decisions if the framers
adopted a principles different from what the
prior laws or earlier judicial decisions
enunciated, the framers did so to overrule said
principle (Talaroc v. Uy)
5. Contemporaneous constructions these are
entitled to great weight
writings of the delegates or explanations
published shortly after the proceedings are of
persuasive force
6. Consequences of alternative interpretations
a construction that would lead to absurd,
impossible or mischievous consequences must
be rejected (Marcelino v. Cruz)
Mandatory or Directory
the constitutional provisions are to be
construed as
mandatory, unless by express provision or by
necessary implication, a different intention is
Reason: it is the sovereign itself w/c speaks
Prospective or Retroactive
the rule is that a constitution should operate
prospectively only, unless the words employed
show a clear intention that it should have a
retroactive effect
Rules of Statutory Construction w/ are
1. Verba legis words in the Constitution must
be given their ordinary meaning except when
technical terms are employed
2. Ratio legis est anima The words of the
Constitution should be interpreted in
accordance w/ the intent of the famers
3. Ut magis valeat quam pereat The
Constitution is to be interpreted as a whole
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