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STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION by Krystel Hypa Magallanes

Textualism does not preclude consideration of the texts purpose. In fact, they
compliment each other. According to William Eskridge Jr. et al, there are three
unitary theories in statutory interpretation, which are legislative intent, purpose and
Statutory interpretation has no 20,000 leagues under the sea distance.
Theories are closely related and applied. It is easily misleading that when it comes
to the thought of textualism, the other theories are no longer considered. There is
that assumption that the text itself speaks of what the law says because those are
the words the legislatures used and the words that were understood by anybody
who read it and that a law should be interpreted that way. According to Siegel as
cited by Ilya Somin in Is textualism Doomed? that the law is the law. But then
again, there is that predicament when it comes to vague texts with ambiguous
meaning, that simply construing a law by textualism could result to absurd
application and cause a taint to the so called infallible system of ours. No man is
perfect and certainly a law made by man would implicate the same. And this is
where the other theories surfaces, a law in the first place is created for a purpose
and an intent that must be fulfilled. The second, and less ambitious, variety of
textualism uses statutory language not in place of, but rather as the best guide to,
legislative intent or purpose. There is, of course, no more persuasive evidence of
the purpose of a statute than the words by which the legislature undertook to give
expression to its wishes" (Eskridge, 1990). The reason for which the law is
interpreted in text in the first place is to understand its purpose and intent. In our
contemporary society there is that increasing inevitability of judges considering
other methods and theories in construing laws aside from the text like when it
comes to its the pragmatic application. Aside from the text, they also consider
legislative history and purpose to really determine what best delivers what is just
and fair. Good textualists do not insist that text must be interpreted literally and
without consideration of context Rather, textualists recognize that where a
statutory term has multiple meanings, context should inform an interpreters
understanding of which meaning applies (Siegel, 2009).
Another perceived advantage of textualismone it boasts over all forms of
intentionalism and purposivismis the need for those subject to statutory
commands to be able to understand them and have notice of their obligations
thereunder (Herz, 2009). The text is there for a purpose and the purpose is
expressed in the text. In the first place statutes are conclusively presumed to be
purposive acts, that legislators are reasonable people pursuing the public interest in
reasonable fashion (Eskridge, 1990).
The paramount goal of interpreters is to have the best interpretation of the
law. But what if it doesnt exist. What if all there is to have is a fair or good
interpretation. Regardless of what the outcome may be, such endeavor does not
only include the application of textualism but also consider other factors such as
legislative history and the texts purpose itself.

Eskridge Jr., (2012) The New Textualism and Normative Canons
Eskridge Jr., Frickey P., (1989) Statutory Interpretation as Practical Reasoning.
Berkeley Law Scholarship Repository.
Herz, M. (2009) Purposivism and Institutional Competence in Statutory
Interpretation 2009 Mich. St. L. Rev. 89
Somin, I. (2010) Response, Is Textualism Doomed?, 158 U. PA. L.
REV.PENNUMBRA 235 http://www.pennumbra.com/responses/04-

1.) I rest on the side of Arturo. His case can actually foster on the ground of child
abuse under the provisions of R.A. 7610. Arturo is a minor and a child before the
law who is entitled to the protection of the state as provided by R.A. 7610. It is in
the burden of proof on Jose to prove that he was the actual victim of wrongdoing
when in turn Arturo was the one who received the bruises. Joses assertion that he
is only punishable of physical injuries under the RPC with a lower penalty has no
merit on the basis that he committed a felony against a minor that is punishable by
law under Art. 14 paragraph 3 of the RPC. It is an aggravating circumstance, which
increases the penalty of the act. The accused cannot assert that he cannot be
convicted under R.A 7610 when in the case of Sanchez vs. People of the
Philippines (G.R. No. 179090) where the court ruled and cited in connection with
the case of Araneta vs People, that the accused can be prosecuted if he committed
any of the four acts provided in R.A. 7610; (a) Child neglect (b) abuse (c) cruelty
or (d) exploitations and other conditions prejudicial to the childs development.
The case would persist even if it were only the violation of one, which in this
context is child abuse because the law expressed the word or, a disjunctive term
signifying disassociation and independence of one thing from each of the other
things enumerated (Agpalo, 2009).
2.) Based on the merits and consideration of the facts, I am in the opinion that:
a) Mrs. Dolor Gwapa-Magnifico can retain her maiden name as Miss Dolor
b) Art. 370 of the Civil Code of the Philippines provides that A married woman
may use: (1) Her maiden first name and surname and add her husbands surname,
or (2) Her maiden first name and her husbands surname or (3) Her husbands full
name but prefixing a word indicating that she is his wife, such as Mrs.
c) Therefore, she must use either of the following: Mrs. Dolor Gwapa-Magnifico,
Mrs. Dolor Magnifico or Mrs. Tudoro Magnifico. Or she can choose to retain her
maiden name.
In the case of Ma. Virginia V. Remo vs The Honorable Secretary of Foreign
Affairs (G.R. No. 169202). The Supreme Court ruled the use of the word may in
the above provision indicates that the use of the husbands surname by the wife is
permissive rather than obligatory (www.lexoterica.wordpress.com). A woman
has an option to which she prefers and it is not her duty to use the surname of her
husband as provided by law. The law did not say that a woman is prohibited to use
her maiden name when she is married. It is in the clear intent of the law that a
woman has the freedom to decide which name she prefers to use. Intent of a
statute is the law. The law states may and not shall, which indicates the non-
compelling manner of the law.

3.) The case of Daniel is similar to the case of Silverio vs. Republic of the
Philippines (G.R. No. 174689). The petitioner also wanted a change of first name
in his birth certificate to reflect that of his now changed sex. However, the
petitioner was denied of his plead on the ground that there is no law that provides
for a change of name for the reason of sex reassignment. As much as the court
wants to render justice and equality for all but it cannot deliver judgment favorable
to the petitioner because there is no law providing otherwise. The privilege of
changing Daniels first name to Daniela on the ground of sex reassignment is not
in the guidelines, in order to achieve so there must first be legislation because The
court cannot enact a law where no law exists.

4.) This court feels that Marie has the freedom to use her biological mothers
surname as her middle name. The petitioner Tomas Isagani who adopted his
illegitimate child is in clear expression that he is legally affiliated with Marie.
Though Marie was an illegitimate child and was subject to the parental authority of
her mother as what the law provides on Art. 176 of the Family Code. The provision
also states illegitimate children may use the surname of their father if their
filiation has been expressly recognized by the father through the record of birth
appearing in the civil register, or when an admission in a public document or
private handwritten instrument is made by the father. The law didnt mention on
the case where the father adopts his illegitimate child. However, this court deems
that it was implied on the law. For the purpose and intent of recognizing ones
child as his own is in existence on the case and on the law. The doctrine of
necessary implication is applicable on this case where what is implied in a statute
is as much part thereof as that which is expressed (Agpalo, 2009). Considering
that there are gaps on statutes where the legislators didnt foresee but in anyway its
intent is clearly expressed, then must this court consider the purpose and reason of
that law.

5.) What is within the spirit is within the law. The law can bore us all day
without having to go to the conclusion on what it really wants. It is vulnerable to
vague and ambiguous words and meaning. A person can come up to many senses
just by reading at it. That is why there is a need for construers to look within the
spirit of the law to actually know what it means. Its like taking a glimpse on the
soul and conscience of the law. Taking a peek on its boiling core when its faade is
iridescent. The spirit governs the entire body, it defines the law and everything
about it. According to Agpalo (2009) Intent is the spirit which gives life to a
legislative enactment. The spirit of the law is the sense of the essence. The gist of
a law. With the help of Justice Holmess words as cited in the opinion of the court
in the case of Alonzo vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, Courts are apt to err by
sticking too closely to the words of a lawso we defer not to the letter that
killeth but to the spirit that vivifieth, to give effect to the lawmakers will. To
sum all my opinion up, here goes this; when the law is dead in the body we must
look at its spirit that is alive and kicking.