Statutory Construction

Statutory Construction is the process of expounding and discovering the meaning and intention of the authors of the law with respect to a given case, where such intention is rendered doubtful, among others, by reason of the fact that the given case is not provided in the law


use of intrinsic aids found in the langugage of the law itself to ascertain the intention of the authors of the law


use of extrinsic aids to ascertain the intention the intention of the authors of the law

Cardinal Rules in Interpreting the Constitution

  1. Verba legis - amap, the words of the law should be given ordinary meaning
  2. Ratio legis est anima - intent of the framers
  3. Ut magis valeat quam pereat - as a whole

When Necessary:

  1. Language is not clear, ambiguous, doubtful
  2. When reasonable minds disagree

When the law speaks in clear and categorical language, there is no room for interpretation or construction. There is only room for application.


Doubtfulness, uncertainty of meaning of an expression used

Judicial Power

Traditional Concept

Authority to settle controversies or disputes involving rights enforceable and demandable before the court of justice or the redress of wrongs in violation of those rights

Expanded Concept

Determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on any part or instrumentality of the government

Legislative Power

Two Kinds:

  1. Original Legislative Power - belonging to the sovereign people and is supreme
  2. Derivative Legislative Power - delegated by the sovereign people and is subordinate to the original power.

Executive Power

Power to enfore and administer the laws (Secs. 1 and 17, Art. VII) and ensure that laws are faithfully executed (Sec. 17, Art. VII).

The executive power shall be vested in the President of the Philippines.

Art. VII, Section 1, 1987 Constitution

Powers limited by the Constitution?

No. The President has residual power to protect the general welfare of the people. It is founded on the duty of the President as steward of the people. (Marcos v. Manglapus 177 SCRA 668 [1989])

Aids in Interpretation

  1. Intrinsic aids - found in the law itself
  2. Exrinsic aids - facts and matters not found in the law
  3. Presumptions - logic and established provisions of law

Intrinsic Aids

  • Title
  • Preamble
  • Words, Phrases, and Sentences, Context
  • Punctuation
  • Heading and Marginal Notes
  • Legislative Definition and Interpretation

Extrinsic Aids

  1. Contempouraneous circumstances
  2. Policy
  3. Legislative history of the statute
  4. Contempouraneous and practical construction
  5. Executive construction
  6. Legislative construction
  7. Judicial construction
  8. Construction by the bar and legal commentators
  • Extrinsic aids are entitle to respect, consideration, and weight, but the courts are at liberty to decide whether they are applicable or not to the case