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Strict vs.

Liberal Construction
Strict Construction
It simply means that the scope of the statute
shall not be extended or enlarged by implication,
intendment, or equitable consideration beyond the
literal meaning of its terms
Liberal Construction
It simply means that the words should
receive a fair and reasonable interpretation, so as
to attain the intent, spirit and purpose of the law

Subjects of Construction

The Constitution
Sarmiento vs Mison
-Petitioners, who are taxpayers, lawyers, members of the IBP and professors of
Constitutional Law, seek to enjoin Salvador Mison from performing the functions of the Office
of Commissioner of the Bureau of Customs and Guillermo Carague, as Secretary of the
Department of Budget, from effecting disbursements in payment of Misons salaries and
emoluments, on the ground that Misons appointment as Commissioner of the Bureau of
Customs is unconstitutional by reason of its not having been confirmed by the
Commission on Appointments.
-The respondents, on the other hand, maintain the constitutionality of Misons appointment
without the confirmation of the Commission on Appointments. The Supreme Court held
that the President has the authority to appoint Mison as Commissioner of the Bureau of
Customs without submitting his nomination to the Commission on Appointments for
confirmation, and thus, the latter is entitled the full authority and functions of the office and
receive all the salaries and emoluments pertaining thereto. Thus, the Supreme Court
dismissed the petition and the petition in intervention, without costs.

1. Standing to file suit / Prohibition as proper remedy: Procedural
questions set aside due to demands of public interest.
2.Constitutional Construction.
The fundamental principle of constitutional construction is to give
effect to the intent of the framers of the organic law and of the people
adopting it.
3.Presidents power to appoint .
Section 16, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution empowers the
President to appoint 4 groups of officers: (1) the heads of the executive
departments, ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, officers of
the armed forces from the rank of colonel or naval captain, and other
officers whose appointments are vested in him in this Constitution;
(2) all other officers of the Government whose appointments are not
otherwise provided for by law; (3) those whom the President may
be authorized by law to appoint; and (4) officers lower in rank 4
whose appointments the Congress may by law vest in the President

Express enumeration excludes others not enumerated.
It is an accepted rule in constitutional and statutory construction
that an express enumeration of subjects excludes others not
Constitutional provision presumed to have been framed
and adopted in light of prior laws . Courts are bound to presume
that the people adopting a constitution are familiar with the
previous and existing laws upon the subjects to which its
provisions relate, and upon which they express their judgment
and opinion in its adoption.
Construction of also in second sentence; consideration of
different language of proximate sentences to determine
meaning The word also could mean in addition; as well;
besides, too besides in like manner which meanings could

Power to appoint fundamentally executive in character; Limitations
construed strictly .
The use of word alone after President in third sentence is a lapse
in draftsmanship, a literal import deemed redundant
President authorized Commissioner of Bureau of Customs;
Commissioner not included with the first group of appointment The position
of Commissioner of the Bureau of Customs (a bureau head) is not one
of those within the first group of appointments where the consent of the
Commission on Appointments is required.
Laws approved during the effectivity of previous constitution must be
read in harmony with the new one RA 1937 and PD 34 were approved
during the effectivity of the 1935 Constitution, under which the President
may nominate and, with the consent of the Commission on Appointments,
appoint the heads of bureaus, like the Commissioner of the Bureau of

How should the Constitution be Construed?

Perfecto vs Meer

The Collector of Internal Revenue required Justice Gregorio Perfecto to

pay income tax upon his salary as member of the Judiciary. The latter paid
the amount under protest. He contended that the assessment was illegal,
his salary not being taxable for the reason that imposition of taxes thereon
would reduce it and would be in violation of the Constitution under Article
VIII, Section 9. The members of the Supreme Court and all judges of the
inferior courts shall hold office during good behavior, untill they reached the
age of seventy years, or become incapacitated to discharge the duties of
their office. They shall receive such compensation as may be fixed by law,
which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office ...

Issue: Whether the imposition of an income tax upon the salary of a member
of the Judiciary amount to a diminution thereof, and thus violate the

The imposition of the income tax upon the salary of Justice Perfecto
amount to diminution thereof. The prohibition is general, contains no
excepting words, and appears to be directed against all diminution.
The Fathers of the constitution prohibit diminution by taxation that
they regarded the independence of the judges as of far greater
importance than any revenue that could come from taxing their
The primary purpose of the prohibition against diminution was not to
benefit the judges but to attract good and competent men to the
bench and to promote the independence of action and judgment
which is essential to the maintenance of the guaranties, limitations
an d and pervading principles of the constitution.

Endencia vs David
Collector of Internal Revenue Saturnino David ordered the taxing of
Justice Pastor Endencias and Justice Fernando Jugos
compensation pursuant to Sec 13 of RA 590 which states: No
salary wherever received by any public officer of the Republic of the
Philippines shall be considered as exempt from the income tax,
payment of which is hereby declared not to be a diminution of his
compensation fixed by the Constitution or by law.
Issue: Whether the Legislature may lawfully declare the collection of
income tax on the salary of a public official, especially a judicial
officer, not a decrease of his salary, after the Supreme Court has
found and decided otherwise.


This act of interpreting the Constitution or any part thereof

by the Legislature is an invasion of the well-defined and
established jurisdiction of the Judiciary.
The rule is recognized that the legislature cannot pass any
declaratory act, or act declaratory of what the law was
before its passage, so as to give it any binding weight with
the courts.
In this sense, section 13 of RA 590 is unconstitutional, it
being a transgression of the fundamental principles
underlying the separation of powers.

Nitafan vs. Commissioner on Internal Revenue

ISSUE: Whether the intention of the framers of the 1987 Constitution is to
exempt justices and judges from taxes.
The Court hereby reiterates that the salaries of Justices and Judges are
property subject to general income tax applicable to all income earners
and that the payment of such income tax by Justices and Judges does not
fall within the constitution protection against decrease of their salaries during
their continuance in office.
The debates, interpellations and opinions expressed regarding the
constitutional provision in question until it was finally approved by the
Commission disclosed that the true intent of the framers of the 1987
Constitution, in adopting it, was to make the salaries of members of the
Judiciary taxable. The ascertainment of that intent is but in keeping with the
fundamental principle of constitutional construction that the intent of the
framers of the organic law and of the people adopting it should be given

May the preamble be referred to in the construction of Constitutional


Aglipay vs. Ruiz

ISSUE: Whether the issuance of the postage stamps was constitutional.

Ruiz acted under the provision of Act No. 4052, which contemplates no religious
purpose in view, giving the Director of Posts the discretion to determine when the
issuance of new postage stamps would be advantageous to the Government.
In the case at bar, the issuance of the postage stamps was not intended by Ruiz to
favor a particular church or denomination. The purpose of issuing of the stamps was to
actually take advantage of an international event considered to be a great opportunity to
give publicity to the Philippines and as a result attract more tourists to the country.
In evaluating the design made for the stamp, it showed the map of the Philippines
instead of showing a Catholic chalice. The focus was on the location of the City of Manila,
and it also bore the inscription that reads Seat XXXIII International Eucharistic Congress,
Feb. 3-7, 1937. In considering these, it is evident that there is no violation of the
Constitution therefore the act of the issuing of the stamps is constitutional.

Are the provisions of the constitution self-executing?

Manila Prince Hotel v. GSIS
Issue: Whether the provisions of the Constitution, particularly Article XII Section
10, are self-executing.
Held: Supreme Court ruled that Article XII Section 10 is self-executing.
1. A provisions that lays down a general principle, such as those in Article II of
the 1987 Constitution (Declaration of Principles and State Policies), is usually
not self executing.
2. But a provision that is complete in itself and becomes operative without the
aid of supplementary and enabling legislation, or which supplies rule by means
of which the right it grants may be enjoyed or protected, is self-executing.
3. Constitutional provision is self-executing if:
The nature and extent of the right conferred and the liability imposed are fixed by
the Constitution itself.

-A statute is an act of the legislature commanding or prohibiting
-A particular law enacted and established by the will of the
legislative department of the government
Requirements for the publication of Laws
Tanada v. Tuvera (136 SCRA 27)
Whether publication is an indispensable requirement for the
effectivity of laws
The Supreme Court ordered the respondents to publish in the
Official Gazette all unpublished presidential issuances which are of
general application, and that unless so published, they shall have no
binding force and effect.

Publication in the Official Gazette is necessary in those cases where

the legislation itself does not provide for its effectivity date for
then the date of publication is material for determining its date of
effectivity, which is the fifteenth day following its publication but
not when the law itself provides for the date when it goes into
The clear object of the such provision is to give the general public
adequate notice of the various laws which are to regulate their
actions and conduct as citizens. Without such notice and
publication, there would be no basis for the application of the
maxim ignorantia legis non excusat. It would be the height of
injustice to punish or otherwise burden a citizen for the
transgression of a law of which he had no notice whatsoever, not
even a constructive one.

Tanada vs Tuvera (146 SCRA 446)

Issue: Whether publication is still required in light of the clause unless
otherwise provided.
The clause unless it is otherwise provided, in Article 2 of the Civil
Code, refers to the date of effectivity and not to the requirement of
publication itself.
This clause does not mean that the legislature may make the law
effective immediately upon approval, or on any other date, without its
previous publication. The legislature may in its discretion provide that
the usual fifteen-day period shall be shortened or extended.
The Supreme Court declared that all laws as above defined shall
immediately upon their approval, or as soon thereafter as possible,
be published in full in the Official Gazette, to become effective only
after 15 days from their publication, or on another date specified by
the legislature, in accordance with Article 2 of the Civil Code.

Publication requirements applies to:

1. All statutes, including those of local application and private
2. Presidential decrees and executive
3. Administrative rules and regulations
4. Charter of a city
5. Monetary Board circulars

Publication must be in full or it is no publication at all since its

purpose is to inform the public of the contents of the laws.


Rule on Construction of ordinances vis--vis Statute

Primicias v. Urdaneta (1979)

Whether the Municipal Ordinance No. 3 (Series of 1964) of Urdaneta

is null and void?


The general rule is that a later law prevails over an earlier law. The
ordinances validity should be determined vis-a-vis RA 4136, the
mother statute (not the repealed statue, Act 3992).
In case there is a conflict between a statute and ordinance, the
ordinance must give way.

Interpretation of Specific Types of

Tax Laws
.How are tax refunds construed?
. La Carlota Sugar Central v. Jimenez (1961)

Whether the importation of the fertilizers is covered by the exemption provided

by Sections 1 and 2 of Republic Act No. 601

the rule is that the exempting provision is to be construed liberally in favor of the
taxing authority and strictly against exemption from tax liability.
Importations made by agent of planter or farmer are not exempt from tax, only
when imported by planters or farmers directly or through their cooperatives.
Provisions governing the refund of taxes are strictly construed
exemption from tax liability.

Who has the burden of proof in tax cases?

Commissioner of Internal Revenue vs Court of Appeals

Whether the Ateneo De Manila University has the burden of
proof in the tax case.
The Commissioner erred in applying the principles of tax
exemption without first applying the well-settled doctrine of strict
interpretation in the imposition of taxes. It is obviously both illogical
and impractical to determine who are exempted without first
determining who are covered by the aforesaid provision.
The Commissioner should have determined first if Ateneo
was covered by Section 205, applying the rule of strict
interpretation of laws imposing taxes, before asking Ateneo to
prove its exemption therefrom, following the rule of
construction where the tax exemptions are to be strictly
construed against the taxpayer.

Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority vs Marcos

Issue: Whether the MCIAA is exempted from realty taxes.

The tax exemption provided for in RA 6958 had been expressly
repealed by the provisions of the Local Government Code.
Therefore, MCIAA has to pay the assessed realty tax of its
properties effective after January 1, 1992 until the present.

Tax statutes are construed strictly against the government and

liberally in favor of the taxpayer. But since taxes are paid for
civilized society, or are the lifeblood of the nation, the law frowns
against exemptions from taxation and statutes granting tax
exemptions are thus construed strictissimi juris against the
taxpayer and liberally in favor of the taxing authority.

Tax Sales Construed

Serfino v. CA
Issue: Whether the public auction was validly conducted.
In the present case, the sale by the Province of Negros Occidental of the
land in dispute to Serfino was void since the Province of Negros Occidental was not
the real owner of the property thus sold. The inability of the Register of Deeds to notify
the actual owner or Lopez Sugar Central of the scheduled public auction sale was partly
due to the failure of Lopez Sugar Central to declare the land in its name for a number of
years and to pay the complete taxes thereon.
The prescribed procedure in auction sales of property for tax delinquency
should be followed punctiliously. Strict adherence to the statutes governing tax
sales is imperative not only for the protection of the tax payers, but also to allay
any possible suspicion of collusion between the buyer and the public officials
called upon to enforce such laws. Notice of sale to the delinquent land owners and
to the public in general is an essential and indispensable requirement of law, the
non-fulfillment of which vitiates the sale.

Labor Laws
Rules on the construction of Labor Laws

Manahan v. ECC

ISSUE: Whether the Workmens Compensation should be resolved in favor of

the worker.
The Transitory and Final Provisions of the New Labor Code provides that all
actions and claims accruing prior to the effectivity of this Code shall be
determined in accordance with the laws in force at the time of their accrual.
Under the third paragraph of Article 292, Title II (Prescription of Offenses
and Claims), workmens compensation claims accruing prior to the
effectivity of this Code and during the period from 1 November 1974 up to
31 December 1974 shall be processed and adjudicated in accordance with
the laws and rules at the time their causes of action accrued

The Court applied the provisions of the Workmens

Compensation Act, as amended, on passing upon
petitioners claim.
The Supreme Court set aside the decision of the ECC and
ordered the GSIS to pay the petitioner the amount of
P6,000.00 as death compensation benefit and P600.00 as
attorneys fees, to reimburse the petitioners expenses
incurred for medical services, hospitalization and
medicines of the deceased Nazario Manahan, Jr., duly
supported by proper receipts, and to pay administrative

Villavert v. ECC
ISSUE: Whether the petitioner is entitled to her sons death benefits
From the foregoing facts of record, it is clear that Marcelino N. Villavert
died of acute hemorrhagic pancreatitis which was directly caused or at
least aggravated by the duties he performed as code verifier, computer
operator and clerk typist of the Philippine Constabulary.

Further, Article 4 of the Labor Code of the Philippines, as amended,

provides that all doubts in the implementation and interpretation of this
Code, including its implementing rules and regulations shall be resolved
in favor of labor.
The Supreme Court set aside the decision of the ECC and ordered the
GSIS to pay the petitioner death benefits in the amount of P6,000.00.

Del Rosario & Sons v. NLRC


Whether the formal defects of the appeal of the security agency

invalidate the appeal.
Whether the security guards from the agency are entitled to benefits
claimed from the company
The formal defects in the appeal of the Security Agency were not fatal
defects. The lack of verification could have been easily corrected by
requiring an oath. The appeal fee had been paid although it was
delayed. Failure to pay the docketing fees does not automatically result
in the dismissal of the appeal.

Articles 106 of the Labor Code provides that in the event that
the contractor or subcontractor fails to pay the wages of his
employees in accordance with this Code, the employer shall
be jointly and severally liable with his contractor or
subcontractor to such employees to the extent of the work
performed under the contract, in the same manner and extent
that he is liable to employees directly employed by him,
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment under review,
without prejudice to petitioners right to seek reimbursement
from Calmar Security Agency for such amounts as petitioner
may have to pay to complainants. Costs against the private