Doctrines Political Law

What is Overbreadth Doctrine?

“The doctrine of overbreadth applies generally to statutes that infringe upon freedom of speech.” – Justice Kapunan, in his dissenting opinion on Estrada vs Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 148560, November 2001

“The application of the overbreadth doctrine is limited to a facial kind of challenge and, owing to the given rationale of a facial challenge, applicable only to free speech cases.” – Southern Hemisphere Engagement Network, Inc. Cs Anti Terrorism Council, 632 SCRA 146

“The overbreadth and the vagueness doctrines have special application only to free-speech cases,” and are “not appropriate for testing the validity of penal statutes.” – Romualdez vs. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 152259, July 2004

Political Law Doctrines

What is Void-For-Vagueness Doctrine?

􏰃􏰄􏰊􏰋The “void-for-vagueness” doctrine􏰥􏰈􏰝􏰃􏰇􏰊􏰌􏰅 holds that a law is facially invalid if men of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to its application. – David v. Macapagal-Arroyo, supra., cited in Romualdez v. Commission on Elections, G.R. No. 167011, April 30, 2008

The Supreme Court held that the doctrine can only be invoked against that species of legislation that is utterly vague on its face, i.e., that which cannot be clarified either by a saving clause or by construction. – Estrada v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 148560, November 19, 2001

The void-for-vagueness doctrine cannot be used to impugn the validity of a criminal statute using “facial challenge” but it may be used to invalidate a criminal statute “as applied” to a particular defendant.

Doctrines Political Law

What is Due-Process Clause?

No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws. – 1987 Constitution, Art. III, Sec. 1

Due process means:
1. There shall be a law prescribed in harmony with the general powers of the legislature;
2. It shall be reasonable in its operation;
3. It shall be enforced according to the regular methods of procedure prescribed; and
4. It shall be applicable alike to all citizens of the State or to all of a class. – People v. Cayat, G.R. No. L-45987, May 5, 1939

Doctrines Political Law

What is Writ of Kalikasan?

This writ is a remedy available to any person whose constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology is violated, or threatened with violation by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or private individual or entity, involving environmental damage of such magnitude as to prejudice the life, health or property of inhabitants in two or more cities or provinces. – Rule 7, Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases

The writ of Kalikasan is a legal remedy from the Philippines, from its Article II Section 16 of 1987 Constitution, “The State shall protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature.”

Kalikasan is a Filipino word for “nature.”

Doctrines Political Law

What is Writ of Amparo?

The petition for a writ of Amparo is a remedy available to any person whose right to life, liberty and security is violated or threatened with violation by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or of a private individual or entity. The writ shall cover extralegal killings and enforced disappearances or threats thereof. – The Rule on the Writ of Amparo, A.M. No. 07-09-12-SC

The writ of Amparo serves both preventive and curative roles in addressing the problem of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances. It is preventive in that it breaks the expectation of impunity in the commission of these offenses; it is curative in that it facilitates the subsequent punishment of perpetrators as it will inevitably yield leads to subsequent investigation and action. In the long run, the goal of both the preventive and curative roles is to deter the further commission of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances. – The Secretary of National Defense, et al, vs. Manalo, G.R. No. 180906, October 7, 2008

The writ of Amparo came from Latin America.

Doctrines Political Law

What is Writ of Habeas Corpus?

To what habeas corpus extends. – Except as otherwise expressly provided by law, the writ of habeas corpus shall extend to all cases of illegal confinement or detention by which any person is deprived of his liberty, or by which the rightful custody of any person is withheld from the person entitled thereto. – Section 1, Rule 102, Revised Rules of Court

A writ requiring a person under arrest to be brought before a judge or into court, especially to secure the person’s release unless lawful grounds are shown for their detention. – Oxford Dictionary

A writ of habeas corpus (which literally means to “produce the body”) is a court order demanding that a public official (such as a warden) deliver an imprisoned individual to the court and show a valid reason for that person’s detention. –

The writ of Habeas Corpus originated in England.

Criminal Law Doctrines

Mala In Se vs. Mala Prohibita

Mala in se (“evil in itself”) – A crime or an act that is inherently immoral, such as murder, arson or rape. [Black’s Law Dictionary, 9th Ed.] 

Mala prohibita (“prohibited evil”) – An act that is a crime merely because it is prohibited by statute, although the act itself is not necessarily immoral. [Black’s Law Dictionary, 9th Ed.] 

Violations of the Revised Penal Code are referred to as malum in se, which literally means, that the act is inherently evil or bad or per se wrongful. On the other hand, violations of Special Laws are ‘generally’ referred to as malum prohibitum.

A common misconception is that all mala in se crimes are found in the Revised Penal Code (RPC), while all mala prohibita crimes are provided by special penal laws. In reality, however, there may be mala in se crimes under special laws, such as plunder under R.A. No. 7080, as amended. Similarly, there may be mala prohibita crimes defined in the RPC, such as technical malversation.

The better approach to distinguish between mala in se and mala prohibita crimes is the determination of the inherent immorality or vileness of the penalized act. If the punishable act or omission is immoral in itself, then it is a crime mala in se, -on the contrary, if it is not immoral in itself, but there is a statute prohibiting its commission b)”. reasons of public policy, then it is mala prohibita. 

In the final analysis, whether or not a crime involves moral turpitude is ultimately a question of fact and frequently depends on all the circumstances surrounding the violation of the statute.

Dungo vs. People, G.R. No. 209464, July 1, 2015

Civil Law Doctrines

Lex Prospicit, Non Respicit

A legal maxim that means “the law looks forward, not backward.” Article 4 of the New Civil Code provides, “Laws shall have no retroactive effect, unless the contrary is provided.” 

Hence, laws are presumed to be prospective unless the intent of the legislature to give them a retroactive effect is expressly declared or is necessarily implied from the language used. In case of doubt, it shall be resolved against retroactivity.

General Rule
The Supreme Court held that Statutes are prospective and not retroactive in their operation, they being the formulation of rules for the future, not the past. Hence, the legal maxim “lex de futuro, judex de praeterito” — the law provides for the future, the judge for the past, which is articulated in Article 4 of the Civil Code: “Laws shall have no retroactive effect, unless the contrary is provided.” (Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation vs Stockholders of Intercity Savings and Loan Bank, Inc., G.R. No. 181556 December 14, 2009)

(1) When the law itself expressly provides except:
(a) Ex post facto law
(b) Impairment of contract
(2) In case of remedial statutes
(3) In case of curative statutes
(4) In case of laws interpreting others
(5) In case of laws creating new rights [Bona v.
Briones (1918)]
(6) Penal Laws favorable to the accused

Civil Law Doctrines

The Doctrine of Renvoi

The Renvoi Doctrine is a legal doctrine which applies when a court is faced with a conflict of law and must consider the law of another state, referred to as private international law rules. This can apply when considering foreign issues arising in succession planning and in administering estates.

In this case, the Supreme Court found that as the domicile of the deceased Christensen, a citizen of California, is the Philippines, the validity of the provisions of his will depriving his acknowledged natural child, the appellant, should be governed by the Philippine Law, the domicile, pursuant to Art. 946 of the Civil Code of California, not by the internal law of California.

Aznar, Christensen vs. Garcia, GR No. L-16749