Constitutional Law

Doctrine of Stare Decisis

The following are cases which explain the Doctrine of Stare Decisis

PESCA vs. PESCA

G.R. No. 136921. April 17, 2001

 

The “doctrine of stare decisis,” ordained in Article 8 of the Civil Code, expresses that judicial decisions applying or interpreting the law shall form part of the legal system of the Philippines. The rule follows the settled legal maxim legis interpretado legis vim obtinet that the interpretation placed upon the written law by a competent court has the force of law. The interpretation or construction placed by the courts establishes the contemporaneous legislative intent of the law. The latter as so interpreted and construed would thus constitute a part of that law as of the date the statute is enacted. It is only when a prior ruling of this Court finds itself later overruled, and a different view is adopted, that the new doctrine may have to be applied prospectively in favor of parties who have relied on the old doctrine and have acted in good faith in accordance therewith under the familiar rule of lex prospicit, non respicit.

 

TAÑADA vs. GUINGONA

G.R. No. 113888 August 19, 1994

Judicial decisions applying or interpreting the laws or the constitution shall from a part of the legal system of the Philippines.

The Court’s interpretation of the law is part of that law as of the date of its enactment since the court’s interpretation merely establishes the contemporary legislative intent that the construed law purports to carry into effect (People v. Licera, 65 SCRA 270 [1975]). Decisions of the Supreme Court assume the same authority as statutes (Floresca v. Philex Mining Corporation, 136 SCRA 141 [1985]).

 

COLUMBIA PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT, INC vs. CA

G.R. No. 111267 September 20, 1996

 

In the recent Columbia Pictures, et al., v. Court of Appeals, et al.  case which resolved the same issue involving the same petitioners but with different respondents, the Court en banc held:

 

Mindful as we are of the ramifications of the doctrine of stare decisis and the rudiments of fair play, it its our considered view that the 20th Century Fox ruling cannot be retroactively applied to the instant case to justify the quashal of Search case to justify the quashal of Search Warrant No. 87-053. Herein petitioners’ consistent position that the order of the lower court of September 5, 1988 denying therein defendants’ motion to lift the order of search warrant was properly issued, there having been satisfactory compliance with the then prevailing standards under the law for determination of probable cause, is indeed well taken. The lower court could not possibly have expected more evidence from petitioners in their application for a search warrant other than what the law and jurisprudence, then existing and judicially accepted, required with respect to the finding of probable cause.

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It is consequently clear that judicial interpretation becomes a part of the law as of the date that law was originally passed, subject only to the qualification that when a doctrine of this Court is over-ruled and a different view is adopted, and more so when there is a reversal thereof, the new doctrine should be applied prospectively and should not apply to parties who relied on the old doctrine and acted in good faith. (People v. Jabinal, L-30061, February 27, 1974, 55 SCRA 607; Unciano Paramedical College, Inc., et al. v. Court of Appeals, et al. G.R. No. 100335, April 7, 1993, 221 SCRA 285; Tanada, et al. v. Guingona, Jr., etc., et al., G.R. No. 113888, August 19, 1994, 235 SCRA 507). To hold otherwise would be to deprive the law of its quality of fairness and justice then, if there if no recognition of what had transpired prior to such adjudication. (De Agbayani v. Philippine National Bank, et al. L-23127, April 29, 1971, 38 SCRA 429).

 

People vs. Jabinal

G.R. No. L-30061 February 27, 1974

Decisions of this Court, although in themselves not laws, are nevertheless evidence of what the laws mean, and this is the reason why under Article 8 of the New Civil Code “Judicial decisions applying or interpreting the laws or the Constitution shall form a part of the legal system … .” The interpretation upon a law by this Court constitutes, in a way, a part of the law as of the date that law originally passed, since this Court’s construction merely establishes the contemporaneous legislative intent that law thus construed intends to effectuate.

The settled rule supported by numerous authorities is a restatement of legal maxim “legis interpretatio legis vim obtinet” — the interpretation placed upon the written law by a competent court has the force of law. The doctrine laid down in Lucero and Macarandang was part of the jurisprudence, hence of the law, of the land, at the time appellant was found in possession of the firearm in question and when he arraigned by the trial court. It is true that the doctrine was overruled in the Mapa case in 1967, but when a doctrine of this Court is overruled and a different view is adopted, the new doctrine should be applied prospectively, and should not apply to parties who had relied on the old doctrine and acted on the faith thereof. This is especially true in the construction and application of criminal laws, where it is necessary that the punishability of an act be reasonably foreseen for the guidance of society.

 

 

 

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