Legal Maxims

Lex prospicit, non respicit

To be forthright, respondent’s argument that the doctrinal guidelines prescribed in Santos and Molina should not be applied retroactively for being contrary to the principle of stare decisis is no longer new. The same argument was also raised but was struck down in Pesca v. Pesca,[54] and again in Antonio v. Reyes.[55] In these cases, we explained that the interpretation or construction of a law by courts constitutes a part of the law as of the date the statute is enacted. It is only when a prior ruling of this Court is 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.”

Semper praesumitur pro matrimonio

Lest it be misunderstood, we are not condoning petitioner’s drinking and gambling problems, or his violent outbursts against his wife. There is no valid excuse to justify such a behavior. Petitioner must remember that he owes love, respect, and fidelity to his spouse as much as the latter owes the same to him. Unfortunately, this court finds respondent’s testimony, as well as the totality of evidence presented by the respondent, to be too inadequate to declare him psychologically unfit pursuant to Article 36.

It should be remembered that the presumption is always in favor of the validity of marriage. Semper praesumitur pro matrimonio.[65] In this case, the presumption has not been amply rebutted and must, perforce, prevail.

Animi sermo est; Verba legis non est recedendum

As to the issue of who has the better right over the SSS death benefits, Section 8(e) and (k) of R. A. No. 8282[27] is very clear. Hence, we need only apply the law. Under the principles of statutory construction, if a statute is clear, plain and free from ambiguity, it must be given its literal meaning and applied without attempted interpretation. This plain meaning rule or verba legis, derived from the maxim index animi sermo est (speech is the index of intention), rests on the valid presumption that the words employed by the legislature in a statute correctly express its intent by the use of such words as are found in the statute. Verba legis non est recedendum, or, from the words of a statute there should be no departure.[28]

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