Ratio legis est anima & the Constitution

To determine the merits of the issues raised in the instant petitions, the Supreme Court has, necessarily, turned to the Constitution itself and has employed well-settled principles of constitutional construction. They are the following:

[1] Verba legis;
[2] Ratio legis est anima; and
[3] Ut magis valeat quam pereat.Where there is ambiguity, ratio legis est anima. The words of the Constitution should be interpreted in accordance with the intent of its framers. And so did the Court apply this principle in Civil Liberties Union v. Executive Secretary in this wise:

A foolproof yardstick in constitutional construction is the intention underlying the provision under consideration. Thus, it has been held that the Court in construing a Constitution should bear in mind the object sought to be accomplished by its adoption, and the evils, if any, sought to be prevented or remedied. A doubtful provision will be examined in the light of the history of the times, and the condition and circumstances under which the Constitution was framed. The object is to ascertain the reason which induced the framers of the Constitution to enact the particular provision and the purpose sought to be accomplished thereby, in order to construe the whole as to make the words consonant to that reason and calculated to effect that purpose.

As it did in Nitafan v. Commissioner on Internal Revenue where, speaking through Madame Justice Amuerfina A. Melencio-Herrera, it declared:

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 effect. The primary task in constitutional construction is to ascertain and thereafter assure the realization of the purpose of the framers and of the people in the adoption of the Constitution. It may also be safely assumed that the people in ratifying the Constitution were guided mainly by the explanation offered by the framers. (Francisco vs. House of Representatives; G.R. No. 160261; November 10, 2003)