Law must be given its ordinary meaning

That the law, especially the Constitution, must be given the ordinary meaning of its words is known in our legal system as "verba legis."

A cardinal rule in statutory construction is that, when the law is clear and free from any doubt or ambiguity, there is NO ROOM FOR CONSTRUCTION OR INTERPRETATION. There is only room for APPLICATION. As the statute is clear, plain, and free from ambiguity, it must be given its literal meaning and applied without attempted interpretation. This is what is known as the plain-meaning rule or verba legis. It is expressed in the maxim, index animi sermo, or "speech is the index of intention." Furthermore, there is the maxim verba legis non est recedendum, or "from the words of a statute there should be no departure." (G.R. No. 186400. October 20, 2010)

In Francisco v. House of Representatives (G.R. No. 160261. November 10, 2003), the Supreme Court said the following:

"We look to the language of the document itself in our search for its meaning. We do not of course stop there, but that is where we begin. It is to be assumed that the words, in which constitutional provisions are couched, express the objective sought to be attained. They are to be given their ordinary meaning except where technical terms are employed in which case the significance thus attached to them prevails. As the Constitution is NOT primarily a lawyer's document, it being essential for the rule of law to obtain that it should ever be present in the people's consciousness, its language as much as possible should be understood in the sense they have in common use. What it says according to the text of the provision to be construed compels acceptance and negates the power of the courts to alter it, based on the postulate that the framers and the people mean what they say. Thus, these are the cases where the need for construction is reduced to a minimum."

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