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Interpretation of Words and

Phrases

In General
Meaning of a word or a phrase - depends
on what the legislature intended
1.) Ascertaining legislative intent primarily
from the statute itself
2.) from extraneous or relevant
circumstances
3.) CONSTRUING THE WORD OR
PHRASE taking into consideration the
intent

In General
A word may have: ordinary, generic,
restricted, technical, legal, commercial or
trade meaning BUT
AS A GENERAL RULE not an isolated
part or a particular provision, but the law
as a whole
INTENT OF THE LAW SPIRIT OF THE
LAW

In General
The use of a general term does not render
the law uncertain
No statutory duty to define each and every
word in an enactment
LEGISLATIVE WILL
Void for Vagueness Doctrine

Statutory Definition
A statute defines particular words and
phrases used therein
LEGISLATIVE DEFINITION, irrespective
of any other meaning a word may have
Restricted meaning of the word
Not usurpation of courts function
Example: R.A. 1161: compensation

something, typically money, awarded to


someone as a recompense for loss, injury or
suffering
money received by an employee from an
employer as salary
BUT IT WAS DEFINED IN THE LAW as:
renumeration, EXCEPT BONUSES,
ALLOWANCE and OT Pay
Later on, the exceptions were removed.

immigrant a person who comes to live


permanently in a foreign country
THE IMMIGRATION ACT : an alien
departing from any place outside the
Philippines destined for the Philippines
so there is no more distinction between
permanent or temporary stay

QUALIFICATION OF RULE
As used in this Act
Exception to the Rule on Statutory
Definition : 1.) where its application
creates obvious incongruities in the
language of the statute, 2.) destroys its
major purpose
R.A. 4166 : sugarcane planter a
planter-owner of sugarcane plantation
within a particular sugar mill who has been
allocatedsugar quotas

WORDS CONSTRUED IN
ORDINARY SENSE
General Rule: In the absence of legislative
intent to the contrary ---- plain, ordinary
and common usage meaning, commonlyaccepted, layman definition
Examples:
1.) Business
2.) Lumber vs. Timber (Forestry Reform
Code)

UBI LEX NON DISTINGUIT NEC NOS


DISTINGUERE DEBEMUS : When the
law does not distinguish, we must not
distinguish.

GENERAL WORDS
CONSTRUED GENERALLY
Generalia verba sunt generaliter
intelligenda : what is generally spoken
shall be undestood in a general sense
Generale dictum generaliter est
interpretandum: A general statement is
understood in a general sense
GENERAL MUST PREVAIL, UNLESS
CONTEXT INDICATES OTHERWISE

GENERIC TERM INCLUDES THINGS


THAT ARISE THEREAFTER
A word should be construed to
comprehend not only peculiar conditions
obtaining at the time of its enactment but
also those arise after approval.
PROGRESSIVE INTERPRETATION
General and comprehensive terms,
prospective in operation --- apply to all
persons, subjects and business

Examples: 1.) any election 2.) articles of


prohibited importation

COMMERCIAL OR TRADE
MEANING OF WORS
Words should not be given a new or
strage interpretation, but as has been
generally understood by mechants
dispose of parting away with
something
dispose of no tax shall be collected on
articles which, before its taking effect,
shall have been disposed of

WORDS WITH TECHNICAL


OR LEGAL MEANING
Presumption : Technical or well-known
legal meaning, it was used in that sense
by the legislature
Examples: 1.) action vs. proper action, 2.)
commencement, 3.) dismissed and
acquitted

HOW IDENTICAL TERMS IN A


SAME STATUTE CONSTRUED
General Rule: A word or phrase used
repeatedly in a statute will bear the same
meaning throughout the statute
Reason: A word used in a statute in a
given sense is presumed to be used in
the same sense throughout the law.
Example: 1.) agricultural years

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