By Joselito G. Basilio
Does the lifting of Proclamation No. 1959 render the petitions of Jovito Salonga et. al. challenging the legality of Proclamation No. 1959 which imposed martial law in Maguindanao moot and academic?
A case is considered moot and academic when it ceases to present a justiciable controversy by reason of supervening events. In the case of the present petitions, the supervening event is the lifting of Proclamation No. 1959 on 12 December 2009.
As a general rule, such petitions may be dismissed on ground of mootness. However, this general rule admits of exceptions, namely :
1) there is a grave violation of the Constitution.
2) the exceptional character of the situation and the paramount public interest is involved.
3) when constitutional issue raised requires formulation of controlling principles to guide the bench, the bar, and the public.
4) the case is capable of repetition yet evading review.
I submit that the above exceptions are present and therefore the Supreme Court is bound to resolve the petitions filed by Salonga and other personalities.