Constitutional Law

BAYAN VS ERMITA G.R. No. 169838 April 25, 2006 “Moot and Academic” Principle


Rallies or the right to peaceably assemble to express freedom of expression, to petition for redress of grievances hounding the government which was co-organized by various mass based groups, and as Bayan and KMU sometime in September 26 and October 4-6 2005 has been violently preempted and and forcibly dispersed causing injuries by police and peace keeping authorities under the “no permit, no rally” policy whereby enforcing the Batasang Pambansa Blg 880, otherwise known as the “Public Assembly Act of 1985” and the Calibrated Preemptive Response (CPR) Policy recently in force “in lieu of” maximum tolerance under the directive of the office of the Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita.



Is the “moot and academic” principle a magical formula that can immediately dissuade the courts in resolving the case?



A moot and academic case is one that ceases to present a justiciable controversy by virtue of supervening events, so that a declaration thereon would be of no practical use or value. Generally, courts decline jurisdiction over such case or dismiss it on ground of mootness.                       During the eight (8) days that PP 1017 was operative, the police officers, according to petitioners, committed illegal acts in implementing it. The Court holds that President Arroyo’s issuance of PP 1021 did not render the present petitions moot and academic.

The “moot and academic” principle is not a magical formula that can automatically dissuade the courts in resolving a case. Courts will decide cases, otherwise moot and academic, if: first, there is a grave violation of the Constitution; second, the exceptional character of the situation and the paramount public interest is involved;third, when constitutional issue raised requires formulation of controlling principles to guide the bench, the bar, and the public; and fourth, the case is capable of repetition yet evading review.

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