Constitutional Law, Political Law

Pormento v. Estrada G.R. No. 191988 August 31, 2010 Executive Branch, Judicial Power, Moot and Academic Case

FACTS:

Private respondent was elected President of the Republic of the Philippines in the general elections held on May 11, 1998. He sought the presidency again in the general elections held on May 10, 2010. 

Petitioner Atty. Evillo C. Pormento opposed private respondent’s candidacy and filed a petition for disqualification. However, his petition was denied by the Second Division of public respondent COMELEC. His motion for reconsideration was subsequently denied by the COMELEC en banc.

Petitioner filed the instant petition for certiorari on May 7, 2010. However, under the Rules of Court, the filing of such petition would not stay the execution of the judgment, final order or resolution of the COMELEC that is sought to be reviewed. 

Petitioner did not pray for the issuance of a temporary restraining order or writ of preliminary injunction. Hence, private respondent was able to participate as a candidate for the position of President in the May 10, 2010 elections where he garnered the second highest number of votes.

Private respondent was not elected President the second time he ran.

ISSUE:

What is the proper interpretation of the following provision of Section 4, Article VII of the Constitution: “[t]he President shall not be eligible for any reelection?”

RULING:

As a rule, this Court may only adjudicate actual, ongoing controversies. The Court is not empowered to decide moot questions or abstract propositions, or to declare principles or rules of law which cannot affect the result as to the thing in issue in the case before it. In other words, when a case is moot, it becomes non-justiciable.

An action is considered “moot” when it no longer presents a justiciable controversy because the issues involved have become academic or dead or when the matter in dispute has already been resolved and hence, one is not entitled to judicial intervention unless the issue is likely to be raised again between the parties. 

There is nothing for the court to resolve as the determination thereof has been overtaken by subsequent events.

Prudence dictates that this Court exercise judicial restraint where the issue before it has already been mooted by subsequent events. More importantly, the constitutional requirement of the existence of a “case” or an “actual controversy” for the proper exercise of the power of judicial review constrains us to refuse the allure of making a grand pronouncement that, in the end, will amount to nothing but a non-binding opinion.

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