SC must decide on former FG’s WLO petition
While the Department of Justice has lifted the watch list order (WLO) against former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, the Supreme Court cannot just dismiss the latter’s petition assailing the legality of the order on the simplistic ground that the lifting of the order has made the issue “moot and academic.”
The admission by the high court that “similar petitions involving the same legal questions are pending before the Court” has made it more imperative for the Supreme Court to resolve the issue. All the Court has to do is consolidate Arroyo’s petition with the “similar petitions” and resolve all together the identical issues involved in these petitions.
While there is that rule that courts may decline jurisdiction over moot cases, such rule is not absolute as decided by the Supreme Court itself in many, many cases. In the very recent case of Villando v. the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (Aug. 23, 2011), the high tribunal decided the case (though it was already moot) on the ground that the issue raised therein “is capable of repetition, yet evading review.”
The question involving the legality of the power of the justice secretary to issue a WLO and the subsequent order issued against Arroyo is likely to recur or to happen again, as the same could be issued again against him, hence, capable of repetition. There is that useful purpose of resolving the issue in the Arroyo petition for future guidance of lawyers and the courts, and to avoid the so-called “root or branch that may bear the seeds of future litigations.”
—ROMULO B. MACALINTAL,
Las Piñas City
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