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Sanlakas vs.

Executive Secretary Reyes

[GR 159085, 3 February 2004]; also Social Justice
Society (SJS) Officers/Member [GR 159103], Suplico,
et al., vs. Macapagal-Arroyo, et al. [GR 159185];
Pimentel et al. vs. Romulo et al. [GR 159196]
En Banc, Tinga (J): 3 concur, 3 concur in result, 1
concurs in separate opinion to which 2 join, 2 file own
separate opinions, 1 dissents in separate opinion, 1 on
Facts: They came in the middle of the night. Armed
with high-powered ammunitions and explosives, some
three hundred junior officers and enlisted men of the
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) stormed into the
Oakwood Premiere apartments in Makati City in the
wee hours of 27 July 2003. Bewailing the corruption in
the AFP, the soldiers demanded, among other things,
the resignation of the President, the Secretary of
Defense and the Chief of the Philippine National Police
(PNP). In the wake of the Oakwood occupation, the
President issued later in the day Proclamation 427 and
General Order 4, both declaring “a state of rebellion”
and calling out the Armed Forces to suppress the
rebellion. By the evening of 27 July 2003, the
Oakwood occupation had ended. After hours-long
negotiations, the soldiers agreed to return to
barracks. The President, however, did not immediately
lift the declaration of a state of rebellion and did so
only on 1 August 2003, through Proclamation 435. In
the interim, several petitions were filed before the
Supreme Court challenging the validity of
Proclamation 427 and General Order 4.
Issue: Whether the petitions have been rendered moot
by the lifting of the declaration.
Held: NO. The Court agrees with the Solicitor General
that the issuance of Proclamation 435, declaring that
the state of rebellion has ceased to exist, has
rendered the case moot. As a rule, courts do not
adjudicate moot cases, judicial power being limited to
the determination of “actual controversies.”
Nevertheless, courts will decide a question, otherwise
moot, if it is “capable of repetition yet evading
review.” The present case is one such case. Once
before, the President on 1 May 2001 declared a state
of rebellion and called upon the AFP and the PNP to
suppress the rebellion through Proclamation 38 and
General Order 1. On that occasion, “‘an angry and
violent mob armed with explosives, firearms, bladed
weapons, clubs, stones and other deadly weapons’
assaulted and attempted to break into Malacañang.”
Petitions were filed before the Supreme Court
assailing the validity of the President’s declaration.
Five days after such declaration, however, the
President lifted the same. The mootness of the
petitions in Lacson v. Perez and accompanying cases
precluded the Court from addressing the
constitutionality of the declaration. To prevent similar
questions from reemerging, the Supreme Court seized
the opportunity to finally lay to rest the validity of the
declaration of a state of rebellion in the exercise of
the President’s calling out power, the mootness of the
petitions notwithstanding.