For a party to have locus standi, one must allege “such a personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court so largely depends for illumination of difficult constitutional questions.” Because constitutional cases are often public actions in which the relief sought is likely to affect other persons, a preliminary question frequently arises as to this interest in the constitutional question raised.
It cannot be denied that movants-intervenors will suffer direct injury in the event their Urgent Motion to Recall Entry of Judgment dated October 29, 2010 is denied and their Motion for Leave to Intervene and to File and to Admit Intervenors’ Motion for Reconsideration of the Resolution dated May 12, 2010 is denied with finality. Indeed, they have sufficiently shown that they have a personal and substantial interest in the case, such that if the May 12, 2010 Resolution be not reconsidered, their election to their respective positions during the May 10, 2010 polls and its concomitant effects would all be nullified and be put to naught. Given their unique circumstances, movants-intervenors should not be left without any remedy before this Court simply because their interest in this case became manifest only after the case had already been decided. The consequences of such a decision would definitely work to their disadvantage, nay, to their utmost prejudice, without even them being parties to the dispute. Such decision would also violate their right to due process, a right that cries out for protection. Thus, it is imperative that the movants-intervenors be heard on the merits of their cause. We are not only a court of law, but also of justice and equity, such that our position and the dire repercussions of this controversy should be weighed on the scales of justice, rather than dismissed on account of mootness.
The “moot and academic” principle is not a magical formula that can automatically dissuade the courts from resolving a case. Courts will decide cases, otherwise moot and academic, if: (1) there is a grave violation of the Constitution; (2) there is an exceptional character of the situation and the paramount public interest is involved; (3) the constitutional issue raised requires formation of controlling principles to guide the bench, the bar, and the public; and (4) the case is capable of repetition yet evading review. The second exception attends this case.
This Court had taken a liberal attitude in the case of David v. Macapagal-Arroyo, where technicalities of procedure on locus standi were brushed aside, because the constitutional issues raised were of paramount public interest or of transcendental importance deserving the attention of the Court. Along parallel lines, the motion for intervention should be given due course since movants-intervenors have shown their substantial legal interest in the outcome of this case, even much more than petitioners themselves, and because of the novelty, gravity, and weight of the issues involved.
Undeniably, the motion for intervention and the motion for reconsideration of the May 12, 2010 Resolution of movants-intervenors is akin to the right to appeal the judgment of a case, which, though merely a statutory right that must comply with the requirements of the rules, is an essential part of our judicial system, such that courts should proceed with caution not to deprive a party of the right to question the judgment and its effects, and ensure that every party-litigant, including those who would be directly affected, would have the amplest opportunity for the proper and just disposition of their cause, freed from the constraints of technicalities.
Verily, the Court had, on several occasions, sanctioned the recall entries of judgment in light of attendant extraordinary circumstances. The power to suspend or even disregard rules of procedure can be so pervasive and compelling as to alter even that which this Court itself had already declared final. In this case, the compelling concern is not only to afford the movants-intervenors the right to be heard since they would be adversely affected by the judgment in this case despite not being original parties thereto, but also to arrive at the correct interpretation of the provisions of the LGC with respect to the creation of local government units. In this manner, the thrust of the Constitution with respect to local autonomy and of the LGC with respect to decentralization and the attainment of national goals, as hereafter elucidated, will effectively be realized.