The “moot and academic” principle is not a magical formula that automatically dissuades courts in resolving a case.
[Province of North Cotabato v. Government of the Republic of the Philippines Peace Panel on Ancestral Domain (GRP), G.R. No. 183591, October 14, 2008, 568 SCRA 402, 460.]
The Court may still take cognizance of an otherwise moot and academic case, if it finds that
(a) there is a grave violation of the Constitution;
(b) the situation is of exceptional character and paramount public interest is involved;
(c) the constitutional issue raised requires formulation of controlling principles to guide the bench, the bar, and the public; and
(d) the case is capable of repetition yet evading review.
[David v. Macapagal-Arroyo, G.R. No. 171396, etc., May 3, 2006, 489 SCRA 160; citing Province of Batangas v. Romulo, G.R. No. 152774, May 27, 2004, 429 SCRA 736; Lacson v. Perez, 410 Phil. 78 (2001); Albaña v. Comelec, 478 Phil. 941 (2004); Chief Supt. Acop v. Guingona Jr., 433 Phil. 62 (2002); SANLAKAS v. Executive Secretary Reyes, 466 Phil. 482 (2004).]
Above principle was applied by Supreme Court of Philippines, again in 2015, with these observations:
First, allowing the issuance of MPSAs to applicants that are owned and controlled by a 100% foreign-owned corporation, albeit through an intricate web of corporate layering involving alleged Filipino corporations, is tantamount to permitting a blatant violation of Section 2, Article XII of the Constitution. The Court simply cannot allow this breach and inhibit itself from resolving the controversy on the facile pretext that the case had already been rendered academic.
Second, the elaborate corporate layering resorted to by petitioners so as to make it appear that there is compliance with the minimum Filipino ownership in the Constitution is deftly exceptional in character. More importantly, the case is of paramount public interest, as the corporate layering employed by petitioners was evidently designed to circumvent the constitutional caveat allowing only Filipino citizens and corporations 60%-owned by Filipino citizens to explore, develop, and use the country’s natural resources.
Third, the facts of the case, involving as they do a web of corporate layering intended to go around the Filipino ownership requirement in the Constitution and pertinent laws, require the establishment of a definite principle that will ensure that the Constitutional provision reserving to Filipino citizens or “corporations at least sixty per centum of whose capital is owned by such citizens” be effectively enforced and complied with. The case, therefore, is an opportunity to establish a controlling principle that will “guide the bench, the bar, and the public.”
Lastly, the petitioners’ actions during the lifetime and existence of the instant case that gave rise to the present controversy are capable of repetition yet evading review because, as shown by petitioners’ actions, foreign corporations can easily utilize dummy Filipino corporations through various schemes and stratagems to skirt the constitutional prohibition against foreign mining in Philippine soil.