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FACTS: On September 3, 2013, petitioners Belgica et al filed an Urgent Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition with Prayer for the immediate issuance of TRO and or writ of Preliminary injunction seeking that the annual "Pork Barrel System," presently embodied in the provisions of the GA of 2013 which provided for the 2013 PDAF, and the Executive's lump-sum, discretionary funds, such as the Malampaya Funds and the Presidential Social Fund, be declared unconstitutional and null and void for being acts constituting grave abuse of discretion.
ISSUE: Whether or not the petition is moot and academic.
DECISION: The petition was PARTLY GRANTED.
RATIO DECIDENDI: The case is not moot as the proposed reforms on the PDAF and the abolition thereof does not actually terminate the controversy on the matter. The President does not have constitutional authority to nullify or annul the legal existence of the PDAF. The “moot and academic principle” cannot stop the Court from deciding the case considering that: (a) petitioners allege grave violation of the constitution, (b) the constitutionality of the pork barrel system presents a situation of exceptional character and is a matter of paramount public interest, (c) there is a practical need for a definitive ruling on the system’s constitutionality to guide the bench, the bar and the public, and (d) the preparation and passage of the national budget is an annual occurrence.
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