Manila dads thumb down condo project
‘Zoning law violated’By Jaymee T. Gamil
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The Manila city council is set to file complaints in court against local government and corporate executives involved in the construction of a 40-story condominium which critics say would mar the view of Rizal Park.
The council unanimously approved on Thursday a report from the oversight and ad hoc committees stating that DMCI Homes could be held liable for violating the zoning ordinance and that city building officials could be cited for graft for granting a permit for the Torre de Manila project on Taft Avenue, Ermita.
The council launched an inquiry into project last month after tourist guide and cultural activist Carlos Celdran presented an online petition calling for DMCI to reconsider its plan.
Celdran, backed by the nearly 4,000 signatories in the petition, argued that the high-rise building would be rising behind the Rizal monument and mar its iconic view.
The committee report said Torre de Manila was set to be constructed within a “university cluster” or an area allotted for schools and related institutions.
Based on the plans detailed on the DMCI’s website, the project would also exceed the allowable floor area for structures in that zone as set under Ordinance No. 8119, it added.
Earlier, Manila 6th District councilor Joy Dawis-Asuncion pointed out that based on the floor area ratio (FAR) allowed under the ordinance, buildings in that area should only have a maximum of 20 stories.
Third District Councilor Joel Chua said a complaint for violation of the ordinance would be filed against the manager, managing partner or director of the firm in the Metropolitan Trial Court.
The report also alleged that “there was a conspiracy between officers of the subject corporation and certain city employees that led to the issuance of a permit despite obvious violations,” a ground for a graft complaint against concerned city building officials led by Melvin Balagot.
The committee report quoted a letter from DMCI “admitting (it has) secured the required permits” for the Torre de Manila construction.
“The granting of the permit was not explained by the city building official because they failed to attend the public hearings. The continued absence of the department only showed their cavalier attitude toward the legislative body,” it said.
“From DMCI’s letter, we had this impression that they completed the requirements for construction. How were they able to secure a permit when they exceeded the FAR?” Chua told the Inquirer in an interview.
He noted that DMCI officials also failed to attend the public hearings on the issue.