Torre de Manila case requires lower court trial – Justice Carpio
THE Supreme Court can either dismiss the case filed by the Order of the Knights of Rizal (KofR) against DMCI Project Developers Inc., builder of Torre de Manila, or remand the case to the lower court, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said during Tuesday’s oral argument.
Carpio, together with other Associate Justices of the Supreme Court, questioned why KofR opted to go straight to the Supreme Court instead of filing a petition before the lower court.
The senior magistrate pointed out that since KofR insisted that Torre de Manila is a “nuisance per accidence,” something that becomes a nuisance by reason of circumstances and surroundings, it would require presentation of evidence.
“This requires a trial. Before you come here, you must have presented your case before a trial court. You are reversing the process. We have never done this. We have never received evidence here. We can remand this to the Court of Appeals or you can refile it before the proper trial court,” Carpio said.
KofR’s counsel Atty. William Jasarino said rules on hierarchy of courts are not strict but can admit exceptions including matters of transcendental importance.
“You are asking us to take a liberal view about standing on the ground of transcendental importance,” Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza said, adding that “you will concede that not all heritage cases have transcendental importance.”
Jasarino insisted that Rizal Park represents the soul of the nation.
But Associate Justice Marvic Leonen said “for you to tell us that the Rizal monument is the soul of the nation and we should put that in jurisprudence. We cannot do that.”
“The Supreme Court does not have the capacity to say that this is the soul of the nation…It is tyrannical of the Court to establish the narrative of the nation,” Leonen said.
“We are not guardians of aesthetics. Just look at our faces, you will see we are not,” Leonen said explaining that his questions are critical but not an indication of how they are going to vote on the case.
The presentation of the arguments of KofR was concluded Tuesday. Oral arguments will resume on Aug. 4.
In its Sept. 12, 2014 petition, KofR urged the high court to order that the building be torn down for violating several measures protecting national heritage, and a Manila zoning ordinance that allows only school and government buildings of up to seven stories in its location.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.