Torre de Manila: City gov’t hit for grave abuse of discretion
THE city government of Manila committed grave abuse of discretion when it allowed the construction of Torre de Manila beyond the requirement set under Ordinance 8119 or the Zoning Ordinance.
“The City of Manila violated Ordinance No. 8119 for issuing zoning and building permits despite the Torre de Manila’s non-compliance with the floor-area ratio (FAR) limit,” government lawyers led by Solicitor General Florin Hilbay said in its 10-page position paper.
“The act of the City of Manila in granting an exemption to DMCI (Torre de Manila developer) from the FAR limit constitutes grave abuse of discretion because such exemption leads to the impairment of the physical integrity of the Rizal Monument,” Hilbay said.
Torre de Manila is a 46-storey residential building with a floor area of 7.79 which is contrary to the Zoning Ordinance. Under the said ordinance, a maximum gross-floor-area-to-area-of-the-plot ratio is 4.
The Solicitor General who represents the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, National Museum and the National Historical Commission of the Philippines said construction of Torre de Manila does not only violate the Zoning Ordinance but also Republic Act 10066 or the National Cultural Heritage Act in relation to the 1987 Constitution specifically its conservation and protection policies.
The government lawyer said Torre de Manila significantly alters the physical integrity of the Rizal Monument.
“In the case of the Rizal Monument, its physical integrity necessarily includes its sightline… The term ‘physical integrity’ is broad enough to cover such characteristics of a protected cultural artifact as are necessary to preserve its cultural value. With particular reference to the Rizal monument, its physical characteristics include its sightline,” he stressed.
As to the liability of developer DMCI, Hilbay explained: “DMCI appears to have secured all the formal government permits. Whether those permits are defective is a separate matter.”
“On the assumption that the Honorable Court decided that the presence of the Torre de Manila impairs the physical integrity of the Rizal Monument, such declaration carries with it the assumption that the construction is in violation of either the heritage laws of the Constitution, or both,” he further explained.
“The national government is therefore not required to compensate private parties for the exercise of acts that are illegal or unconstitutional. Whether or not the private respondent is entitled to compensation from the City of Manila is a different matter,” he added.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
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.