‘Torre’ lawyer: ‘Rizal not a demigod; statue holds no super constitutional power’ | Inquirer News

‘Torre’ lawyer: ‘Rizal not a demigod; statue holds no super constitutional power’

DMCI insists it secured all permits from gov't
/ 07:49 PM August 04, 2015

TORRE de Manila developer DMCI Project Developers, Inc. (DMCI-PDI) on Tuesday insisted before the Supreme Court that its 49-storey project which is being accused marring the view of the Rizal Monument has secured all the necessary permits from all concerned government agencies.

During the second round of oral arguments, Atty.Victor Lazatin, counsel for DMCI-PDI said they have secured all the necessary permits for the construction of the controversial condominium unit.


The high court stopped the construction of the Torre de Manila after the Order of the Knights of Rizal (KoR) claimed that the building destroys the vista and sightline of the monument of national hero Dr. Jose Rizal at nearby Rizal Park in Luneta. KoR claims that the project destroys the national heritage and cultural heritage that is the Rizal Park.

DMCI said Resolution No. 5 issued Jan. 16, 2014 confirms all previously issued permits, licenses and approvals in favor of DMCI.


“It is a legislative act which may not be reversed through a case for mandamus,” Lazatin said.

Resolution No. 5 stated that there is no reason to reverse all permits, licenses and approvals issued by the City of Manila for Torre de Manila.

Lazatin added that there is no special treatment when they got the necessary permits for its construction.

“Bad faith is a question of fact which must be determined through trial of facts because bad faith never presumed. DMCI has openly applied all approvals for a 49 storey building. There is no evidence of special treatment,” Lazatin added.

Lazatin also appealed on the SC magistrates not to give more eight on the arguments of heritage enthusiasts but to also give equal importance on the rule of law and rule of fairness

“Conservation should also be balanced against other rights of the people, not only due process, equal protection,” Lazatin explained.

But Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza asked DMCI-PDI chose such a location for Torre de Manila when the property developer has a bank of lands to choose as a site for its new project.


“Why on earth, of all places you have to build where the Torre is,” Jardeleza asked.

Lazatin said “it is not a cultural site. For god’s sake it was a parking lot.” The building was a former parking for the Jai-Alai building.

Jardeleza also noted that petitioner KoR refered to Rizal as being “held in awe” thus construction of the building was not proper.

“I certainly admire Jose Rizal…I believe in Jose Rizal for what he has accomplished but he is not a demigod. His statue does not possess a super constitutional power that acts like a laser sword that any building exceeds the line of sight should be torned. I do not believe that,” Lazatin said.

Lazatin also reiterated that the restraining order issued by the high cour affected over 700 workers.

“The construction workers have been out of work since the TRO. Only a few of them were absorbed in other DMCI projects. Other laborers are also affected, mostly paid on a daily basis. No work no pay. Some materials have also deteriorated. There’s most likely no recovery of the loss since petition has filed injunction,” Lazatin noted.

Lazatin noted that  the internationally accepted solution to protect cultural sites was to create a special law designating a buffer zone and not by judicial discretion.

He noted that the  National Historical Commission of the Philippines has not delineated a buffer zone covering the monument.

In its position paper submitted to the SC, the DMCI insisted  that photobombing issue against the P2.7 billion Torre de Manila project has no legal basis in law.

It also described KOR’s petition as “high on political drama but short on the facts and the law.”

The third round of oral argument will be on Aug. 11.

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TAGS: Jose Rizal Monument, Oral argument, Rizal Monument, Rizal Park, Supreme Court, Torre de Manila
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