No Senate tribute for Joker Arroyo
LAMENTING how it was been vilified for building a high-rise “in good faith,” the developer of Torre de Manila again defended its condominium project in the Supreme Court, asserting its right to make use of its own property.
Summarizing its arguments against the petition for the demolition of the so-called Rizal Monument “eyesore,” DM Consunji Inc. (DMCI) asked the high court to lift the temporary restraining order (TRO) it issued against the building’s construction.
In a memorandum filed last week, DMCI said the Knights of Rizal petition should be dismissed as it was filed “even if no law prohibits its construction and the building was erected on private property after getting all the required government approvals.”
The Knights of Rizal want the 49-story condominium on Taft Avenue torn down for obstructing the view of the Rizal Monument, one the country’s most popular and oft-photographed landmarks.
DMCI also countered the position of Solicitor General Florin Hilbay in which he supported the petitioners and asserted that the constitutionally protected physical integrity of the Rizal Monument “necessarily includes” its sightline.
“What the Solicitor General claims in his position paper as the ‘physics of the Rizal Monument,’ such that ‘the obelisk, the statue and its sightline constitute an integrated whole,’ is a hoax,” DMCI said of Hilbay, counsel for the National Museum and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).
“No existing law or ordinance mandates a sightline, which is defined as the straight line along which an observer has an unobstructed vision, or a visual corridor… or even a vista point, which is defined as a more or less distant view through or along an avenue or opening, particularly one that applies to the Rizal Monument or other monuments,” it said.
DMCI said that while the monument was declared a “national cultural treasure” on Nov. 14, 2013, such declaration did not cover “the skyscape, the line of sight, vista point or view corridor of the monument.”
A separate 2011 issuance of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), which set guidelines on monuments honoring Filipino heroes and personalities, also “did not specify any sightline, vista point, or view corridor for the Rizal Monument.”
“This was because the NHCP guidelines were not issued as rules but were interpretive and recommendatory in nature. It set guidelines to be followed by local government units in passing municipal legislation to impose restrictions on the height of buildings surrounding or in the immediate vicinity of monuments and to designate protected vista points and visual corridors,” DMCI said.
The company claimed it had been “demonized in social and traditional media,” citing in particular the Philippine Daily Inquirer, which DMCI said had “waged a public campaign against the project” through several editorials, opinion pieces and articles.
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