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Torre de Manila developers seek SC nod to resume condo work

/ 09:19 PM September 05, 2016

TORRE de Manila developers has asked the Supreme Court anew to allow them to proceed with the condominium’s construction, citing a potential loss of over P250 million.

In 2015, the high court stopped DMCI Project Developer Inc. from proceeding with the construction of the 49-storey condominium following a petition by the Knights of Rizal saying it mars the vista or visual corridors of the Rizal Monument in Luneta.

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The group said, once completed, the condominium would “stick out like a sore thumb and dwarf” all surroundings within a radius of two kilometers.

DMCI, in their fourth urgent motion to lift the restraining order, said they have already canceled 14 accounts with a value of P43,396,673.60 and refunded a total amount of P1,493,067.17 as of February 2016.

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DMCI said as of July 2016, 78 accounts  with a value of P230,504,380.78 are likely to be cancelled and P38,945,810.14 are total refunds to buyers.

“Further, because of the delay in the completion of the project, DMCI-PDI has incurred the following costs: delay costs, including overhead costs, costs of idled men and equipment, losses of efficiency from the impact or ripple effect of the delay, additional overhead and costs escalations caused by performance in a later period of time,” the urgen motion stated.

It added that while the restraining order is effective, DMCI kept construction equipment on standby even if idle. As of June 30, 2016, it has incurred expenses worth P49.7-million for technical staff, security services, utilities and equipment rental plus P833,806.96 for safety and maintenance works.

“There is no remedy for the time and opportunity lost by DMCI and its buyers other than the immediate resumption of the construction of Torre de Manila.”

“Any possible doctrinal rule to be enunciated by this Honorable Court recognizing a right to the postcard view of the Rizal Monument will have prospective application and will apply to subsequent constructions after Torre de Manila. With utmost respect, this Honorable Court should now lift the TRO,” DMCI said in its urgent motion.

The SC is set to tackle the pleading in its Tuesday’s session.

DMCI earlier contested the TRO on its controversial condominium, saying it amounted to an unjust interference with its right to property.

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The property developer stressed that its buyers and workers have been suffering from the TRO.

DMCI insisted that government heritage agencies have no jurisdiction over Torre de Manila since it was built on private property outside of the Rizal Park or any heritage zone, and that the Rizal Monument was declared a national cultural treasure one year after the developer obtained all government permits and started building.

It added that “there is no law or ordinance mandating a sightline defined as the straight line along which an observer has an unobstructed vision, or a visual corridor, which is defined as an architectural opening or transportation corridor in the cityscape that frames a natural or cultural scenic feature, 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.”

The DMCI further stressed that it stands to lose about P4.27 billion in capital investments and unrealized profits, including the P1.28 billion it already spent for the construction of the condominium as of May last year, should the Court grant the petition.

The SC held oral arguments on the case in August last year and submitted it for resolution after submission of memoranda by the parties last September.

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