SC: No law vs DMCI’s ‘Pambansang Photobomber’

April 25, 2017 - 4:00 PM
Philstar file photo of Torre de Manila deemed as a “photo bomber” behind the Rizal Monument in Manila

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court has dismissed the petition of the Order of the Knights of Rizal against the construction of Torre de Manila, saying there was no law prohibiting it, and because the high tribunal has no jurisdiction to hear the case.

Voting 9-6, the high court also said the petitioner “has no standing” to sue DM Consunji Inc. (DMCI), the builder of the condominium project in Ermita, Manila, considered an eye sore by its critics as it allegedly ruins the sightline of the Rizal Monument in the nearby Luneta Park.

“Furthermore, the Court also found that there is no law that prohibits the construction of the challenged Torre de Manila. As a consequence of the judgment rendered today, the TRO (temporary restraining order) issued by the Court is lifted,” said the high court’s spokesperson Theodore Te.

Those who favored the lifting of the TRO were Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, and justices Antonio Carpio; Presbitero Velasco Jr; Mariano del Castillo; Lucas Bersamin; Bienvenido Reyes; Estela Perlas-Bernabe; Marvic Leonen; and Noel Tijam.

Those who voted against it were justices Francis Jardeleza; Teresita de Castro Peralta; Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa; Jose Mendoza; and Samuel Martires.

In a statement issued Tuesday, April 25, the Order of the Knights of Rizal said it “respects the decision of the Supreme Court on the Torre de Manila issue.”

“We thank the public for carrying this issue with us and for making the same as a test case for Philippine Heritage for whatever the outcome would have been,” it said.

The public support that was expressed in favor of our stand was an indication not only of the importance of the National Monument but also to the continued relevance and reverence our National Hero, Jose Rizal still enjoys. Beyond this, may we preserve the value of our National Cultural Treasures and remain to live the Rizal Way,” the organization added.

Meanwhile, DMCI welcomed “the fair and just decision” of the high court.

“Moving on, we will immediately resume construction to finally end the undue suffering of our stakeholders, most especially our workers and future residents who depended on our commitment to complete the project,” the firm said.

It said DMCI Homes would “immediately advise its customers and future residents on the updated construction timeline since the initial target completion date has been critically affected by the long-standing” TRO.

“DMCI Homes promises to continue its thrust of providing quality homes to address the need for mid-income housing and urban renewal in the City of Manila,” it added.