SC urged: Lift TRO on ‘Torre’

The Supreme Court has been prodded to dismiss the petition filed by the Knights of Rizal seeking demolition of the Torre de Manila condominium for allegedly ruining the iconic sight line of the monument of national hero Jose Rizal  at the Rizal (Luneta)  Park.  

In a 116-page memorandum, the DMCI Project Developer Inc. also reiterated its prayer for the Supreme Court  to lift its temporary restraining order and to allow the construction of the 49-story building.  

The developer stressed that the TRO issued by the Court amounts to an unjust interference with its right to property.

“The construction of Torre de Manila did not and does not violate any laws, rules on easement or requirements of aerial navigation. The construction of Torre de Manila was in fact duly authorized by the concerned national and local government agencies. In particular, the City of Manila did not and does not object to the construction of Torre de Manila,” the firm said.  

According to DMCI, the company, its workers and its buyers are suffering from the TRO, and not the Knights of Rizal who admitted that it went straight to the SC because the lower courts are “slow” in issuing injunctions and that its petition was not based on any law on sightlines but because of its “moral duty” to protect photographs of

the Rizal Monument.  

The developer insisted on its argument 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.  

DMCI also branded as a “hoax” without any basis in law, fact or science the new position taken by Solicitor General Florin Hilbay of the “physics” of the Rizal Monument such that the obelisk, statue and the sky must be treated as an integrated whole.  

Earlier, Hilbay backed the petition of the Knights of Rizal and pushed for the demolition of the Torre de Manila. He argued that the Rizal Monument is legally protected since it forms part of the “cultural commons of the Republic.”  

However, the DMCI pointed out that “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, 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.”  

It added that the monument and the park were surrounded by tall buildings and even provided a picture of the former Meralco Tegen power plant and its two smoke stacks rising behind the monument.

The Court is expected to rule on the merit of the case after all the parties have submitted their respective memoranda.  

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