Torre de Manila Case

July 15, 2017 | Author: Rebecca Flores | Category: Manila, Zoning, Solicitor General Of The United States, Justice, Crime & Justice
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timeline and arguments...


TORRE DE MANILA CASE Torre de Manila Case On set interviewee: Carlo – Torre de Manila (DMCI) Counsel Angelo – City Attorney of Manila as represented by Sol Gen Metha – Knights of Rizal/ History preservation organization/ NCCA/ NHCP Video 1: Patrick – Torre de Manila (DMCI) official statement/ PR Speaker Rebecca’s opening salvo on the case: The 49-story residential project, dubbed as the “national photobomber” by critics, is the subject of a petition filed last September 2014 by the Knights of Rizal. ARGUMENTS: Based on the Oral arguments in the SC Law Manila Zoning Ordinance No. 81191 SC Associate Justice  Francis H. Jardeleza  said that 4 layers of  protection were  ignored when DMCI  Homes, the  condominium's  developer, was given  the permits to build  the high­rise  residential project: 1. Buildings under the  university cluster,  where the Torre de  Manila stands,  impose a maximum  floor­area ratio of 4.  Torre de Manila's  building plans show  that it will have a  floor­area ratio of  7.79. 2. Section 22 of the  ordinance prescribes  building regulations  in histo­cultural  preservation zones. 3. Section 23 states that 

Knights of Rizal The group wants to have the building demolished because it mars the sightline of the historic Rizal Monument and because it allegedly violated zoning laws in the city of Manila.

City of Manila June 19, 2012 it granted  DMCI zoning permit for Torre de Manila, allowing variance (exemption) for 49-story construction. *note: allowing only no resolution. -no counter agruments per layers of protection as argued by SC Justice Jardeleza-

DMCI Torre de Manila’s developer, DMCI Homes, has denied this, saying that the building sits on private property away from the protected heritage area and was given clearances by city officials. DMCI also started pre­ selling parts of the  property in October  2012 and started  construction in  November 2012.


the floor­area ratio  requirement should  be complied with "in  all instances" and  that the validity of  this requirement will  only be superseded  by regulations  specified for the  zone. 4. Section 47 requires a  heritage impact  statement to be  submitted to the city  planning and  development office. Section 63 of the  Manila Zoning  Ordinance  Noting that in cases of  variances and  exceptions, developers  should refer to the  Sangguniang  Panlungsod, Manila  Zoning Board of  Adjustments and  Appeals (MZBAA) and the Committee on  Housing, Urban  Development and  resettlements “prior to conducting any  business activity or  construction on their  property/land.”

“VARIANCE” was granted to DMCI 2 years after the permit was issued.

Justice Marvic Leonen  also questioned the  zoning permit issued to  DMCI, asking their  lawyer Victor Lazatin  how they could have  started construction of  Torre de Manila even  without a resolution  from the city council or  the MZBAA. Lazatin said there was  no reason for DMCI to  go to MZBAA since the  variance for the  construction of the  condominium was  already approved by the  city planning and  development officer. DMCI lawyer Roberto  Dio admitted that they  could not see “any  provision authorizing  the city of Manila to  suspend the ordinance.”  He adds that the  company only “relied on the legal opinion of the  city planning and  development officer” at  the time.

Republic Act 646 ­ to  propagate Rizal's  teachings, life and  works. Section 14, 15, and 16,  Article XIV of the 1987 Constitution.

Calling it a "possible  historic first," the Order  of the Knights of Rizal  also wants the high  court to grant it a "writ  of pamana" (heritage) or a "writ of kasaysayan"  (history) as a legal  remedy for the  protection of a citizen's  right to "all the country's artistic and historic  wealth which constitutes treasure of the nation”  as provided in the 1987  Constitution.

 ­no counter agruments­

The Rizal monument  was only declared  National Monument on  April 13, 2013 and it is  also 800 meters behind  Rizal. 

­no counter agruments­

Basing solely their  theory on the approved  permit and variance  exemption grant.

The group said allowing the Torre de Manila to  be completed would be  considered the "worst  precedent imaginable...  to devalue historical  landmarks."

National Historical  Commission of the  Philippines'  "Guidelines on  Monuments Honoring  National heroes,  Illustrious Filipinos  and Other  Personages" 

Thus, DMCI Homes  acted in bad faith and  violated Manila's zoning ordinance and other  laws as well as existing  guidelines on  monuments. Historic monuments  should assert a visual  "dominance" over the  surroundings. The guidelines state that "vista points" and  "visual corridors" to  monuments must be  kept "clear for  unobstructed viewing  and appreciation and  photographic 


BUT, there are  conditions imposed by  MZBAA and Manila  city council to redesign  the building and be an  “art deco” 2 DMCI’s analogy for the 


Venice Charter

Under the agreement,  the Philippines agreed  not to allow any new  construction, demolition or modification which  would alter the relations of mass and color of a  monument.

“visual corridors” are  the following:3 Natl Monument –  Indonesia Natl Monument Dam  Square – Netherlands Angel of Independent –  Mexico Monument to the  People’s Heroes – China Heroes of Iquique ­  Chile ­no counter agruments­

­no counter agruments­ Basing solely their  theory on the approved  permit and variance  exemption grant.

HISTORY/TIMELINE4: 2012 ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­

DMCI Homes begins construction of Torre de Manila, during the time of former Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim. In June Manila city's planning and development officer, Resty Rebong, approved the zoning permit for Torre de Manila, allowing variance (exemption) for 49-story construction. the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) said Torre de Manila violated the agency’s guidelines on monuments honoring national heroes. 6 months later, the NHCP reversed its stance. In July Melvin Balagot granted DMCI a building permit. City councilor DJ Bagatsing drafted a resolution to suspend this building permit; the resolution was approved by the council. In a letter dated November 6, 2012, NHCP chair Maria Serena Diokno told DMCI that as Torre de Manila sits “outside the boundaries of the Rizal Park and well to the rear of the Rizal National Monument…it cannot possibly obstruct the front view of the said National Monument.” But Diokno also recommended that an ordinance be enacted designating a buffer zone around Rizal Park to prevent a repeat of a similar “dilemma.”

2013 ­ In November, the Manila city council suspended the building permit for Torre de Manila to allow for a roundtable discussion between DMCI and groups opposing the project. This happened during the term of current Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada.

3 _SD6vVyKULgEpcteOUAaR7H7Q87ghxrAAw00LtcuERc~-.bps.a.1642609242619411.107374183 0.1476695669210770/1642609432619392/?type=3&theater 4

2014 ­ On January 24, the Manila zoning board approved the construction of Torre de Manila, after DMCI appealed for an exemption from zoning laws. ­ The real estate developer had appealed to Mayor Estrada, citing the permits it obtained from city officials under the previous administration. ­ In August, the Senate conducted an inquiry into the issue. Senator Pia Cayetano questioned DMCI on its assumptions of “good faith” in constructing the high-rise despite knowing the zoning limitations in the area. DMCI explained that it considered the permits obtained from the city government good enough to proceed with construction. ­ On September 12, the Knights of Rizal – a group created in honor of the national hero – filed a petition before the Supreme Court, seeking the demolition of the condominium. ­ The group said the high-rise building threatens to ruin the "visual dominance" of the monument of the national hero. ­ The petitioner also said the building qualifies as a "nuisance", and claimed that DMCI built the building in bad faith. ­ Named respondents in the petition were DMCI, the city of Manila, and government respondents National Museum, National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). ­ The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) represents the government respondents. 2015 ­ In January, the NCCA issued a cease and desist order (CDO) against Torre de Manila because it “destroys or significantly alters” the view of the Rizal Monument. ­ The NCCA cited the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009, saying that the Rizal National Monument, Rizal Fountain, Rizal Park, and the Execution Site are “cultural property characterized as built heritage.” ­ DMCI, however, said only the Supreme Court can stop construction. ­ In June, the SC issued a temporary restraining order stopping the construction of Torre de Manila. It also set dates for oral arguments on the petition filed by the Knights of Rizal. ­ Also in June, Estrada openly blamed Lim for signing the permits for the controversial high-rise. Lim earlier accused Estrada of extorting money from DMCI for building permits. DMCI’s exemption from zoning laws, however, was approved in 2014, under Estrada's term. ­ On July 21, the High Court began hearing oral arguments on the Torre de Manila petition. ­ In July, the Solicitor General changed his stand on the case, reversing his earlier position that there was no legal basis for the NHCP to stop the construction of the building because Torre sits on private property “way beyond the protected buffer zone of the Rizal Monument and the Rizal Park.” ­ Under the law, the NHCP can issue a CDO when the “physical integrity” of a cultural artifact is threatened. ­ Solicitor General Florin Hilbay’s new position was that Torre de Manila is illegal and should be removed because it violates constitutional provisions on the preservation of cultural artifacts. ­ He argued that in the case of the Rizal Monument, its “physical integrity” necessarily includes its sightline. ­ The NHCP slammed Hilbay for reversing his position. ­ In August, the Solicitor General drops the NHCP as its client owing to differences in opinion on the case. ­ On September 1, the Court held the 6th and last hearing on the Torre de Manila petition

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