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DMCI Homes asks SC to lift Torre TRO

The RIzal Monument, ground zero at the Luneta, with Torre de Manila seen in background. INTERAKSYON.COM FILE means BUSINESS

MANILA - The developer of Torre de Manila has asked the court to dismiss the petition of Knights of Rizal and to immediately lift the TRO it issued on June 16, 2015.

In its final memorandum filed with the Supreme Court, DMCI said the 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.

The company also tagged 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, the Solicitor General made a complete turnaround and went against the position of his clients, the National Museum, National Historical Commission of the Philippines, and the National Commission for Culture and Arts, allegedly upon the "influence" of two personal contacts.

The memorandum emphasized that it is DMCI, its workers and its buyers that are hurting from the injunction, 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.

DMCI, however, said 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.

It added that in the absence of any constitutional or legal provision protecting or conserving sightlines, the Torre de Manila remains to be a legitimate expression of DMCI’s right to property.

The developer said it obtained all the permits and the approval of the local government to build 49 storeys and broke no law, but is being penalized for it.

It asked the High Court to uphold the "stability of laws," saying that private enterprises have the right to rely on permits granted by government, to encourage further investments in housing and contribute to urban renewal and development.

It also said the barriers around the Rizal Monument should be removed to restore the ideal viewing distance of nine meters around the monument, which would enhance its view and minimize that of the sky.