MANILA, Philippines – Only the highest court in the land can stop the construction of a building that has angered heritage advocates for marring the vista of the Philippines’ main historical urban park.
Real estate developer DMCI Homes Inc on Wednesday, January 14, shrugged off a government order that sought to suspend the construction of its 49-storey Torre de Manila project in Manila.
“The only thing that would stop us is a Supreme Court (SC) order,” Herbert Consunji, director for administration at DMCI Homes told Rappler in a phone interview.
On January 5, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) issued a cease and desist order on the Torre de Manila project, pointing out that the project “destroys or significantly alter” the view of the historic Rizal Shrine.
Citing the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009, the NCCA said that the Rizal National Monument, Rizal Fountain, Rizal Park, and the Execution Site are “cultural property characterized as built heritage.”
Heritage advocates and Senator Pia Cayetano hailed the NCCA, and even connected the so-called “national photobomb” condominium project to the visit of Pope Francis on Thursday, January 14.
But Consunji insisted that the NCCA order – which they have yet to receive as of posting – would not merit any action from them.
“Any formal court [order] would be proper. They (DMCI Homes) will continue the work unless the court stops them,” said Consunji, who is also the vice president of the real estate firm’s parent company.
In September 2014, the Knights of Rizal filed a petition for injunction with the High Court, asking it to stop the controversial condominium project.
Consunji said DMCI “will ask for consideration” should the Court rule in favor of the petitioners.
Barring any court order, the construction of the structure will continue, he said. – Rappler.com