THE Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday ordered DMCI Homes Inc. to explain why it continues to construct a building that the company dubs as Torre de Manila even if it apparently knew that the structure would reduce the historical significance of the Rizal Monument.
If, critics said, tourists take pictures of the monument, which honors national hero Dr. Jose Rizal at a park named after him but which is more popularly known as Luneta, Torre de Manila will inevitably form part of the photographs.
“Worse, a completed Torre de Manila would forever ruin the sightline of the Rizal Monument in Luneta Park: Torre De Manila building would loom at the back and overshadow the entire monument, whether up close or viewed from a distance. . .Moreover, the importance of the landmark that is the monument will be devalued,” the Knights of Rizal had said in a petition before the High Court.
The petitioners asked the SC to stop the construction of the building and the demolition of what has been finished.
They pointed out that they can elevate the case to the tribunal since the 1987 Constitution mandates the conservation and promotion of the country’s historical and cultural heritage.
The Knights of Rizal said the construction of Torre de Manila violates several laws including Republic Act 4846 or the Cultural Properties Preservation and Protection Act and Republic Act 10066 or the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009.
The organization, which was established in 1911 and given legislative charter in 1951, said it has the legal standing to file the petition against DMCI Homes Inc.
The 46-story Torre De Manila is a residential condominium that is 30 meters away from its nearest point to the edge of Rizal Park.
It is separated only by Taft Avenue and 789 meters away from the same nearest point to the Rizal Monument.
“The monument is the identifying mark of our country’s irreplaceable greatness where all foreign dignitaries, state visitors and the like pay homage and offered respect thereof,” the petition said.
The decision made during deliberations of the SC en banc mandated DMCI Homes Inc. to file its comment within 10 days why its project should be stopped for its alleged violations.
The High Court did not issue a temporary restraining order, which would immediately stop the construction of Torre de Manila.
Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza was the ponente of the case.