• Erap: Let Torre continue

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    IF deposed president and Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada had his way, he would let the controversial Torre de Manila building project to continue.
    Speaking to reporters on Thurs
    day, Estrada said the high-rise property, which conservationists claim ruins the vista of the Rizal monument, would bring in more money to City Hall through taxes.

    “As [local]chief executive, I want it there instead of being demolished. We want business,” he added.

    The Supreme Court (SC)  on Tuesday issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) stopping DMCI Homes from continuing with the 49-storey tower.

    DMCI Homes, in a statement, said it will immediately comply with the TRO.

    “DMCI Homes is studying its remedies in light of the TRO, including a motion to lift as soon as possible so as not to compromise our completion target and protect the interest of our condominium unit buyers. … We will vigorously pursue all legal remedies to obtain a fair and just resolution of the issues raised about the Torre de Manila project,” a company statement said.

    The SC spokesman, meanwhile, challenged critics who had accused  Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno of favoring DMCI to file a motion to make her inhibit from handling the case.

    In a radio interview, Theodore Te said  there is a process being followed if the objectivity  of a magistrate is being questioned.

    The Manila Times had reported that court insiders were claiming that Sereno as well as Associate Justice Antonio Carpio were “lawyering” for DMCI.

    The court insiders said Sereno’s husband was previously connected with DMCI.

    Sereno and Carpio were among the five justices who voted against a petition of the Order of the Knights of Rizal to issue a TRO stopping the tower’s construction.

    Te said if there is a basis for Sereno to inhibit voluntarily or mandatorily, a case can be filed before the High Court.

    “If there is basis for the Chief Justice to inhibit whether voluntarily or mandatorily, the motion can be filed,” he added in Filipino.

    On a supposed shouting match between Carpio and Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza, the ponente of the TRO ruling, Te said it is normal to raise voices over a controversial subject like Torre de Manila.

    “When there’s a deliberation, things get heated up when exchanging viewpoints or opinions,” he added even  as he refused to confirm that the incident happened.

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