Let us have a few laughs at the expense of developers, the latest bane of the environment, the new and improved conmen and finally, the ultimate lawbreakers. Of course, there are some decent ones out there, few and far between as they may be. But I will confine myself to the neighborhood and give you the audacity, dishonesty and utter irrationality of the lies they specialize in to get their way.
My favorite villain of a developer is the one who, contrary to all zoning rules in this neighborhood, erected a 17 story building when buildings here are only allowed four stories. Prior to that, in keeping with their utter disrespect and ignorance of the neighborhood and the environment, they mercilessly cut every tree on the property to our shock and disgust. When reported to the Environment Management Bureau (EMB) it was discovered that they had not bothered to get a tree-cutting permit. For that they got away with a minuscule fine. Meanwhile they justified themselves by claiming they were not responsible for the massacre of trees (a first lie) and when that was so contrary to fact at first glance, went on to explain that a typhoon blew down all the trees (another lie). That typhoon was so indiscernible no one else in the neighborhood noticed or felt it or had lost a tree or even a branch of a tree. So, we disbelieved. But since lying is a way of business with them, they came up with their third lie, the electric company needed to pass wires over their property and cut the trees. That was a mystery because we all had our electrical connections and there was no need to add any wires to the area, much less detour them through their property.
Years later nearby they developed what was supposed to be a luxury condominium with amenities like swimming pool, gym, etc. Only when the buyers settled in, they found that there were no such amenities. Explanation—they were to come from the accumulated dues that the tenants would pay for maintenance which would have taken decades. The big lie as it was known infuriated the condominium dwellers so much, they ended up throwing their lying management out and taking over. They have lived happily ever after though the lobby and façade certainly do not look like the luxury thing that was promised because they cut corners there too.
Years later a shaved head working for them as some kind of salesperson had the temerity to claim on national television a P10M discount to a penthouse condominium to a member of the judiciary on trial because the penthouse had been so pummeled by a typhoon, it was damaged goods. Meanwhile, everyone with common sense knew that to fix a so-called typhoon-damaged condominium would cost a mere one tenth of that. It soon emerged that they had several of many pending cases in the judiciary member’s division.
The developer file of lies is large. Recently, a developer violating height restrictions in our neighborhood had a revolving series of lies. It was like trying out which would worked, but none did. When asked why their townhouse was going to be above height restrictions they said that it was built for the foreign managers of a conglomerate that is fast becoming known for throwing its weight around and therefore, they were exempted from the rules. When told that even foreigners even if they in their colonial mindset considered them superior, still had to obey the rules, they came up with their next lie – the foreigners were so tall they needed a higher-than-allowed townhouse. Told that even basketball players of stratospheric heights lived in ordinary accommodations, they came up with another story which was of course another lie—since they were foreigners they would be subject to holdups, muggings and general mayhem, of our neighborhood, so they would not go out but live and work in the extra high townhouses. It was suggested that they just not live here since they said there was so much crime around which is actually contrary to fact. Their last lie was somewhat unimaginative but they had the nerve to give it. The foreign managers had a daughter who would give parties on the roof deck so it had to be roofed over making it over 18 meters as against zoning restriction to 18 meters. Could not the daughter make do with the dining room that had a high enough ceiling? Apparently, not. Apparently, spoiled as per the developer lie. Meanwhile, their lawyer upon our pointing out plumbing from the roofdeck (not allowed as it was above the height limit for living quarters) blandly said it was not plumbing but pipes carrying electric wires. Furious, we said it was obviously for water and therefore plumbing. Whereupon he excused himself saying he was a lawyer, not an engineer or a plumber or an electrician, how could he know what a water pipe looked like. We countered that we were neither an engineer, or a plumber or an electrician or a lying lawyer, but we knew a water pipe when we saw one.
Now the first outfit claims it is building Tuscan atmosphere condominiums and an approximation of the city of Florence. If you see their pathetic and utterly false Italianate attempts at their ill-designed,, crowded, traffic-snared neighborhood that they are responsible for in their pursuit of the most they can squeeze out of a piece of land, think Italian slum instead. That is the truth.
Meanwhile they are laughing all the way to the bank but truth will out and the anger is building up. There will be a fight coming soon.