The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday granted a plea of the chief government lawyer to reset the date of oral arguments on the controversial Torre de Manila case.
During en banc deliberations, the SC deferred the oral arguments from June 30 to July 21 at 2 in the afternoon.
The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) had sought more time to prepare for the oral arguments since he is leaving on official business abroad, along with two SC justices, for the South China Sea case in The Hague, The Netherlands.
Solicitor General Florin Hilbay argued that he needs an additional 30 days to prepare for the hearing on the Torre de Manila case.
The petition was filed by the Order of the Knights of Rizal against DMCI, owner and proprietor of Torre de Manila, which is considered n “eyesore” by heritage conservationists for serving as an inappropriate background for any photograph taken of the Rizal Monument in Rizal Park (Luneta) in Manila.
Named respondents were the City of Manila, National Commission for Culture and the Arts, National Museum and National Historical Commission of the Philippines.
Hilbay said the OSG is preparing for the July 7-13 hearings of the Philippines’ case against the People’s Republic of China in relation to their territorial dispute in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea).
He added that the office is focused on important arrangements and other pre-hearing preparations in order to ensure that the interest of the Philippines is best pursued and protected in The Hague.
“As agent of the Republic in the arbitration, the Solicitor General shall lead the Philippine delegation in these crucial hearings involving the jurisdiction and admissibility of the Republic’s claims before an ad hoc arbitral tribunal of the Permanent Court of Arbitration… It is indispensable that he and his team be allowed all the time between now and the hearings to make the necessary preparations to protect the national interest in this case of grave importance,” the motion read.
The chief government lawyer argued that equal attention must be given the Torre de Manila case “given the complexity, novelty and important historical and cultural implications” of the case, thus, the need for more time for the office to prepare for the oral arguments.