The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday said three government experts will appear in court and testify at the July 21 oral arguments on the Torre de Manila case that seek to stop construction of the 46-story condominium.
According to SC spokesman Theodore Te, the tribunal has decided to allow the appearance of “amicus curiae” (friends of the court) to enlighten the court on the controversial condominium that critics say has become an unwanted backdrop for pictures taken of the Rizal Monument at Rizal Park (Luneta) in Manila.
Tapped were Emmanuel Cuntapay, an architect from the Department of Public Works and Highways; an unnamed expert on the National Building Code to be designated by the secretary of DPWH; and another unnamed representative from the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board.
The 15-man SC said the friends of the court shall serve for the purpose only of providing advice, which the tribunal may or may not consider.
The Manila Times has reported that Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno was suspected by her colleagues of acting as lawyer for Torre de Manila.
The SC en banc, voting 8-5, earlier ordered DMCI Project Developers Inc. to stop the construction of the condominium.
It issued a temporary restraining order against DMCI and in favor of petitioner Order of the Knights of Rizal, which filed the motion in September 2014.
Sereno’s husband Mario Jose Sereno was formerly involved and connected with the developer.