Senator eyes demolition of 'photo-bomb' condo

Posted at 08/27/14 9:39 PM

Photo by the office of Senator Pia Cayetano

MANILA - Senator Pia Cayetano is eyeing the possible demolition of the controversial Torre de Manila condominium, which is under fire for allegedly destroying the view of a national monument in Manila.

The Senate committee on education, arts and culture led by Senator Pia Cayetano went on an ocular inspection of Luneta Park to see whether the 46-storey residential building Torre de Manila is indeed within the sightline of the Rizal Shrine.

The on-site hearing was then brought to the Office of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines to find out whether the building violated the zoning ordinance of the city of Manila as well as the Cultural Properties Preservation and Protection Act.

In an interview, Cayetano said she is surprised that DMCI Homes, the project's developer, was allowed to continue construction when its exemption from zoning regulations was questionable.

She noted DMCI was only allowed to build a seven-storey condo.
DMCI Homes, however, appealed for an exemption to the local zoning laws.

The senator said demolition is possible because the developer is not a builder of good faith.

Members of the Knights of Rizal are also set to ask the Supreme Court to issue a writ of kalikasan to stop the construction of the condo.

The Manila City government has said it allowed the project's developers, DMCI Homes, to resume the construction of Torre de Manila because it can help boost the city's economy.

Manila Councilor Joel Chua, chairman of the Oversight Committee of the Manila City council, said the taxes the city will earn from the condominium project can help in paying Manila's debts.

Cayetano has said government is mandated to protect and preserve the country's historic sites and national-cultural treasures.

She cited Article XIV, Section 15 of the Constitution, which says that, "The State shall conserve, promote, and popularize the nation's historical and cultural heritage and resources, as well as artistic creations."

She also cited Republic Act No. 4846, also known as the "Cultural Properties Preservation and Protection Act," and Republic Act No. 10066, known as the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009.