The Office of the Solicitor General has released its position paper dated July 30, 2015 regarding the Torre de Manila case and ruled that the construction of the condominium was indeed illegal.
The case was filed by the Knights of Rizal against DMCI Homes Inc., City of Manila, National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NCHP).
According to the 10-page position paper, the construction of the Torre de Manila violated several laws including Article XIV, Sections 14 and 15 of the Constitution and Section 25 Republic Act 10066 or the 2009 Cultural Heritage Act.
Based on Sections 14 and 15, the State is mandated to preserve and conserve historical and cultural resources while section 25 states that “the appropriate cultural agency shall immediately issue a Cease and Desist Order ex parte suspending all activities that will affect the cultural property when the physical integrity of national cultural treasures or important cultural properties are found to be in danger of destruction or significant alteration from its original state.”
The Solicitor-General clarified that the NCCA, NCHP and the National Museum has in its power, to issue a cease and desist order against the construction of the Torre de Manila as it has been found to be an impairment to the sightline of the Rizal monument.
It also added that the term “physical integrity” is broad enough to cover the cultural property’s sightline, stating that the Rizal monument should be considered as an integrated unit with “a single piece of visual phenomenon.” Since it is a cultural heritage, the necessary action must be taken to avoid serious or irreversible damage to it.
According to Solicitor-General Florin Hilbay, the primary signatory of the position paper, the City of Manila has violated Ordinance No. 8119 as it issued the zoning and building permit to DMCI despite the Torre de Manila’s non-compliance with the limit of the floor-area ratio (FAR).
The paper also ruled that the City of Manila abused its discretion in exempting the DMCI from the FAR limit; thus diminishing the physical integrity of the Rizal monument.