PROPERTY developer DMCI Homes on Thursday sided with the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHC) in its feud with the solicitor general in connection with its controversial Torre de Manila condominium project.
In a statement, DMCI Homes Spokesman Florence Loreto said that NHC, chaired by Maria Serena Diokno, “acted responsibly and on the basis of the law” when it cleared DMCI of any liability from constructing the 46-story residential building that has been dubbed “Rizal Monument photo bomber.”
The NCH has declared that the project site is outside the boundaries of the Rizal Park, thus, it cannot possibly obstruct the front view of the Rizal Monument.
Loreto also noted that it was Solicitor General Florin Hilbay who first flip-flopped on the issue involving Torre de Manila. “Like everyone else, we are eager to hear the explanation behind OSG’s [Office of Solicitor General] sudden reversal, possibly in the next hearing,” Loreto said.
“The people behind NHCP may have different opinions on Torre, but we believe they have only acted responsibly and on the basis of law,” she added.
In a July 29 letter to Hilbay, Diokno castigated the OSG for abandoning its previous position that there was no legal basis to stop the construction of the condominium project.
Diokno lamented that the OSG informed the NHC about its new position only on July 29, the deadline given by Supreme Court (SC) for the former to submit its comment on the petition filed by the Knights of Rizal seeking to enjoin project as it blocks the iconic sight line of the monument.
“You assured me that the NHCP is ‘cleared of any responsibility because you will explain, if asked, that the NHCP board members are not constitutionalists. But the draft of your statement primarily cites Section 25 of the Heritage Law [Republic Act 10066], not the Constitution, as your legal basis,” Diokno said in the letter addressed to Hilbay.
The OSG, in its position paper submitted to the SC, now argues that the NHCP and other cultural agencies have the authority to stop the construction as it violates constitutional provisions on the preservation of cultural artifacts.