SC stops construction of Torre de Manila

MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – The Supreme Court (SC) has temporarily stopped the construction of the controversial Torre de Manila condominium, which culture advocates have slammed for destroying the view of the historic Rizal Shrine. 

"SC issues TRO against further construction of Torre de Manila," the SC Public Information Office said in its official Twitter account. 

SC issues TRO against further construction of Torre de Manila; orders oral argument on June 30 at 2 PM. — SC PIO (Official) (@SCPh_PIO) June 16, 2015

"The Court was sent this case for oral arguments on June 30, 2015, Tuesday, at the session hall," SC Spokesperson Theodore Te said in a press briefing. 

Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno on Tuesday said he is expecting the condominium's real estate developer DMCI Homes Incorporated to comply with the temporary restraining order which "could once and for all settle the issue." 

In September 2014, the Knights of Rizal filed a petition for injunction with the High Court, asking it to stop the controversial condominium project.

On January 5, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) also issued a cease and desist order on the Torre de Manila, pointing out that the project "destroys or significantly alters" the view of the historic Rizal Shrine.

'National photobomber'

The building, still under construction and currently 30 storeys tall, has been derided on social media as the "national photobomber," in a nod to the monument's status as one of the country's most photographed vistas.

"Rizal is one of the foremost historical figures in the country. He must own the landscape," said Trixie Angeles, legal consultant of the NCCA chairman's office. 

"If we consider him important, he must dominate the landscape. He is the symbol of the Filipino," she told Agence France-Presse.

Senator Pia Cayetano, who called on senate hearings on Torre de Manila, hailed the Supreme Court's decision in a June 17 statement.

"I hope that the TRO would serve as a reminder to property developers and other business groups to be more circumspect in their actions, and to make it part of their corporate vision to contribute to the preservation of our rich heritage and culture instead of damaging it."

A spokesperson for developer DMCI declined to comment, saying the company had not been furnished with a copy of the court's decision. – with a report from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com