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Fight against the construction of Torre de Manila far from over

For those who are opposed to the so-called ‘national photo bomber,’ the 49-storey Torre de Manila being constructed behind the historic monument of Dr. Jose Rizal in Manila’s Rizal Park has vowed not to ‘throw in the white towel’ yet.

This was the assurance made by House Deputy Speaker and Taguig Rep. Pia Cayetano who stressed that the petition against the construction of the controversial building will not cease as the cause has shifted into a ‘battle worth fighting for.’

“It’s not consumatum est yet for this advocacy,” the lawmaker said.

Cayetano was among those who fought the construction of the high-rise condominium project that allegedly sticks out like a “sore thumb” along the line of sight of the Rizal Monument.

“This brings much sadness to me and heritage advocates because it degrades the sacredness of the Rizal Monument,” Cayetano said.

“I do not regret fighting for this, though. It is a fight that has brought to the consciousness of our people the importance of protecting and preserving our cultural heritage and historical landmarks,” she added.

Cayetano was a senator and head of the Senate committee on education, arts and culture when it launched an investigation on the controversial building in 2014.

Now that Cayetano is a member of the House of Representatives, the lady lawmaker is working on a bill that would safeguard and protect the value of the country’s historical sites.

“But for now, I will work on finalizing a draft bill that ensures full protection of our national heritage sites to include not just their physical integrity but also their visual corridors, so that this does not happen again,” Cayetano added.

Voting 9-6, the Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday, April 25, allowed DMCI Homes to resume the construction of the Torre de Manila condominium.

A petition to stop the Torre de Manila construction was filed in September 2014 by the Order of the Knights of Rizal, a civic group established in 1911 to uphold the ideals of Rizal.

The petitioners argued that the placement of the building ruins the sight line behind the Rizal monument, thus devaluing the historic site, and that it violated Manila zoning laws.

The SC, however, stated in its ruling that the high tribunal has no jurisdiction over the case.

The high court also said the petitioner Knights of Rizal had no standing to sue the builder.

It added that “there is no law that prohibits the construction of the challenged Torre de Manila.”

SOURCE: Manila Standard, Phil Star, Rappler