sona, tsona, torre de manila #takeitdown

i’m deep into a book project — so far, purely a labor of love — and all the political drama is just white noise.  i did stop to listen to the president’s sona but went back to work the moment the testimonials started.  i forgot, though, all about the vice president’s tsona and caught only the tail end when he gave special mention to each of the SAF44, of course, and why not, since nakalimutan sila ng presidente — like nakalimutan niya ang FOI — it was good to be reminded, lalo na’t narinig ko si palace spokesman lacierda sa ANC raving about how this wonderful president has a knack for bouncing back even from the worst falls in trust rating, as in mamasapano times, because, look, his trust ratings are up, people have forgotten mamasapano, yey, mamasapano is no longer an issue, or something to that effect.  excuse me, but many of us have long memories actually.  deep in our psyches, everything is factored in, one way or another, and when we want to remember the details, there’s always the web, thank goodness.

but  yesterday’s oral  arguments sa supreme court on the torre de manila case, i could not resist.  the tweets were interesting so we tuned in and caught the last two and a half hours of associate justice francis jardeleza’s interpellation of DMCI counsel vincent lazatin.  it was all most instructive.  i loved jardeleza’s carefully grounded questions and deliberate pace — he refused to be rushed,  or to be distracted.  he made the point that surely DMCI knew the risks of building such a tower in such a zone of no-high-rises behind the rizal monument.  now i wonder if the perfect unobstructed vista of luneta park and manila bay was the main selling point?

and let’s not forget that juicy tidbit about DMCI seeking “presidential intercession” from malacanang’s Presidential Action Center, and apparently getting it, which emboldened the NHCP, it would seem, to issue its own “permit”.

On October 11, 2012, respondent NHCP received a 1st Indorsement dated September 13, 201219 from the Presidential Action Center, referring to respondent NHCP the request of DMCI Consultant Alfredo A. Andrade seeking presidential intercession to facilitate the processing of their application for a certification. Acting on the communications received on the matter, the NHCP Board of Commissioners discussed the Torre de Manila project during its meeting on October 19, 2012.

Thus, in a letter dated November 6, 201221 addressed to DMCI Consultant Alfredo Andrade, respondent NHCP stated that the project site of the Torre de Manila condominium is “outside the boundaries of the Rizal Park and well to the rear (789 meters, according to Mr. Ancheta) of the Rizal Monument; hence it cannot possibly obstruct the front view of the said National Monument.

oral arguments continue on august 11.  the court has asked dr. serena diokno, chair of the NHCP, to be present, or to send her lawyers.  it should be verrry interesting because diokno dares, all by her lonesome, to disagree with solicitor general florin hilbay — the chief legal counsel and constitutionalist of the government —  who has seen fit to assert that

… the Constitutional mandate to conserve, promote, and popularize the nation’s historical and cultural heritage resources includes, in the case of the Rizal Monument, the preservation of its sightlines.


TAKE IT DOWN #torredemanila


  1. manuelbuencamino

    If you will read the President’s Budget Message to Congress, you will learn that he did not forget FOI. Most political observers focus on the SONA but neglect to read the President’s Budget Message which is the document that tells Congress how much money he needs and for what. In the budget message, he has made explicit mention of the need for Congress to fund FOI as part of the fight against corruption. Please read.

  2. The reason the President bounces back is in the testimonials, the part you missed. They were particularly gracious, sensitive, humorous and uplifting. Those who missed it might erroneously conclude that the President is insensitive about this or that.

    The Supreme Court ruling on the TdM will be most interesting, both assents and dissents. Whatever the ruling, it will be good to get it done so people can move on. Get the aggrieved senators back to work writing a National Land Use Act perhaps.

  3. Citing provisions of Manila’s zoning law, Ordinance No. 8119, Jardeleza established that Torre de Manila’s site was classified as a university cluster zone. The building stands on a site where only schools and government buildings of up to seven stories are allowed under the local regulation.

    Jardeleza found that the Lim administration granted DMCI a zoning permit on June 19, 2012, for Torre de Manila even without the developer’s application for a variance (exemption) from zoning restrictions, as required under the ordinance.