Work on “photobomb” Philippine tower to restart after court decision

The Supreme Court of the Philippines yesterday ruled that work can resume on a half-built, 49-storey tower disliked for marring the view of a national martyr’s monument.

Nicknamed the "Pambansang Photobomb" (the "national photobomb") because it intrudes (as above) on a commonly photographed aspect of a monument to novelist and national hero, José Rizal, the Torre de Manila condominium tower was halted in June 2015 on grounds that it violated building regulations.

Since 2012 the tower has drawn protests and a civic organisation known as the Knights of Rizal filed a petition in September 2014 calling for it to be demolished.

But the court voted nine to six yesterday to deny this petition.

In a news conference, a court spokesperson said the court has no jurisdiction over the issue, adding that the court found no law prohibiting the tower’s construction.

The developer, DMCI Homes, welcomed what it called the court’s "fair and just" decision.  

It said: "Moving on, we will immediately resume construction to finally end the undue suffering of our stakeholders, most especially our workers and future residents who depended on our commitment to complete the project."

DMCI is owned by David Consunji, the 95-year-old property magnate who is reportedly the sixth richest person in the Philippines with a net worth of $3.6bn.

The company said it would immediately advise its customers and future residents on the updated construction timetable.

Xiao Chua of the Knights of Rizal said they would respect the court’s ruling.

Executed by firing squad at the age of 37 in 1896, José Rizal trained as an optician before writing two classic novels, Noli Me Tangare and El Filibusterismo. He was accused by the Spanish government of planning a rebellion.

Image: The half-built Manila Tower intrudes on a view of the Rizal monument (Adamdaley/Wikimedia Commons)

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