Knights of Rizal v. DMCI Homes

G.R. No. 213948
April 18, 2017



DMCI acquired a 7,716.60-square meter lot near Taft Avenue, Ermita, beside the former Manila Jai-Alai Building and Adamson for the Torre de Manila condominium project. It obtained a zoning permit and barangay clearance to start the construction. The city allowed the 49-storey with basement and 2 penthouse level residence condominium. After a few weeks, the Manila Council suspended the permit due to height of the building that shall dwarf the Rizal Monument and that the sight of the tower behind the shrine would ruin its view.

The court however decided that there actually is no law prohibiting such construction and that Torre de Manila is neither contrary to law, endanger the public health of safety nor its construction contrary to morals, good customs, public order, or public policy. It was also not considered by the court as nuisance as defined in the Civil Code. 

Issue 1:
Whether or not the construction of Torre de Manila is a nuisance.

Held 1:
No. It was explained in the case that there are two kinds of nuisance. The first one would be nuisance per se, is when an act is a direct menace to public health or safety, and, for that reason, may be abated summarily under the undefined law of necessity. While the second one is nuisance per accidens. A nuisance per accidens is determined based on its surrounding conditions and circumstances. These conditions and circumstances must be well established, not merely alleged. It is a question of fact where it cannot be abated without due hearing thereon in a proper tribunal authorized to decide whether such a thing in law constitutes a nuisance. 

Issue 2:
Whether or not the Court can issue a writ of mandamus against the officials of the City of Manila to stop the construction of DMCI-PDI’s Torre de Manila project

Held 2:
No. The petition for mandamus lacks merit.

There is no law prohibiting the construction of the Torre de Manila.

In Manila Electric Company v. Public Service Commission, the Court held that “what is not expressly or impliedly prohibited by law may be done, except when the act is contrary to morals, customs and I public order”.

Mandamus does not lie against the City of Manila.

The Rules on Civil Procedure are clear that mandamus only issues when there is a clear legal duty imposed upon the office or the officer sought to be compelled to perform an act, and when the party seeking mandamus has a clear legal right to the performance of such act.

In the present case, nowhere is it found in Ordinance No. 8119 or in any law, ordinance, or rule for that matter, that the construction of a building outside the Rizal Park is prohibited if the building is within the background sightline or view of the Rizal Monument.

Also, to declare that the City of Manila failed to consider the standards under Ordinance No. 8119 would involve making a finding of fact. In such a case, it is the Regional Trial Court which has the jurisdiction to hear the case, receive evidence, make a proper finding of fact, and determine whether the Torre de Manila project properly complied with the standards set by the ordinance.

Issue 3:
Whether prohibiting Torre de Manila (DMCI) from constructing their building prohibits them of their property right without due process of law.

Held 3:
No. It does not violate the preservation of national culture, heritage, and treasure because there is no law prohibiting the construction of buildings distant and beyond the national shrine.

Anything that offends the senses, More about nuisance here.

Related Posts