Two lawyers representing construction firm DMCI Homes got a scolding from Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe after feigning ignorance about the status of the construction of the controversial Torre de Manila condominium project.
At the House committee on Metro Manila development’s hearing on the project, lawyers John Philip Baltazar and Joseph Go said they were unaware if construction of the 46-story building had already ceased following the issuance of a cease and desist order by the National Council on Culture and Arts.
The lawyers were given a few minutes to call their bosses for answers but they claimed their principals were not picking up their phones.
Having enough of the lawyers’ antics, Batocabe said the committee was not “stupid” to believe that they were ignorant about the status of the building’s construction despite representing DMCI.
“They (lawyers) made us appear stupid by pretending they do not know if construction is ongoing or what their clients are doing. As lawyers, they are duty-bound to inform their clients of the cease and desist order and to comply with the order,” he said.
Atty. Trixie Cruz Angeles told Batocabe that DMCI only complied with the CDO for two days but resumed construction of Torre de Manila afterwards.
At the end of the hearing, the committee voted to back the NCCA in its bid to impose the CDO on DMCI over Torre de Manila’s construction.
“The committee has voted to honor and uphold the Cease and Desist Order of the NCCA issued against DMCI, and we’ll ask the DMCI to do the same,” said panel chair and Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo.
The controversial condominium project has been branded an eyesore and “pambansang photobomber” for being seen at the background of the Rizal Monument in Luneta Park.