CASE 2017-0012: KNIGHTS OF RIZAL, VS. DMCI HOMES, INC., DMCI PROJECT DEVELOPERS, INC., CITY OF MANILA\., NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR CULTURE AND THE ARTS, NATIONAL MUSEUM, and NATIONAL HISTORICAL COMMISSION OF THE PHILIPPINES,  (G.R. No. 213948  25 APRIL 2017, CARPIO, J.:) (SUBJECTS: MANDAMUS; DEFINITION OF NUISANCE; NUISANCE PER SE; NUISANCE PER ACCIDENS)

 

 DISPOSITIVE:

 

“WHEREFORE, the petition for mandamus is DISMISSED for lack of merit. The Temporary Restraining Order issued by the Court on 16 June 2015 is LIFTED effective immediately.

 

SO ORDERED.”

 

 SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

 

CAN THE COURT 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?

 

NO.

 

BECAUSE THERE IS NO LAW PROHIBITING THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE TORRE DE MANILA.

 

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.

 

THIS PRINCIPLE IS FUNDAMENTAL IN A DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY, TO PROTECT THE  WEAK AGAINST THE STRONG, THE MINORITY AGAINST THE MAJORITY, AND THE INDIVIDUAL CITIZEN AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT.

 

IN ESSENCE, THIS PRINCIPLE, WHICH IS THE FOUNDATION OF A CIVILIZED SOCIETY UNDER THE RULE OF LAW, PRESCRIBES THAT THE FREEDOM TO ACT CAN BE CURTAILED ONLY THROUGH LAW.

 

WITHOUT THIS PRINCIPLE, THE RIGHTS, FREEDOMS, AND CIVIL LIBERTIES OF CITIZENS CAN BE ARBITRARILY AND WHIMSICALLY TRAMPLED UPON BY THE SHIFTING PASSIONS OF THOSE WHO CAN SPOUT THE LOUDEST, OR THOSE WHO CAN GATHER THE BIGGEST CROWD OR THE MOST NUMBER OF INTERNET TROLLS.

 

IN THIS  CASE, THERE IS NO ALLEGATION OR PROOF THAT THE TORRE DE MANILA PROJECT IS !”CONTRARY TO MORALS, CUSTOMS, AND PUBLIC ORDER” OR THAT IT BRINGS HARM, DARIGER, OR HAZARD TO THE COMMUNITY.

 

THERE IS NO LAW PROHIBITING  THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE TORRE DE MANILA DUE TO ITS EFFECT ON THE BACKGROUND “VIEW, VISTA, SIGHTLINE, OR SETTING” OF THE RIZAL MONUMENT.

 

WHAT IS NUISANCE?

 

ARTICLE 694 OF THE CIVIL CODE DEFINES A NUISANCE AS ANY ACT, OMISSION, ESTABLISHMENT, BUSINESS, CONDITION OF PROPERTY, OR ANYTHING ELSE WHICH: (1) INJURES OR ENDANGERS THE HEALTH OR SAFETY OF OTHERS; (2) ANNOYS OR OFFENDS THE SENSES; (3) SHOCKS, DEFIES OR DISREGARDS DECENCY OR MORALITY; (4) OBSTRUCTS OR INTERFERES WITH THE FREE PASSAGE OF ANY PUBLIC HIGHWAY OR STREET, OR ANY BODY OF WATER; OR (5) HINDERS OR IMPAIRS THE USE OF PROPERTY. I

 

WHAT ARE THE TWO KINDS OF NUISANCE?

 

NUISANCE PER SE AND NUISANCE PER ACCIDENS.

 

WHAT IS NUISANCE PER SE?

 

IT IS  “RECOGNIZED AS A NUISANCE UNDER ANY AND ALL CIRCUMSTANCES, BECAUSE IT CONSTITUTES A DIRECT MENACE TO PUBLIC HEALTH OR SAFETY, AND, FOR THAT REASON, MAY BE ABATED SUMMARILY UNDER THE UNDEFINED LAW OF NECESSITY.”

 

WHAT IS NUISANCE PER ACCIDENS?

 

THAT  WHICH “DEPENDS UPON CERTAIN CONDITIONS. AND CIRCUMSTANCES, AND ITS EXISTENCE BEING A QUESTION OF FACT, IT CANNOT DECLARED  WITHOUT DUE HEARING THEREON IN A TRIBUNAL AUTHORIZED TO DECIDE WHETHER  SUCH A THING IN LAW CONSTITUTES A NUISANCE. ”

 

IS TORRE DE MANILA A NUISANCE PER SE?

 

NO.

 

THE TORRE DE MANILA PROJECT CANNOT BE CONSIDERED AS A “DIRECT MENACE TO  PUBLIC HEALTH OR SAFETY.”

 

FIRST, CONDOMINIUM PROJECT IS  COMMONPLACE IN THE CITY OF MANILA.

 

SECOND, DMCI-PDI HAS COMPLIED WITH HEALTH AND SAFETY STANDARDS SET BY LAW. DMCI-PDI HAS BEEN GRANTED THE FOLLOWING PERMITS AND CLEARANCES PRIOR TO STARTING THE PROJECT: (1) HEIGHT CLEARANCE PERMIT FROM THE CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORITY OF THE PHILIP¥NES;91 (2) DEVELOPMENT PERMIT FROM THE HLURB;92 (3) ZONING CERTIFICATI<;M FROM THE HLURB;93 ( 4) CERTIFICATE OF ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANQE COMMITMENT FROM THE ENVIRONMENT MANAGEMENT BUREAU OF THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES;94 (5) BARANGAY CLEARANCER ( 6) ZONING PERMIT;96 (7) BUILDING PERMIT;97 (8) AND ELECTRICAL AND MECHANICAL PERMIT.98 I

 

LATER, DMCI-PDI ALSO OBTAINED THE RIGHT TO BUILD UNDER A VARIANCE RECOMMENDED BY THE MZBAA AND GRANTED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF MANILA. THUS, THETE CAN BE NO DOUBT THAT THE TORRE DE MANILA PROJECT IS NOT A NUISANCE PER SE.

 

IS TORRE DE MANILA A NUISANCE PER ACCIDENS?

 

IT IS NOT ESTABLISHED THAT TORRE DE MANILA IS A NUISANCE BY ACCIDENS.

 

BY IDEFINITION, A NUISANCE PER ACCIDENS IS DETERMINED BASED ON ITS SURROUNDITJG CONDITIONS AND CIRCUMSTANCES. THESE CONDITIONS AND CIRCUMSTANCES MUST BE WELL ESTABLISHED, NOT MERELY ALLEGED.

 

THE COURT CANNOT SIMPLY  ACCEPT THESE CONDITIONS AND CIRCUMSTANCES AS ESTABLISHED FACTS.

 

THE AUTHORITY TO DECIDE WHEN A NUISANCE EXISTS IS AN AUTHORITY TO FIND FACTS, TO ESTIMATE THEIR FORCE, AND TO APPLY RULES OF LAW TO THE CASE THUS MADE.

 

THE SUPREME COURT IS NO SUCH AUTHORITY. IT IS NOT A TRIER OF FACTS.

 

THE TASK TO RECEIVE AND EVALUATE EVIDENCE IS LODGED WITH THE TRIAL COURTS. THE QUESTION, THEN, OF WHETHER THE TORRE DE MANILA PROJECT IS A NUISANCE PER ACCIDENS MUST BE SETTLED AFTER DUE PROCEEDINGS BROUGHT BEFORE THE PROPER REGIONAL TRIAL COURT. THE KOR CANNOT CIRCUMVENT THE PROCESS IN THE GUISE OF PROTECTING NATIONAL CULTURE AND HERITAGE.

 

TO READ THE DECISION, JUST CLICK/DOWNLOAD THE FILE BELOW. THEN GO TO YOUR DOWNLOADED FILES, LOCATE THE CASE FILE AND OPEN IT.

 

SCD-2017-0012-KNIGHTS OF RIZAL VS. DMCI HOMES, INC., DMCI PROJECT DEVELOPERS, INC., CITY OF MANILA, NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR CULTURE AND THE ARTS, NATIONAL MUSEUM, A 

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