As expected, Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada and former Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim are now blaming each other over the construction of the Torre de Manila. To add more excitement, the two former friends (but now worst foes) are accusing each other of receiving bribe money from the developer, DMCI Homes.
During a press conference on Wednesday, Estrada said Lim lied about the planned construction of Torre de Manila when he was still the city mayor. Erap presented the building permit and other related documents the controversial condominium to the reporters. Obviously, all of them have signatures of Alfredo Lim in June 2012.
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According to Erap, Lim approved the construction of 49-storey Torre de Manila despite the fact that his administration allowed 19 floors only. That time, the controversial condominium was under the zoning classification “University Cluster Zone,” and was declared as not an obstruction to the Rizal monument.
In addition, Mayor Estrada said that National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) recommended to the Manila City Council the stoppage of the construction of the Torre de Manila, but then-Mayor Lim did not approve the city ordinance. Erap said that the former mayor might have received bribe mony from DCMI.
It should be noted that Erap was elected as mayor of Manila in May 2013. And according to the construction update of DCMI Homes in July 2013, 20 percent of the condominium foundation has been completed that time. Apparently, the NHCP also approved the construction and so, the said project was started.
“Your project site is outside the boundaries of Rizal Park… Hence, it cannot possibly obstruct the front view of the said National Monument.” A statement reads on the letter of the NHCP to DCMI Homes. The letter was issued in 2012 and was signed by NHCP chairperson Dr. Mario Serena Diokno.
On the other hand, Lim denied the accusations of Erap. The former Manila mayor admitted signing all the documents for the construction of Torre de Manila, noting that it passed all the requirements. In a previous interview, Lim accused Erap of receiving P1-million from DCMI Homes so construction can be continued.
“Inabutan nila nasa 19th floor, pinatigil nila, pagkatapos in-authorize nila na ipagpatuloy. Ang natayo ngayon 27 floors, 27 floors plus 19, naging 46 floors na ngayon. Kung mali iyon, eh bakit nila ipinagpatuloy?” Former Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim told GMA News in a recent interview.
(They [Erap and company] stopped the construction when it has already 19 floors. Then, they authorized them to continue it. Now, 27 floors have been added.27 plus 19. This is why the building has now 46 floors. If they found something wrong that time, they should have not allowed it to be continued.)
Two days ago, the Supreme Court issued a TRO (temporary restraining order) to stop the construction of the Torre de Manila. Oral argument is set to start this coming June 30. But while the two dirty old men are playing the blame game, around 2,000 construction workers of the Torre de Manila lost their jobs.
Estrada, 78, is planning to run for reelection for Manila mayor in 2016. On the other hand, Alfredo Lim is being convinced by his supporters to fight Erap again. The so-called Dirty Harry politician is now 85 years old. Erap and Lim have been good friends for decades, but became foes during the 2013 election.