Last Wednesday, November 14, we in the neighborhood were notified the day before by the newly elected Barangay Captain, Mrs. Camille Malig-David that there is a public hearing to be conducted by the Committee on Laws, Rules and Internal Government on November 14, 2018, Wednesday at 1:00 P.M. at the Carlos Albert Session Hall, 3rd Floor, City Hall, Quezon City PR20CC-087 entitled “A resolution authorizing the issuance of a certificate of exception to Amarah and Arome Residences Corporation for the construction of a twenty-two (22) storey residential condominium with roofdeck to be located at lots 1 and 2, block S-162 Tomas Morato Avenue corner Scout Gandia Street, Barangay Sacred Heart, Quezon City, allowing deviation from the restrictions provided under ordinance No. SP-2502, S-2016, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance of 2016.”
The invitation was extended by Councilor Marvin C. Rillo of our District, the 4th District who is as well the Chairman, Committee on City Planning, Building and Zoning.
What I find strange is the problem I and my siblings are having regarding the demolition of the ancestral home of my parents constructed in the 1950s without our permission. It’s a six-bedroom house which my father gifted my mother. The house and garden occupied 3 lots. It’s the ancestral home we all grew up in and lived.
It was done secretly last Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018 when we woke up to see our gates to my mother’s houses welded and barricaded. We live near each other in this family compound since 1939 when my father was appointed by President Manuel L. Quezon as First Mayor of this city to be named after him.
The property belongs to the six children. But how my youngest brother together with his partners belonging to a political clan in this city were able to transfer the 3 lots in the name of my late mother to their group puzzled us all in the family. We filed two cases in court: One, Syndicated Estafa involving all those who maneuvered the transfer; and a Civil case.
I have no intention to touch on the merits of the case which is taking so long. But I would like, however, to bring up some laws that the group who were able to landgrab my mother’s properties must know; and the courts as well must take into consideration.
In 2009, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed and approved Republic Act. No. 10066, known as the “National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009.” Briefly, before a structure 50 years old and above can be demolished, it needs permission from the court. And another important thing to note is the fact that my late father was the First Mayor of Quezon City; and for that alone, the ancestral home he built for the family must have some meaning, or even a little recognition or even semblance of a heritage structure; and I believe deserves the permission of the court before demolition – if at all it can be granted. The structure is historical. People have all identified that the house was the ancestral home of the First Mayor of Quezon City which the former Sampaloc Avenue was named after him, now Tomas B. Morato Avenue, passed by Congress and the Senate – not by a City ordinance which passed the Timog/Morato Circle to be named the Morato Circle. But as I was told by former Councilor/Actor Anthony Alonzo, the document was stolen from the Quezon City archive. The Boys’ Scouts statues were placed instead.
I never lobbied to put the statue of my father even if I knew that it was passed by the City Council in 1966, a year after my father’s death that the statue of my father would be placed in that circle.
This younger brother who did us wrong is a close associate and partner of then Mayor Sonny Belmonte. I knew Sonny and his wife Betty since the late 70s. One day then Mayor Belmonte told me: “Sige puwede na ilagay ang estatwa ng Papa mo on top of the pilar. But the Boys’ Scouts will stay underneath.” I told him: “I’m sure my father would not mind at all. He was a caring person, most especially to the poor.” Then Mayor Belmonte told me: “Pero ikaw na ang magpagawa nong statue at walang pera ang city government.” I want everybody to know that I paid the sculptor who did the statue assisted by me as to how I want my father portrayed for I am paying for it anyway. Ask Architect Regala of Quezon City Hall who helped me put it up; about 42 years after my father’s death in 1965.
Before I end, let me say that Councilor Marvin Rillo, Chairman of the Committee on City Planning, Building and Zoning was nice and accommodating. He promised to give us a hearing regarding the demolition of the ancestral home of my parents because I found it weird that we were not given a chance to be heard; while the 22-storey building rising to my left (near my 4-storey building) was given a hearing. Kasi may connection din siguro sa City Hall. ‘Yong pagsira ng ancestral home ng aking magulang at ‘yong building ni Mr. Dexter Co ay sabay binigyan ng “Special Permit” ng City Council ng Quezon City approved by Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte and Acting Presiding Officer, Councilor Lena Marie (Mayen) Juico, daughter of my mortal enemy, Margie Juico, ‘yong naging PCSO Chairman ni PNoy sa PCSO na kababayan ko sa Quezon Province who did us so much harm by concocting cases against President Gloria and her appointees in the PCSO, nasama pati ako. Puro kasinungalingan ang charges sa aming lahat sa Ombudsman sa panahon ni Ombudsman Conchita Morales; at sa Sandiganbayan.
After punishing us for months and years, we were all acquitted. But the wounds we suffered cannot easily heal. As our Lord said: “Vengeance is mine.” Dear God, please do it fast!
Before I end, allow me to ask one more question: What’s so “special” in granting “Special Permits” for an owner of the land to put up high-rise buildings in a residential area? Meron bang interes ang mga nag-aaprove sa mga projects? Ni hindi ipinaalam sa neighborhood at homeowners if they are in favor or not.
Alam ninyo, lahat ‘yang mga permits ninyo ay balewala pag walang permiso ng homeowners association. Ang homeowners ang naglagay sa inyo sa puwesto, ang homeowners din ang puwedeng magtanggal sa inyo.
Put that in your minds!
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