Court junks VACC plea over his­toric Manila build­ing

Manila Times - - NEWS -

THE Court of Ap­peals (CA) has - teers Against Crime and Cor­rup­tion (VACC) that seeks to halt the con­ver­sion of the his­toric Army and Navy Club in Manila into a ho­tel and a casino gam­ing out­let, now known as the Rizal Park Ho­tel, owned by busi­ness­man Si­mon Paz.

In a two-page res­o­lu­tion dated Septem­ber 7, 2017 but re­leased just re­cently, the CA’s for­mer 15th Di­vi­sion, dis­missed VACC’s mo­tion for re­con­sid­er­a­tion and stood pat on junk­ing the pe­ti­tion for cer­tio­rari and pro­hi­bi­tion on is­sues of tech­ni­cal­ity for vi­o­lat­ing the prin­ci­ple on hi­er­ar­chy of courts.

“Petitioner has not shown any co­gent or com­pelling rea­son to war­rant a re­ver­sal or even a modi Hence, the dis­missal of the peti- tion for cer­tio­rari and pro­hi­bi­tion must be sus­tained,” it ruled.

The de­ci­sion was penned by As­so­ci­ate Jus­tice Ra­mon Ra­mon Gar­cia and was con­curred in by As­so­ci­ate Jus­tices Leon­cia Dimag­iba and Jhosep Lopez.

The court ruled that the VACC the Re­gional Trial Court, which has juris­dic­tion over the case.

The group had sought to stop Oceanville Ho­tel and Spa Corp. from build­ing the Rizal Park Ho­tel.

Re­spon­dents in the pe­ti­tion were the city gov­ern­ment of Manila, Philip­pine Amuse­ment and Gam­ing Corp. (Pag­cor), Na­tional His­tor­i­cal Com­mis­sion of the Philip­pines, Oceanville Ho­tel and Spa Corp. and Van­der­wood Man­age­ment Cor­po­ra­tion.

The City of Manila has al­lowed Oceanville to lease the prop­erty for 25 years.

Un­der the lease con­tract, Oceanville may sub- lease any part of the prop­erty.

Oceanville later on sub-leased a part of the Army and Navy Club for 20 years, com­menc­ing on Novem­ber 3, 2014 up to Novem­ber 12, 2034, to Van­der­wood, which con­structs the gam­ing fa­cil­ity, and sub-leased 6,500 square me­ters of the prop­erty to Pag­cor.

The CA said the rul­ing of the Manila city gov­ern­ment to en­ter into an agree­ment with a pri­vate cor­po­ra­tion is not con­sid­ered a ju­di­cial, quasi-ju­di­cial or min­is­te­rial ac­tion that can be a sub­ject of a pe­ti­tion for cer­tio­rari.

“The City of Manila’s ex­e­cu­tion of the lease con­tract with Oceanville Ho­tel and Spa does not fall within the am­bit of ju­di­cial, quasi-ju­di­cial or min­is­te­rial func­tion as the same is within its pre­rog­a­tive, pow­ers and author­ity in the ex­er­cise of its ex­ec­u­tive func­tion. On this court alone, cer­tio­rari and pro­hi­bi­tion will not lie,” ac­cord­ing to the court.

The Army and Navy Club was founded in 1898 and de­clared to the Philip­pines.

By 1911, it was moved to its new lo­ca­tion in the south­east­ern por the Luneta (now Rizal Park) sea­ward, op­po­site the Manila Ho­tel.

The club was built based on a struc­tural plan of ar­chi­tect Daniel Burn­ham.

When World War II broke out, it was oc­cu­pied by the Ja­panese in 1942 and was de­stroyed by the war.

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