Monday, August 03, 2015

14.The right to an uncluttered view of the Rizal monument

I haven't heard of the law that prohibits lot owners from building around a public monument. The general principle is that the right to use private property, including the right to build on it, is regulated only by the State's power to protect the public good. What is the public good in the case of preventing neighbors of a monument from building around it? An uncluttered view of the monument. The Civil Code has provisions on easements on light and view. Thus, for private disputes on having light and view, the mechanics of establishing one are all there, but for public monuments? It's a tricky proposition, considering there is no law. In the Torre de Manila case, where you have this massive building cluttering the view of the Rizal monument, the key issue is whether there is a law providing the basis for the removal of the building. In the absence of that law, it would be a stretch to expect the Supreme Court to craft one on the basis of equity or the motherhood statements of the Constitution on preservation of culture and heritage. Yet, only the Supreme Court can tell us if there is really no law. Sometimes, there are provisions lurking in the small corners of law books that the Court brilliantly finds to support a cause, especially one which has been the basis of public outcries. Until then, this issue of the right to an uncluttered view of the Rizal monument is more political than legal, Rizal fans notwithstanding.

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