Briones: Law is the law

Publio Briones

WHY is Taft Properties so much in a hurry to secure a full occupational permit (OP) for the Tower 2 of its Horizons 101 condominium project on Gen. Maxilom Ave. in Cebu City?

The two-tower residential project located near Fuente Osmena Circle is considered to be Metro Cebu’s tallest building now.

The first 35 floors of Tower 2 already have an OP. It’s only the remaining 10 floors, or from the 36th floor to the 46th, which are not occupied because of the absence of the OP.

On Nov. 11, 2019, Taft Property’s vice president and chief operating officer Myra Lynn Gilig sent a letter to Mayor Edgardo Labella “requesting the approval of the company’s OP application.”

On Nov. 25, the Office of the Building Official (OBO) asked the land developer to submit documents regarding the latter’s agreement with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Department of Engineering and Public Works (DEPW) together with other requirements needed for the prompt evaluation of Taft’s OP application.

Apparently, Taft Property lacked several requirements under the National Building Code of the Philippines, including a drainage system that it is supposed to construct with the DPWH and the DEPW. And that is why it was not issued an OP for the last 10 floors of Tower 2. So far, everything seemed to be straightforward. The City Legal Office thought so too, when it recently denied Taft Property’s application.

“It appears that as of date, Myra Lynn Gilig did not comply with the directive of OBO and instead opted to directly request the City Mayor for the issuance of OP sans further compliance to OBO requirements,” read part of City Attorney Rey Gealon statement. “It must be emphasized that laws apply to all. There can be no exception when there is none allowed by law. There is neither legal nor factual basis for their request,” he said.

Gilig, when sought for comment, admitted as much, saying they are working to comply with the requirements so the OP for the remaining floors of Tower 2 can finally be issued.

“It’s not a violation. These are requirements that we have to comply with. Mostly, we have to purchase something and install. It’s more of a compliance,” she told SunStar Cebu.

Obviously, the company has not committed a violation. The remaining floors of Tower 2 continue to be unoccupied. But it did try to circumvent the law. I assume Gilig was only trying to fast-track the process when she sent the letter to the mayor. I guess, you could say that there was no harm in trying.

For one thing, I don’t doubt Taft Property will eventually comply with all the requirements. It will have to if it wants that OP.