PASAY CITY JUDGE STOPS MMDA FROM DEMOLISHING QUEZON CITY BILLBOARD
A Pasay City judge ordered the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to stop demolishing a billboard situated in Quezon City, notwithstanding a standing Dismantling/ Roll Down Order issued by the Building Official of Quezon City.
Pasay City Regional Trial Court Judge Divina Gracia Lopez Pelino issued a Writ of Preliminary Injunction dated January 12, 2012 directing the MMDA to stop dismantling 119 billboard structures owned by Complainant Ever Corporation doing business under the name and style of United Neon Sign and Services. What was curious however was that while the petition covered only two billboards, the Writ covered 119 billboards.
The Writ was issued pursuant to a Petition for Injunction filed by Ever Corporation against the MMDA, after the Agency dismantled Ever’s billboard located at 995 UC Dapitan Hardware/ Lumber, EDSA, Quezon City.
MMDA Legal and Legislative Affairs Staff Director Rochelle Macapili-Ona clarified that the dismantling was done upon the request of the Local Government of Quezon City. Document presented in the injunction case showed that Quezon City Building Officer Isagani Versoza had issued a Dismantling/ Roll Down Order to United Neon as early as August 14, 2011. This Order was formally indorsed to the MMDA on October 11, 2011.
“The subject billboard owned by Ever Corporation does not have a building permit,” Ona pointed out. “This is an outright violation of the National Building Code, which requires that all structures, whether these be buildings or outdoor advertising signs, should obtain a building permit. Where the law does not distinguish, we should not distinguish,” she added. The petitioner could not even produce their business permits.
Section 301 of the National Building Code states that any entity erecting or constructing any building or structure should first obtain a building permit from the Building Official assigned in the place where the building is located.
“The National Building Code was enacted to ensure that all structures – whether these be buildings, houses or billboard structures – conform in all respects to the principles of safe construction and are suited to the purpose for which they are designed,” explained MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino. “The writ of injunction now dispenses with this very important requirement.”
The MMDA Chair said he is considering to, file administrative charges against Judge Pelino for issuing an order that is patently illegal. “We will exhaust all legal means to ensure that billboards conform to well-accepted standards on size, distance and structural integrity, even as we strive to protect the environment.” Sam Celiz, MMDA Public Affairs Service