A local action group has asked the Philippines Court of Appeals to issue a temporary restraining order against government agencies and private developers of the controversial “Army Navy Club” casino and hotel under construction in the historic Manila building.
Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) named the Manila city government, Pagcor, and the National Historical Commission of the Philippines in the action filed last Monday in an attempt to stop the conversion of the historic building into a boutique hotel and casino. Vanderwood Management Corp. represented by operations manager Adrian Barretto and Oceanville Hotel and Spa Corporation represented by its president Cornelio Aldon were also named.
The VACC contend the historic landmark falls under certain protections and should not be converted. They also expressed concerns about the location which is adjacent to the children’s museum or Museo Pambata and don’t wish for the children there to be exposed to gambling.
The Army and Navy Club was founded in 1898 and was the first American social club in the Philippines in colonial times. During WW II the building was occupied by Japanese invaders and the building was extensively damaged during the war. Filipino and American servicemen fought side by side to liberate the building, succeeding in February 1945. It was declared a national historical landmark in 1991.
According to a report in the Philippines Daily Tribune, Oceanville inked a 25 year lease on the property in January 2014. Vanderwood agreed to manage the property and signed a contract with Pagcor for a 15 year casino concession there.
According to the report Oceanwood dismantled some parts of the property without approval during redevelopment and was subsequently fined.
August 17, 2015: PAGCOR approves new casino to replace historic Manila Army and Navy Club
July 22, 2016: PAGCOR stirs social media debate over new five star hotel and casino development in Manila
August 30, 2016: Commission finds five PAGCOR officials liable for lease of non-existent property
October 25, 2016: Eleven charged over controversial Manila casino land deal